Monday, February 20, 2012

One Year Older and Wiser Too...

Today, was my handsome husband, Shaun's, 32nd birthday. What a great day! 

I woke up with Enoch and snuck out (without makeup or hair done) to buy a dozen balloons and get Shaun's birthday dinner supplies. We made a poster...and then we woke up Shaun with our joyful singing and balloons. 

Then we all got in the car and went to the Little Cheerful for breakfast. It is a Bellingham, Shaun had to eat it before we leave town (someday). GOOD FOOD...and amazing pancakes!! We ordered them with Raspberries and sliced almonds in them (not on them) and we just couldn't stop saying, "ummmmm...these are the best pancakes..." every time we took a bite. 

Shaun had a yummy corn beef egg/peppers special. It was nice because it wasn't drippy in fat and nasty like corn beef often converts to in a dish. 

I had some eggs with chicken sausage in them, fresh jalapenos, corn, peppers, with pico de gallo, sour cream... jack cheese. It was delicious!

Then we went to the mall and got Shaun some new (well needed) casual shoes. 

Then we went home, hung out, Enoch went down for nap. Shaun went to see a Star Wars Movie in 3D (his first whole movie in 3D) by himself. I made his carrot birthday cake with cream cheese frosting. I personalized it with some green piped frosting for more of a festive effect. (Let's call that little green thing under "Daddy"-- a mustache...not an attempt to make couple leaves.)

Enoch and I sang to Shaun and had him blow out his candles before Enoch went to bed (before the grown up dinner). Enoch LIKED the carrot cake. I was relived because every time we've brought up Shaun's birthday this week, all he's said is "Cake!"...and "Balloons." So, I was glad it worked out.

For dinner I made what Shaun had requested....salmon! I must admit that I am still not an expert with fish, so, I was concerned that I would dry it out...and make the meal lame. BUT...I found a recipe on Salty's website....that was WONDERFUL!!!!!!! For those who don't know, Salty's is a fine dinning restaurant in West Seattle...on Alki Point. It is sooooo good and expensive. Since going to Salty's for dinner wasn't a realistic option this year, I was amazed that the recipe I got tasted EXACTLY like what I have eaten there. If you like salmon (or even if you don't) you should try this one. I changed it a little... but it was heaven. It was fine dinning. It was simple enough to highlight the fish...and flavorful enough to feel like you would pay more money for the dish.

With my alterations and notes... (I baked it rather than grilled it...and a few other substitutions):

Grilled Basil-Garlic Wild Salmon

1.14 lb wild salmon fillet (half a salmon) (pull put pinbones with plyers)
3 tablespoons basil-garlic butter (see recipe below), softened but not completely melted
½ teaspoon salt and pepper mix (80% salt and 20% pepper)
1½ ounces Pesto Beurre Blanc, see recipe below
5 each asparagus spears - blanched and reheated with some of the basil-garlic butter
1½ cups garlic mashed potatoes

Basil-Garlic Butter
Yield 4 ounces
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted, whipped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt and pepper mix (80% salt and 20% pepper)
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon fresh basil, fine chopped

                Slowly whip oil into soft whipped, mix all remaining ingredients.

Pesto Beurre Blanc
Yield 6 ounces
1½ teaspoons onion, minced
2 teaspoons vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine
½ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 pinch Kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme (or marjoram)
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoons pesto (your favorite recipe or buy prepared)

Mix shallots, thyme, black peppercorns, kosher salt, vinegar and wine in a small pot and reduce over medium heat until liquid is almost evaporated. Turn heat to low, add heavy cream and reduce slightly. Using a small whip slowly incorporate butter to sauce consistency, add pesto and mix well.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
(enough for 3 servings)
5 Yukon gold potatoes

          Boil in water (whole), when done, remove and peel off skin. Then mash until smooth. Adding, 1/3 c. cream, 3 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder.

Putting it all together:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare a metal pan (with short edges) by putting a piece of parchment in. Then spray with Pam (or brush lightly with oil). Then place salmon fillet on pan, skin side down.

Brush salmon fillet with basil-garlic butter and season with salt and pepper mix. Bake to desired doneness (be sure to not overcook the salmon) while basting the salmon with remaining basil-garlic butter. Check after 15 minutes. Mine was done at 20 minutes. (When done, the fish will flake apart.)

Place mashed potatoes at the center of a serving plate and arrange asparagus spears leaning on the mashed potatoes. Pour pesto beurre blanc over the hill of asparagus, and place salmon fillet on the asparagus and garnish with chopped parsley.

Happy Birthday to a wonderful husband, father, and friend! Every year gets better and better. This year you're graduating from college, going to find and start a new job,...and other stuff.... we'll just have to wait and see. We love SHAUN!

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