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Monday, February 6, 2012

February 5, 2012: Sunday with my Honey--Make it Special

Unless we are on vacation, it is pretty rare that I get a whole day off with my husband. Either I'm working or he is out of town, or both or something else!

So if you don't count the fact that I worked until 8 AM and came home and slept until 2 pm, I had a day, sort of, with my hubby. Of course, he was kind enough to sleep in until about 11 AM with me...and our cat, Seiko.

We ended up moving some stuff from storage for his mom, Jenny and then visiting with her for a while. She was a school teacher for many years, and really able to hold a conversation and tell a story. Then we were off to the grocery store. Since we were going to have time have a nice relaxed dinner together, I decided to cook a high end meal. REcipes will appear at the end of the blog.

We started off with an Asian influenced grilled salad. This contained predominantly bok choy and radicchio with tasty additives.

For the entree course, we had roasted salmon with walnut pepper relish. Dare I reveal that it was INCREDIBLE! This was a restaurant quality recipe and "company worthy." And it wasn't that complicated either!

I served it up with yet another attempt at mashed potatoes. I liked these okay, but the simpler one was better. This was an ALton Brown recipe and although it tasted good, the potatoes were a bit "runny."

For dessert, I served Pina Colada cheesecake. This was my homage to the STUPID PINEAPPLE BLOG, but I didn't get it made in time. I have to say it tastes EXACTLY like pina colada and is sans the rum. But now that I think of it, I always find pina colada a bit too sweet for my tastebuds.
And what about the PINA COLADA SONG? Why is that SO popular?

We didn't watch the SUPER BOWL, but in honor of it being super bowl sunday, I served a great drink called the Pom Pom. WOW. Touchdown!

What did my hubby say about this romance meal?
SALAD: Field goal!
SALMON: Touchdown with a two point conversion.
MASHED POTATOES: Running play.Gain of 3 yards.
PINA COLADA CHEESECAKE: Pass play. Gain of 5 yards.
POM POM: Hail Mary with a reception in the end zone!

Grilled bok choy salad

1 medium head bok choy
1/4 wedge radicchio or purple cabbage
4 whole scallions
1 small can Mandarin orange segments (9 to 12 ounces), drained
1 cup chow mein noodles
1/4 cup edamame*
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
* for a spicy kick, substitute wasabi peas

Heat a grill to medium-high heat.*

Wash the bok choy, cabbage and scallions and shake to remove the excess water. Grill just until grill marks appear and become aromatic, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove them from the grill to a cutting board. Julienne the bok choy and chop the cabbage. Add the bok choy and the cabbage to a large salad bowl. Cut the scallions on the bias and add them to the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss.

* I used a stove top grill.

Roasted Salmon With Walnut-Pepper Relish
1/2 cup walnuts
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons diced roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon walnut oil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 2-to-3-pound piece wild salmon (about 1 1/2 inches thick)

Make the relish: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop and transfer to a bowl. Add the cayenne, lemon juice, honey, roasted red pepper, walnut oil, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste and toss to combine. (The relish can be made up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Make the salmon: Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley, the chives, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the salmon. Lay skin-side down in a baking dish and roast until just cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter and top with the walnut-pepper relish.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 ounces grated Parmesan


Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

15 shortbread cookies, crushed **
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
3 tablespoons butter, melted
FILLING:3 packages (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cream of coconut
3 tablespoons 2% milk
3/4 teaspoon rum extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
TOPPING:1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
3 tablespoons apple jelly

** I substituted coconut macaroons.

Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and coconut; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the cream of coconut, milk and extract. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
Thinly slice pineapple; arrange on cheesecake. Warm apple jelly; brush over pineapple. Refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, garnish with blossoms if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

Pom-Pom Cocktail Ingredients
1 part tonic water
to taste lemon
2 part vodka
2 parts pomegranate juice
1/2 part lemoncello

Shake together over crushed ice in a martini shaker. Pour into martini glass and serve with a lemon wedge.



  1. I didn't eat today until 4 o'clock due to the aftermath of my Chili over indulgence last night. Your dinner sounds really upscale. Good job.

  2. It is definitely more than I usually do, but hey, it was super bowl sunday! DId you watch the game?

    Do you like that Pina Colada song?

  3. I happen to love the pina colada song even though it is about a couple of cheaters. To me, it is also about a couple of people who lost each other for awhile only to find out they were the perfect match if they would only invest some time. Although, I have to admit I do Not love pina coladas themselves, too much coconut.

  4. I remember that you are not a coconut aficionado! So you don't like pina coladas? How about getting caught in the rain?