Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Cause For Celebration

Happy Birthday to a very special gentleman.  This man has taught me many things since I have known him.  For instance, he taught me there is a difference between Dijon White Wine Mustard and Dijon Original Mustard.  Yes, there is a story about this, one that would take to long to tell. 

 I've learned a lot about wine and have a better appreciation of it.  Stone and I call Vlad the "Wine Guru." 

Another lesson was about shoes, again another story.  One that I swear my husband and Vlad were in cahoots together, although neither would ever admit to.  Not that I would admit it to either of them but they were right.  I did get four new pair of heels out of it.  Hey, sometimes it pays to be wrong, just sayin.

 Happy Birthday Vlad



 A Berry Fruit Tart

Crust Ingredients:
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Sticks butter
Crust Instructions:
1.  Using a food processor, combine confectioners sugar, flour and butter.  Process until mixture forms a ball.  
2.  Using fingers, press dough into a 11" or 12" tart pan.  
3.  I then freeze for several hours.  This helps to keep the sides from slipping while baking.  
4.  Bake in a 350' preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.   
5.  Set aside to cool.

Pastry Cream Ingredients:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 banilla bean split and seeds scraped
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Pastry Cream Instructions:
1.  In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.  
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
3.  When milk mixture comes to a simmer, very slowly pour 1/2 cup milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.  Continue to slowly add the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly until it has all been incorporated.
4.  Place a fine mesh strainer over your saucepan.  Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan through the mesh strainer to catch the vanilla bean pod and any bits of egg.
5.  Cook the mixture over medium hight heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about two minutes.
6.  Transfer the mixture to a electric mixer, add butter and beat on medium speed entitle butter melts and the mixture cools, about five minutes.
7.  Place pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.  Chill in the refrigerator at least two hours. 

Glaze Ingredients:
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1 teaspoon water
Glaze Instructions:
1.  Melt apricot jam with 1 teaspoon of water.   Stir to combine.

To Assemble Tart:
1.  Fill the crust with pastry cream.
2.  Top the pastry cream with the berries.
3.  Brush the glaze over the fruit.

 Salmon Wellington
4 (7 ounce) Salmon Fillets, skin removed.
salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Garlic cloves, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
6 ounces cream  cheese
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
4 Tablespoons garlic bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 (1 pound) package puff pastry
1 egg (for egg wash)
Balsamic Glaze, Optional for serving.
1.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper to taste.
2.  In a pan, heat butter, chopped shallots and garlic over medium heat.   Salute' until the shallots become translucent.
3.  Bring the heat to high and add the white wine.  Let the liquid cook out for about 5 minutes, then add the cream cheese and salute' for about 1 minute.
4.  Lastly, add the spinach, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese.  Salute' just until the spinach softens.
5.  Unfold the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll out the 2 sheets to about 10"X14", then cut them in half.  So you end up with 4 pieces.  
6.  Place each seasoned salmon fillet in the middle of each puff pastry sheet.  Depending on the size of the fillet, you may need to roll the puff pastry a little more or less.   Leave about 2 inches around the edges.
7.  Divide the spinach mixture into 4 equal parts and evenly spread it on top of the 4 fillets.  Then brush the edges of the puff pastry with egg wash (1 egg + 1 teaspoon water).
8.  Begin folding the puff pastry over starting with the longer side.  When folding over the short edges, bush more of the egg wash before folding.
9.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the salmon wellington seam side down.
10.  Make crosshatch slits on top of the Wellington with a knife.  Then brush with more egg wash.
11.  Bake at 350' for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
12.  I like to drizzle Balsamic Glaze on a plate and place Wellington on top.  YUM!
Assemble Ahead:
1.  Do steps 1-10, except do not brush with egg wash until ready to bake.
2.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and wrap securely and freeze.  
3.  When ready to bake.  Heat oven to 375'.  Place Frozen Wellingtons (Do Not Thaw) that have been brushed with egg wash on parchment lined baking pan and place on middle rack, (my oven it is the 3rd rack).
4.  Cook for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Or salmon registers 165'.