Friday, April 6, 2012

April 6, 2012

Happy Easter, and Happy Passover! Can you believe it is April? I must say, I did pull a great prank on my daughter on April Fool's Day - though let's give credit where credit is due - I took the idea from my sister. Toothpaste filled Oreo cookies- it was hilarious, and very unexpected! Tuck that idea in the back of your mind for next year - it was easy and very effective!

My mother-in-law is visiting, and of course that gets us thinking about my father in law and wishing he were visiting us as well. One of his all time favorite desserts is banana cream pie, so the dessert that was voted a keeper this week we'll call Deconstructed Banana Cream Pie. Maybe we can entice him to come visit with the promise of this dessert...

Two other recipes earned keeper status this week, and writing about them here makes me want to put them on the menu for this coming week again! We love salmon, but I wanted to take it up a notch, and we found the prefect accompaniment - spicy cucumber relish. Talk about delicious! At the end of the meal I put a little extra relish on my plate even though I had already finished my salmon. Definitely a keeper. As a side dish the same night I made sauteed mushrooms with garlic, Parmesan and breadcrumbs. I think I could have eaten the entire bowl, but there were two other adults that were fighting me for it! If you enjoy mushrooms, you may just love this side dish.

Not sure what next week will bring, but hopefully some new keepers!

New Recipes
Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic, Parmesan, and Bread Crumbs
Spicy Cucumber Relish
Deconstructed Banana Cream Pie

Deconstructed Banana Cream Pie

* vanilla pudding (make as directed)
* 2 bananas, sliced
* caramel sauce
* fresh whipped cream
* graham cracker crumble (recipe below)

Ingredients and Directions for Graham Cracker Crumble
* 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sized crackers)
* 1/3 cup butter, melted
* 1 tbs sugar

Crush crackers in a large zip top type bag. Pour crumbs, sugar and melted butter into a bowl and stir until fully combined. Pour into a 9"x13" casserole dish and press into a even layer. Bake at 350*F for 10-12 minutes, until light brown. Allow to cool, and crumble. Store in an air tight container.

Layer graham cracker crumble, vanilla pudding, sliced bananas and caramel. Top with whipped cream, additional graham cracker crumble, and a final banana slice. Serve immediately.

Quick and easy dessert, and fun to serve each person an individual dessert. This also makes it easy to customize - you can leave out the bananas for those that may not like them.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic, Parmesan, and Bread Crumbs

* 2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
* 3 tbs unsalted butter
* 1 tbs vegetable oil
* 1.5 pounds white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* salt and pepper
* 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
* 2 tbs minced fresh parsley

1. Pulse the white bread (torn into quarters) in a food processor until coarsley ground. Heat 2 of the tablespoons of butter in a 12” skillet over medium- high heat. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until dark brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a small bowl and set aside.
2. In the now empty skillet heat oil over a medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes longer. Turn heat down to medium, add the rest of the butter and brown the mushrooms, about 8 minutes longer.
3. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a medium bowl. Toss with the Parmesan until the cheese melts. Add the bread crumbs and parsley. Serve.

It is amazing to me how so many mushrooms can cook down so much and become so small. But talk about flavor! The cooking method turned ordinary inexpensive button mushrooms into a fabulous side dish! I am even thinking of making these again this weekend because they were so good.

Spicy Cumcumber Relish

* 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into 1/4 inch dice
* 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
* 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
* 1/2 small shallot, minced
* 1-2 tbs fresh lime juice
* salt

Combine cucumber, chile, parsley, shallot, 1 tbs lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature to blend flavors for 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning with additional lime juice and salt to taste after 15 minutes. Serve with the cooked fish of your choice.

Wow! The adults at the dinner table LOVED this over salmon! Talk about delicious! The flavors were bold and fresh, and added such brightness to the salmon. This is definitely my new favorite way to have salmon.