Phew! One of the most stressful and wonderful times of year is Christmas. The pressure to buy the right gift or bake the right cookie is always there. This year, there were only a few gifts that I needed to purchase and I decided to make Zucchini and Mango Bread with Walnuts instead of cookies.
One of my most favorite ingredient nowadays is the infamous tomato concassee. If you don’t know much about her, she can intimidate you to no end. Just think of bathing your tomato in hot water then having it jump into an ice bath. Then peeling all her skin off! Done. I promise, anything that you make requiring tomatoes will be much better when using concassee. Those pesky skins get in the way.
No skins, no seeds, no problems! I normally buy a half a dozen fresh tomatoes to keep around the kitchen, but after a few days here in Hawaii, they begin to over ripen. Perfect time to have a concassee party. Get them all done then keep them in the fridge.
Why I brought up tomato concassee was because I had for many years made an Italian Zucchini dish, but was always bothered with the tomato skins. Since I already had concasseed some tomatoes, I decided to use them. Not to mention my new cutting skills. Instead of slices, I used medium diced zucchini. Wow, it changed the look and no pesky skins. See below.
The magical lilikoi can be used for sweet and savory dishes
Christmas was spent at home and I, at the last minute, decided to pull out some salmon that I had in the freezer. I decided to crust that puppy, broil it then serve it with a Lilikoi Beurre Blanc. I have come to this conclusion. Most restaurant sauces taste sooooo good because it has 1. Lots of heavy cream 2. Lots of butter 3. Both Lilikoi Beurre Blanc is no different. Easy to make once you know what it is and how to make it but once you make it, you know how bad for you it is. Actually it’s mostly butter and a teeny, tiny bit of acid and whatever flavoring you want to use. I use it as an impression kinda thing when I have guests over (that’s the real reason why I’m in culinary school). “Oh, I think I’ll whip up a Lilikoi Beurre Blanc”. What do you think?” That gets them every time. I’m shallow like that.
Christmas Eve Dinner – Crusted Salmon with Lilikoi Beurre Blanc, Sauteed Zucchini Italian Style and Roasted Okinawan Sweet Potatoes with Pecorino Cheese.
OMG, it was soooo good. I even impressed myself and that’s hard to do.
On Christmas Day, we had my sister over for a late lunch, early dinner. I served a family style luncheon with the main entrees being; Tempura Fried Shrimp with Pineapple Sweet/Sour Sauce (this was a recipe that my mom used many years ago and no one could find it so I winged it and it turned out just great…Pineapple juice, cider vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, salt, pepper & a little cornstarch slurry to thicken.), Chicken, Green Bean & Mushroom Stir Fry with Black Bean Sauce. The star of the meal was this pie.
I bought a bunch of Granny Smith apples earlier in the week to make a pie. I decided to crank it up though. This baby is a Chipotle and Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie. OMG, this will be entered in the next Betty Crocker Bake Off. I can see the check in the mail.
It’s been really nice having some time off from school (although I’ve spent the last week being cooped up at home with noisy tree trimmer destroying my yard). This time away from school has given me a chance to take a step back from it all and realize that it is such a wonderful opportunity for me to learn something that I really have an interest in learning. Imagine that!
Next dilemma….what should I serve for New Year’s Eve Dinner?????