We have been getting so over-stuffed each Saturday night--what with an appetizer, a full meal, and a dessert--that for this week I planned a lighter meal for a change. In lieu of an appetizer, Susan and I each enjoyed a cocktail featuring gin, a spirit flavored by juniper berries, a very Scandinavian spice. (Well, Susan made hers with vodka, but it's the thought that counts.)
grilled salmon with dilled mustard glaze
I found a recipe for a refreshing salad made with arugula, a salad green that Susan and I have seen used in recipes on the Food Network but that we couldn't remember having had ourselves. I tossed together arugula, spinach, roughly chopped sugar snap peas, and thinly sliced radishes in a homemade dressing of sour cream, buttermilk, sugar, vinegar, chives, flat-leaf parsley, and fresh dill. After plating each person's portion, I ground some black pepper on it, added a few croutons, and used a cheese knife to carve a few curls of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for the top. Arugula has an unusual flavor ("hint of lawn clippings," according to Susan) that went well with the kick of the radishes and the flavors of the dressing and the cheese.
For the fish, I bought two one-pound fillets of sockeye salmon and covered them in a glaze: mayonnaise, whole grain mustard, fresh dill, fresh lime juice, brown sugar, and ground pepper. I toasted whole mustard seeds and sprinkled them on top of the glaze and then grilled the fillets on indirect medium heat for about a half-hour. It went very well with the salad, and it was a huge hit with the ladies. Susan even stated that it was the best salmon she has ever had.
peaches 'n' cream pie
Although gin and seafood suggest "Scandinavia," I can't say that there's anything particularly Nordic about arugula or peaches. Nevertheless, this peach pie recipe came from a cookbook compiled by the ladies of the church that I attended throughout childhood, and the Scandinavian influences there were undeniable. Therefore, I declare that our dessert tonight qualifies as Scandinavian! In any case, it was pretty tasty. I made a batter of milk, egg, butter, salt, baking powder, flour, and vanilla pudding powder. I spread that in the bottom of a pie pan and then arranged sliced peaches on top of the batter. Over that I poured a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, and peach juice. I sprinkled the whole thing with cinnamon and sugar and baked it. Voilà! It went well with a cup of cappuccino (made from homemade cappuccino powder . . . itself made in an effort to empty our cupboard of several containers and packets of instant coffee, dried coffee creamer, hot chocolate packets, etc.).
P.S. Suzanna went grocery shopping with me this morning, not only to help me buy what I needed for tonight's meal but also to gather what she will need for Sunday night's meal. Yep, a couple days ago, Suzanna asked if she could prepare a meal all by herself for our family! Stay tuned for a report in the coming days on Sunday's supper, courtesy of our 11-year-old daughter!