This month has been pretty crazy, but full of fun. My older sister had a birthday in August and it’s tradition to honor the person with a meal, a song and gifts. Again, a celebration with food!
I was asked to prepare the meal, and I love it when I’m given the freedom to “Do what ever you want – kind of!”. My sister, Jessica wanted some type of fish, and anything that would accompany it well. I found some really nice Wild Sockeye Salmon and decided that a light preparation with vegetables would be the most ideal. No one needs to gorge on starches in the summertime, and a lot of vegetables steamed with the fish would not only suffice, but define perfection.
I really enjoy the method of cooking fish “en Papillote”, or fish wrapped and steamed in a paper package. The fish cooks beautifully and stays really light. It’s also enjoyable to open your own ‘present’ of food. I prepared halibut this way for Mother’s Day and it was very well received. This birthday lunch consisted of a three course dinner including a soup, entree and dessert.
Before the meal was served, a selection of cheeses and breads were offered including my Mother’s Swedish Rye Bread. I hate to leave guests waiting for the meal to start without something to snack on. For the cheeses, I selected Blue Cheese, Brie, Gouda and Jarlsberg for everyone. Proper wines were chosen to accompany the soup and the main course – actually, I had a bit of help! If one is available, I always ask the wine clerk for some assistance and tell them exactly what I am serving. It’s a really a nice resource that I think people are too bashful to use. I have found that people really enjoy being apart of something that is thoughtful, and get really excited when they get to help pick out a wine to be served with a nice meal!
Salmon en Papillote:
Onions, blanched brocollini, summer squash, tomatoes, a bit of pre-cooked wild rice, butter and fresh herbs will make the dish complete. This dish is so versatile, use whatever you like or whatever is in season.
So I must admit, my “freedom” was limited. Jessica wanted a creamed mushroom soup. The soup really doesn’t flow with the luncheon and would be better placed on a fall or winter menu. The mushroom soup, however, was still created and served as the first course. I guess it was her birthday…
I first set out to make a mushroom soup years ago after refusing to use a canned soup in a family recipe. You see, a lot of Midwestern Hot Dishes utilize cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soups in there preparation. As my mother was a good Lutheran Midwestern, I’ve had a few Hot Dishes in my day – some of which are pretty good!
The result of the creamed mushroom soup was horrendously wonderful! I used a variety of mushrooms, lots of good onions, fresh thyme, really good stock and cream. All of the ingredients get along and make a very rich but intensely delicious soup. I’ve been making mushroom soup since!
And finally for dessert, a lemon sorbet was consumed. A sorbet is perfect for any summer occasion It is perfect after a filling meal. Fresh fruit and gift opening pair particularly well with a sorbet!