A Summer Birthday Lunch

Salmon en Papillote for a Birthday Lunch

Salmon en Papillote for a Birthday Lunch

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!

Cheese Boards and an assortment of bread.

Cheese Boards and an assortment of bread.

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.

Salmon en Papillote

Salmon en Papillote

Salmon en Papillote

Salmon en Papillote

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…

Creamed Mushroom Soup with Thyme.

Creamed Mushroom Soup with Thyme.

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!

Creamed Mushroom Soup

Creamed Mushroom Soup

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!

Joyeux Anniversaire!

– Josh

6 responses to “A Summer Birthday Lunch

  1. Josh I thoroughly enjoy reading about what you are cooking for various events. You are so talented!

    Laura Lee Finstrom


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