Monday, September 14, 2009

Smoked Salmon on Potato Coins (p.15) and Perfect Deviled Eggs Every Time (p.14)

I apologize for the length of time between my previous post and this one, I've been extremely busy. I also apologize in advance for the upcoming length of time between this post and the next one (see bottom paragraph). Anyway, on to the food:

We decided to have an appetizer night again, since so many of the recipes in the Achewood Cookbook are best served as sides or hors d'oeuvres. We started with one of my very favorite things to eat, Perfect Deviled Eggs Every Time, brought to us by Roast Beef (who is living once again in the comic strip, in case you were worried). It seems like around my family, we only had deviled eggs around Easter and Christmas (or Thanksgiving if we were real lucky), but I see no reason why they should not be enjoyed year round. Sure they make me gassy, but that's a small price to pay for a rich, eggy treat. I can't tell you how excited I was to give this one a try.

Well, maybe I should have tempered my enthusiasm just a hair. I can tell you for certain that this is not how deviled eggs usually look:
Maybe I can pull a Top Chef kind of trick and just say I made "deconstructed" deviled eggs. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but it sounds better than "failed" deviled eggs. Don't get me wrong, they still tasted pretty good. But the runny filling was an unappetizing texture and made them messier than a pop in your mouth treat should be. There were problems from the start. First, most of the eggs didn't peel very well. From research, I've found that I likely used eggs that were too fresh. Older eggs peel easier because of something about the albumen. I don't know. I stopped reading when it got too sciency (full disclosure- this is a lie, I'm a big science nerd and the science of cook fascinates me).

I think the one problem with the flavor is a hint to why the filling came out so wrong - Vinegar. I did a little more research and found that most recipes call for about 1 tsp of the acidic stuff. This recipe called for 3 TBSP. That's a pretty big difference, not to mention an equal parts mayonnaise (I didn't say "mayo" because Roast Beef says he hates when people do that) to vinegar ratio. I tossed some paprika on (the recipe says you only should do this if you're rich, but I had some laying around- with a large shake lid, if you notice the sloppy plating in the picture) and served them anyway. Melissa's not a huge deviled egg fan, anyway (she is wrong), so I ended up eating most of them. They tasted pretty decent and I didn't get sick, so I can't call it a total failure, just disappointing. Thankfully, the next course made up for it.

The Smoked Salmon on Potato Coins was a perfect recipe from Mr. Bear. It was classy without being pretentious, and flavorful without being overpowering. In short, it was everything an hors d'oeuvres should be. The kind of thing that a man has perfected over years of experience and feels confident serving at an elegant affair.
I apologize for the blurry picture. By the time I realized it hadn't come out, the food was gone. Speaking of the picture, I really need to work on my plating (though in my defense, it was late and had been a frustrating night of cooking). I happened to have some smoked salmon on hand. My friends Josh and Aubrey had brought it back from their trip to Canada last year (or maybe longer ago, I don't remember exactly). Some of you may be thinking that I'm insane to eat salmon that old, but this stuff was smoked and vacuum sealed. Those little pouches can last 10 years or more on the shelf, at least according to the package. It tasted wonderful and smokey and I still haven't died, so I have to believe that the package was right.

The base of these are little coins of fingerling potatoes, spread with mascarpone cheese. It was a little difficult spreading the cheese onto the soft potatoes, but I think most of them turned out ok. The recipe called for the salmon to be folded, which just wasn't possible with the stuff I had, so I just used the chunks as they fell (it was kind of dry and crumbly, but not in a bad way). The toasted sesame seeds and scallions were a very nice touch. They were hard to keep on the appetizers themselves, but any one that had a green onion slice or two on it was a real delight. A bit of a hassle to build, but altogether worth it, I'd say. If you come over for a cocktail party or fancy dinner fete, don't be surprised if I serve something like this.

I had intended to use a couple of left over hard boiled eggs to make Scotch Eggs (another of Mr. Bear's recipes) but at this point it was almost 9pm and I was tired of being in the kitchen. I tossed the eggs in the fridge and decided to move it to this week. As of this morning, the eggs weren't looking so good, so I'll probably have to throw them out and try again later. And by later, I mean in a couple of weeks.

See, Melissa and I leave for Orlando on Friday. We'll be at Disney World for a full week, and thus not cooking. And this week, with all of the vacation preparation, I didn't feel like doing much in the kitchen, so our dinners are all stupidly simple. Open pot, boil water, make pasta, microwave sauce. That kind of thing. Unfortunately, I seem to have exhausted the simple recipes Achewood has to offer. I just don't have time to make a brined pork chop this week (though I am going to make The Dogg Is Home again, or a slight variation of it). So, Selzer & Smuckles is going on a two week hiatus. I'll probably have a couple of blog posts, but they'll be about Disney or running or such things, not cooking from a humorous cookbook. So, take a break, read over my archives, fall in love with my blog again. Don't worry, it loves you back. Until next time,


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