Last night's dinner was one of those "for ladies who dine fine" dinners. You see the big guy's still away, but I had female company last night for dinner and what a treat it was. It sure is different planning a menu for another audience and it was a great excuse to make something that's not on the big guy's favorite list. Believe me, he doesn't know what he's missing!
We started dinner with Broccoli Cheese Soup, perfect for a cold winter's night. I sauteed the broccoli stems, minced onion and garlic in butter for a few minutes, then added chicken stock and a little tarragon and let'em rip until the broccoli was cooked. Pureed in a food processor, it waited on the sidelines until I made a light golden roux, then was returned to the pot along with a cup of heavy cream and the broccoli florets. It brewed on a low simmer until the florets were just cooked, then I added about 4 ounces of cubed Velveeta to the pot just before serving. The ramekins were filled to the brim, topped with sharp white cheddar and treated it to a quick meltdown via the kitchen blow torch. The result - rich, creamy soul warming soup which just happened to be Sophia's favorite. Talk about providence! Download Broccoli Cheese Soup
By the way, you may think there was no need for the roux because the soup was thick enough, but I like to add one anyway, even just a little of it, not just for richness but just in case the heat should happen to get away from me and the soup gets too hot. The roux will keep it from curdling.
On to the second course. Sophia's originally from the Pacific Northwest and is now an "Easterner", so I figured she'd appreciate a little bit of Pacific Northwest smoked salmon. Being "frugal" by nature, I knew it would stretch a lot farther if I put it on a tart, so that's what I did. I put a creamy goat cheese filling into a crisp buttery crust and after it left the oven and cooled a tad, topped the whole thing off with smoked salmon, slivers of red onion, fresh dill and black pepper.Download Goat Cheese Tart with Smoked SalmonIt was sublime. Not only fabulous along with a salad of mixed greens, Braeburn apples and a cider vinaigrette, it would be wonderful as an appetizer or first course at a fancy dinner party.
We had a great evening of laughs, reminiscing, talkin' cooking and wine drinkin'. It was fabulous. Oh - we did have dessert too, but I'm saving that to post another day. Just to give you a hint about what it was so you keep checking back here - it was ooey, gooey and sweet - very, very sweet!