As a year comes to its end I always start reflecting on the past 12 months. What decisions did I make that effected myself and those around me for the better? What did I do that was a total bomb? What changes should I make in the next year???
A Spicy Perspective is still in it's baby stages...first birthday approaching. Of course, I have to consider this THING that has consumed so much of my time and energy in 2010.
Why AM I blogging?
I blog because its cheaper than therapy. It's
I blog so I don't have to hand-write that recipe for a friend ONE MORE TIME.
I blog for friends who enjoy (or put up with) my ramblings and experimental dishes.
I blog to meet like-minded people who are as excited as I am when they stumble upon rosewater in their small-town grocery store; friends who are giddy at the thought of pickled cherries or winter-grown micro greens.
But mostly I blog for the non-cook, for those who get queezy at the thought of stepping in front of a stove. I blog for those that have the desire to cook, but lack the CONFIDENCE.
Confidence is such a beautiful thing when measured appropriately. We all have it to varied degrees in individual areas of life. Often people have too little or too much confidence. I've been on both ends of the spectrum at different moments. Usually to my own detriment.
It seems that most of us simply wanted to be proud of what we feed our families. If my little webpage helps someone brim with pride at dinner time, I am a happy girl.
That being said, I believe that if something isn't growing, it's dying. That is the general trend through nature.
People that know me personally would tell you I am not needy for attention. I do not yearn to be the-life-of-the-party, actually I usally run from those occasions! This blog is not about popularity, becoming a Food Network celebrity, or winning awards. All those things are wonderful, but not my goal.
My goal is to grow my blog into a vast collection of tried-and-true recipes and tips that motivate/teach others to feel at home in their kitchens. And if I happen to get to put all those recipes into book-form at some point, that would be nice too! How's that for full disclosure!
So I want to thank those of you who have come along for the ride this first 11 months! I hope you feel INSPIRED, or at the very least, mildly entertained. I promise to continue offering my best from the kitchen and hope you'll have taste!
This recipe came from the beloved Asheville chef Joe Scully of The Corner Kitchen. He introduced me to Coulibiac of Salmon (kool-E-bee-ack) at a wine dinner and I immediately fell in love! One problem, this traditional Russian dish involves a layer of hard-boiled eggs, the ONLY food I simply can't stomach. (It's the sulfuric yolk odor. I can't explain it, but it makes me gag!) So I've substituted wilted spinach for the egg layer, it's a mild but colorful adjustment. I've also modified it for individual portions. It's easier to handle and bakes faster! (Preparing a whole fillet of salmon, large enough to fill a rectangular baking sheet, is traditional.)
This dish is a true show-stopper with a gorgeous golden crust and layers of yummy goodness inside! It's perfect for dinner parties or hosting the boss, and fairly easy to put together. Enjoy!
Coulibiac of Salmon
2 sheets of thawed puff pastry
2 Tb. unsalted butter
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped dill
1 cup cooked (leftover) rice
2 6-8 oz. pieces of salmon, cut in half for 4 square-ish pieces
1 box chopped frozen spinach, thawed
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, sliced shallots and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes to brown the mushrooms. Then salt and pepper to taste and add the wine. Allow the mushrooms to simmer until the wine has completely reduced and the mushrooms are nearly dry--about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut one sheet of puff pastry into 4 squares and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Top each square with 1/4 cup of cooked rice--make sure to leave a border around the edges.
Squeeze the spinach to remove any excess liquid, then layer the spinach over the rice. Sprinkle the spinach with a touch of salt.
Once the mushrooms have cooked down, layer them on top of the spinach.
Now top each stack with a half-portion of salmon. Salt and pepper the Salmon and sprinkle with fresh dill.
Whisk the egg and brush it around the exposed puff pastry edges.
Roll the second piece of puff pastry out to a slightly larger square. Cut it into four smaller squares. Lay each square over a salmon stack. Gently seal the edges by crimping with a fork.
Brush the remaining egg over the tops. Cut a small vent in the top of each pastry.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the tops are golden!
Makes 4 huge portions.