Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hitting the Spot

Some days it's nice to grab a girl and hit the town together. Other times…most, actually, as of late, what really hits the spot is a home-cooked meal and a night in our sweats. So that's what Carrie and I did last weekend. And it was pretty fabulous.

I had originally suggested pizza night and a movie - then my lovely/smart/fellow-food-lover friend sent me the following text message: "How does salmon sounds? With a lemon caper garlic sauce?" Forget pizza, this was exactly what I needed but didn't know it.

The whole meal, since 2 sets of hands were involved, only took about a hour to make. And that's on the upper end of time estimates - because we had to stop for random chit chat and song sing-alongs, of course. Because what's a Girls' Night without lots of ever-so-important chit chat? A Guys' Night, that's what. Just kidding, I'm pretty sure guys chat more than gals sometimes.

Roasting the perfect salmon filet is actually quite simple - Carrie took this on and I watched because lately I've been cooking my poor fish past the point of no return. This is due to the fact, I suspect, that I've been baking mine straight out the freezer. Incorrect, loves. Let your frozen fish thaw completely before setting it on a piece of parchment. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and layer over thinly sliced lemon. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, checking towards the end. Once the (salmon in this case) goes from a reddish pink to a light pink, you know you're ready to pull it out.

We roasted some tri-colored carrots from Trader Joe's alongside the fish. Usually I roast vegetables at 425 degrees for 20 minutes to get a good caramelization on them but then the timing of serving would be off ( # woes of not being a real person with a double oven), so we simply let them  cook until tender at 325 with the fish, then jacked up the temp to 400 while the salmon was resting on the cutting board.

Mashed potatoes - simple, can't screw them up - unless you beat them to death in a mixer. I typically stay away from using a mixer for my mashed potatoes. I've seen plenty of Southern grandmas use theirs though, and their mashed potatoes are loads better than mine, so give it it try if you'd like. I have an idea - call me crazy - that this might be because Southern grandmas also have no problem throwing in enough cream, sour cream, and butter to counteract the starch in the potatoes. We simply peeled about 5 medium-sized tots and boiled them (with 5 cloves of garlic) until very tender. Then we drained everything, added ummmm… half a stick of butter (don't look while you do this), salt, pepper,  about 1/4 cup skim milk and mashed away with a hand masher.

The only thing left was to make a sauce, a lemon caper sauce to be exact. Sounds really fancy, but was super simple. This is totally Carrie's recipe so I give the credit completely to her. Melt 1 stick of butter with 1 Tbs capers. Add the juice of half a lemon and 2 cloves crushed garlic. Let meld together over medium heat for about 10 minutes (or until the butter is melted and starts to bubble a bit).

The sauce was technically supposed to go over the salmon but who's to care if I splashed it over everything? Twice.