The Perfect Meal

I don’t have much knitting to talk about (Seaweed is growing, but progress is slow). So instead, I’ll regale you with more recipes.

I had a dinner party last night with two of our closest friends, and everything turned out so well that I’ll share it with you. Sorry, no photos. But it’s for your own good anyway – all that drool wouldn’t be good for your keyboards.

Appetizers: “Cuisine Adventures Puff Pastry Petites”, purchased at Costco. Boy were these good! I baked 20 of these babies (there’s 4 flavors) thinking it would be more than enough for 4 of us, and we just gobbled them down. We could probably have eaten the whole box of them (48 pieces) – but then we wouldn’t have had room for dinner.

Dinner:

Baked halibut, green beans with lemon, rice pilaf, and multi-grain bread. I chose to skip doing a salad, since we were having appetizers and dessert. For dessert, we had molten chocolate cake.

I used one of my favorite fish recipes. The original recipe calls for cod, but I often make it with halibut. It would probably be good with large Tilapia fillets also, but I haven’t tried that yet.

The Recipes:

Baked Cod
Serves 6

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
6 cod fillets, each about 8 oz.
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used half plain dry breadcrumbs and half Panko crumbs)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (I used freshly grated)
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
lemon wedges

In a small dish, combine mayonnaise and mustard. Place fillets on greased baking sheet. Using the back of a spoon, spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over top of fish. Stir together breadcrumbs, parsley, chives, and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over fish. Bake fish at 400 for 7-8 minutes (for thin fillets – see note below), or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Broil for 1-2 minutes until topping is evenly browned. Serve accompanied by lemon wedges.

Note: I used 2 large halibut fillets, each about a pound, and about 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ thick. Since I didn’t have as much ‘surface area’ as I would have had with smaller individual fillets, I didn’t need as much topping. I used 1/2 c mayo, 1 tsp mustard, 1/2 c breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp each of parsley and Parmesan, and 1 Tbsp chives, and it was plenty. Because the fish was so thick, I baked it for 25 minutes. Plan on about 12-15 minutes per inch of thickness.

Green Beans with Lemon
Serves 4

1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Steam beans for 12-14 minutes until tender-crisp, and drain any excess moisture. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients. When beans are done, place them in a serving bowl and toss with the oil mixture.

Rice Pilaf: I used a box mix – “Near East” brand, which is vegetarian, and very good.

Bread: Organic Whole Gran bread from the Avenues Bakery

Molten Chocolate Cake – From Food & Wine – click for recipe To serve, I dusted the tops with a bit of powdered sugar, and then served with whipped cream.

Timing and Preparation:

I started the oven preheating about 5 minutes before the guests arrived. Once they got there, I put the appetizers in the oven, and we made drinks while they were cooking.

The fish was already prepared for baking and on plates in the fridge. While we were enjoying the drinks and appetizers, I started the pilaf. As soon as it was simmering, I put the fish on a baking sheet and put it in the oven (which was already hot from cooking the appetizers).

After 15 minutes, I started the green beans and mixed the sauce for them. The timing was perfect – everything was pretty much done at the same time. The pilaf was put in a serving bowl, the fish came out of the oven and was put on a serving platter, and the beans were tossed with the sauce. Meanwhile, my husband sliced the bread, wrapped it in a cloth, and warmed it slightly in the microwave. (If I’d thought ahead, I would have wrapped it in foil and popped it in the oven with the fish for 10 minutes or so.)

After dinner, we cleared the dishes off the table and made the dessert and coffee.

Since the cooking time for dessert is so short, we made this a group activity after dinner. One person melted the chocolate and butter, one beat the egg mixture, and another prepared the ramekins – the other person made coffee. I had the chocolate chopped and measured beforehand, so it could just be dumped in the double boiler with the butter. I could have done it all myself pretty quickly, but it was fun this way.

Everything came out great, and it was declared by all to be a perfect meal.

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3 Responses to The Perfect Meal

  1. Chris says:

    Aw, how kind of you not to expose our keyboards to more drool! 😉

  2. Lark says:

    Fantastic meal!

    I made a roast pork tenderloin with green beans and my fave garlic mustard roasted potatoes, or as we call them at my house, Cliffs of Insanity Potatoes.

    No cake. No appetizers. I’m backsliding.

  3. Nice one! Don’t you love people lovin’ the cooking?

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