Sunday, June 05, 2016

Saturday meal

Thought I'd save money by cooking with what I've got lying around. This led to the following dinner of pan-fried asparagus and mushrooms with salmon, all on a fluffy bed of buttered couscous. Behold:

The pan-frying involved a mix of canola oil, olive oil, and butter, along with salt, pepper, garlic powder (for the shrooms), and a spritz of lemon juice for the salmon.

I also decided to go ape and do a decadent dessert. Wanting to relive the experience of eating that glorious Oreo/ice cream dessert from The Tasting Room (I reviewed that restaurant here), I bought a clutch of Korean-style Oreos called Cameos, along with a pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. I rough-crumbled the Cameos into a cake pan, then baked everything for almost fifteen minutes. I took the remaining cookies and powdered them with my food processor. After fifteen minutes, I took the now-hot cookies out of the oven, poured them into a bowl, scooped in the ice cream, and dusted the top of the ice cream with the cookie powder.

Le résultat:

I was using cookies that still had their creamy centers, and now I know why the restaurant chose to do without: the centers melt while they're in the oven, and they burn easily. In the photo I took, I tried to keep the discoloration hidden from view, but I'm not sure that I succeeded. I also noticed that my cookies, when they came out, were dry, whereas the Oreos from The Tasting Room's dessert were somehow crunchy yet ever-so-slightly soft. The key might be to add a bit of water to the larger tray on which the smaller tray sits: the water will turn into steam as the cookies are baking, and the steam will keep the cookies soft. Not that I plan on making this dessert again anytime soon: it's essentially a huge pile of sugar, which is something I can no longer afford to eat.

Despite the glitch, the dessert tasted good. Dinner was great, too, especially the shrooms, which were super-simple to prepare: just pan-fry them in oil and butter, dusting them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Amazing, and amazingly simple. Visually, the asparagus came out looking like green nonagenarians from a John Scalzi novel, but they tasted fine and weren't limp at all. (Pro tip: asparagus requires surprisingly little cooking. I assume the same is true if you boil or steam it.) The salmon turned out amazing, although my buddy Mike will be disappointed to know that (1) I started cooking my salmon from a frozen-solid state, and (2) I finished off the cooking in a microwave. The method was unorthodox, but the result was a perfect texture: when I used the microwave, I turned the power down to medium, taking advantage of both the oven's penetrative power and its reduced heat to get the pink flesh just where I wanted it to be. Cooking the salmon in the pan, before sticking it in the microwave, allowed me to get the outer part of the fish heated up; I even got a decent sear on both the top and the bottom (as you see in the above picture). So—no regrets for unorthodoxy.

Great meal. Would've been healthier had I skipped dessert.


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