Monday, March 30, 2009

Two reasons to celebrate

This past week included two special events- my dad’s birthday and my parents’ wedding anniversary. Since the two fall within a day of each other, we’ve always combined them into one happy celebration that my sister and I would dub “annibirthday” when we were younger.

J and I had my parents and sister over for dinner to celebrate the happy occasions. I made many things so I’ll break it up into a few posts. This one will be about the hors d'œuvre and dessert- the beginning and the end of the meal!

I always like to serve a little something to munch on with champagne so we can sit in the living room and just relax before sitting down for a full-fledged meal. I knew I wanted to do something with smoked trout, but when my local Whole Foods had every kind of smoked fish except trout I decided to pick up a small filet of smoked salmon. My local gourmet shop, Nicole’s, has a great selection of sweet and savory tart shells in many sizes, so I picked up the “neutral” cups in the smallest size and filled them with a mixture of crème fraiche, horseradish, lemon zest, diced chives and coarsely ground black pepper. After topping each with a cube of the salty salmon and a couple sprigs of chive, they were ready:

The combination of the crunchy wonton-like cups with the cool, zesty (hm, I never thought I’d use that word but here it is…it always reminds me of ranch dressing for some reason!) crème and the small bite from the chives was really something wonderful. These are definitely one-bite hors d'œuvres so there isn’t even a need for napkins. Just pop in your mouth and follow with a nice sip of champagne. Ahhh.

For dessert I knew that I wanted to make David Lebovitz’s Lemon-Buttermilk Sherbet because I’d made something very similar years ago and my dad loved it. Unfortunately I’d lost the recipe and just drew a complete blank on how to make it again, so I was very happy to discover the recipe in The Perfect Scoop. I made the sherbet the day before and spread the soft mixture into a glass baking dish, covered it and put it in the freezer to set. In the meantime I just whipped up a batch of soft, gingerbread cookies and then used a biscuit cutter to cut rounds of sherbet to sandwich between two cookies. I’ve always loved the combination of warm, spicy gingerbread with tart, refreshing lemon, and the buttermilk in the sherbet really brought the two flavors together nicely. It’s also always a good idea to make an adult version of something you enjoyed as a kid, and ice cream sandwiches fit into that category. I’m looking forward to playing around with more flavor combinations.

More annibirthday dishes in posts coming soon!


Aunt Janet said...

I really like the idea of the lemon buttermilk sherbert and ginger cookies. Can you share your cookie recipe?

e d b m said...

Anne, beautiful shots! And as always, the food looks amazing.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Aunt Janet: I actually searched "soft ginger" on Tastespotting and found a bunch, but I liked this one for its simplicity. I tweaked it a bit by using pumpkin pie spice in place of cloves and decided not to roll them in sugar. You can find the recipe here:

edbm: Thank you- I am still learning how to use the camera and think I need to get a 25mm lens too!

Marie said...

The ice cream sandwiches are so darling, almost too cute to eat! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the meal! said...

These shells look like something I have seen at the IKEA Food section ... great idea for a filling!