Tag Archives: salmon

How do I love thee?

Hi everyone.


Valentine’s Day was a good success at the hacienda, as my sweet baby and I did some great cooking at home.  Now, she still won’t let me cook the salmon in the dishwasher (its a thing…..Google it!). But we did a great job broiling it. Not sure what was in the marinade beyond the top couple of ingredients, but I will say it was sweet, with some smoky heat. It was a sweet Thai chili sauce with loads of grated ginger and some soy sauce. Beyond that, I don’t know what voodoo my GF used to make it. I CAN tell you it was outstanding with the salmon.


It was as delicious as it looks. We recycled my homemade creamed corn from an earlier post and added the very top of about a pound of broccoli florets, for a little contrast on the plate. I didn’t want to make the plate too bland in color. The little flecks of green in the corn also liven it up and is an easy ‘cheat’ for parents trying to sneak in some green veggies into their children’s plates.

The salmon fillet is sitting on top of a round presentation of Basmati rice. Again, we used a simple biscuit cutter to make that happen. Then we added a bit of extra marinade to the plate for color contrast, and to dip the salmon into. Throw in a touch of parsley for garnish, and I think this plate stands up pretty nicely to what you’ll find in restaurants on most nights.

“Well that’s great, Mario, but it isn’t necessarily ‘Valentine-ish.” Then feast your eyes on these variations:


First, its a basic chocolate lava cake. Nothing too fancy there. Its a perfect dessert for a man because its simple to assemble, quick to bake, and leaves you with loads of options to plate effectively. I threw in a few examples that my GF and I tinkered with after dinner.

The top photo is a quick effort at total symmetry.  We took one of her cookie cutters, covered the top in tin foil, put a sheet of paper at one point on the plate to create a sharp line, and dusted some cocoa on the cutter which left that cool highlight on the plate. I rotated the plate 180 degrees and did the same thing. I took some really thick caramel and ‘loosened’ it with some heavy cream until it got to a consistency I liked. Then I just ‘swooshed’ it on the plate using a spoon.  Topped it off with a quenelle of ice cream and a hint of the cocoa.  

Second version was the GF’s favorite. She’s a big fan of fruit overall, and certainly in her desserts. I think I’m going to buy her a couple of mint plants to keep around. We never seem to have fresh mint for garnish, and these desserts are absolutely screaming for it. Lesson learned!

For the second version, we added some thinly sliced strawberries on one end and used the cocoa dusting technique on the spoon you see highlighted on the plate. Finished off the spoon with a little bit of the thinned caramel. After I plated the second version, I began having second thoughts on adding the caramel sauce to the spoon. I’d welcome feedback on that one.

Finally, we used raspberries, took out the cocoa, and added just a light dusting of powered sugar. I think we also took a picture of a similar dessert we plated, but on a round plate. I’ll look for that, just for reference.

The key here is to see how many different variations of a great dessert you can plate using the following tools:  Spoon, sifter, cookie cutter, biscuit cutter. We had more fun imagining the options for plating than it took to actually plate. I’m telling you guys & gals, excellent plating doesn’t take long! 

Have fun this weekend, see if you can find a way to incorporate some of these techniques, and most importantly, have a GREAT time doing so!





Salmon Cakes For The Win!

Hey everyone!

Happy Sunday and I hope you’ve had a great weekend so far. Spent much of yesterday cooking with the GF, and had a blast. Will post a few pics of some of the goodies we made last night. The main pic of today’s blog features a delicious plate of fried salmon cakes.

For presentation, I’d tried a couple of things before settling on this layout. It’s a little more symmetrical than I’d ordinarily prefer on a plate, but the size of the salmon cakes limited what I thought I could get done. The only other ‘complaint’ I have with my efforts is that aside from the browned panko bread crumbs, the lemon, and the fresh dill, the plating is too ‘white.’

(Apologies on the lighting for the pics.  Didn’t break out the mounted flash for my SLR.  Lesson learned for next time)

The GF and I had thought to do a rice pilaf from a box (GASP!), and we were using the burners for all sorts of cooking (see chocolate galette pic further down), and we didn’t have the space on the cooktop, so we went with microwaving the rice. We’d hoped that would give our plates a tad more color, but wound up being a bad choice, culinarily speaking. That’s another reason this blog features ‘homemade’ images, and a little honesty where mistakes were made. 🙂

Please note that the size of the food being served also dictates the size of the plate, and what you can generally do with the layout. The size of the cakes didn’t allow for a lot of options in my head, so I went with a basic layout. The GF had a different take on it, and you’ll see that pic below.

Sixth copy

She left off the rice, but did include a nice bump of color with the ramekin. That’s another easy way to add visual appeal to your dish. She wins!

My only critique of the food itself is that the cakes were a little big to stack attractively, or to arrange in more than one or two ways on the plate.  We scribbled some notes and there will be another attempt next year with more modest sized cakes, and we’ll do a comparison/contrast at that point.  I think we can do better!  🙂

Okay, now let’s get onto the dessert. we made an easy chocolate galette in the oven. Five simple ingredients: butter, sugar, chocolate, eggs, and a store-bought pie crust (GASP!). Pour the wet ingredients into the pie crust, throw it in the oven, and in just a half hour or so, you have a pretty tasty dessert!


We didn’t have everything available to us to add some real color to the plate, so the GF drizzled some cookie icing across the cut galette, just for a little contrast.


I went with a Christmas tree motif with the icing, some left over M&M’s, and a shortbread cookie. The cookie was a little Star of David-ish, so I combined Chanukah and Christmas in a fun little dessert. We had other ideas initially for plating, but we didn’t get around to the store to pick up the needed items, and the plan changed slightly. I think the GF won for simplicity’s sake regarding the final plate.  Remember, I don’t just want fancy for the sake of fancy!

Sometimes you have to do that in the kitchen, but make sure that doesn’t get in the way of your fun! Cooking with the people you love is a great thing, and I vote for more of that!

The cheesecake pics will come later today. This was how it looked as it came out of the oven, and I think we did quite well with it.


Okay, I’m off to have a little fun with my Sunday afternoon. The GF and I will meet for dinner, and attempts to plate the cheesecake in ways that you’ll find fun and easy!