Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Unusual Pictures

I love Thanksgiving. Mostly because I love carbs in all forms. Give me bread, pasta, cake--anything, and I'm happy. But Thanksgiving night, after the stuffing and the pie and the potatoes and the gravy, even I need to take a break. That's why we had a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. (After the very traditional Thanksgiving lunch, of course.)

Here's the problem: I don't really have any pictures. Well, that's not true. I have a blurry--but pretty--picture of the salad, and, um, representational pictures of the main course. So you'll have to use your imagination a little. But, to make up for that, I'm going to give you two non-baking recipes. How does that sound?

First, there's a salad. To be perfectly honest, I'm not a huge fan of lettuce-based salads. For me, they're just a vehicle for salad dressing. So when I got to pick the salad, I chose one made up of things I actually like: grapefruit and avocado. At first I was skeptical of those two things with a mustard dressing, but let me tell you, it's wonderful. It gives it a nice fall edge while still being light, perfect for after eating an entire turkey. And, as a bonus, the red grapefruit and green avocado are beautiful together, as you can sort of see in my blurry, blurry picture.

And in terms of light things, I personally don't think you can ever go wrong with salmon. Especially salmon with a mustard and brown sugar glaze. If you don't like mustard, this probably isn't the meal for you. Luckily, I like it so hot that it stings my nose. The heat of the mustard in this recipe is tempered by the sweetness of the sugar, and they're both perfectly complemented by the salmon. Sadly, there are no pictures at all of this dish, because we ate it. And so I bring you pictures of the ingredients. Sort of.

*This fish not suitable for consumption

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
Adapted from Ina Garten

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
4 ripe Hass avocados
2 large red grapefruits

Place the mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

Before serving, cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the seeds, and carefully peel off the skin. Cut each half into 4 thick slices. Toss the avocado slices in the vinaigrette to prevent them from turning brown. Use a large, sharp knife to slice the peel off the grapefruits (be sure to remove all the white pith), then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments.

Arrange the avocado slices around the edge of a large platter. Arrange the grapefruit segments in the center. Spoon the vinaigrette on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

You'll probably notice in the picture that I presented mine differently than Ina; I cut the avocado into chunks and mixed it gently in a bowl with the grapefruit and dressing. The grapefruit does break down after repeated mixing, but it still tastes just as good!

Salmon with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze
Adapted from Bon Appetit

3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 2-pound center-cut skinless salmon fillet

1/3 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Boil wine, butter, and Herbs de Provence in small saucepan 3 minutes. Sprinkle salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Place fish on heavy rimmed baking sheet. Pour wine mixture over. Bake until fish is opaque in center, about 14 minutes. Remove from oven.

Preheat broiler. Mix mustard and sugar in small bowl to blend; spread over salmon to cover. Broil salmon until topping is brown and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Transfer salmon to platter and serve.

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