We've been cooking at home a lot more recently. In addition to learning how to cook together and saving money, I’ve discovered another benefit of eating at home. The service is better.
I focus too much on service when we eat out. Not just the service we’re receiving, but on the service other patrons are receiving as well. Having waitressed for five years, it's something that I can’t turn off. When we eat at home, if I need a spoon, I get up and get it. If I want more water, I get up and get it. And the best part is, when we’re done, we don’t have to wait 45 minutes to get our check. It’s a much more relaxing experience.
To help us along, we bought a few cookbooks. One is Fish & Fish by Delphine de Montalier. Last night, we used it to make oeufs de saumon au wasabi for the entrée and cabillaud en papillote à la vanille for the plat principal.
Oeufs de Saumon au Wasabi
The receipe calls for medium sized rattes (fingerling) potatoes of equal size. Boil the potatoes until soft, cool, and cut in half along the longest side. Clean out the potatoes with a grapefruit spoon or the tip of a potato peeler. Mash with creme fraiche and wasabi paste to texture and taste, add salt and pepper, and refill the empty potato skins with the mixture. Scoop salmon eggs on each potato and serve. We did it differently this time by not using the skins. We formed the mixture into a nest, which we then filled with the eggs. We had a lot of potatoes left so we crumbled them in a ring around the nest, but next time I would toss some mâche in olive oil and make a wreath around the nest for color. Or, just serve in the skins as suggested in the recipe, which we've done before and is also good.
Cabillaud en Papillote à la Vanille
The original recipe called for lieu jaune (pollock), but the poissonnier was out and suggested cabillaud (cod) instead. First we mixed softened salted butter with the seeds of half a vanilla stick (cut half a stick in half and scrape out the seeds).
We placed a filet (one for each person) on a sheet of aluminum foil and spread the fish with the butter and vanilla seed mixture.
Then we greased a piece of aluminum foil with olive oil and placed it on top of the filet and folded the sides of the aluminum to create an envelope. Cook the fish in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees celcius/390 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes.
While the fish is cooking, drop the halves of the vanilla stick into some liquid creme fraiche and bring to a boil, then lower the heat while the liquid absorbs the vanilla. Boil (instant) basmati rice.
Open the envelope and pour the vanilla infused creme fraiche over the filet and serve. I made a fork hole in the side of the aluminum so the liquid could run out and flavor the rice. (Fred took his fish out of the foil, placing the fish on the plate without the butter and spooned the creme fraiche over his filet.)
The meal was good, but the rice was too bland. The recipe suggests that the rice be cooked with cardamom and olive oil. I didn't know what it was and didn't have the energy to find out, but next time it might be worth the effort.
"Little Chef" was on hand to answer questions.
We served it with this white burgundy. Yet another advantage of eating at home, drinking good wine without the mark-up!
The downside, of course, is having to do the dishes . . .