Celebration Dinner

So what you didn’t hear about in the last post was how incredibly hectic it was this morning.  Our church meets at 9am, which I absolutely LOVE!  But when you combine that with another hour and a half of sacrament meeting at 1:00, tired and hungry kids, finding a way to keep a meal for 14 people preserved for 6 hours (including a meringue frosted cake), and packing a suitcase of clothing to change into after the 1 o’clock service because you’ll be across town and unable to go back home and don’t want to stay in your church clothes all night… it kind of makes for a full morning!

So, I carried around a big tub full of food and ingredients.  I tried to prepare as much as possible last night but most of the things needed to be done right before we ate.  Since we were going to be celebrating Patsi’s 57th birthday and Ava’s blessing I wanted to make things a little bit special and different from our usual foods.  I decided on a menu of grilled balsamic red onions, a spinach salad, sea salt rolls, green beans and asparagus, and a brown sugar glazed salmon!  Of course, there were others who had different ideas and so things were changed a bit.  Someone added baked potatoes and ambrosia salad to the mix, which is fine for a meal of steak or hamburgers, but not with what I was trying to do.

I was extremely happy with the way the salmon turned out.  I had to snap a quick picture of it before I put it out on the table 🙂 !  And the best part of the whole thing was how quickly everything was done.

Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze

  • 1 Tb. E.V.O.O.
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 side salmon (about 3 lbs), cut into 8 fillets
  • 1 bunch watercress, thick stems trimmed
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

1. Heat broiler, with rack in top position.  In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium-high.  Add shallot and cook, stirring often until softened, 3 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook until slightly evaporated, 1 minute.  Add mustard and brown sugar; stir until warm and combined, 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.  (To store, refrigerate cooled glaze in an airtight container, up to 1 day.)

2. Place salmon fillets on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer 1/2 cup glaze to a small dish and brush on top of salmon.  Broil salmon until glaze is bubbling and fish is opaque throughout, 5-10 minutes, depending on thickness; brush remaining glaze over fillets.  Serve salmon along with watercress and lemon wedges.

We waited a bit for our stomaches to digest things and make room for the cake.  While I was getting the cake ready, Patsi played a game of Mousetrap with the grandkids.  They love that game!

With all the kids gathered around, we sang “Happy Birthday” and had her blow out her one candle. 

As far as the cake goes, I wasn’t completely sold on it.  It could have to do with the fact that I’m not much of a citrus person, or maybe it really wasn’t all that great.  I don’t know.  It LOOKED amazing, and maybe that’s where the hiccup happened.  You know the saying that “people eat with their eyes” and maybe because it looked so wonderful I was expecting so much more.

I was also under the impression that her favorite dessert was lemon meringue pie.  I knew a pie wouldn’t be enough to feed all 14 of us so I tried to make a fresh lemon cake with a meringue frosting and raspberry filling.  Sounded wonderful!  It wasn’t until I was about to serve the cake that she didn’t like lemon meringue at all.  Her favorite was pumpkin!!!  That would have saved me so much time and hassle if I would have know that a couple of days ago!

The meringue was amazing but the cake was really dense.  If I had known it was going to be that way I wouldn’t have made it four tiers.  Jared thinks I’m just being overly critical, and I’m not sure if he’s right or not.  Jared’s family is already a very critical family but then to have something like this bomb, it’s only asking for more jabs and sarcastic remarks.  It was probably something that I did wrong in preparing it, but if you try the recipe would you please tell me how it turned out for you?

Lemon Cake

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 pounds lemons (about 4), ends removed and cut into thin slices
  • coarse salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp. pur vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly spray and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.  In a medium saucepan, cover lemon slices with 3 cups water.  Add pinch of salt, cover, and bring to a boil over high.  Boil lemons, partially covered, until very tender, 15 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a food processor.  Add butter and process until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed.  Add granulated sugar, eggs, and yolks and process to combine; transfer to a large bowl.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Measure milk in a liquid-measuring cup and add vanilla.  In two additions, add flour mixture to lemon mixture, alternating with milk.

3. Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.  Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 40 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 20 minutes.  Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack, 1 hour.  Store cooled cake, tightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature, up to one day.

Oh well, it’s over and done with now.  I just wish I could have known what to expect.  Then I could have at least prepared myself and everyone else.

It was a good day, and even with the hits and misses, dinner was a success.  I’m glad I was at least able to try something new and step outside my comfort zone.

Happy Birthday, Patsi!

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2 Comments

Filed under Brianna, Johnson Cousins, Johnson Family, recipes

2 responses to “Celebration Dinner

  1. Beautiful pictures, Bree! Thanks for joining our party!

  2. LOVE the look of this salmon – thanks for sharing!
    Visiting from Whipperberry….
    Lowri

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