Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sophisticated Provisions For A Li'l Girl's Birthday

Over the weekend, I was busy inside my head thinking up a storm on what to do with smoked salmon.  Our little diva daughter wanted smoked salmon to be the theme for her birthday dinner as we celebrated her turning eight.  She wrote down her suggested dinner menu as such:  "creamy salmon pasta, pasta with salmon and olive oil, cheese pizza with REAL mozzarella."  Yes, with ALL CAPS on the REAL... scared that I might substitute with quick melt cheese.  Hahaha!  
The moment in her young life when she started to realize that there’s more to food than rice and porkchop is really exciting.  I always feel sorry for kids who are fussy eaters, who stick to the safe and easy choices, because they’re missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures.  The key to developing a propensity to take on a better appreciation for a variety of taste lies in part on the encouragement of parents to experiment with an assortment of wonderful cuisine.

Yep, my li'l B certainly knows the Good Stuff!  Her palate is continuously developing a taste for  sophisticated gastronomy, and that will only mean our grocery and restaurant bill will start growing as well.

To prepare for that smoked salmon dinner....

A quick trip to our favorite delicatessen and I am all set...

Smoked Salmon is quite expensive, but I have found that S&R sells them at the most reasonable price.  And also, the fish is very flavorful in itself, so a little goes a long way.  It is best to buy them pre-sliced, and to just separate the delicate thin slices as you unwrap the fish.

I thought of starting the night with some Smoked Salmon Crostini.  It is a very simple hors doeuvres to make since most of the ingredients can be prepared before hand, and the assembly done right before serving.

I also want to share with you a kitchen tip which I got from my sister... I learned from her that you can use any bread to make crostini.  Yes, even the lowly pandesal! :)
The usual bread of choice for a crostini, for most of us is a baguette, but if you are not very particular and do not mind that your crostini are not the same size, then go ahead and follow what I did...

simply cut up those Gardenia Pandesal into thin slices and bake in a 350-degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until they are golden.

Doesn't look like Pandesal once it's all dressed up, eh?

As what the Birthday Girl requested, I also prepared linguini with smoked salmon, arugula and capers. My sister made a creamy salmon pasta which was a welcome addition on the dining table... but since I was too busy putting food on the table, I was not able to take a photo of it. 

And for dessert, because I know my li'l girl has a predilection for sophisticated provisions, I decided to indulge her by serving her namesake cheese, Brie En Croute. Brie En Croute is just a fancy name for Brie cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry.  Despite its complicated name, it is on the contrary quite easy to prepare.

First, just peel off the cover 

Then, cut the wheel in half like so

Cut the phyllo sheets to size and brush cooled, melted butter on each sheet.

Place Brie cut side up in the middle of the sheet and top with 1/8 cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup roasted, chopped walnuts

Top with remaining Brie cheese.  Brush sides of phyllo sheets with egg wash and seal to close.

Brush the edges of the dough

Turn around and you can put some design, but it is optional

Brush with eggwash all over.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree celsius oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve with slivers of apple and pear, or toast.

The Birthday Girl enjoyed her dinner celebration!  
I hope you are inspired to recreate the recipes I have shared here.  Enjoy!

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