Mother’s Day Dinner

Carla is a little under the weather but we were still able to have a very nice Mother’s Day. She puttered in the front yard planting things. Our front yard always looks so nice thanks to her gardening. I have a theory that the entire world can be divided into two camps; those who call it gardening and those you call it yardwork. Carla is a gardener; opposites attract.

Andrew and Henriët FaceTimed with us this afternoon and shared their final pick of name for Baba; sorry, you’ll have to wait until he’s born late May / early June before we can share. Jeff and Sarah dropped by with a beautiful flower in a coffee mug; they came in time to FaceTime with Andrew and Henriët as well.

I have been totally caught up in “The Martian” by Andy Weir. On my own I would have skipped dinner in favor of finishing the book (book report coming soon). But I bought some beautiful salmon, baby potatoes and asparagus (yes, I actually cooked asparagus!).

I bought a plancha for my grill last month and have been waiting through the spring rain for a chance to use it. Plancha is a fancy word for cast iron griddle; I have an enameled one that fits in the grill by removing one of the grate sections. Cooking raw potatoes would take a lot longer than the 20 minutes for the salmon so I hunted for a recipe and found one on Cook’s Illustrated.  I made my own garlic-rosemary olive oil by mixing 9 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of minced rosemary and some salt in 4 tablespoons of olive oil. I sautéd the mixture for a few minutes; don’t let the heat get too hot or you’ll burn the garlic (like I did). No problem it still tasted great.

Garlic-rosemary olive oil prep

The key is to partially pre-cook the potatoes. I scrubbed, let them dry, cut them in half and poked holes in the skin side. Then I brushed on a tablespoon of the oil and liberally sprinkled salt on them. While the salmon started I microwaved them for 8 minutes on high.

Potatoes after the microwave.

I picked up a beautiful piece of salmon at the market. In October 2011 I made this cedar planked salmon with dijon mustard and brown sugar; Carla requested a redo for her special dinner. I originally got the  Bobby Flay recipe from Food Network; my version can be found here. The recipe calls for taking the skin off the bottom; I totally butchered the job. I’ve plank-smoked salmon before without removing the skin; next time the skin stays on. Rinse with cold water, dry off, place on a cedar plank that has soaked in water a few hours, sprinkle with salt and pepper, smear with dijon mustard and sprinkle brown sugar on top of it all. Then into the grill until it reaches about 135°F.  I’ve taken salmon off at 120°, but you are on your own.

Salmon prepped for salt, pepper, mustard, and brown sugar.

Believe it or not I actually cooked asparagus!. Toss in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and onto the grill.

Asparagus believe it or not

I started the salmon, then immediately put the spuds in the microwave; when they came out 8 minutes later, I tossed with a bit more oil and threw on the plancha, then added the asparagus

I don’t normally need all the space on my humongus grill. But it really comes in handy on a day like this.

Everything on the grill

The asparagus was a bit large so took a bit more time cooking than the other items.

Ready to serve
Dinner is served.

A nice dinner.

Rating: ★★★★ 4 out of 5 stars.

I bought a tripod and ball-head for my camera Friday and used it for these pictures. My angle was way too high, but I was able to shoot at slow shutter speeds without blurring the pictures. I’ll work on my camera angles as I continue to use it.

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