Saturday, August 18, 2012
A Birthday Dinner
As I mentioned in my cocktail post, I ended up cooking Scott's birthday dinner on Wednesday. I chose to make fish, which he loves but doesn't get often, accompanied by fresh local veggies from our garden or the farmer's market at Eastern Market downtown.
I tried a new-to-me technique of baking the fish en papiotte, which means that you cook it in a little parchment paper package, usually with thinly sliced vegetables, or small tender things like snow peas. Baking these packages for 15 minutes at 350ºF basically steams the fish and accompanying veggies, keeping them moist in their own juices, and infusing them with whatever spices you have included. In my case, that was oregano, basil, lemon and garlic, whereas in other recipes it is ginger and orange. You simply cut the package open to release the steam and access the final dish.
I also sautéed up some green beans and tomatoes from our garden as an additional side dish.
Meanwhile, I had completely forgotten that I had promised chocolate cake, until I arrived home from the fish market. Usually, it takes a bit of time to bake a cake and frost it - especially frost it nicely, so I was a whirlwind trying to get it done. I made Whisk Kid's Super Chocolate Cake Recipe and popped the two 6" pans in the oven while slicing up the veggies for the dinner. The cakes came out of the oven just as I was ready to put the papiottes in, and then the cakes went straight into the fridge, hoping they would soon be cool enough to frost. As the fish baked, I made Sprinkle Bakes' Milk Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting, finishing just as the main course was done. After eating dinner, I took some time to quickly level, split layers, and frost my cake. The marshmallow frosting was a bit of a chore, and the cake layers slid all over the place. In retrospect, it may have worked if I had chilled the frosting a bit, but as it was it was impossible to get the layers to stand up straight, let alone a level frosting, so I just did the best I could do quickly enough to serve the cake before anyone fell asleep. If the fish en papiotte hadn't been so quick and easy to make, I would never have managed even that. The taste, at least, was a rousing success.