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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cedar Plank Salmon, Mushroom Risotto, & Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots

My aunt and uncle have been visiting us for the past fews days and last night was our last meal together before they had to head back to Illinois.  We made cedar plank salmon on the grill, mushroom risotto and green beans with caramelized shallots.  We also had a lovely bottle of Parsonage Chardonnay that my aunt picked up during our wine tasting trip to Carmel Valley.

As grillmaster, my husband was charged with preparing the salmon, which he placed on cedar plank that had been soaked in water.  He simply dressed it with salt, pepper and lemon juice and lemon slices.  We ran out of propane and had to finish the cooking process by broiling it for a second.  They came out perfectly - nicely flaky with a yummy cedar and lemon flavor.  Well done honey, well done!

I made mushroom risotto by first sauteing 2oz of diced onions with 2 cups of mushrooms in a tablespoon each of oil and butter.  After they cooked for a few minutes, I added the arborio rice and stirred well then added 2 oz of white wine.  Once the wine cooked down, I added a ladle of warmed chicken stock.  At this point, I just let the stock cook until almost gone, then add another ladle at a time and repeat until the rice was done (about 25 minutes).  I finished it off with a tablespoon of butter and an ounce of shredded Parmesan.

I also prepared green beans with caramelized shallots.  I did most of the work on this dish about an hour before I started the risotto.  I blanched the green beans in boiling, heavily salted water for about 5-6 minutes, then moved them to a bowl of ice water.  I drained them and them placed them in the fridge until time for dinner.  I then thinly sliced about 5 or 6 shallots and heated a pan with a tablespoon of butter.  Once the pan was nice and hot, I sauteed the shallots for about a minute and then lowered the heat and let the shallots caramelize.  It took about 20 minutes or so.  The trick is not to stir the shallots too frequently or else they don't have time to get that beautiful brown color and yummy taste.  When the risotto was almost done, I heated the caramelized shallots back up with a tablespoon of butter and then added the green beans and heated through.

I also made a quick salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, herbs from my back yard (rosemary and parsley) and salt and pepper.

It was such a great meal and great end to our wonderful visit!  We were all sad to say goodbye but we will cherish our memories from their visit.  We look forward to their next visit to us, after we move to Rio.

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