No, I don't mean a Sammy Davis Jr., tap-dancing, singing entertainer (although I personally think I would make an excellent backup singer, despite the fact that I can't sing). I mean a host-people-in-my-house entertainer.
Some people are really good at it, appearing very relaxed and non-plussed about cooking more and for more people than usual.
Guess what? I'm not one of those people.
I obsess too much about ensuring that everything is perfect for my guests and often over-extend myself when it comes to preparing dishes. Martha Stewart I am not -- but that's not a bad thing because she drives me batty. But I'm getting better at it. The best trick? Recipes that can be made (fully or partially) ahead of time.
We had houseguests this past weekend and, for once, I was able to enjoy my guests and be part of the conversations, because I had planned recipes that didn't keep me chained to the stove the whole time.
One of the best was this Smoked Salmon Terrine from Bon Appetit (under the heading "Modern Cocktail Party" -- fun!). I was able to make it a full two days ahead of when I needed to serve it. Sweet!
The original recipe results in a huge amount -- 24 servings -- because it is made in a full-sized loaf pan. Now, maybe I'm just a hermit or something, but I don't think I even know 24 people to invite to a "modern cocktail party", nor would I have enough places for all of them to sit. Therefore, I made a one-quarter-sized version, which fit beautifully into a mini loaf pan (mine measures 5" x 3" x 2") and was plenty to serve 4-6 adults.
In addition to being delicious, this is a really pretty appetizer, given the layers of cheese and salmon, if you serve it in slices.
Apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks.
|The Ninjette, giving you the raspberry|
Smoked Salmon Terrine with Dill and Capers (adapted from Bon Appetit)
8 oz. light cream cheese
scant 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1-2 tablespoons drained capers (I used 2 because I love capers)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3-4 oz. smoked salmon slices, half chopped, half left sliced
Line a mini loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving overhang (try to get it as wrinkle-free as possible, but don't go crazy). Blend the first five ingredients and the chopped portion of salmon in a bowl, using an electric mixer.
Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture evenly in the loaf pan. Top with half of the sliced salmon mixture, followed by 1/3 of the cheese mixture, the remaining sliced salmon and ending with the remaining cheese mixture. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
Invert the terrine onto a platter and carefully remove the plastic wrap. Serve, in slices to see the lovely layers, with slices of baguette or water crackers.
Quadruple recipe to make four mini terrines or one large (make in a full-sized loaf pan).