Final Fishes From Our Feast!

By Published On: January 31st, 2016Categories: Meals0 Comments on Final Fishes From Our Feast!

I am concluding our Christmas Eve Feast with the 2 dishes our guests brought, plus dessert. Both fishes (did you know the only proper time to refer to fish as fishes is when you are speaking of a Christmas Eve Feast…true story!) were really delicious and I can’t wait to try them myself! First, the salmon…

Years ago I plank-grilled salmon with my brother, Skip and we loved it. Not sure why I don’t do this dish more often, but after having this Christmas Eve treat added to our Feast I sure am going to try it again soon! Dennis was the chef behind this beautiful dish. He does most of the cooking in their household, but his wife is also an excellent cook. They make a great team!

1 1/4 lbs. wild Alaskan salmon fillet
1/2 tsp. plus a pinch of salt, divided
1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. extra virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped

Soak cedar grilling plank in water for 2-4 hours. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to grill, preheat grill to medium. Season salmon with 1/2 tsp. salt and let stand while the grill preheats.
Combine yogurt with 1 Tbsp. oil, orange juice, tarragon and the remaining pinch salt in a medium bowl. Whisk vigorously until all the oil has been incorporated into the yogurt.
When ready to grill, brush the salmon with the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Place the soaked cedar plank directly over the fire for about 1 minute. Using tongs, turn the plank over to expose the slightly charred side. Place the salmon fillet skin-side down on the plank. Cover the grill and cook until the salmon is easily flaked with a fork, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the entire plank from the grill and serve it or transfer the salmon to a serving platter. Serve the salmon with the sauce.

This is the original recipe. As you can see from picture above, Dennis adapted by adding thin slices of tomato topped with fresh tarragon on each piece of salmon before grilling. He also cut the salmon prior to cooking which made it much easier to serve. A lovely dish! Thank you!

Dennis served this dish with a very interesting limited edition sparkling wine. NV KORBEL BRUT ROSE “LIPS CHAMPAGNE”. Wow, was that the perfect pop for this elegant course. The wine contains five grape varieties: pinot noir, sangiovese, gamay, zinfandel, and chenin blanc. OoooLaLa!

My good friend, Debbie started our Feast off with a fantastic appetizer…


I also cannot wait to make this dish. Rich, bursting with flavor and hard to stop eating…that is always a good sign! Thanks for bringing this to our table! Deb and her husband Steve also make an excellent team!

2-4 lbs. shrimp, deveined, but not peeled
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 lb. butter
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
3 cloves crushed garlic

In a large shallow glass pan place shrimp in single layer, cover with sliced lemons. In sauce pan heat remaining ingredients to boil. Pour over shrimp, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring dish to room temp before baking. Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. Enjoy with crusty bread for dipping up the sauce.

We ended our Feast with dessert, which I am guessing no one was really interested in at this point, but I persuaded them to go for it!


THE RUM CAKE…A few years ago, my Dad’s good neighbor, Karen made him an unbelievable rum cake for Christmas. He was sure he was getting a little buzz on each time he had a piece. I did a bunch of research to find the recipe and finally while getting a pedicure here in Nogales was speaking with a lovely women who said her sister-in-law makes the BEST rum cake in the county. This is her recipe which looks very much like the original Bacardi Rum Cake recipe. It sure was moist and delicious!


1 box Yellow Cake Mix
1 package (3.5 oz.) Instant vanilla Pudding Mix
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup rum (I used 1/4 cup dark rum and 1/4 cup spiced rum.)
1 cup chopped pecans
brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup rum (again I mixed dark and spiced rum)

Cake Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Sprinkle a couple Tbsp. brown sugar over the nuts.
Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter into pan over nuts. Smooth out the top to make even. Bake for 1 hour, or a little less if the pan is black. Do not over-bake!

While cake has ten minutes to go, make the glaze. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off flame and pour in rum. Stir to combine and reheat for 30 seconds.
Remove cake from oven. Immediately drizzle 1/3 of the glaze on the bottom (which currently is the top) of the cake. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Prick surface a hundred times with a fork very gently. Slowly drizzle remaining rum glaze all over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Cool to room temp before serving to ensure glaze has soaked in. This cake got even better over the next couple days!


And, finally here is the recipe for the Rum Raisin Ice Cream. I must say there were several steps in making this ice cream and it took a few days preparation, but definitely well worth the effort. Rum Raisin is one of my favorite flavors and this was an excellent example of this luscious ice cream!

I found this recipe online at the Serious Eats site. This photo is from their site.

1 cup raisins (dark or golden) I used dark.
1/2 cup dark rum (I used a combo of dark and spiced.)
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place the raisins in a container with a tight-fitting lid and add rum. Cover and shake to evenly coat raisins in rum. Let sit at room temperature at least overnight and up to 2 days. The longer they sit, the more they absorb the rum. I let mine sit for 2 days and the rum was gone! After they have set up if you have any rum left, drain off reserving 2 Tbsp. I just added 2 more Tbsp. of rum.
Combine milk, cream, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture is steaming and sugars are dissolved. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in medium bowl. Gradually whisk hot liquid into yolks, then scrape back into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (or until the temperature reaches 170-175 degrees). Strain through a fine mesh sieve and chill thoroughly or overnight. Add vanilla and reserved rum to base and process in ice cream machine according to manufacturers instructions, adding raisins when almost fully churned. Remove to freezer-safe container and seal tightly. Freeze at least 24 hours before serving.

I hate to see this wonderful celebration end, but the very good news is that it will live on in our memories and hopefully you all might enjoy trying one or two of these recipes, too!
THANK YOU for sharing my love of cooking. Make it fun. Don’t stress. Enjoy every moment in your kitchen!
This photo is apropos of NOTHING, but I loved this ’49 Buick Super Convertible that we owned for many years.
It is the car they used in the Rain Main movie.
Had lots of fun driving this car to Polo events, gourmet picnics in the woods,
and even drove it one year from Boston to Ohio for a car show!


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