Feb 15 2010

Out-of-Town Guests and Goodies

Published by at 12:25 pm under Dessert,Dinner,Entertaining

My assistant’s lovely mother Sharon joined us in San Francisco for the long President’s Day weekend, and after a couple of deliciously extravagant meals out (mmm, Mission Beach Cafe), we decided to eat in Saturday night. The menu? Mustard and Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon with Tomato Tart, Arugula and Pear Salad, and Mini Apple Cobblers with Golden Raisins.

Cooking was a collaborative effort, made all the more enjoyable by a souvenir from one of the day’s highlights: wine tastings up in Sebastopol. We visited Porter Creek Vineyards and Arista Winery, and we left with a couple of bottles from each. For dinner (and to sip on while cooking, of course), we went for the 2007 Syrah from Porter Creek.

Since we had a couple of sides in mind, I decided not to splurge on too much salmon. For four people, I bought one huge filet (around 1.5 pounds) that I baked and cut into fourths after it was fully cooked, which preserves some of the moisture and flavors.

Mustard and Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon


1 high-quality salmon filet, about 1.5 pounds (I bought farm-raised)

1/3 cup dijon mustard (I used Maille brand)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soften butter and apply evenly to top of salmon. Bake for about 10 minutes. While salmon bakes, whisk together mustard and brown sugar in small bowl. Remove salmon and top evenly with mustard mixture. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until fully cooked.

One of my favorite staples from my mom’s kitchen is her Tomato Tart, which I probably had about once a week growing up — no exaggeration. It’s a crowd-pleaser that always impressed guests who came over for dinner, but quick and easy enough to whip up for my sister and me on a Wednesday night. Now that I know how easy it is, I’ll definitely make it again.

Tomato Tart


1 9-inch pie crust (comes in a long, rectangular box by the biscuits in the tubes)

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Four medium-sized tomatoes, sliced into rounds

Fresh Basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll pie crust onto tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and top with cheese. Add tomato slices, lining them up close together, side by side. Sprinkle with desired amount of basil (usually about 3 tbsp). Bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese and crust begins to brown.

Sharon created our salad for the evening, which was inspired by one she had at Nordstrom. Pears and blue cheese taste perfect together, and the arugula gives the salad a nice, peppery flavor. Choose an aged balsamic for truly rich and yummy results.

Arugula and Pear Salad


6 cups arugula

2 Bosc pears, sliced (the brown ones)

1/2 cup Craisins

3 oz. blue cheese

4 tbsp aged Balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

Top arugula with pears, Craisins and blue cheese, and toss. In a small bowl, mix vinegar, oil and mustard until blended. Pour onto salad and toss evenly.

Mini Apple Cobbler with Golden Raisins


4 red apples, sliced into long, thin pieces

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 stick butter, separated into two halves

3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar, separated

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oats

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heavy whipping cream and additional 1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine apple slices, raisins, 1/2 stick butter and 3/4 cup sugar into saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat or until soft. While simmering, combine flour, 1/2 stick butter, 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon in bowl. Remove apple mixture from heat and divide contents evenly into four medium-sized ramekins. If syrup-y juice remains in pan, pour it evenly in the ramekins. Top apple mixture in ramekins evenly with flour and oat mixture. Place ramekins on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until top begins to brown. While baking, use electric mixer to whip cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold in sugar. Remove ramekins from oven and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle additional cinnamon over cream for garnish.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Out-of-Town Guests and Goodies”

  1. JTon 15 Feb 2010 at 1:06 pm

    This was a truly impressive dinner!

  2. Riverson 27 Mar 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I’m so glad that you put the tomato tart on here! I remember it from when we were little. Always delicious.