Yesterday’s snow made a great backdrop for Fish Night. With the patio lights shining on the snow through the sliding glass door next to our dining table, it felt like we were part of a Christmas card as we sat down to eat. We had two newcomers for Fish Night (for a total of eight dinner guests) – I hope they will come again even though the dinner was not my best. I’m so happy that I made a couple of my go-to side dishes because I was disappointed in the fish dish and the dessert.
But the highlight of the evening, in my opinion, was the start of a new Fish Night tradition. (I guess you have to do something more than once for it to rise to the level of a “tradition,” so the jury is out on this one.) Last Monday, we decided to start having a new and different Fish Night Cocktail each week. We are generally beer and wine people, almost never (well, actually never) going for the hard stuff. But over the years we (and our Fish night guests) have accumulated odd bits of alcohol and cocktails are back in vogue, so . . . .
This week it was a Ginger Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail. Believe it or not, I had all the ingredients on hand. The internet is great, right? Anyway, everyone liked the cocktail. If I were to do it again, I would halve the amount of pomegranate syrup, as it was a bit sweet for me.
With the cocktails, I served a cracker called “Cheese Crispettes.” The recipe sounds great, but I did not care for them (very dry!) and there were plenty of leftovers, so I think I will not try them again. You might not want to rely on my taste, however. These get rave reviews online.
We started dinner with a tossed salad and then had:
- Jerry’s Black Cod with Shiso-Cucumber Salad and Carrot Vinaigrette – This was from my new cookbook, mentioned in last week’s post – Good Fish by Becky Selengut. I still love the book, but this dish left me cold. Little did I know I was being prescient when I told my guests that I hoped this would not be a favorite because it takes way too much work for the end result. The fish is marinated for a couple of hours in just a little soy sauce and even less sugar, baked, served over a yummy cucumber salad and topped with a carrot juice/ginger reduction. It was fine, but I think a dish that requires a lot of prep should be outstanding.
- Pilafians Pilaf – This is a great dish, one I return to again and again. It’s tasty and easy.
- Cardamom and Fennel Scented Carrots – Easy and yummy.
For dessert I made an apple pie and served it with Sea Salt Caramel gelato made by Talenti. Have you tried this? It’s amazing. (I love the other flavors, too.) I buy it at my local Safeway, so I’m pretty sure it’s readily available. The gelato did a lot for the dessert course and it needed help. The apple pie was dry and not very flavorful. This serves me right because my neighbor Jack makes a great apple pie – what was I thinking in choosing to serve apple pie to him? I used the Cook’s Illustrated recipe, which I had tried before without caring for the result, but this recipe source has never let me down before, so I assumed the problem was me. Well, it’s not!
I’ll do better next time because I’ll go back to my no-recipe recipe for apple pie – unless someone out there has a recipe recommendation . . . .