I really enjoy having friends over.  It’s something I don’t do nearly enough (how do I fit that in with my husband’s and the kids’ busy schedules???).  But when I do manage to make it happen, it is such a wonderful feeling!  I love connecting with my friends.

I wanted to make something special for our  friends Catherine & Paul.  It’s funny how we met them, actually.  Nearly 4 years ago, they bought the house we wanted to buy!  We are so glad they did though, because we would not have met them otherwise.  Thankfully, we ended up finding a house much closer to my husband’s work, too.  As the saying goes “it all works out”!

I started simple with an appetizer of brie wrapped in puff pastry.  This had apricot jam in the pastry which gave it an extra (lovely) flavor.  I turned to my favorite food blog for this recipe: the gourmand mom.  http://thegourmandmom.com/2010/08/06/cheese-please/    I’ve tried quite a few of her recipes and they are all delicious!

The salsa & salmon recipes are from Emeril Lagasse and were perfect for something a little different, yet simple to prepare (you should note a theme here!). They had enough kick to liven dinner up, but not too much, which is always my fear when using hot spices.

The salsa was my favorite!  The fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro (called coriander in Ireland), and the jalapeno just made the taste perfect for me.

These two recipes I found on the foodnetwork.com site.  They were super easy and super delicious.  I hope you get the chance to enjoy some special time with friends!

Enjoy,

Dana

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked corn kernels, cut from the cob
  • 1 red  or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 (6 ounce) salmon fillet pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

In a large bowl combine first 9 ingredients and stir to mix well. Season the black bean relish with salt and pepper, and set aside at least 1/2 hour before serving with salmon. Finish the black bean relish with the chopped cilantro.

Season salmon steaks with salt and pepper and dust with Essence.

Heat 1 large or 2 small skillets over high heat, add oil and sear salmon 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Serve with the black bean relish.  (We baked the salmon in the oven – it’s just our preferred way of cooking it.)

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

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