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From the recipe archive. First posted in 2003.
Remember those retro fish molds? I have two of them, both of which I have used to make this salmon mousse over the years. But try as I may, it’s almost impossible to make salmon mousse in a fish mold look good. These days I take the easy way and just pour the mousse mixture into serving bowls, chill until set, and serve. This doesn’t mean the fish molds are retired, I just have to be up for a decorating challenge if I use them again. In any case, this is an easy-to-make, delicious salmon mousse, not too rich, and quite flavorful. The recipe comes from my friend Tina Seelig’s book The Epicurean Laboratory, now long out of print (but a great book if you can get a hold of a used copy.) This mousse was presented to a flock of teenagers who hungrily ate it up with loud exclamations of “This is GREAT!”
It’s the holidays, right? We still have time to sneak in a few indulgences? Good, just the excuse I need for these creamy garnet sweet potatoes splashed with smoky bourbon. Funny thing is, if you looked in our liquor cabinet, you would find all sorts of wonderful things to drink—vermouth, marsala, madeira, rum, calvados, JD, Maker’s Mark—yet nobody in our family actually drinks anything beyond an occasional glass of wine or beer. Or maybe a small glass of sherry or port. All those high octane bottles are for use in cooking, including the bourbon. I love the taste of bourbon, with its slightly smoky edge. But I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so only use it for flavoring something wonderful, like chocolate bourbon cake, a New Orleans bread pudding, or these sweet potatoes.
Do you like stuffed mushrooms? This has to be the easiest stuffed mushrooms recipe ever. It’s just mushroom caps, stuffed with Boursin herbed cheese, sprinkled with smoked paprika, and baked for about 8 minutes. Boursin is a brand of spreadable cheese, similar in texture to a lightly whipped cream cheese (which you could easily substitute). The kind we use is peppered with garlic and herbs. A light dusting of smoked paprika is just a zingy accent. The key is to bake the mushrooms only until they start to release water, and the water pools at the base of each stuffed mushroom in the baking dish. This way you know they are just cooked, but not dried out, and still have enough structure to perform admirably the job of the perfect finger food container for the herbed cheese.
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