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MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM
"Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
- Puck from Midsummer’s Night Dream
The summer solstice is officially the longest day of the year and it marks the start of summer. In Scandinavia, it is one of the biggest holidays on the calendar. The day is celebrated with copious amounts of herring, vodka, singing, bonfires and a dance around the maypole. But, summer can be unpredictable; it can inspire madness -- and a little bit of genius too!
Gin Marinated Gravlax
3-pound filet of salmon
1/4 cup gin
8 to 10 juniper berries, crushed
3/4 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 large bunch dill, stems removed
Line a large glass dish, at least 1 inch high, with two layers of plastic wrap that overhang the sides of the dish. Place the filet on the plastic wrap, skin side down.
Pour the gin over the salmon. Spread the crushed juniper berries on the salmon.
Combine salt, sugar, and pepper together in a small bowl. Mix until well blended. Spread the mixture evenly over the entire surface of the salmon.
Take three fourths of the dill and scatter it over the entire surface of the fish. Reserve the remaining dill.
Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap around the filet. Place a heavy skillet on top of the filet to weight the fish down evenly. Add additional weight, such as canned goods, to the skillet. Place all of this in the refrigerator and let sit for 2 days.
When ready to serve, take the salmon out of the plastic wrap. Wipe off the dill, salt mixture, and the juniper berries. Chop the reserved fresh dill finely and spread evenly on the filet. Place the fish on a cutting board. Using a long, sharp knife, cut the salmon into thin slices (don't include the skin.)
Ol' Devil Moon Deviled Eggs
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tbsp finely chopped chervil
1 tbsp paprika
Crushed red pepper flakes
Fill a medium pot at least halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently place the eggs in the water and cook them for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and run them under cold water until they're fully cool.
Lightly tap each egg against the counter to crack the shell all over, then peel and pat them dry. Halve each lengthwise with a sharp knife.
Scoop the yolks into a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mix with a fork until combined and smooth. Then, add the vinegar, sour cream, mustard and paprika and mix again. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Pat the whites dry with a kitchen towel and pipe or spoon in an equal amount of the yolk mixture into each white. Top off each one with crushed red pepper flakes.
SHRIMP CEVICHE CUCUMBER ROLLS
1/2 fresh, seeded, jalapeño chili pepper, washed and chopped 1/2 pound fresh medium shrimp (peeled, deveined, thoroughly washed and finely chopped)
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 English cucumbers
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, washed
In a bowl, combine the chili pepper, shrimp, lime juice, red onion, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Arrange absorbent paper towel on a long dish.
Cut off the ends of the cucumbers and cut them in half. Use a potato peeler or mandoline and start slicing the cucumbers into long, thin and wide strips. Place them on the absorbent paper towel so it soaks up the excess water.
Take the ceviche out of the refrigerator and drain very well.
Place a tablespoon of shrimp ceviche on a cucumber strip, and roll up. Repeat this process until you’ve assembled all your sushi pieces.
Garnish with cilantro leaves.
2 pints fresh strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds), hulled and sliced
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
In a bowl, combine sliced strawberries, pineapple and sugar. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
In a food processor combine fruit mixture and lemon juice. Process until smooth.
Pour fruit puree into molds with wooden sticks or beautiful handles and place in freezer.
Freeze for at least 3 hours until Popsicle is solid. To remove popsicles from mold, submerge mold into room temperature or slightly warm water for a couple of minutes.
Remove from water and pull popsicles out.
Susan Ottaviano is a Food Stylist and Recipe Developer. Her work can be seen currently in such magazines such as: Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Men’s Health, Oprah Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray as well as many others.
She has styled food for Advertising clients such as Godiva, Grey Goose, Macys, Pepsi, Lays and has worked on cookbooks for Chronicle Books and Random House. She has developed recipes for Nutella, Spenda and BabyBel, just to name a few.
Susan has a BFA in Painting and Illustration from The Philadelphia College of Art and attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and ICE in NYC.
Susan is known for her creative and painterly approach to food. Her work is modern, fresh and feels effortlessly composed.