Well, since I'm blogging let's do two entries tonight!  This one has been waiting in the wings for months!

If you know me, you know I like gadgets.  Sorry Alton Brown, I do own some "uni-taskers" but what would be the fun if I didn't.  Have you read about my $35 garlic press?  I still use it and I still love it! 

So when I saw the "Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer" I had to have one!

I saw all of the veggies on the box and figured they would work just fine but there was also a picture of a strawberry on the box.  Yes, a strawberry.  I had to try it.

So I put the strawberry on backwards the first time....

When I put it on the "right" way, I got much better results.  Aren't these pretty ribbons?  They looked so good on my pancakes!

I didn't have much luck with carrots.  I think my carrots were too skinny.  I think I'll stick to grating them or slicing them into matchsticks.

 Zucchini, well that's the perfect veggie for this little toy.  Look at these pretty ribbons!

I've since made "zucchini spaghetti."  I tossed the "spaghetti" with a little olive oil and sauteed it in a pan then tossed it with a little homemade spinach pesto.  The zucchini had great texture and the flavor wasn't lost in the pesto.  It was just like eating spaghetti but without all the calories and I didn't even miss them!

Then there were potatoes!  What do you think when you look at these?  Hash browns right?!

I put a little oil in the pan then a little of this divine Four Daughters Whipped Butter, the Caramelized Bourbon Onion and Smoked Salt flavor, then the potatoes and crisped them up and topped them with a poached egg.

So very delicious!

I use this "toy" a lot, especially with the fresh veggies from Farmer's Market this summer.  I would definitely recommend getting one if you are thinking about it.  But be careful... the blades are SHARP.  I know from experience!

Dinner Inspired by Oceanaire!

Wow.  Been a while since I've done this!  Life got busy.  I have been cooking and baking, just haven't had the time do write about them.  In fact Dave and I have had some amazing meals that I probably should have shared with you.  I'm back now!

Last Saturday night was date night for Dave and me.  We got all gussied up and headed into Minneapolis for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Oceanaire.  They were having an Alaskan seafood special that included scallops, crab, halibut and salmon, each course paired with a different wine.  We just couldn't not go!

All of the courses were amazing.  The King Crab and Smoked Corn Chowder was TO.DIE.FOR!  It was absolutely one of the best soups I have ever eaten and if I hadn't been all gussied up and out in public I would have licked the bowl clean.  Look at the piece of crab (and it wasn't the only one) in my soup!  I asked our waiter, Aaron, if the chefs would give up the recipe.  They wouldn't.  I tried.

The grilled wild halibut was served with a mint pesto.  Yes, I plan on trying to make that too.  On it's own the mint pesto was just ok, but it paired perfectly with the halibut!

But what inspired tonight's dinner was the Pan Seared Wild Salmon with Roasted Shiitakes, Goat Cheese and Blueberry Caramel.  Holy Hannah was this good (and yes Dave ate my mushrooms).  Goat cheese, blueberries and salmon, who would have guessed?  It was paired with a Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.  This is now one of our favorite pinots!   We have to find it!

Here's Oceanaire's plating. They topped the salmon with some mushrooms and greens.

Last night I decided this was what we were having for dinner so I consulted The Google because I had no idea what a "blueberry caramel" was or how to make it.  Right there near the top of the list was a recipe for blueberry caramel sauce from Closet Cooking, one of my favorite blogs.  If you're not following Kevin, you should!  I get lots of great ideas and recipes from his blog and Pinterest boards!  I quickly scanned the recipe, yes I had everything in the house, pinned it!

Here is a link to the recipe:  Closet Cooking:  Blueberry Caramel Sauce  

To start, get some sugar and water simmering on the stove.  The sugar has to dissolve then turn a nice caramel color.  I actually got mine just a bit darker than this picture but I didn't want to risk burning it for a picture!

While the sugar is cooking down, process some blueberries.  I didn't have any wild ones (Kevin used wild in his recipe) so I just used what I had.  

Once the sugar is the right color, add the blueberries and cook it a little more, then strain out the bits.  I seriously thought about leaving the bits in.  Bits are good (unless they are in your orange juice, I don't like bits in my orange juice).  But I always follow the recipe the first time I make it so I strained the bits.  I'm glad I did.  They did look a bit charred and the clear blueberry sauce was beautiful!

While I cooked dinner I let the sauce simmer to thicken.  Then I added a little lemon juice and voila, blueberry caramel sauce.  Yes, I stuck my finger in it!   Sweet, smooth, great blueberry flavor and just a hint of that browned sugar.  

I smeared a bit of goat cheese on the plate, topped it with some of that amazing sauce then a nice piece of salmon.  I served it with a side of roasted baby fingerling potatoes and some steamed broccoli.  Dave actually said he liked this sauce better than the one at Oceanaire!  And I don't think he was kissing up.  Thank you Kevin Lynch!  We're going to use that sauce on pancakes and waffles and ice cream and I'm sure we'll come up with some other ideas, it's fantastic!


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