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Seafood dishes add flavor to an Alaskan cruise

Dan BurkhartStacie and Bob Hart prepare a salad at their home in Nevada City Saturday.
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Recent events have made us rethink when, where and how we travel.

We still want to see our country and enjoy its beauty, but are more thoughtful about planning. Stacie Hart has always been thoughtful about travel planning.



“My mother began her career as a travel agent after her kids were grown,” says Hart. “This was before computers, and I remember the many frustrating hours she spent calling airlines. I also remember her satisfaction when satisfied customers thanked her for ‘the vacation of a lifetime.’ She was my inspiration. Twelve years ago I followed my dream and opened Sierra Travel.”




Thinking about the new year and fantasizing about where people would feel safe and pampered traveling, Hart’s thoughts turned to an Alaska cruise taken four years ago.

“It was a feast for all of the senses. There was the beauty of spectacular glaciers and majestic fjords as well as fascinating history.

Several local travel clubs provide companionship coupled with travel opportunities. Travel club happenings are published in The Union on Saturdays. The Rambling Gadabouts will sail to Alaska later this year. Sierra Travel can be reached at 272-3193. Forest Springs Travel Club’s number is 273-3494.

The menu on an Alaska cruise would feature fresh salmon and other seafood. Everything would be exquisitely prepared including appetizers, salads and desserts.

Teardrops

3/4 pound egg-based bread, such as challah or brioche

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup minced onion

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

4 ounces cream cheese

1/3 cup firmly packed, grated Jarlsberg cheese

3 tablespoons dehydrated minced onions

3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

2 large egg whites

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove crusts from bread and cut into cubes of 3/4 inch. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add onion, salt, and pepper; cook until tender, about 4 minutes.

Put cream cheese, Jarlsberg and dehydrated onions in top of double boiler and set over hot water; cook until melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add cooked onions, remaining butter and chives; mix well.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold one quarter of egg whites into cheese mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites. Dip bread cubes, one at a time, into cheese mixture and place on foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until puffs are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Fresh Garden Salad in a Walnut Vinaigrette with Sliced Pears

2 firm ripe pears

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1/2 cup walnut oil

3 tablespoons pear vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

6 to 9 cups mixed salad greens

Peel and core pears. Combine water and sugar in saucepan and poach pears until tender. Slice when cool enough to handle. Chill slices in syrup.

Combine remaining ingredients, except greens, in a jar with tight fitting lid and shake well. Toss salad greens with vinaigrette. Arrange on individual plates. Place 2 to 3 pear slices on each salad.

Smoked Salmon Parcels

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

11/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Pinch sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

6 ounces crab meat

1/2 cup peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber

1/3 cup diced avocado

1/3 cup seeded, chopped Roma tomatoes

12 slices (1 ounce each) smoked salmon

6 cups assorted salad greens

2 tablespoons snipped chives

In a small jar with tight-fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper; shake well. In medium bowl, mix crab meat, cucumber, avocado and tomato with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette. Divide crab mixture onto salmon slices; fold each into a neat parcel. Toss salad greens with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette. Place on individual salad plates. Place salmon parcels on greens. Garnish with chives and additional vinaigrette.

Crab Cakes

1 pound crab meat

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

2 slices day-old bread, crusts removed

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Mix all ingredients, except crab, in large bowl. Add crab meat; mix gently. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Shape into cakes and fry in small amount of oil until browned on each side.

Scampi Provencale

1/3 cup clarified butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

3/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 cup fish stock

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

12 slices French bread, 1/4-inch thick

24 uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

In medium saucepan heat clarified butter over medium-high heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook until tender. Reduce heat to medium; stir in wine. Cook until wine is reduced by half. Dissolve cornstarch in a little fish stock. Stir remaining fish stock into onion mixture; bring to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add whipping cream; cook until heated through.

Remove from heat; whisk in softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in tomato and parsley; season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Make bruschetta: In a small bowl, combine olive oil, oregano and thyme. Brush oil mixture on both sides of bread slices. Place under broiler until lightly browned.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink, turning once.

To serve, place 4 shrimp on individual serving plates; spoon 1/6 sauce over shrimp. Serve with bruschetta.

Kahlua Cheesecake

3 packages (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

7 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon vanilla

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup Kahlua, divided

6 tablespoons sugar

5 egg yolks

1 cup milk

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping sides of bowl often. Add 3/4 cup sugar and sour cream; beat until smooth and well blended. Beat in cornstarch and 1 tablespoon vanilla; mix well. Beat in eggs, one at a time; continue beating until smooth and creamy.

On low speed, beat in milk and Kahlua. Pour into lightly greased 9-inch spring-form pan. Place shallow pan half full of water on lower oven rack. Place cheesecake on middle oven rack. Bake 1 hour or until set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Prepare Kahlua sauce. In top of double boiler, mix 6 tablespoons sugar and egg yolks; whisk well. In small saucepan heat milk, cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla to scalding. Gradually add hot milk to egg yolks, whisking constantly. Place over simmering water; cook stirring constantly until mixture coats back of metal spoon. Immediately remove from heat. Continue whisking until cooled, about 2 minutes. Stir in Kahlua; chill.

Slice cheesecake into 16 slices. Spoon 1 tablespoon Kahlua sauce over each piece; sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.

Bette Worth writes a column on Wednesdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945; or she can be reached at


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