Sesame-Seared Salmon with Spinach

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There is something fishy going on.  My pictures keep getting erased from my phone.  I actually have a whole slew of beautiful food that I can no longer account for, and in this day and age, you can’t just put up a post without photographic evidence.  So I guess I’ll have to make everything all over again, or at least re-evaluate and figure out which recipes tasted the best anyway.

This salmon was a winner, but it seems this fish just does not like all the attention, or maybe it’s the camera itself that is sick of my new-founded picture snapping habits.  I’ve had to re-create the meal three times over and I’m starting to get pretty suspicious.  Good thing there’s always Elvis to remind me that my relationship with salmon is worth the time and effort.  Love requires commitment, and it finally paid off to persevere through my suspicions.  Plus it afforded me the opportunity to eat more salmon and work on anger management– a clear win-win situation.

Thanks to BBC Food for the recipe, which I tweaked to match my ingredients. Thanks to all the recent salmon sales that have ensured me with a freezer full of expectant pink fillets.  This particular preparation leaves the kitchen smelling wonderfully similar to a sushi bar.

Ingredients:

1 lb fillet of salmon (or a similar amount)
4 lemons
3 tbsp sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 large handfuls of spinach

In a large pan, heat the sesame oil. Coat on side of the salmon in sesame seeds and lay seed-side down in the hot oil. Let it brown over medium-high heat. Flip it and begin to brown the other side. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the side with the sesame seeds. In a bowl, combine the juice of four lemons with the soy sauce and stir. Pour the mixture over the salmon, cover and reduce heat to low until salmon has been cooked through. It won’t take too long, as the lemon alone can “cook” the salmon. Remove from heat and wilt the spinach in the extra juices of the pan. Serve hot. Enjoy!

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(^^By this point I had run out of cilantro, but it was just fine. I ate it with little sweet peppers instead.^^)

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Valentine’s Day and Salmon

Valentine’s Day is pretty much all we have to hold us over until St Patrick’s Day, which can get us through till spring, so it needs to be the gift that keeps on giving.
That said, hopefully everyone got their fair share of flowers and oysters and wine and love this week. My Valentine’s Day included salmon, chocolate and dancing.  Salmon is wonderful because its oemga-3 fatty acids and rich mineral content make it a very good meal to eat during the winter, and yet for me it is associated with summer and the ocean.

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(^^Notice how even my attire is salmon-colored^^)

So not only is salmon is breath of summer during the cold months, but it also happens to be an apt Valentine’s Day meal.  Its blushing color, soft meat and inviting taste make it a love of a fish. Plus it is very versatile. It is delicious with the simplest of ingredients; a squeeze of lemon and some pepper over a stove top are enough to turn it into a proper meal, and if yet you play around with spices and cooking methods you can easily render it a whole new dish. I like to simply pepper the salmon, poach it in lemon juice and top it with lots of fresh cilantro and garlic. My mom uses it to make fish tacos alongside a black bean and salsa blend. This week we were out of lemons, so my dad prepared a filet of salmon with butter, oregano and the citric juices of an orange. The orange added a pleasant zest to the meal. We ate it with some roasted asparagus. Don’t even get me started on asparagus….it was one of my first vegetable loves along with the tomato and I remain smitten to this day.

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May this year be full of lots of fiery loving.

Smoked Salmon on a Sunday Morning

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There are some days when you get extra doses of Inspiration and you sit down and write 50 blog posts and have to save them all in your drafts lest you frighten the world with an overabundance of zeal, which to the blog-reading public might come across as “too much free time.”

On other days, the creative juices decide they’ve been flowing too freely and they’re just going to take a break and dry up for a few days. During this period, it’s really impossible to post anything, and even if you look back at the plethora of filed drafts, they all seem stale and lifeless.
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Then, on a Sunday morning, you wake up and the sun is very bright and the fact that breakfast is your very favorite meal is enough to remind you that it will be a beautiful day. And just like that, Inspiration returns …in the form of smoked salmon.

It doesn’t matter that there’s no smoked salmon in the house because today is Sunday and there’s nothing keeping you from bundling up, stepping into the cold sunshine, and walking to the store to buy some. Then you remember that Inspiration is relentless when she strikes. She doesn’t care where you are or what you’re doing, so you have to run back inside to get your journal.

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At this point, you’re walking and writing at the same time and simultaneously trying to lift your face to the sun to catch its rays and absorb a winter’s portion of Vitamin D. This is obviously too much activity at once, especially for someone entirely inept at multi-tasking, which is why you trip into a car that’s pulled over alongside the road. It’s embarrassing until you realize that its just your brother sitting there with the coffee and newspaper that he’s just picked up from the local deli. He is clearly amused and offers you a ride, but you decline because “A ride? O please, can’t you see I’m enjoying my walk?”

When you reach the store it takes concentrated effort to ignore the bounties of food that A) you don’t need, B) you didn’t come for, and C) you can’t afford. Eyes on the prize, Marie.

The guy at the fish counter sees you eyeing the oysters that you really should have enjoyed on Valentine’s Day this week if you were not single. He sweetly asks if he can help you find something, and for a moment, the way he is positioned there in front of all those gorgeous seafood varieties makes him look like an ideal catch himself until reality hits in the form of your rumbling stomach and you quickly grab the smoked salmon and scurry to the checkout line.

There, a light of divine intuition strikes and you call home to ask that someone preheat the oven to 425.° And thus begins the preparation for the simplest, most perfect little Sunday meal.
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Rub some asparagus in olive oil and minced garlic and throw it into the oven to roast. On second thought, add some brussels sprouts along with it. On the stovetop, combine a little vinegar with some boiling water and poach an egg or two. Lay the roasted asparagus on your plate, top it with some slices of smoked salmon and lay the egg(s) on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy!!

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(^^Cora misses her Sunday afternoon football^^)

Ramblings on Photography and Food

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The photo above is the view from my window this morning. Growing up, my family always had a paucity of pictures.  We have one half-filled album of baby pictures for the whole family and not everyone is included.  When the moment comes where one of us is required procure a photo collage for a yearbook, panic and frustration ensues.  If we happen to remember to bring a camera on vacation, you can be sure that the subject matter will consist of birds in their natural environment and scenic views.  Perhaps one or two of us will be captured in the periphery of the lens, but it will probably be more coincidental than intentional.  We managed to take a family picture at Christmas this year, mostly because our persevering sister-in-law somehow convinced everyone that we’d be be grateful for it later on, but it was still a torturous experience. My sister Lizzy is also contributing to improvements in our situation with her love of photography and good eye for capturing candid moments.

I can’t say the same for myself. While living in Mexico and Lebanon I barely took pictures.  In two of my visits to Europe I did not take any pictures at all.  When I went to see a friend in Kenya, I was extremely determined to document my memories, but I still felt as though touting a camera everywhere made me less present to the moment and put a barrier between myself and my first-hand experience of the world.  Do I regret not having visual mementos?  Absolutely.  Will that regret push me to remember my camera in the future?  Probably not, unfortunately.

Enter the food blog.  It seems that cooking (and, let’s be honest, instagram) is already ushering forth miraculous changes in my life.  Suddenly I am not only remembering to snap pictures, but I am also doing the very best my amateur self can do to find good lighting and flattering angles.  Unfortunately, last evening, I caved to my hunger and failed to record evidence of the mouth-watering meal that my dad prepared.  Words will have to suffice.   The smells crept through the house before I had the chance to peek into the oven and see what they were originating from.  There were slabs of pink salmon served atop toasty kale in a pan alongside wedges of orange.  On the stovetop were slices of zucchini that had been coaxed to perfection with the surprising addition of some buttery cinnamon concoction.  The tastes presented themselves one after another until they united in a sensational medley.  It was picture worthy, yes, but I couldn’t wait for the superfluous photographic set-up.  Despite my new picture-snapping habit, there are still times when it will ruin the moment.

So, although I really appreciate the art of photography, I am still a bit wary of it for myself. My caution is not to let capturing the moment for the future take precedence over living in the moment itself. In any case, I do wish I had a picture of last night’s meal. And about that meal, eat salmon in the wintertime as well as the summer. Its B vitamins will boost the metabolism; its mineral content of selenium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium will regulate the thyroid and strengthen the bones and muscles, and its omega-3 fats will support healthy cardiac functions. Just be sure to buy wild-caught as opposed to farm-raised salmon. Salmon is simple and delicious, and I’ll certainly be posting a recipe along with photographic accompaniment in the near future.