It’s hard to believe that in less than a week I leave for Alaska. A few months ago, I was approached by the Copper River salmon fishery to join them on a trip to Cordova, Alaska. The idea of being on a boat with fishermen, to watch them catch salmon and then eat it fresh… well, there’s nothing that could bring me more joy. I envision myself on the deck of this vessel, hands open, awaiting a slice of sashimi. Ok, maybe I’m getting carried away. It most likely won’t go exactly as I imagine (a boy can dream, though, right?), but I’m fairly certain that I’ll eat the freshest fish I’ve ever consumed.
I’m also thrilled to be away from the 90+ degree weather we’ve had here. I swore I wouldn’t complain about the heat, but, what can I say, this is what us Bostonians do. We can’t help but talk about the temperature, except between April and May (when we whine about the rain) and September and October. Right now it looks to be in the 60s while I’m in Cordova. Which sounds perfect to me!
I refuse to turn on the oven when it’s above 80 degrees and, therefore, we’ve been eating a lot of salads. Not lettuce-laden salads, but hearty salads loaded with grilled fish and hard-boiled eggs and cheese. This pickled cucumber salad often makes its way onto the plate. It does the trick in cooling things down: the combination of thinly sliced cucumbers, fresh herbs and vinegar helps cut the heat and humidity in just a few bites.
One of the major differences between our old place and the new house is that we no longer have central A/C. So far, we’ve done pretty well… making sure to open all the windows at the end of the day as the temp cools and then closing them first thing in the morning. At this point, we do our best to avoid cooking indoors. It’s hard to fathom turning on the oven when you’re already sweating buckets.
Eric is usually the grill-master in our house, but once in a while, usually when I have a project that necessitates it, I’ll get the thing going. Earlier this year, I was contacted by Frontier Natural Products Co-op to do some recipe development and photography for their “Grill the Goodness” campaign featuring their line of organic seafood seasonings. Since we’re fully into grilling season, I hope you all enjoy these recipes. I’m fond of all of them, but these scallops, paired with a bright citrus, grilled romaine and avocado salad, is something I could eat every day and never get tired of it.
We went back and forth on what we wanted to do for our fifth wedding anniversary. At one point we had talked about taking a little weekend trip somewhere within driving distance. As we discussed it further, the more it seemed like the wrong time for us to be going away and that it’d be so much more enjoyable to stay local. That’s when we decided to instead make reservations at Oleana. We’ve been to most of the big dining establishments here, but Oleana was still one that we hadn’t been to. Based on the reaction I got when I mentioned this to my food-loving friends, the fact that we hadn’t dined there was a real shame. Going in, our expectations were exceedingly high and because of that there was a very strong possibility that we’d leave disappointed. “Well, the food was decent, but the service was terrible” or “I can’t believe they would pair that with that! Gross!” Nope. None of that. The service was friendly and attentive and the patio area of the restaurant was the most romantic environment to celebrate an anniversary. The food was all executed beautifully: Buratta and fried eggplant. Octopus shish, Egyptian garlic sauce, sprouted lentils & fresh chickpeas. Spinach falafel, tahini sauce, beet yogurt & cress. Baby farm greens, pistachio freekah, cherries, homemade string cheese. Ok, I’ll stop.
It was a special treat to go out for a few meals this weekend after doing a lot of cooking these last couple of weeks. I’ve been so inspired by all the produce that’s graced the markets. I often just go to the store with no idea what I want (which can sometimes be a dangerous thing). I’ll grab three or four items, developing a dish on the spot. And that’s how this salad came to be. Certainly not traditional, but it works. A bit of a bite from the radish, sweetness from cherries, and a little tang from the goat cheese make this a lunch I plan on coming back to.