Tag Archives: salmon

A Day Of Noshing

28 Jul

Today is Thursday. On Tuesday, my friend, Agnes, drove down from my previous habitat to share with me a day of feasting. The last time we did so was roughly a year ago. (Agnes is a very busy girl.)

It was hot (and only getting hotter) when she arrived around noon. Agnes said she didn’t mind walking to our destination–downtown Charleston–and, forgetting that I’m a bit older than her, naively minded not, as well. Several long, hot blocks later, we arrived at our first destination:

This hip establishment opened here about a year ago. It’s mother shop resides in Fayettville, WV, about an hour away in the beautiful Appalacian foothills and home to WV’s famous “Bridge Day” and whitewater rafting crowd. This was Agnes’s first time to Pies and Pints, and I was excited to have her experience some of the best gourmet pizza out there. We decided to share a large pie, ordering half with the chicken gouda (and bacon) and the other with the Mediterranean-inspired Caprese, full of basil and fresh tomato goodness and delicate ribbon-squirts of balsamic reduction glaze.

Like this:         

Caprese Side

 (These pictures are not mine, btw. I had to “borrow” them from online sources. I’m sure they’re fine with it.)   We also shared a lovely Greek salad, full of feta and Greek black olives. Agnes was joyful. Nothing like this exists in her backyard, unless she’s cooking. Armed with a box of leftover pizza (3 pieces, if you must know), we flung open the door to a hotbox and made our way further up the street to Charleston Bakery. I wanted Agnes to see all the great breads. But more than that, I brought her here for these: 

Trail Mix Cookies! These will make you look at healthy tree-hugger’s food in a whole new way. I’m hooked on these things, thanks to violin girl.

I have to stop at this point and tell you what happened to our box of leftover pizza. You see, once we entered the bakery, the lady at the counter recognized the box and rejoiced about how we had brought our lovely leftovers for her to enjoy–jokingly, of course. For some odd reason, I had engaged in the joking, but took it a bit too far and actually heard myself saying to her (and her fellow worker): “Sure, have it!” And proceeded to tell them how many and of what variety of specialty pizza were contained in the precious box. To which, with each description, the fellow nodded approvingly. Which only motivated me further, to the point that I found myself practically pleading with them to take the box. Which they did. Then we bought our bakery goodies (without a discount bestowed upon them–not…that…I…was…looking for one) and left. It wasn’t until afterwards that I had realized what I had done. I felt a little strange about the whole matter, but the bakery people were so happy, if not somewhat stunned.

And so we traipsed back down Capitol Street towards home. Along the way, I took Agnes into a few design shops and finally made a stop at our local seafood shop. Alas, none left of their fine seafood chowder. The salmon look good, but I didn’t feel like lugging a bag of it in the heat.
Eventually, that bag of salmon would find its way home by way of Hubby–when coming up with the idea (mine) to sear some for a quick dinner before Agnes made her way home. (I thought salmon might make her feel better about the lost pizza.)
And so, we spent a lovely dinner outdoors to mark the end of our ‘Day of Noshing.’ We had seared salmon. I had a few Farm-fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, so I tossed these with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt, with some chopped fresh mint from the garden. Some rice, with tumeric and cumin, to round out the meal. Notice the rice. It’s not very pretty and that I blame on the fact that I didn’t have basmati on hand, and that I, in my hurry, used too much rice for the pan size, I believe. Dinner Is Served! 


But, all considered, I think Agnes approved.


And that’s all a hostess can wish for.

Sunday Dinner

1 Feb

Every Sunday, Kaukab had the day off from cooking. Mornings, my father would kidnap us to church, where his father would often lead the liturgical procession, wafting burning incense plumes about the congregation.

It was our duty to show up, even though our family did so with more irregularity than the rest of the clan–a fact brought to our attention each time we visited the grandparents’ house after church. The food at my situ’s (that’s Arabic, for you) was unappealing, both in flavor and appearance. It wasn’t purely Middle Eastern, like Kaukab’s, nor was it American. It was her’s, alone.

Which made Sunday evening dinner all the more tasty. Ham sandwiches, with lettuce and tomato, on white bread. That was it. Nothing fancy. Just a large heap of chipped ham that my father would retrieve from the neighborhood Lawson’s–a forerunner of a 7-11, and any Clevelander would remember fondly. They sold Salem potato chips and the best french onion chip dip.

Well, Lawson’s is long gone, and the idea of chipped ham for dinner didn’t appeal to me the way it did then. Some things are better left in the past, I suppose.

Instead, I made salmon.

It's Not Ham


It had been a long time since I had cooked any and the family was excited to hear that I was to prepare the pretty, pink fish. I like to make a quick Asian-inspired marinade and use a cast iron skillet or grill pan of the same ore. It gives the fish, or anything I sear, a nice brown crust.

I also had a few Yukon Gold potatoes (I feel a geological theme going on) hanging around and decided to cut them up and boil them, to throw in along with some cooked green beans, and dress them with a simple vinegarette of lemon, dijon mustard, olive oil, sea salt, and a little cracked pepper, while still warm. It was a perfect complement to the fish. Usually, I make a nice rice, but I wasn’t feeling especially prolific Sunday night–a point Kaukab will surely take up with me the next time we fashion a visit.

Here are the ingredients I used to make the Asian-inspired marinade. Mind you, I don’t measure, so these “quantities” are circumspect, at best.

Asian-Inspired Marinade for Salmon: Enough for 8 – 10 small fillets

Using a 2C. measuring cup, pour in the following:

1/2C soy sauce (I like to use Kikkoman–original)

1/8 tsp. or slightly less of ginger paste

2T brown sugar

2T grape jelly (I had on hand, but apricot or marmelade would be really tasty, too.)

1/4 slice of lime

a couple light squirts of dijon mustard

light drizzle (1/2tsp.) of hot sesame oil

canola oil, enough to whisk in to even out the soy, about 1/2C to 3/4C.

Pour all into a large plastic bag, preferrably one with a zip-top. Add in a few (4 or 5) while the pan is heating up. (While your first batch are cooking, place the remaining ones in the marinade to ready them for cooking.)

Heat pan on med. high. Do not put any oil in. You’ll have enough from the fish marinade. When hot enough, place 3 or 4 (depending on your pan) and cover pan. Mine were rather thin, so it took a couple minutes before they were ready to flip. (You’ll know when they’re ready to flip when you see the fish sides turning whitish-pink reaching about half-way up.) Once you flip them, turn heat to medium and return cover. Wait another minute or two and check. You want the inside to still have a little pink. Touch the fillet with your finger. You should still feel some give.

Place cooked fillets on plate and cover lightly with foil to keep warm and moist. Serve with your favorite side.

The boys didn’t care for my new twist on an old favorite, but maybe your side will fare better.

 I’m thinking about taking the boys to Cleveland. See if that might change their minds about my sides.


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