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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Long Weekend

The other evening, the bug's new friend up the road called and asked if she could come over and play for a couple hours and have hamburgers (she's a babysitter in training, literally, with the Red Cross). As I watched the two of them walk up the road I was overcome by a desire to make a supper that included both meat and side dish. The meat was a big thin slice of beef I got at Los Compadres, the Latino supermarket on Prince Avenue—the stuff you use for fajitas. It'd been marinating for a while in lime juice, olive oil, a bit of Goya adobo seasoning (purchased for the NFL recipe-testing job), and cilantro. Grilled it hot and fast, then thinly sliced it.

I made a fresh salsa (tomatoes, scallions, lime juice, cilantro, serranos, salt). And a Greek spinach, scallion, and rice dish, which I topped with yogurt. (The spinach recipe came from Regan, who's been searching her files for good simple but somewhat unusual dishes for me to make. I added tangy sorrel to it.) It was so nice to have a meal like this—simple as it may seem—and watch the News Hour on TV without the little one yelling "Caillou! Caillou! Max and Ruby!" in the background.

Next day, we piled in the car and went to Greenville, South Carolina! For no other reason than to get out of the house. Well, that's not true. We went because going to Bonefish Grill was the closest we could get to going to Florida this long weekend without the death drive through south Georgia. We went to the Greenville Zoo, the crazy modern playground nearby, and then downtown for gelato—watermelon (Mr. Chalmers's preference) and grapefruit (mine); the bug liked both of them, but did seem to speed up when she hit the watermelon layer on the bottom.

I froze some of St. Herman's sourdough starter just to put my mind at ease—in case I forget to refresh it as I had for the last month or so. Luckily it's still alive and well as ever. I refreshed a couple times, then let it go past its prime and spread half of it out on parchment paper and froze it, then the bug crumbled it up and put the pieces in a freezer bag. I made two small loaves of sourdough today. The flavor was excellent, but I botched the technique a bit so no pictures this time. Used mostly white whole wheat flour, along with bread flour.

The first Cherokee Purple ripened yesterday. It's delicious, I have to admit, despite its sweetness. I had it just now in a tomato sandwich (with the sourdough) sans onion. The bug was excited that she got to pick some more big ones today.

We went to Whole Foods in Greenville, and I got a couple handfuls of sea beans—always wanted to try them.

Mr. Chalmers smoked a side of salmon, and I fiddled with the beans. Here's what we came up with for a late breakfast or early lunch today:
Hot-Smoked Salmon

3/4 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 pounds salmon fillet

In a large bowl, combine the salt, brown sugar, honey, and about 1 gallon cold water and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the salmon, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Smoke at about 200 degrees F. with liberal use of smoke (hickory) for about 3 1/2 hours, until firm but still moist.

Sea Bean and Cucumber Salad

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups thin sea beans
1 small cucumber
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Blanch the sea beans for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain, then plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Set aside in the water to soak while you prepare the cucumber and dressing.

Peel and seed the cucumber and cut it into thin strips.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger. Drain the sea beans and add them, along with the cucumber, to the dressing and toss to coat. Divide among serving plates and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
I also made cold borscht, New York deli style.

The bug liked it a little. Not a lot, but enough.

1 comment:

clare said...

i just caught up on your blog! looove the chick tractor!.. so impressed..quite a step up from a shelf! and dinner looked amazing...let's play soon..i feel better!