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Seafood Feed

July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Fresh fish


Wild salmon are the best salmon.

May 25, 2007

weekend herb blogging: In love with lovage

lovage leaves

Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is one of my favorite herbs you have never heard of. The herb's lack of public recognition always seems odd to me. It's a versatile herb with a palate-friendly flavor a lot like celery, yet more complex and nuanced. Fresh, young leaves are mellow enough to use whole in a salad, but it also stands up to long cooking in soups and stews.

The obvious presenting flavor of lovage is celery, but the flavor is more complex than that. Along with the concentrated celery is a large dose of the bright green flavor of parsley and a hint of something sweetly earthy. I use it as a celery substitute whenever it is available and find it provides some ineffable extra taste that I really like.

The hollow stem, a section of which can be up to a foot or more in length and an inch in diameter, makes an excellent straw for drinks, such as a Bloody Mary, where a celery flavor is desired. Lovage stems can be candied, like angelica, as an unusual sweet treat.lovage brush

Excuse me a moment of excitement, but I just discovered a new trick for lovage stems: sliced lengthwise and put in ice water, they curl like the ridged curling ribbon they make for wrapping presents! This offers all sorts of possibilities from the sublime (make a brush for putting melted butter on corn on the cob) to the ridiculous (edible icons of the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Curlicue garnishes. Hair for Halloween monsters. This could be fun.

Lovage is also a beautiful addition to your herb garden. Unfurling from asparagus tip-like bundles in early spring, lovage quickly becomes a hip-high bush of soft green foliage.closeup of new growth on lovage Midsummer sees flower spikes shooting to eye level before opening golden umbels that slowly mature into marvelously tasty seeds, something the birds know as well as I. Come fall, the birds and I vie for themature seeds, with my winnings finding their way into stews and breads over the winter.

Gardeners appreciate lovage because it is easy to grow, tolerating most soil condition and even a bit less water and sun than large, leafy herbs. (It is easy to tell when lovage is thirsty; mine, which is in direct sunlight, droops noticeably on hot days. Fortunately, it revives just as quickly with a bit of water.)

lovage flowersA perennial that, like tarragon, requires a period of cold dormancy, lovage is often grown as an annual in warm climates. If you have to do this, you can save your own seeds, stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, over the winter for spring planting.

You can often find plants at a local nursery, although probably not at a 'big-box' store, and seeds are available from a number of sources, including Territorial Seeds and Seeds of Change. Better yet, keep an eye out for a plant in the garden of a friend or neighbor; If you see one, don't be afraid to ask for a start for your garden. A single plant is enough to supply all but the most avid of lovage fan - and two will do for even them - and since lovage self-seeds, there are often small "volunteers" growing around the base of established plants. Spring (now as I write this) is the perfect time to divide lovage clumps, preferably on a cool, cloudy day.

Continue reading "weekend herb blogging: In love with lovage" »

February 26, 2006

I have the *best* neighbors

subtitle: Support your local fishers!

subsubtitle: Wild salmon rocks (and farmed salmon sucks)!

I was just smearing today's version of a dry rub on a slab of ribs and thinking that dinner was going to be a bit late this evening — what with the slow-cooking that pork ribs require and my late start — when a car pulled into my driveway. This isn't a common occurence out here, it's not like there's a lot of "I was driving by and thought I'd stop"  when you live on a dead-end road.

SpringchinookWiping my hot-and-spicy hands on a towel, I opened the door to find my favorite fisherman standing there. He offered me the bag in his hand, saying, "Spring Chinook" with a warm smile. Oh my goddess! Spring Chinook delivered to my door! (In this case I truly didn't mind being left "holding the bag.") Barely off the boat, with a gorgeous color that farmed salmon would dye for, this is the best salmon. Ever. Period.

Fish this good needs little assistance to make an incredible meal. Tonight it will be a sprinkle of sea salt, a grinding of fresh pepper, and a side of basamati rice. Ribs can wait.

October 29, 2005

Homemade caviar


Maybe I should call today's post Deep End Cooking (with apolgies to Deep End Dining) or Mage, Don't Make It! (wih a nod to Steve). At least I can be thematic with all the Halloween horrors out there.

I think I've eaten caviar three or four times in my life and, while it was okay—particularly
the Columbia River sturgeon caviar at the Herbfarm—I wasn't sufficiently bowled over to pay the rather steep price. So when a friend dropped by the other day with a fresh salmon and several skein of salmon eggs and asked if I wanted to make caviar I thought, "Ummm, errr, sure...?"

Continue reading "Homemade caviar" »

October 19, 2005

Recipe: Blueberry Habanero Chutney on Poached Fish


I’ve been talking about this recipe almost as long as I’ve had this blog, and for good reason: it’s delightfully scrumptious stuff, with a dstinct heat that's a perfect counterpoint to the decidely summery-tasting berries. (Blueberries do taste like summer to you, don't they? I think I have a peculiarly foodist form of synesthesia. Blueberries are August and giggling children.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh, that's right. The chutney. It's been served on chicken, fish, and meat, as well as alongside a blue cheese cheesecake that was smeared on thin slices of homemade baguettes. All yummy. It’s also been blended down to a puree and smeared on a rack of pork ribs. (Why do they call them “spareribs” anyway? I bet the pig doesn’t think they are exactly “spare” parts)

We had some of this chutney last night, on the seemingly inevitable fresh salmon, and it was the perfect counterpoint to the meltingly tender fish. The salmon was almost an impulse purchase—don’t you pick up a whole salmon while standing in the checkout aisle? They do stock them where you shop, don’t they? Right there next to the candy bars. No? Oops, sorry. So sad for you. You should come visit. impishGrin

I can hear you thinking, “But, Mage, what does salmon have to do with chutney? Wasn't there supposed to be a recipe here somewhere?” Well, actually, yes there is. Click on and you shall see...not necessarily immediately, but I promise we'll get there.

Continue reading "Recipe: Blueberry Habanero Chutney on Poached Fish" »

September 24, 2005

If I had a salmon -- part.2

If your fishmonger doesn't look like this, your fish isn't fresh enough.

Sorry, that was just mean. But isn't that downright idyllic? This is just outside the back door of my fishmonger and I can't think of a prettier place to go shopping.

Continue reading "If I had a salmon -- part.2" »

September 21, 2005

If I had a salmon...

If I had a salmon,
I'd smoke it in the morning;
I'd steak it in the evening,
All over the sand.
(sing-along with me, you know the tune)

Isn't that a gorgeous piece of fish? A sprinkle of salt, sprigs of lemon thyme from the garden, dinner doesn't get much prettier than this, does it?

Continue reading "If I had a salmon..." »

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