Tag Archives: seafood

pot o’gold: fennel pollen dusted seared salmon with asparagus walnut pesto

fennel pollen crusted salmon with asparagus walnut pesto

I can be dismissive of recipes which demand I zig zag all over town hunting down exotic ingredients. Of course I understand that some Japanese dishes just aren’t the same without yuzu, and that tracking down some real kaffir lime leaves will elevate my curry to otherworldly levels, but back here on planet Earth…

fennel pollen crusted salmon with asparagus walnut pesto - pesto ingredients

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So please hear me out before you decide not to read one letter further when I tell you that you must – MUST – find yourself a tidy little tin of fennel pollen in order to make this salmon.

fennel pollen crusted salmon with asparagus walnut pesto - seasoned with pollen

Yes. Fennel pollen.

A few years ago (well, five to be exact), James and I naughtily nipped across 8th Avenue (on more nights than I care to admit) to dine at our favorite restaurant, dell’anima. It wasn’t exactly an economic decision as we weren’t merely treating ourselves to a slice and a soda, but every single morsel on the menu was delectable, and we rationalized that one day we’d be happy we took advantage of having such a culinary gem tucked just feet from our doorstep. (Which, for the record, that has proven true.)

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on thirty plus one: caramel catfish with fresno chili quinoa

caramel catfish with fresno chili quinoa header

My birthday falls exactly two weeks after New Year’s Day every single year, cementing the fact that the new year feels even more like a new beginning. Today (well, at 11:17pm tonight, to be precise) I lurch forward and firmly entrench myself completely in my thirties, jettisoning that fresh thirty-years-young title for the more vague “thirty-something”; an alias that, I suspect, I will firmly grasp ahold of till it is wrenched from my forty-year-old-fists at the very last moment of the eleventh hour.

caramel catfish with fresno chili quinoa

But beside the fact that I get increasingly more giddy to be ID’d when ordering up a fancy libation at a swank cocktail bar, or that I find myself stocking my medicine cabinet with creams, serums, and masks that promise to deliver a wrinkle-free and youthful visage, getting older – especially lately – is a notion I am embracing with gusto.

caramel catfish and fresno chili quinoa - fish sauce and garlic

James and I have a birthday tradition where we surprise each other with dinner at a restaurant that is kept a secret right up till the moment we pull in the parking lot. This tradition started way back when we were still twenty-somethings in NYC (and early ones, at that!), and was made all the more fun by the fact that trying to guess where we’d be eating out of the thousands of choices that the city proffered was nearly impossible.  (Though, for the record, I was much better than He at guessing.)

caramel catfish and fresno chili quinoa - diced fresno

I’m not cooking tonight (which also means I get to dress up a lil’ fancy and skip out on dishes – hooray for the little things in life!), but if I was, I would make this here caramel catfish.

I know — I can practically see your confused expression through the screen right now, and I know you’re thinking ‘the stuff that goes on candy apples on top of….catfish?!’

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man down: baked salmon with dijon, creme fraiche, and capers

By now you all must know that awful feeling that goes along with breaking something in a store that you haven’t purchased.

We’ve all done it at one time or another; whether it be accidentally toppling over a wobbly table with a humongous (but oh-so-fashionable) hand Continue reading

a predictable friday spectacle: summer scallop pasta with fresh tomatoes, leeks, and prosciutto

 

I think most people would agree that Friday is the best of the seven days that we have to choose from, but there’s a little something that occurs every Friday, just before seven in the morning, that consistently and without fail continues to get my knickers in a twist.

That something is the weekly trash collection, and though normally something so benign, necessary, and actually helpful shouldn’t be a bother, I can never seem to remember that it’s collection day until I hear that big creaky trash truck turn down our back alley.

Inevitably, Friday morning at six-fifty-four in the AM, you’ll find me barreling out the back door barefooted and in my pajamas struggling to keep a weeks worth of trash bags from touching my legs while chasing the trash truck as it passes right by our empty barrels.  At that point I’ll usually remember that it’s also the recycling pickup day, and I’ll have to sweet talk the busy trash team into holding up their whole operation just so I can dash back inside to retrieve our overflowing recycling bin.

What’s that you say? Why not just put the trash in the bins as we go? Or, at the very least, the night before? Well my friends, while in New York about the worst thing to happen to your trash would be a human dumpster-diver rummaging around in hopes that you threw anything out of actual value out with your banana peels and peach pits, here we have to worry that said dumpster diver will be big, brown, and furry, and have a knack for cracking open full garbage barrels as if they were Kinder Eggs.

That’s right – a bear will come and turn that whole alley upside down if you so much as think about putting your trash out a few minutes too early.

(Ahem…see this post for how I learned that lesson.)

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a palpable change: almond crusted tilapia with a sweet summer salad

The sprinklers in our yard go off every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (at 3 am, to be exact), and since that really means that they actually go off every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday night after we’re fast asleep and the calendar has hopscotched one day ahead, for a few hotter-n-hell weeks here this Summer, I was convinced they were broken.

I cursed at and futzed around with the impossible to decipher 1990’s era control, concerned with the hay-like state of our yard and the crunch of the bone dry grass beneath my feet. After a bit of deep thinking, I realized that the grass would not be wet on Tuesday mornings, but rather early on Wednesday mornings when the sprinklers would have just a few hours prior finished spurting and sputtering and doing their thing.

(Apparently I’m not the most cerebral when it comes to lawn work, but give a city-gal a break for a moment, would ya?)

The next Wednesday, I rushed out to make sure all was right in sprinkler world, and again – bone dry crunchy and cracklin’ grass.  This in turn spurred a frantic call to our landlord (I’m killing the yard!), which caused a $100 visit from the overpriced lawn man (my grass is brown! our sprinklers are dead!), and many many sad and guilty glances out over the now tan-ish span of lawn that I was sure I had been accidentally thirsting to death.

After thirty seconds of tinkering and approximately the same amount of pondering, the lawn man informed me that, indeed, the sprinklers were working just fine; the nights were just so darn hot that by day break and dog walk the dirt had already sucked up all the water and the blades were back to their previously parched state.

A lesson learned during my first Summer in hot, dry, Colorado I suppose.

(But hey, at least my hair isn’t frizzy! It’s all about the small victories, people.)

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daylight delights: mussels in an indian curry broth

The rhythm of the weekend, with its birth, its planned gaieties, and its announced end, followed the rhythm of life and was a substitute for it.

~F. Scott Fitzgerald

First things first: IT’S FRIDAY!

(Fist pump/chest thump/double-tap-high-five!)

Even though I *could not* be happier that we’ve finally made it to the day where you can momentarily forget your woes and frustrations in favor of thinking about all the downtime and funtime to be had in the next forty-eight hours, the quote above by F. Scott Fitzgerald really resonated with me after I stopped and fully digested it.

It does at times feel as though the weekend is a substitute for the rest of life, doesn’t it?  Sometimes it feels like every single thing we do is a bid to get us one step closer to the weekend.  We spend all week thinking about the weekend, planning it, wishing we were there….and then it arrives in a blur and goes out with the heavy thud that is Sunday night.  You set your clock, you thumb through your planner, you remember all of those to-do’s and haven’t-yets that you put out of your mind just two days prior, and you prepare yourself to trudge through those five….long…..hard…..days again.

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temperatures rising: simple pan seared calamari with fresh tomato sauce

The past few days have been very un-Colorado-esque: sticky and muggy with spots and heaves of rain, and with soaring temperatures that have made all of these singularly unpleasant things downright unbearable.

I can hardly complain – for a place that boasts “300 days of sunshine,” this hair-curlingly hot and stuffy weather pattern that is working itself out is definitely an exception to our normally bright and sunny norm.  And, actually, it is almost kind of nice to hear those high-altitude fat droplets of rain start to kamikaze themselves on our deck.  Where back East it would rain for days on end, weeks at a time, here you get the sense that the humidity and rain is actually needed, appreciated, and revered.

For without it, the already dangerously high-alert-fire warnings would only become higher, my poor lettuces would only wilt and recoil more, and the pug would dramatically throw herself on the cool tiles of the bathroom floor once again (making completely sure she is in my view), just to drive home the point that everyone notices it has been hot as hades up in here, as of late.

When the little red numbers on my dash eeked up to 100F on Monday of this week (true story), the only thing I could muster for lunch was a little bowl of chilled cucumber soup from The Kitchen Next Door.  I had a one o’clock lunch date with a family friend, and though I saw that cheery little yellow sun beaming brightly on my weather app, I had stupidly decided that a pair of dark denim skin-tight-skinnies were appropriate attire for a day that was to boast some of this season’s highs.

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