One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky …
– George Gershwin, from Summertime
Now of course you can scroll to the bottom and see if you were the winner of The Art of Simple Food – but before you do that, I think you should take a look at the wonderful comments people shared about food elitism, food access, the industrial food system … it does my heart tremendous good to read all of these thoughtful responses, to see how much and how deeply people are thinking about these things. It confirms my belief that concern about what we are eating and what access we have to food, for ourselves and for our communities, is pretty universal. So take a minute to look at that. Here’s another link just in case.
Now. Back to summertime for a minute.
My older son wakes up each morning, gets out of bed, and with his hair still tousled and his PJs still rumpled he starts a sort of galloping pow-wow dance around the loop of our house. For ten, twenty, thirty minutes, he races these circles. And he sings. The entire time, he sings.
We try to keep him from singing at the top of his lungs (sorry Bernie and Rita, Grant and Angie!) but we also try to allow him his exuberance, his joy at greeting each and every day. If he doesn’t launch into his song and dance routine on waking, I take his temperature – it usually means an illness has descended.
Both our guys get up with the sun, despite blackout shades and our best efforts to persuade them otherwise. Now that our house is bright with sunshine starting around 6 am (love all those windows, love them … but oh sometimes 6 feels awfully early!) we have our morning sing before Kyle and I have even had our morning coffee. And yet somehow, in that weird strange way of summer light, I feel already a deep sense of nostalgia for this very moment I am living in. It will not be forever that my son wakes me up at dawn.
But I hope that it will be forever that he greets each day with joy in his heart. I hope that, even if eventually it’s only on the inside, he always rises up singing.
I also hope that he is always so willing to try new things. The kid just loves to eat – and he really will try anything. This is one of those dishes that we make a couple times a month, and friends are always surprised that our kids will eat it. The first thing to know is, the horseradish really mellows in the oven, and is actually more sweet than bitey. The second thing to know is, while Jacob might seriously consider fish his favorite food group, Lucas is still getting there. We leave one end horseradish free, but soaked in butter – just to help him along the way.
Oh, and before the recipe, I wanted to give you this super summer bonus: here is a link to an amazing mix that my brother Dan made a couple years ago for Dreams in Audio. I just put it back into rotation in my car – it is one of those ‘mix tapes’ that you’ll keep on hand and listen to a lot – to remind you of summers past and to promise yourself more summers to come. Enjoy!
Pan-Seared Horseradish Salmon
A version of this appeared many moons ago in a Martha Stewart Living Magazine, which I am pretty sure my mother-in-law Sandy brought over when she came to visit one time. (Sandy did you bring that??). It is a nice dish for us because it marries salmon (one of my favorites) with horseradish (one of Kyle’s favorites). It cooks very quickly, and while it is cooking you can make a nice green salad and some pasta for the kids. Throw some broccoli in with the pasta for the last two minutes that it cooks, and there – you have dinner.
3/4 to 1 pound MSC certified wild salmon fillet, skin removed
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh grated or drained prepared horseradish
1-2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 F. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon fillet with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large cast iron (or other ovenproof) skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the salmon, skin side up, and sear on 1 side, about 2 minutes. Turn the fish over, and on top of the seared spread the horseradish over all (or half) of the fillet. Top the horseradish with thin slices of butter (see photo). Transfer the skillet to the pre-heated oven, and bake until salmon has cooked through. (The piece above took me about 8 minutes).
If serving to small people, flake and de-bone their portion. If serving to company, you could use individual small fillets – it just takes a little more effort. (A nice green garnish of scallions or chives would also liven this up nicely for guests!)
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And finally, of course, our third winner! According to random.org, Cara, who shared the hysterical Portlandia bit and the thought provoking clip from The Skinny on Obesity is the winner of Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. Cara, email me your contact information [inheritthespoon(at)gmail(dot)com] and I will get it out to you straight away! Thank you so much to everyone who participated in that thoughtful conversation … I’ll be back with the next book give-away soon. Happy cooking!