Tuesday, May 1, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I realized that we have smoked salmon in the freezer. I know, I know, it seems like a bizarre thing to not even realize that you have. But there you go. In the piles and piles of salmon we have, I'd forgotten that some of it is smoked. So after I found it, then came the conundrum of what to actually do with it? Fancy dinner parties where we can set out smoked salmon appetizers aren't usually our thing. But a dinner party did sound nice.
J&L(&Baby) came over last night and we made sushi together. We provided the food (and sake) and they provided the bamboo sushi rolling mat. And we made a lot of sushi. I didn't realize how easy it is to just keep picking it up and eating it, never realizing just how much you've eaten until you're so full your stomach kind of hurts.
My little brother also came over and confessed that he'd never actually had sushi before. I asked him at the end of the evening, and he said that he didn't like it so I told him that it's an acquired taste sometimes.
No, we didn't go totally authentic in our choice of ingredients. We used smoked salmon, (cooked) shrimp, cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese. To be perfectly frank, I'm not a huge fan of sushi, or really Japanese food in general. (When I want Asian food, I prefer Thai, Vietnamese, and authentic Chinese.) I was privileged once to have a Japanese friend make food for me and my family. She was an exchange student and over the Christmas break she came to Seattle and stayed with us. I still feel bad over this incident because as I was helping her to prepare the food, a migraine came on complete with auras, tunnel vision, and nausea. I didn't want to ruin the evening (after all, this was her big thank-you to my family for letting her stay with us and all of that!) so I tried to hide it but everyone knew anyway that I wasn't feeling well. Instead of retreating and taking a nap, the way I should have (that usually makes my migraines go away) I stuck it out and put a damper on the whole evening. The worst part of it all is that the sight and smell of the raw fish was making me super, SUPER nauseous and I couldn't force myself to choke down very much. How totally rude it must have seemed! It was honestly very tasty, and under normal circumstances I probably would have cleaned my plate. (Naoko, if you ever read this--please know how sorry I am!)
So my history with Japanese food isn't the greatest, and every time I eat it I remember that migraine and just how sick I felt. But our mock-up worked well. Even J, who hates salmon and most other seafood (he worked in a fish processing plant for a while down in Valdez) ate several pieces. I'm also getting more used to the taste of seaweed, which put me off for a while.
After dinner, we went over to J&L's for cake. L had made an absolutely delicious chocolate strawberry cake with chocolate-cream cheese frosting. Yum! As I said, I was so full that my stomach hurt. But I still managed to find a little room for a small piece of cake. (And then felt horrendously gluttonous.)
Slowly, slowly we actually are making our way through the freezers. I pulled out what I thought was the last of our rhubarb on Saturday and made a ginger/rhubarb crisp, only to look in the chest freezer later and find more rhubarb. Doh! So now I need to come up with another delicious way to use it. Strawberry-blueberry-rhubarb crisp? Rhubarb coffee cake? Rhubarb crumble? L loaned me a bunch of cooking magazines (which her neighbor had given to her) so I'll probably look through those for inspiration.
The biggest problem is that we still have so. Much. Fish. I never thought I'd be as sick of a specific food as I am sick of fish. In those magazines, I turned down the corner of every fish recipe in them. Thankfully, there are a lot. And all of the ones for white fishes (tilapia, cod, etc.) can be switched out for halibut. I keep trying to tell myself that all of this fish is super good for us, but it's not really helping when I have to force myself to eat a little more.
Tonight we're doing burgers with my brother, brother-in-law, and his girlfriend. Two dinner parties in a row? Are we celebrating? Yes, yes we are. Several things, in fact, but most of those will have to wait for another day to talk about. The ones that are important tonight are my brother-in-law's upcoming graduation, and his girlfriend's return to the States after being and teaching in Thailand since January. We invited them over for sushi last night and poor Megan confessed that she was super sick of rice. I guess I should have thought of that. :) So wholly American food in the form of burgers tonight. I made the buns when I was home sick yesterday (sounds so appealing when put that way, right?) and I tried a new recipe so if it works out I'll let you know what I did. They certainly rose in the correct shape....
Today is a perfect example of why I never, ever plant outside until after the trees have greened up. (And usually then I try to wait at least a week. Unless my enthusiasm gets the better of me, which it often does.) Today, it snowed a bit. This is not actually unusual, or even particularly late. (A few years ago it snowed in June.) But I keep looking outside and thinking about how glad I am that all of my little plants are safe and warm inside. Although, perhaps not as warm as one would hope. I turned off the heat for the summer already. Whoops!

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