21 July 2008

Choice-challenged, I am.

Are you good at making choice(s)? Pity me, I’m not. I would kindly ask you to thoroughly read through the used negative particle, for by this I mean to say how wildly and inhumanly messy and dishevelled I get when I am asked to choose. Before I progress in my explicit narrative, let me just mention that it’s always somehow easier to make a choice between good and bad, or bad and worse, isn’t it? But when you are to choose among the best, what do you do? I think I am congenitally deprived of understanding.

With the profound lack of choice making technique thereof, I am naturally bound to let my wallet go thinner on my invading visits to a summer farmer’s market, and fill my wicker basket of a considerable (keyword) size with fresh summer fruits and vegetables full to the brims. I think I’ll set aside my ridiculous complaints about how nature rendered me choice-challenged, and rather be more useful by suggesting you a few ways to consume all the bountiful glory in relatively short period of time to save the edible gifts of nature from meeting their murky days on a kitchen counter, obscure depth of a refrigerator, or what have you. * Shall you pretend you didn’t know it before, I will be very much grateful.

All the minutiae being said, now hands down to business.

Episode #1.

Considering the amounts of, say, red currants I’ve got this week, the only way to eat my way through the berries was to come up with a numerous amount of interesting (at least to me) and edible (to me and everybody else) ways to use them fresh(ish). [Side note: I would very much love to re-enter realms of baking too, but as my story has it, my oven waved me a farewell (got broken, in other words) and retired peacefully a good while ago.] To praise my originality (you may indeed roll your eyes at me here), I worked out that salmon is a very good friend to red currants slightly sautéed in white wine. They sound so singsongy together, especially if salmon is prepared with lemon juice and cinnamon. The latter is so good at lifting delicate salmon flavour that I am really chuffed to have learnt this.

For 1 serving you’ll need:

1 salmon fillet (about 80-100 gr)
salt and pepper to taste
a small pinch of ground cinnamon

red currant sauce
a handful of fresh red currants
pepper (salt) to taste
1 tsp cane sugar
2 Tsp dry white wine

1. Rub fillet with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Let stand for a while.
2. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, pour 1 Tsp lemon juice in it and cook salmon 5 min on each side (natural fatty oils oozing from salmon fillets in the progress of cooking spare you a need to be using any other oil).

3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, sauté red currants slightly sprinkled with fresh ground pepper in white wine for a few moments, add sugar. When the mixture bubbles, set the saucepan off the fire and pour the sauce over the salmon fillet.

And while we are at salmon talking, there is another bit of my recent epiphany (berries-unrelated though), Salmon with cumin. Naturally, cumin’s flavour is very strong and might be overwhelming, but if used moderately, neither is the case. On the contrary, in this companionship salmon only gets scores (as if it really needed any): earthy flavours of cumin compliment very well the juicy salmon flesh.

Yields 4 servings

4 salmon fillets
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp sea salt

1. Rub fillets with salt and spices, drizzle juice of half a lemon over salmon, let stand for a while (preferably overnight)

2. Heat a non-stick skillet coated with olive oil over medium heat, and cook fish for 3-5 min on each side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Episode #2.

I got a few petite melons (so petite that they freely fit in the palms of my hands each) the other day, and in my vain attempts to stay cool when it’s almost 35 degrees centigrade outside, I undertook this Simple melon and yoghurt sorbet project (do I really sound pompous?).

Yields 4 servings

250 g fromage blanc/or greek yoghurt
200 g fresh melon, deseeded and cut in small chunks
75 g honey (I used a multi-floral variety)
juice of ½ lemon
fresh mint for decoration

1. Cut melon in small chunks.
2. In a separate bowl, combine yoghurt, honey and lemon. Mix well.
3. To the yoghurt mixture, add melon and stir well through. At this point I also added a handful of sesame seeds to enrigh my sorbet-to-be with light crunchiness.
4. Transfer the final mixture to the plastic container and put in a freezing camera of your fridge for first 2 hours. Stir thoroughly every two hourse to prevent the formation of ice crystals.

Although the recipe requires 4 hours of freezing, it took my fridge more than that (up to 6) to come up with a decent sorbet (age issues, I believe).

It was too hot to pause for a picture, however.

Be well!

*Have you noticed yet, to form long and incoherent sentences is my talent too?


Astra Libris said...

I love long sentences! :-) (yours are perfectly coherent and lovely, too...) And oooh la la, your salmon with the red currents and wine sauce sounds absolutely heavenly! Such a gorgeous testament to the wonders of farmers' market bounty!

Michelle J said...

Very lovely recipes! I do love salmon so very much and now i have two new ways to prepare!!! So, thanks for that!

Tell me, how hot is it in Moscow? I have a friend coming into NY from Kiev soon! Well she lives here, long story actually!

Your a great writer too!!!

anya said...

Astra - thanks! I adore summer with all it has to offer. Never mind possible stomach aches after overconsuming the berries and the like; summer doesn't last too long! :) And I regularly hear the urban legend saying that 10 kg fresh berries eaten throughout summer (relieved to know that not in one sitting, though) will prevent us from colds and other unpleasant sneezing/coughing sessions in winter. A perfect excuse to indulge, wouldn't you agree? :)

Michelle - I am devoted fan of salmon too (the fish should really be pleased to know it captures girls' hearts so easily)! :) Now, the weather talk. Presently it's very much endurable - hot but not scorchingly so - and yet again, whatever the weather, it doesn't last for too long. Hence umbrella has become my indispensable accessory as of late. Anyways, Kiev and Moscow are in different climate zones, so I wouldn't dare be a weatherperson. Seasonwise I could only assume it might be very hot there too. :)

And thank you very much for your comment on my writing skills. Although I realize it might be a pure politeness, it means a lot to me!

Michelle J said...

Pure politeness...nope its pure truth mixed in with some pure jealousness!! I love your writing! It's pure and from the heart! Can't get any better than that in my opinion!!!


M said...

I love a good story and I looove salmon. I prefer to eat them raw (as sashimi) but your recipe uses just a few simple ingredients I'm tempted to try them out.

(Embarrassingly I just realised I've been clicking on the wrong button (the blue preview one) to "post" my comment!:P)

toni said...

Currents! I love the idea of salmon with currents! I would never have come up with that one - probably because I haven't been seeing currents in my market. But tomorrow is farmer's market day, so I think I'll have a look there...

And as for your oven's demise - well, when it's 35 degrees C, who cares? You'll miss it in the winter, though, if you don't get a replacement!

white on rice couple said...

Michelle is right, your writing is always so poetic and beautiful. I think you should write a memoir, it would be a beautiful read!

I love red currants , but haven't had any yet this summer! Especially cooked with red wine, mmmmm........