Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.

Susan Heller

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Effort

Would anyone care to join me
in flicking a few pebbles in the direction
of teachers who are fond of asking the question:
"What is the poet trying to say?"

as if Thomas Hardy and Emily Dickinson
had struggled but ultimately failed in their efforts—
inarticulate wretches that they were,
biting their pens and staring out the window for a clue.

Yes, it seems that Whitman, Amy Lowell
and the rest could only try and fail
but we in Mrs. Parker's third-period English class
here at Springfield High will succeed

with the help of these study questions
in saying what the poor poet could not,
and we will get all this done before
that orgy of egg salad and tuna fish known as lunch.

Tonight, however, I am the one trying
to say what it is this absence means,
the two of us sleeping and waking under different roofs.
The image of this vase of cut flowers,

not from our garden, is no help.
And the same goes for the single plate,
the solitary lamp, and the weather that presses its face
against these new windows--the drizzle and the
morning frost.

So I will leave it up to Mrs. Parker,
who is tapping a piece of chalk against the blackboard,
and her students—a few with their hands up,
others slouching with their caps on backwards—

to figure out what it is I am trying to say
about this place where I find myself
and to do it before the noon bell rings
and that whirlwind of meatloaf is unleashed.

by Billy Collins from Ballistics

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ginger Baked Salmon

Serves 4

The marinade for this salmon is great used as a dressing for other recipes or poured over any kind of grain.

1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil or toasted sesame oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, grated with a microplane
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1 1/2 pound fillet of salmon, skin-on and cut into 4 equal pieces

1. Combine all ingredients except salmon in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. You will have a little over 3/4 cup of marinade. Set salmon, skin side down, in a rimmed dish and pour marinade over fish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You may marinate the fish in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and set a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack.
3. When the oven comes up to temperature, remove the baking sheet and turn the oven down to 275 degrees. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the baking sheet. Pour the marinade over the salmon. Bake for 9 - 13 minutes. The salmon will have a tender interior with nice crispy exterior. Serve and pour liquid over fish.

**Nearly all salmon are anadromous; this is just a fancyway of saying that they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to have salmon babies. Salmon are believed to return to the exact spot where they were born to spawn and studies have corroborated this belief. We still aren't sure exactly how these creatures do it though.
* I had to add this little tidbit of information since it's summer: salmon, and other fish that are high in antioxidants and omega 3 oils, can reduce chances of skin damage and inflammation resulting from sunburn and potentially reduce the risk of skin cancers! Kind of cool. You shouldn't abandon the sunscreen but having a fillet of salmon after a day in the sun will seem doubly delightful and salubrious.