Thank you, Farmer's Market for connecting me to the seasons. Before becoming a regular patron, a season, to me, was merely background music. Previously, seasons hardly even played a role in determining household chores like gardening or even moving clothes to the back of the closet or pulling out the down comforter.
We are blessed with one season in the Bay Area...cold and damp. The down comforter stays on the bed. When we take it to the cleaners for its biannual fluff and wash...we stand at the counter shivering as we beg the lady to hurry, assuring her we can retrieve it the next day if she would be so kind...it's always a three day job.
I wear sweaters and boots all year. I love boots and think that one of the best thing about living here is that in July, I get to don my tallest boots and woolly cardigan while the rest of the country is sweltering in shorts and tee shirts. Too cool, I say.
So the Farmer's market serves as a reminder that the planet on which we live really does rotate, and that there really are such things as spring, summer, fall and winter.
It's fall right now, how do I know? The choices and samples filling the stalls of our market have gone from baskets of berries and piles of fragrant stone fruit to baskets of nuts, dried fruit, and root vegetables and piles of hearty greens like kale, kohlrabi, and broccoli raab. Oh, I saw one stand with basket of strawberries...clinging on to the last warm sun-filled days of the year. Their days are numbered--their sugar is gone as they're a bit too tart. These are meant for cooking I think. The addition of sugar is called for--maybe a drop of vanilla and kirsch, too.
Time for stews and hearty soups. Almost. I am not quite ready. Fall in the Bay Area is our 'warm' season. The mornings and evenings are amazingly cold and crisp...forming an astringent sandwich in which our warm afternoons form a creamy middle. We bought a week's bag of field greens--it's still strewn with petunia petals and a now scant appearance of a nasturtium petal...a month ago, these bags were like bags of confetti, filled with equal portions of radicchio and edible flowers -- whole happy heads of yellow and blue! We also bought, what I think will be the last bag of dry farmed tomatoes. Little water is used as they're gown, the result? Their utterly sweet flavor is concentrated. They explode with the essence of what a tomato is -- Plato would be proud.
Over at the fish monger -- I like the idea of having a fish monger -- we chose a fat chunk of wild salmon. I always ask if it's wild, the guy who owns the boat, likes to assure us that he caught and cleaned the fish that morning. Yeah, his stuff is fresh. So tonight, my favorite salmon:
Sesame Salmon Filets
1 lb salmon filet
3 tbl of hoisin sauce (Lee Kum Kee)
1 tbl of soy sauce
1/2 cup of white wine
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 tbl of honey
2 tbl minced fresh ginger
1 large clove of garlic smashed
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
sesame seeds --buy these in the asian food aisle, not the spice aisle--they are tons cheaper--tons.
In a dry flat frying pan toast about 3 tbl of sesame seeds--low heat--they burn REALLY easily--trust me, I know. When you start to smell them, remove from heat, set aside.
Next, place all of the ingredients, except the sesame seeds, into a large Ziploc bag; add the fish; squeeze out the air and seal. Massage the ingredients to coat the fish. Stick the bag into the fridge for an hour up to 24 hours.
- Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate.
- Press the fish fillet into the seeds to coat one side.
- Place fish, seeded side up into a baking dish with 1/2 of the marinade
- Bake in a preheated oven --350 until the flesh is opaque (cool word), about 10 mins per inch thickness. Do not overcook.
Serve with wasabi mayonaise:
Mix a tsp of wasabi powder into a cup of mayonnaise--gradually continue adding the powder to your desired heat--warning! it gets hotter as it sits. Stir in 14tsp of ginger and a drop of soy.
Yum! Super yum. Enjoy!