Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Equinox Dinner, March 20, 2017

Eons ago, I read an article, or perhaps in some book, that the author made salmon cakes, new potatoes, and asparagus every year on the first day of spring. That sounded like a fine and delicious tradition to me. When I was growing up, I always hated asparagus. In fact, it rather horrified me. I couldn't understand why my mom liked it so much. It wasn't until my friend, Ben, invited me over for dinner one night when I was about 18 that I began to like it. I can't recall what the meat was, but his mom put plates holding not only asparagus, but squash, in front of us. I thought, "Oh, my lord! I'm going to have to choke this stuff down and pretend to like it." I was astonished to find that I quite liked both vegetables. I've been an asparagus fan ever since! My favorite way to eat is simply steamed, so it's just tender, and then plunged into an ice bath to retain the brightness and keep it from becoming overcooked. Sometimes, though, I get lazy and skip the ice bath. I am always disappointed in myself when that happens.

Fish cakes, on the other hand, have always been something I really liked. My grandmom made both tuna & salmon patties when I was a kid and I happily gobbled them up. So, when I decided to make salmon cakes every year for the spring equinox, I did what my grandmom did. I start by sorting the bones and skin out from a (drained) large can of salmon (about 15 ounces). You don't even have to do that, actually. The skin and bones are both perfectly okay to eat. They just really skeeve me out. My cat's birthday is the first day of spring, so he always gets the parts I don't like, along with some of the legit meat, as a birthday treat. I flake the salmon, then mix it with a lightly beaten egg, about half a sleeve of saltine crackers, salt, pepper, and a dash of worcestershire sauce. I heat some oil in a skillet and form the salmon mixture into 4 cakes. When the oil is properly hot, I add the salmon cakes and cook them until they're browned on each side and heated through.

As for the potatoes, I boil them whole, for the most part, with the skin on. If there are a few larger ones, I will halve those. When they are tender, I drain them and stir in butter, salt, pepper, and snipped dill. When I was in middle school, my friend, Charisma, had me to supper and her mom served us potatoes made that way. They seemed very fancy to me!

I always have the impulse to make some sort of lemony dessert---a layer cake, meringues served with lemon curd, lemon meringue pie. That seems like the perfect spring treat, to me. My wife, however, hates all things tart. So, this year, I cut up some organic strawberries before dinner, added a smidge of sugar, stirred them up, and let them macerate during supper. After the main course, I dished them up into our pretty new pastel bowls and set out a can of whipped cream. My wife proceeded to show our wee boy how to eat whipped cream from the can. He just wasn't at all sure what to think of that, but it did make him giggle.

Happy Spring!

No comments: