Salmon, Salmon, Salmon!

Grilled Salmon

So it’s summer and you want that great superfish, salmon, right? But you don’t just want to throw it in the oven and see what happens, or plop it on the grill. You want to emulate some great salmon that you had in a restaurant, or just find a way to reinvent salmon. I’m bringing you two great ways to have salmon, both easy summer recipes that are light and delicious.

Salmon with Basil-Lemon Marinade

Grilled Salmon

  • 4 pcs. salmon fillets or steaks (6 oz)
  • 1 large bunch basil, washed and stemmed
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon, approx. 2 tsp
  • Juice of the lemon, 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. Place salmon, rinsed, in large casserole dish.
  2. Marinade: combine basil, garlic, oil, rind, juice, salt and pepper, in blender. Whirl until smooth paste. Spread basil mixture. Turn salmon over to coat well. Marinate 30 mins, turn after 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare outdoor grill (heat coals), gas grill to hot or heat oven broiler. Grill salmon, basting with marinate, for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until opaque in centre. Transfer to a plate and serve!

Asparagus Salmon Risotto
Salmon and Asparagus Risotto

  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, fine chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste (use little salt)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the onion and garlic. Saute over low heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the rice. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer the broth. Add 3/4 to 2 cups of the hot broth 1/2 cup at a time to the rice, stirring constantly after each addition and cooking until the broth is absorbed.
  3. Add the wine. Cook until absorbed, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the asparagus. Add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly after each addition and cooking until the broth is absorbed.
  5. Stir in the salmon. Cook for 5 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

I’d like to invite all of you followers to ask questions and suggest recipes about your favourite ingredients, too!

-A.

Asparagus Salmon Risotto

Photos Courtesy of:

Wagamama Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup

I have done some researching online and it was simply disappointing. This is another one of my die-for recipes, a grandchild of Wagamama’s Chicken Ramen, which I call Asian-Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup. So you can combine the names however you’d like, just know that I’m not affiliated officially with Wagamama and if you don’t like it, that’s not my problem. But I’m not quite sure how you couldn’t like it, because it is damn good soup. As in, you will never go back to normal chicken soup again, even when your sinuses drip is making your stomach flop!

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Wagamama Inspired Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 4 packages ramen noodles with spice packets
  • Chicken broth, egregious amounts
  • 8 tsp soy sauce
  • 9 tsp sake
  • 8 tsp mirin (a ricewine vinegar)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • fresh spinach or seasonal greens
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
  1. Mix the soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar , then coat the chicken and marinate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Grill or sear the chicken breast until it is firm, brushing frequently with the sauce while cooking.
  3. Steam the spinach.
  4. Boil the noodles.
  5. Heat the broth, add 1 tblsp of soy, sake, and mirin.
  6. Arrange cooked noodles in the bowl. Slice the chicken and pour in broth. Add greens, then garnish with peanuts and spring onions.

Asian Chicken Soup Wagamama Chicken Ramen

This is the specific “Wagamama Ramen” that Wagamama differentiates from average chicken ramen in its book “The Way of the Noodle.” (The above chicken soup recipe was altered from one from this book as well. You do the same steps, but it includes more seafood, so I’ll just leave you with the toppings so that you can alter the original recipe if you’d like.

  • Half of a boiled egg.
  • Spinach
  • Naruto Fishcake
  • Prawn
  • Teriyaki chicken
  • Crabstick
  • Deep fried tofu
  • Menma
  • Reconstituted wakame

Enjoy!

-A.

Photos Courtesy of:

Thomas Aquinas Daly

I don’t know if the Internet knows this yet, but I adore art.  Today, I’d to introduce you to one of my favourite artists, one that not that many people know: Thomas Aquinas Daly.
Thomas Aquinas DalyHe does watercolour and oil painting and plays with neutral tones to create an expressionistic atmosphere that brings about images of fog and cold water.  Born 2 years before the second world war, he was educated as a graphic artist at the University of Buffalo and has produced two books. I have (in my personal opinion) the best of the two, called Painting Nature’s Quiet Places.

Thomas Aquinas Daly

While I can’t find my personal favourites of his on the internet, I hope that these pictures give you an idea of what he paints, how he paints, and how you can alter your painting or artistic reviewing in order to accommodate some of his best elements.

He paints nature, elements of nature, and the atmosphere of the countryside in a way that makes us all feel those cold wet socks without having to go fox hunting without the light of the sun. And that, in my opinion, is true mastery; somehow, he also manages to make it beautiful. That damp fishing boat seems romantic, glorious, in a quiet, subtle way, and if anyone can make a dead fish look appealing, then he deserves my full attention and respect.

Thomas Aquinas Daly

Oh, and, then there’s the dead animals pinned to grey walls. That’s a little less glorious. But, hey, this is a blog with a central element of taxidermy, so I tilt my hat to you, C, and give everyone a little bit they can know about dead fish.

I want to turn back to his colour combinations and compositions, though. You may notice that I’ve selected a few images in which he truly offsets the centres of focus, and a few where they are almost in the centre of the page.

He balances muted tones with small pieces of rich colour. If you look to the wall-pinned-fish-painting to the right, you can see what I’m describing; the slate blue-grey of the wall has echoes of the brilliant cobalt and vermilion in the fish. This is how Daly gives us the foggy feeling of his paintings, by echoing the focus in the fog of the background.

Even though it’s subtler in the image below, we have the same theme; the soft olive and forest greens of the trees can be found in the shadow of the fisherman’s hat and in his trousers. The river is not a silly blue, but, instead, a murky, realistic green. The house, therefore, is what truly leaps out at us, but because it is balanced with the stripe of open sky and its reflection, it isn’t an obnoxious focal point.

Thomas Aquinas Daly

For those of you who want to pursue art but find it too mysterious and selective of a field, I’m here to tell you that it’s just as much architecture as it is talent. A huge hunk of talent comes from being able to learn the rules and play them to your advantage. Once you understand composition on a near-esoteric level and have a good grasp of art history, suddenly, modern art makes sense. Perhaps I’ll write a post like that: why modern art actually makes sense.

Thomas Aquinas Daly

I urge you to consider pursuing art and art history hand-in-hand rather than try to tackle one individually. You can never understand what you’re drawing until you see how others have struggled through it before you (it’s like reading novels before getting on the New York Times’ Best Selling list), and you can never look at art without having felt it.

It’s like what my own glorious art professor once told me: You can always tell who has ridden a horse and who hasn’t by the way that they draw it. Those who have ridden horses draw the rhythm of their bones behind the muscles of a gentle beast. Those who have not draw shadows of lifeless vehicles.

-A.

Photos Courtesy of:

Information from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas_Daly

http://www.thomasaquinasdaly.com/index.html

How to Go Out in Style!

We often say that funerals are a “celebration of life”, but in most cases that phrase is just a way of dealing with our grief. Unfortunately, funerals have always been very generic in their décor and sayings. Happily, though, a trend to make funerals more personal is taking shape…

First off, let’s do a little vocabulary correction. Most people use the terms coffin and casket interchangeably, but they are not the same thing! A coffin has eight sides with the top (near the shoulders) being wider and tapering narrower and narrower toward the feet. A coffin is much simpler than a casket, and almost any box that the deceased is put in could be referred to as a coffin. A casket is not something only for burial. It is actually anything that holds something meaningful or precious. In today’s western world, most people are buried in caskets. According to An Uncommon History of Common Things, “The term [casket] became widely used among 19th-century U.S. funeral homes, in the belief that it had fewer negative connotations.”

Today, we have gone beyond finding a casket “fancy”.  Novelty caskets are becoming increasingly popular. People are being buried in cell phones, cars, and fish! With this trend, most people design their coffin before death (some many years before death) in order to make sure that it will suit their personality.

Biodegradable coffins, called ecopods, are also on the rise! These coffins are created for “green” cemeteries where decomposition is natural. They can be customized and look (generally) like a “normal” casket and will withstand all of the proceedings of a funeral.

And don’t forget the “do-it-yourself” coffin! Kits are now being made with pre-cut pieces so that you can turn making your coffin into a weekend craft! Paint it however you like (just make sure that it’s sturdy…otherwise things could end up badly…). These kits will not only save you money, but also make for a pretty interesting experience.

These coffins can be made by the most typical coffin-makers on request. If you don’t know your local coffin-maker (chances are you don’t) then order online! Just make sure that you check out the shipping first…that price might be enough to make you need the coffin sooner than you expected.

(and for everyone who would want to be remembered for their love of Doctor Who…)

-C

Many thanks for these outstanding pics:

http://en.nkfu.com/unusual-coffins-from-ghana/&docid=AbcxoQ6Rw5r8HM&imgurl=http://en.nkfu.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/coffins-ghana-6.jpg&w=650&h=425&ei=uSFpT9qCDOu_0QGyz5jvCA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=415&vpy=158&dur=936&hovh=181&hovw=278&tx=133&ty=97&sig=113850343524182226749&page=4&tbnh=118&tbnw=159&start=58&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:58

http://www.photoweeklyonline.com/camera-coffin/&docid=zssL1-Y7LXAPVM&imgurl=http://www.photoweeklyonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Camera_Coffin.jpg&w=580&h=475&ei=ayFpT-jZOeLr0gHPnbCFCQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=312&sig=113850343524182226749&page=2&tbnh=123&tbnw=158&start=18&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:18&tx=75&ty=42

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/content/images/2005/09/27/09_coffin_bag_413x300.jpg

http://www.geekosystem.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/coffin.jpg

var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-30227222-1’]);
_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]);

(function() {
var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true;
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
})();