Monday, May 30, 2011

What You Can Learn Over Dinner!

L to R: Tom, Marilee, Ginger, Bob, Sheryl
It was one of those spur-of-the-moment invitations, when you take a quick mental assessment and realize that you have enough food on hand to bring people home for dinner with you after church.  We'd bought Copper River salmon to barbecue, as Tom's sister Marilee was up for a visit, so we asked Bob and Sheryl to join us.  Sheryl is a high school friend who has just been back in my life for the past six years or so, but we'd never spent time with them as a couple.

Over salmon, wild rice, sautéed vegetables, green salad and ice tea, we swapped stories and recipes.  Stories, we had stories: we heard about cross country train trips, launching a homemade hot air balloon, lutefisk, salvaging treasures that wash up on the shore, ski patrol, and the Iditarod.  We shared stories of first meetings and romance, childhood friendships and 100-year-old neighbors, vintage radio, spinning yarn and making maple syrup.  

Bob shared his recipe for a marinade he uses with salmon, but we didn't have the ingredients on hand, so instead we prepared the salmon according to Sheryl's mom's favorite method.  They said I could pass their recipes along.  Tom's sautéed veggies were a big hit, so I'm including a recipe for that too.

While we were on a recipe roll, I jotted down a few more simple, good ones to share.  You'll find Bob's dad's salad dressing, Marilee's frozen blueberry ice cream, and Eskimo ice cream.  (As a vet for the Iditarod for a number of years. Bob had some interesting stories, as well as this remarkable recipe.)

It was a grand afternoon!  Sorry you couldn't have been there too.

Bob's Salmon Marinade
Make up a mixture of equal parts brown sugar and Italian dressing; sprinkle in Johnny's Seasoning, salt, pepper, and a small amount of hickory smoke.  Coat the salmon and refrigerate for an hour or so before grilling. 

Sheryl's Mom's Salmon
Place a fillet of salmon skinside-down on a piece of foil. Spread with a thin coat of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip; sprinkle with dill seed.  Place the foil and salmon on a hot barbecue grill, and cover with the lid of the grill.  Cook for approximately 20 minutes.  
(We used mesquite instead of charcoal, which worked beautifully.  The salmon was moist and absolutely delicious.)

Tom's Sautéed Vegetables
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 large mushrooms, sliced
1 large zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp catsup

Sautée the garlic cloves in olive oil.  Add onion, mushroom, and zucchini until they are tender.  Add soy sauce, catsup and tarragon.  Stir briefly, then add tomatoes, cooking until they are hot through.  Serve.

Bob's Dad's Salad Dressing
1/2 cup milk
1-2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
Shake them together and pour over your salad.

Marilee's Blueberry Ice Cream
To get frozen blueberries -- In the summer, pick blueberries.  (She recommends that you get them near the ski lift at Mt Baker if at all possible, as they are especially large and delicious there!)  Lay them out on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer until they are frozen.  Put them in freezer bags and put them back into the freezer to have them ready whenever you want them.  (Or you can buy them if you prefer.)

To make blueberry ice cream -- Put 1 cup frozen blueberries in a glass.  Sprinkle with sugar to taste and cover with milk.  Let it chill for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Yummy!

Eskimo Ice Cream
moose fat (soft back fat of the moose)
sugar to taste

Whip until smooth.  Enjoy.
Unlike typical ice cream, this is assured to warm you up.  
Vegetarian alternative -- substitute Crisco for the moose fat!

You never know; it's just possible that one of these recipes is just what you need to round out your Memorial Day dinner.

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