Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Day We Went Fishing

I woke up on Saturday morning without any goals or expectations for the weekend. I have been so busy lately that I just needed a day to catch my breath and just be. It doesn't happen often.

As I was making our usual weekend breakfast of pancakes (this time coconut, almond, and blueberry), I asked C. if he had any plans for the day. "J. and I are going fishing with Paul this afternoon, didn't you know?". Perhaps he had mentioned it, but it had escaped me.

Sounded like the perfect plan.

Honestly, although I do love being outside and in nature, I have never been very good with outdoor sports, which makes me the oddball in the family as everyone else is. I grew up with my grandfather, uncles and cousins always talking about bird hunting, fishing, mushroom picking...

There were always fishing poles, wellies and wicker baskets in the pastry shop. As soon as the work day was over, which was sometimes as early as noon, they would all hit the river or the mountains around us.

I enjoy just being in nature and watching others, but I can count with one hand the times that I actually participated in the events.

We met Paul in Juno Beach. It was a particularly windy day and the current was strong. I never thought that fishing right on the shore in these conditions was a possibility. But I trusted them, of course.

J. was fascinated with all the sand fleas, clam strips, and different bait that the grown ups had. Miren was just happy. Running around and throwing wet sand to the birds around.

I just sat and watched them closely. I took it all in. The wind, the smell of the ocean, the sun on my shoulders and especially, the kids.

It was about an hour into fishing when I saw C. struggle with his pole. There it was, a beautiful, silver and blue pompano. A beautiful thing. And not to sound overly romantic, but that day, I appreciated that fish more than anything. I had to explain to J. how that pompano gave up its life for us. He stared at me as I was saying it. I knew his mind was trying to process it all.

We arrived home exhausted and saved the pompano for Sunday.

After the farmers' market trip on Sunday morning, I stopped by Karen's house. She shared some of her cherry tomatoes with us and I thought they would be perfect with the fish.

Tomatoes tossed in olive oil and salt and roasted are one of the best things in life.

I even showed J. how to clean the fish, something my own mom had taught me when I was young. Possibly as young as 11 I was already cleaning whole fish. I particularly remember the tiny anchovies, one by one, spine and all.

We roasted the fish simply with salt, lemon slices, lots of herbs, a drizzle of olive oil. 400F for 20 minutes. Perfect.

Served it with the roasted tomatoes. Also a raw purple carrot and dill salad.

The perfect Sunday lunch.

We spent Sunday afternoon at home. The boys built an amazing tunnel and slide track for all of J's marbles and mighty beans (again, don't ask!), while I baked these lemon, pistachio and poppy seed cakes.

No complaints there.

And so I got my rest and that is exactly what I needed.

I also wanted to let you know that I have been invited to be a speaker at this year's BlogHer Food, which will be held in Atlanta on May 20-21. Tami, Stephanie and I will share a panel to discuss "Finding Your Visual Voice" and our own personal experiences with food styling and photography.

If you are attending, please say hi. Hope to see you there!

Lemon, Pistachio and Poppy Seed Cakes

Makes 1 dozen cupcake size cakes

2 eggs
1/2 cup (100 grams) natural cane sugar
1 Tbs lemon zest
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs olive oil (85 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) almond milk
1/3 cup (35 grams) pistachio meal
1/3 cup (45 grams) superfine brown rice flour
1/4 cup (35 grams) millet flour
2 Tbs (15 grams) tapioca starch
2 Tbs poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and almond milk.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and stir until it comes together.

Pour the batter into a muffin pan lined with baking papers. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

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