09 July 2009


I'm in Seattle right now. Visiting this city sometimes gets me down because it seems like each and everyone of its 563,374 inhabitants (see 2000 Census) has more money than I do. Of course, that's ridiculous. About 8,000 of those folks are homeless and probably don't do so well in the way of worldly possessions. About another 50,000 are under the age of ten and although those kids probably do fairly well accumulating material objects, I'd bet that few if any have an income worth counting. So that's at least one-tenth of the population that feels the pain of living relatively penniless in a rich-folks haven. Normally when I'm here I mope around Ballard and Fremont looking at records I can't afford and lady's shoes so expensive they put me in a bad mood, which drives me to seek out premium micro-brews that'll easily set a person back $6-7 a pint.

I did, in fact, spend too much on food and booze in Ballard last night, but I had splendid company while doing it. And I finished the evening with a bourbon-ginger-thing at Hazelwood that tasted like the grace of God. Really, this trip has been a good-bit less depressing than most my visits over the past few years. After seeing a dear friend get married last Friday, I spent July 4th with my folks, my sister, and G-D. My mother cooked up a feast and we sat in the rare Northwestern sun, just eating and drinking and laughing at whatever passed our lips. Since then, I've stayed busy and kept my mind off the cost of living by figuring out what to do with all the leftovers.

Monday morning G-D and I decided to heat up some of the pulled pork butt my mom grilled. Unfortunately, we were out of coleslaw, so we couldn't make a proper pulled pork sandwhich. Instead, we added a fried egg and called it breakfast.

Moms cooked the collards several days before we arrived and they made a perfect side. She does them like most folks do (with ham hocks, salt, pepper, sometimes a little onion), but adds a small spoonful of brown sugar. I guess that's not such a secret. Plenty of people use brown sugar, or even molasses, but these tasted better than most greens I've known. Maybe they just grow sweeter up here in the cool weather.

For lunch on Tuesday, G-D and I reheated the grilled salmon and topped it with roasted corn, sautéed in butter with fresh dill. On the side we had steamed green beans.

That corn concoction turned out so well that I decided to do something similar tonight for my parents. Instead of using it to dress salmon fillets, though, I pulled the salmon apart, took out the bones, mixed it with the corn and fresh dill, pan-heated it with some butter and then served that on top of toasted bread. I called them crostini and my folks were sufficiently impressed. I also made a few chévre crostini with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and basil from the back porch. Then, to round it out, I made a salad with greens, homegrown snap peas, and carrots--tossed in a smoked paprika dressing to balance out the sweet corn.

In that last photo you can see one of those fancy beers I mentioned. I was drinking wine, but my dad said the crisp IPA paired well with the rich combination of salmon, butter and corn. No wonder I've been feeling so good -- for someone who can't make rent, I've been enjoying a lot of fine food. Not to mention the generous company I've been keeping. Thanks mom & dad!

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