Monday, August 6, 2012

In Which I Share my Salmon BBQ Recipe, Which is not as Interesting as the Olympics, but Tastes Better…

Let’s face it, I eat too much. Too much cheese, too much bread, too much blah blah blah. Frankly I should probably eat half as much as I do. I should say here that I actually do try to curtail the eating habits now and then but when you live here on the West Coast, it’s just not that easy. Everywhere I look, someone is growing something amazing, or cooking up a batch of awesome or has just caught something outrageously delicious and is insisting that we all sit down right away and eat it. Well if I must.

Exhibit A, ridiculously large local spot prawns we pulled up in Howe Sound while visiting my family on Gambier Island. Held by my also ridiculously large son, Jacob. We ate a bunch, and froze the rest for later, which happened to be only a few days…funny that.

2012-07-08 17.37.22

2012-07-08 17.36.43

Throw these babies in a pot of boiling water until their eyes cloud over (MAX 2mins) and then dip them in butter and lemon. Yep that’s right. Don’t bother cleaning them out or taking their head off etc. Just dump them in, boil, remove, rip off the head, dip in butter and eat.There’s not much better on this side of the continent.

I’ll admit here that Jacob has also been known to eat prawns raw right out of the ocean, brew his own tea from Spruce needles and blackberry leaves, and pick mussels right off the rocks and steam them over a beach fire. He is a foodie in the making and also an awesome fisherman, and last weekend, he and his dad managed to catch 4 Coho salmon which we were forced to BBQ and eat with new potatoes from our garden.

Someone has to do it, people, and it may as well be me.

I’m happy to take one for the team…


I try to get most of the dirt off the potatoes, toss them with some olive oil and sea salt and fresh ground pepper, maybe some Jamaica Me Crazy seasoning, some peeled garlic cloves (whole) and then close them up in tinfoil packets, throw in a few chunks of butter when no one is looking, and chuck them on the BBQ.

I get asked for my salmon recipe often  and I have to say that I don't really have a proper recipe that would stand up to any sort of scrutiny or testing, it’s more a bunch of ingredients that I use in more or less the same proportions each time, and it always works.

  • maple syrup  - maybe 2 cups. And don’t even make me say it but DO NOT use Aunt Jemima or whatever that stuff is.
  • juice from at least two limes.
  • tamari (about a third as much as the syrup).
  • fresh ginger root – enough to taste it. peel it and chop it up.
  • two or three garlic bulbs crushed
  • more pepper than salt

Mix it all together and taste to make sure the maple syrup isn’t overpowering the lime. Pour over your salmon fillets skin and all and let it sit for however long you have. Which should be about an hour.

We cedar planked our salmon – if you do this make sure to soak in water for a good hour before putting on the Barbeque (the planks, not yourself). This gives you time to light your BBQ coals (so much better than gas – sorry), and let the fish absorb the different flavours.

When your BBQ coals are ready, remove the fillets from the marinade, lay them out on the planks, put them on the grill, and close the lid. Check them after 10mins – you might want to drizzle some of the marinade on the fillets at the half way mark.

You will know they are ready when the flesh is opaque but still moist, and the fat has risen out of the flesh and is covering the fillets all over in creamy brown patches. Please don’t overcook your salmon.

The wet planks and the hot coals create a delicious smoky steamy environment in the BBQ. It’s all good. 


If you even sort-of followed my half-assed recipe, your salmon should look sort of like this :)

Take my word for it, fresh Coho tastes AMAZING and the smoky cedar scent from the BBQ combined with the maple ginger lime puts the whole experience over the top. Yum.

As if that wasn’t enough good food for a life time, I have also been consuming more than my fair share of this tasty number which I highly recommend for breakfast, lunch, appy, dinner, midnight snack, etc.

2012-08-05 13.20.24

1. Go directly to Fol Epi Bakery and buy a whole wheat loaf. Yes you have to drive over the bridge. So worth it.

2. Go to Moss St. Market and buy a Little Qualicum Cheeseworks Brie.

3. Pick up a bag of fresh basil from the next stall over.

4. Go to the jam lady and buy a jar of red pepper jelly. Yes it’s a little spicy. You’ll be fine.

5. Try not to think about the fact that you just had to remortgage your house to afford all this. FYI farm local organic etc does mean delicious, but does not mean less expensive, in my experience. 

6. Combine in any way you see fit.

7. Devour

I also managed to squeeze in a trip to the new Paleta shop in town, Fruition. In case you are thinking “wow. stop eating for 5 seconds” I’ll have you know I rode my bike there with Zoe and we had to climb several hills so I felt perfectly fine about my decision to purchase 5 of these creamy refreshing ice cream/popsicles to die for: Guava Cream, Chocolate Dipped Raspberry, Coconut Lime, Lime, and Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cream.

2012-07-28 15.46.16

Fortunately, they store them at –37C or something like that so they survived the trip home in my bike basket, all nicely wrapped in butcher paper. They did not, however, survive much past their arrival at my house and so you’ll have to imagine them or go there yourself. And no, before you go judging me again, I didn’t eat them all myself but I did sample them all and I must say the chocolate dipped raspberry bar was outrageously good. Just sayin.

2012-07-28 15.51.01

Do you see that? Roasted Pineapple Ice Cream Bar? HELLO.

As you can see, it was a good weekend. I will now be at the gym for the next 72 hours straight, but it was all worth it.



Monday, February 13, 2012

In Which Sushi Chef Kai is in the House!

If you haven’t been to Mt Washington lately, I highly recommend it. Sure it’s small, and sure you sometimes have to wait twice as long in the lift lines as it takes to get down the mountain and yes, sometimes it’s a bit rainy or slushy, or icy or freezing or foggy or whatever, (it is a mountain, after all, people, not a mall) but to me, none of that matters. It’s local, and that’s what makes it great. If I had to wait 15 minutes in a lift line at Whistler, I am pretty sure I wouldn't know half the people in the line, like I do at Washington. And who cares if it only takes me 5 minutes to get from top to bottom. My quads couldn’t take much more than that anyway. Raining? I am forced to stay in the chalet by the fire playing scrabble, napping and watching movies. Tough. I’ll wait a few hours for the sun then grab a cold beverage, sit in the hot tub and watch it go down (the sun…not the hot tub).

At some point, the kids, who have had the run of the mountain all day, will show up and we’ll all stretch and wander into the kitchen. Soon, baskets of crackers appear alongside cambazola and brie, little bowls of olives and salty almonds. Someone opens wine. We’ll all debrief about the day, some of us will down a couple of ibuprofen, and then we start cooking.

We have a few favourites when we travel as a group: fish tacos, tamari maple salmon, BBQ beef ribs, roast chicken. We usually try to take a night each for cooking but that rarely works out and more often than not, we’re all in there, getting in each other’s way, looking for the potatoes (check the Nordic Cupboard) or the Chips(Alpine Cupboard), laughing, and having the best time ever.

But this past weekend, we wanted to try something different for our night. If you know Mt. Washington, you may or may not know about Sushi-Mon. Tucked away down by the Hawk chair, in the old Nordic Lodge, Sushi-Mon quietly turns out some of the best Japanese Food around. It’s an unlikely location for a Sushi restaurant, but it works, considering the other food choices on the mountain. (Actually, try not to think about the other food choices…). We can usually be found in there at lunch downing a bowl of Pork Ramen or a Seafood Curry noodle bowl. It’s often a bit of a wait, but the perfectly flavoured broth, crisp veggies, and delicious noodles makes it all worth while. Chef Kai can be seen in the kitchen, head down, turning out roll after roll, bowl after beautifully prepared bowl. If you catch his eye, he will welcome you with a deep bow and a warm smile, then get right back to making sushi.

On one of our visits we spotted a handwritten sign suggesting that we, the customer, might enjoy having Chef Kai come to our kitchen and make sushi for us. Might we? Indeed we might! A few phone calls later and we had ourselves a party. I whipped up an invitation and everyone was in.


Sushi Monster

No one brought a wolf suit. Disappointing.

Chef Kai arrived with his daughter Stephanie at 4:30pm and in a matter of minutes, had transformed the kitchen into a sushi restaurant. He accepted a beer, turned to face his work area, and didn’t look up for about 4hrs.

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1685

Occasionally I would try to ask him a question. He would politely answer me with his thick Japanese accent, which I couldn’t understand, and we would smile warmly at each other, whoever I was standing beside me would say “what did he say?” and I would say, through smiling teeth, “I’m not sure'”, and we would eat another slow roasted pork roll. At some point, someone turned on the Club music – I looked at Chef Kai to see how this would go over. He didn’t miss a beat and could be seen grooving, rolling and slicing.

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1690

After a while, watching him became mesmerizing. Sushi rolling is a true art and Chef Kai has it mastered. I think he could do it in his sleep. At one point I watched him expertly slice a avocado into perfectly uniform, paper thin slices, his hands moving just slightly ahead of his knife as the avocado fanned out before me. He then lifted the entire row of avocado and laid it down on top of a prawn tempura roll. He turned to me and said “for decoration”. Zen and the art of Sushi.

 from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1714


from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1691

Lucky kids…

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1710

Towards the end of the night, Chef Kai made fruit rolls with cream cheese and strawberries in a pink soy sheet, and mango cream cheese rolls in a yellow soy sheet. These disappeared at lightening speed.

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1715from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1716

I grabbed a strawberry roll before they were all gone

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1719

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1730 from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1729

Chef Kai left us with two plates of leftovers, after I had to beg him to stop as we had all eaten ourselves to a standstill.

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1732

Notice how everyone has assumed the ‘no more food please’ position.

What a great night. And after all that I still have no idea how to make sushi. But I don’t need to know – I have Chef Kai.