Ready for Spring and interns!

Mar 26th, 2008

Lenore and I love this time of year when days are getting longer, supposedly warmer, though not yet, and the promise of spring is everywhere. We are especially aware when a short-lived sliver of sunlight briefly warms our front deck after a rainy morning and draws us outside. We all seem to smile more. But the best indicator that spring is about to “pop” is when asparagus and Spring Chinook Salmon make an appearance on our menus.

In addition to planning and ramping up for the new “season,” we have been preparing the studio bedroom in our building for the culinary interns that are coming to learn and work with us in three month intervals. We have been quite successful with the quality of individuals that come here, and yet it was becoming more challenging because of the lack of affordable housing in Cannon Beach. Our quick remodel, well maybe not so quick, has opened the door to many more potential interns to come.

Some of you might remember the room downstairs in this building as a former beauty salon with charming dark wood work wainscoting, and a not so charming hair washing sink in the middle. We converted that sink to a little kitchenette sink and counter cupboard from IKEA; adding a refrigerator and small microwave oven to complete. We then replaced carpet and painted the walls and ceiling. But the big news is the shower that we punched into the little bathroom. Under the capable direction of friend, Eric Nagel, our Tolovana neighbor (he and wife, Sarah own the Surfcrest Market), I faced my admitted fear of dry walling. There is a definite sweet satisfaction when one accomplishes a goal of something completely out of his/her comfort zone. In some ways it is just like cooking is for people who don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen. Sometime our guests are intimidated by a French omelet, and we know to keep encouraging them to push past their fear and go for the satisfaction that comes from “doing it themselves.”

The first person to use the studio bedroom is Wendy Noon, who is with us end of March through June. She is in the homestretch of her formal training as a chef from Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland. Of the studio bedroom, she says it is “awesome,” but then so far she describes most things that please her as “awesome.” And luckily, most things do please her! Having interns is a good thing! Keeps me young and on my game!

RECIPE FOR THE WEEK:
PAN-SEARED CORIANDER SALMON
4 ea 4 oz salmon, block cut
Fresh ground Coriander, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste
EVOO as needed*
Method: Ask your butcher to cut salmon filets into 4 oz blocks, so all will cook the same rate. Prepare salmon for searing by brushing with EVOO and season with sea salt, and ground coriander. Preheat pan over med high heat. When hot add approximately 1 TBS EVOO to the pan and immediately add the pieces of salmon, top side down. After 2 minutes, turn over and cook 1-2 more minutes or just till au pointe, and the center is just turning opaque. (Au pointe, in French means just to the point of done); serve immediately with fresh asparagus for an early spring repast. (*Don’t worry about searing with EVOO because the second you put the fish into the pan, the oil will temper and not over heat–and you will get the benefit of the flavor of EVOO and its healthful qualities too).