Its official…I finally like octopus!! I wasn’t sure this day would ever come despite my efforts to order it at every authentic Greek, Italian, and sushi restaurant that boasted the best of the best of these intelligent eight legged sea creatures. I had come to the unfortunate conclusion that it just may be the “ocean’s bubble gum” for me. Maybe it was just one of the things my palate and I did not agree on. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a good deep fried calamari from time to time but I find it hard not to love something battered and submerged in grease. And then it happened…
“I’d like to be, under the sea, in an octopus garden in the shade”plays in my head as I pull from the oven a dark Stuab cauldron filled to the brim with olive oil, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, juice and itty bitty squid and tiny octopi. The texture of this dish is perfect. If I didn’t know what I was eating I would equate it to, well, chicken, I guess but only in texture. The colors have turned from translucent and white to a beautiful lavender/mauve mix. The taste is rich, bright and has the hint of sea in the background.
With the change of our April menu comes the beautiful Springer Chinook salmon. This may be the most amazing fish on the planet. They are caught coming in from the ocean this time of year as they head back upstream to their original spawning grounds. I can’t even find my keys half the time! Fish instinct is amazing! The bright, pink-red flesh is tender and full of good fatty oils for their long journey home. Salmon has long been revered as a spiritual creature in the Pacific Northwest having sustained cultural civilizations for centuries. So with this amazing fillet in front of us, just a little less than 24 hours old, Bob and I pause and with intention and all seriousness, take a moment to honor and thank this fish for its life and sacrifice. There’s not much more that needs to be done with a fish of this caliber. It can be eaten raw, pan seared and lightly smoked. I have a feeling we will be cooking it all these ways before the season ends. I am loving spring!
This week I was also set loose with the pasta machine…. (mwahhahahahhahhah!); the goal being fresh pappardelle noodles and, of course, to make my mentor nervous. That would be, Bob, who watches with eagle eyes as I take on this task. The snowfall of flour took me back to one of my favorite jobs, working in the cooking classes of a local natural health food store. I have a newspaper clipping of myself, all of 19 years old, bleach blonde pigtails and arms filled with what seemed like miles of flat golden dough. I had to stop to laugh at the cyclic nature of life. Somehow, years later, I am here again in a quaint kitchen, covered in flour with a smile on my face, creating plates of happy, edible memories for the masses. Katie B