the challenge

A bit more about the challenge that Loving Boyfriend and I have recently embarked upon...we are cooking our way through the "Four Seasons Cookbook," by Shirley Gail (see above) in one year. It hails from London, as is obvious by the measurements in mLs and interesting ingredients I've had to look up on the internet, such as what 'castor sugar' is (superfine sugar here) and converting mLs to cups. It's also incredibly unhealthy. Not surprising, as Loving Boyfriend loves anything unhealthy. In fact, I was recently explaining the challenge to my good friend and fellow foodie, C., and telling her of the delicious baked eggs with cream and tarragon and raspberry meringue gateau with lots of whipped cream in it we've been enjoying, and C., being the lovely friend that she is, says to me:

"Aren't you going to get FAT?"

C. is always honest and straightforward with me.

Why, yes, probably. not to mention a heart attack sometime in the future. So i've began riding my bike more, hoping to counteract this a bit...and I'm sure I'll be making some substitutions to the recipes as well...as soon as I learn what I can substitute and have the dish come out just as yummy. Thanks, C.

This is a constant struggle for me - given my love for all things buttery, creamy, bacony, and fried. Plus, a love of cooking and baking thrown in the mix. Baking in a two-person household can be especially dangerous
(I only feed one of the boys - boy #2 has a girlfriend and subsists quite well on lean cuisines and healthy choice meals in the freezer when she's not around). Entire pies and cakes are eaten by two people over the course of two days, just so that I can cook something new. Yipes!

But back to the challenge.
We started on September 1, 2005, and we're ending on September 1, 2006. Based on the number of recipes, we have calculated that we will have to cook 3 recipes from this book per week to be finished in a year. We're in the summer season (well, the produce, even if not the weather), based on the produce available right now. Obviously, I won't publish all of the recipes from the book, as that can't possibly be PC, but i will share my favorites of course. one of which just happens to be recipe 1.

warm salmon salad

This recipe was delicious...warm, tender bites of Alaskan silver salmon (caught just over a month ago by Loving Boyfriend, in Alaska), crisply blanched green beans, and toasted sesame seeds, all over a bed of green-leaf lettuce with an orange-flavored Asian dressing. light, crispy, warm, and wonderful. I must confess, though, that it was not I that made this tasty dish... Loving Boyfriend, the challenge having been his idea, started us out on the right foot. I feel I must clarify that Loving Boyfriend does like to cook...and he's good at it...he's my partner in crime and in cooking...he just doesn't necessarily want to talk about it food all the time...like I do.

1 lb. salmon filet, skinned
2 tsp. sesame oil
grated rind from 1/2 orange
juice of 1 orange
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tbsp. peanut oil
4 oz. green beans, trimmed
6 oz. mixed salad greens
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut salmon into bite-sized chunks, then make dressing. Whisk together sesame oil, orange rind and juice, mustard, and fresh tarragon.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat, then fry salmon for 3-4 minutes or until done, but still tender on the inside.
  3. Blanch green beans and drain.
  4. Add dressing to salmon in pan, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  5. Add a large handful of greens to plates, then beans, salmon, and pan drippings. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve immediately. Servings: 4

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