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archive for May 6th, 2013

the need to decompress

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Recipe: teriyaki salmon collar (or fillet)

In my undergraduate years at Caltech, there was a weekend between the end of classes and the start of finals each quarter. It was officially referred to as Decompression – a time when the student association would host a free barbecue and entertainment (the improv groups were my favorites) on Friday and Saturday nights for the entire campus. I volunteered at the grill many many times, serving burgers and hot dogs to my fellow students and earning a free Decompression t-shirt with a different design each quarter.

Even though I haven’t been in school for eons, I still look to that weekend wedged between classes and finals as “decompression” because Jeremy’s schedule is tied to the academic calendar. This past weekend was THAT weekend. It also marked the end of a pretty stress-filled April with all manner of work deadlines, travel, business matters, and headaches courtesy of people who can’t seem to do their jobs (airlines come to mind). So this weekend was one in which we could take a breather, focus on things that needed attention, and be thankful for a quiet couple of days in which we regrouped and made plans for the next few months.

it also meant spending time with this little girl

Despite the frenetic pace of the past several weeks, we have noticed that Kaweah seems to walk further and stronger in the mornings than she does in the afternoons or evenings. We’ve only started her on morning walks since the weather has warmed a few weeks ago, but this change has been a nice improvement in her overall mobility and general well-being. And when she wants to dawdle and sniff every last mother-loving blade of grass, I let her. She is definitely growing more deaf and sleeping more, but she remains our sweet, dumb, cuddly pup. We’ve also noticed that she no longer stands at the baby gate with her head cocked to the side when we head out the door with our packs and gear. She just lies down on her bagel bed and takes a nap.

there’s still good snow in the high country

climbing up

skiing out

Jeremy and I went to check out the snow coverage in the high country on Sunday. It was partly cloudy with stormy clouds swirling over the high peaks. We were snowed on (yay!) and it was surprisingly quiet for a weekend. Fresh air and exercise was just the right medicine. When we got home, I made chile-lime-beer beef enchiladas. But I had to fight the urge to head to Boulder for sushi. We always crave sushi after skiing. It’s not sushi per se, but goodies from the kitchen like tempura or miso soup or one of my favorites: salmon collar (sake kama). I always get mine teriyaki-style. Making it at home has been one of those things nagging at me for years. Last week, I asked at the Whole Foods seafood counter if they had salmon collar. And they did!

four collars

i also picked up some nice sockeye salmon fillet to teriyaki

to make teriyaki: mirin, sake, soy sauce, sugar

Whenever I’ve had salmon collar in Japanese restaurants, it’s pretty small and makes for a nice appetizer. The young man helping me at the seafood counter gave me incredibly generous portions. In fact, I think he included as much as a decent-sized steak with each collar and charged me the ridiculously reduced rate for “fish bones”. I know some of you are thinking that the collar is the part you throw out – but it’s not! It’s the fatty, flavorful, tender, amazingly delicate part of the fish. Unfortunately, they only had collars from arctic farm-raised salmon because that’s all they had whole. As a rule, I purchase wild-caught, but I made an exception this once. I’m sure the wild caught salmon will start coming in whole as soon as the season ramps up. If you can’t deal with or can’t acquire salmon collar, you can easily do this recipe with salmon fillets or steaks instead.

mixing the teriyaki marinade

place the collars in a ziploc bag

if you are doing fillets, place the slices in a ziploc bag

**Jump for more butter**