There’s No Place Like Home

I am so happy to be back, and just working in the studio until it’s time to make dinner, with an occasional break to garden a bit so the perfection of these days doesn’t pass me by. Right before starting this meal, I finished a drawing that looks like wallpaper that William Morris would have designed if he’d had access to certain indole alkaloids.

We eat a lot of salmon; it’s delicious, healthy, and most of all if it’s wild and Alaskan, it’s sustainable and not overburdened with heavy metals. But the regularity does put some pressure on me to come up with new ways to prepare it. Or not. This time around, I did nothing original, but the fish was so lovely that it didn’t need too much help (or heat) to make it sublime.

First off, a tartare with lime, chive, olive and sesame oils, and red onion- atop a cucumber salad with cider vinegar, lime basil, shiso, parsley, and more olive oil. The nasturtium flowers added visual ooh and that clean, peppery crunch for which they are justifiably prized.

Milo eats almost everything from the garden, if not all the time. But green beans are a no-go. To make this into a net gain, I use the opportunity to make them screaming hot szechuan-style and we adults scarf them like crazy. They’re madly addictive, and I’m getting closer to that magic Chinatown flavor. So second, a sashimi with the hot oil/ponzu treatment and another heaping bowl of the spicy green beans plus wilted radish sprouts thinned from the fall crop and quinoa for some grainy goodness. I tossed the quinoa in the almost-empty cucumber salad bowl so it picked up the dressing and leftover bits for extra flavor.

We opened the perfect companion for food like this: a Bret Bros. Pouilly Fuissé. I already reviewed it here, and I’m unlikely to do better, so there you go. We’ve got half a case left.

7 comments to There’s No Place Like Home

  • cook eat FRET

    that tartare is just amazingly lovely. molds will do that… molds and flowers. not to be confused with moldy flowers.

    ok, that wasn’t funny.

    welcome home, honey!

  • Heather

    Have you ever tried growing Chinese long beans? Those are my next-year wish. My scarlet runners are almost ready. They are really a thing, man.

  • peter

    Claudia: Thanks.

    Heather: I haven’t, but I’m tempted. Mostly I like bush beans right now because I don’t have to build them any structures to climb.

  • Zen Chef

    That alaskan wild salmon is fantastic in tartares. Another great meal! I have to check out the Pouilly Fuisse you mentioned.

  • peter

    Zen: It’s worth finding. Yum.

  • Brittany

    Do you have a recipe for those beans (or a brief description of what you do to them) posted anywhere? I just picked up some green beans that I’d like to Szechuan-ify.

    I’m sure I could figure it out, but I don’t know how close I’d be to Chinatown Magic.

  • peter

    Brittany: I start with a couple chiles de arbol in hot oil, then add smashed ginger and garlic, then the beans. The wok should be fiercely hot. shake the beans periodically to get a good brown on as many as possible, then add mirin, nam pla, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sambal oelek, and sugar or agave nectar to help it thicken a little. Cover and let them soften as much as you like, then serve and eat them with a delirious frenzy.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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