To say it’s been a while is the understatement of the century. Allow me to briefly explain. The morning of October 6, 2015 I posted what I didn’t know would be my last blog post here for quite some time. I was particularly excited about this post because I had an unforgettable weekend with friends where we enjoyed this amazing creamy tomato soup that I still make to this day.
Later that day, I got a call from my doctor telling me I had cancer. Yup, the big C. And so, my life was put on hold while I fought it. The battle went on for longer than we would have liked, the bastard got into my lymphatic system and spread. However, after one surgery, 55 rounds of radiation and 17 rounds of chemotherapy, we finally got it. I say “we” because while it was my body going through the treatments, this took a village. A village of brilliant doctors, supportive friends and coworkers, encouraging family members, a comforting canine, and an insanely amazing husband who fought in the trenches with me every minute of every day. My last few scans have been clean and doctors are optimistic it won’t come back. To be very clear, I am one of the lucky ones.
For the first time in my life, though, I developed a love/ hate relationship with food. I had absolutely no appetite – my family basically had to force me to eat. But, I also knew that food was going to keep me strong enough to handle the treatments so I depended on it greatly. I stopped cooking. The radiation made me so tired I could barely stand for long periods of time in the kitchen and I completely lost my passion for it. Just another thing cancer took from me.
It took a long time to step out of the shadows of cancer. Cancer really breaks you down, and then it’s up to you to build yourself back up. I’ve worked really hard to do that. I’ve gotten back into my groove at work, I’m exercising again, and I am finally happy. The last piece of the puzzle was starting to cook again and resuming this blog. I knew that was a critical part of my journey to finding Kate again.
So here I am. Strong and humbled. But really, enough is enough. Let’s get back to it then, shall we?
…But first, a few housekeeping items! The blog has gotten a facelift. It’s simpler and cleaner and I hope you find it easier to navigate. I’ve categorized all my posts so whatever you’re in the mood for will be easy to find. My goal is to continue posting new recipes that are quick and easy. And on that note…
Ok, confession. I’m not really a fan of Ina Garten. I know, I know, I know. I’m the devil. But frankly, I find her to be pretentious. Regardless, I love her recipes so after much reluctance, I finally purchased one of her cookbooks How Easy Is That? I made this salmon dish from it a while back and it’s been finding its way into our dinner rotation. It’s super easy, tasty, and healthy. It’s also perfect to enjoy the rest of the summer, and a great dish to make for a crowd because it’s easy to portion out! I paired with her argula, watermelon, and feta salad. Enjoy!
- 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 4 (6- to 8-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the panko, parsley, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated.
- Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a board. Coat the top of the fillets with mustard and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each salmon fillet (the mustard will help the panko adhere).
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet or large heavy, ovenproof pan. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin.
- Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes until the salmon is almost cooked and the panko is browned. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Serve the salmon hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges for additional optional seasoning.
Makes 4 servings.