Summer is officially here, and to me, summer is about garden parties, and more specifically, buying dresses and creating garden party situations so that you can wear them.
I’ve developed a maxi dress problem.
After shunning them for a few seasons, arguing that I’m not tall enough to pull it off and that my legs are some of the more reasonable parts of my body, I’ve taken to them like Usain Bolt to a track.
I recently bought this dress. Because I liked how she was walking through the fields. And I was sure I could find a field somewhere that I could walk through and look that young and skinny in.
I haven’t found it yet. Also, I only recently realized that a shawl someone gave me years ago is actually a table runner.
But no matter, I have been to a garden party. This party was in my friend Marjie’s huge and beautiful garden, which was recently featured in a local garden walk. I met Marjie through my mother-in-law, who met her when she was living in Tokyo. Marjie is retired and designs jewelry, crafting, gardens and travels the world. She’s living the dream.
My kids love going to her house to pick fruit. This time, it was kumquat season.
Marjie’s also a fantastic cook, and she whipped up a summery feast for us to enjoy outside.
…where I did not wear said field dress.
One of the delicious dishes on the table was the gravlax. Flavorful, tender and placed atop a bagel it was delightful.
Here’s the recipe she used, which can be found on Epicurious:
GRAVLAX (Scandinavian Cured Salmon) from Epicurious:
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons white peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon whole allspice or coriander, crushed
1 large bunch dill (about 3 ounces)
Two 1/2-pound center-cut salmon fillets, in 2 equal pieces
1 tablespoon cognac or vodka or aquavit (optional)
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and allspice. Chop the stems and leaves of the dill. Lay a piece of the salmon, skin side down, on a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap both fillets. Sprinkle the fillet with half the spice mix, moisten with half of the cognac, if using, and cover with all the chopped dill. Cover the second fillet with the spice mix and cognac. Sandwich the 2 fillets together and tightly wrap in the plastic wrap. Make sure the fillets are held tightly closed with a good seal.
Place the wrapped salmon on a plate and weigh it down with a 1-pound can or weight. Place in the refrigerator. Every 12 hours or so, open the package and baste the fish with the liquid that has formed around it. Let the salmon cure for at least 24 or up to 36 hours.
When the salmon is ready, scrape the dill mixture off with a spoon and refrigerate the fish until ready to serve. To serve the gravlax; slice thin pieces at a 45-degree angle with a long, sharp narrow knife. Lay the gravlax out on a platter and serve it with black bread and a bit of mustard. The gravlax will stay fresh for a week wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator.