Greetings lovely humans. I've made a purple fish for you because dining on purple and blue foods feels rich and elegant but simultaneously childlike, reminding me of sour blue gum balls and grape jello. It sits between the balance of classy and unrefined and as a person I too reside within that spectrum, sometimes closer to one side or another depending on the day.
Me: “Am I classy?" Friend: “Hmmmm. I would say that you always treat people with class." Me: “Sooooo I'm not classy." Friend: “Well you're not–not classy. It's a good thing. You're very down to earth." Me: “Yeah, that's good. I still want to be classy though. I think I just trip and fall too much. Classy people are never clumsy. That's what's holding me back. Right?!" Friend: “I think you're great the way you are." (translation: you are not classy, nor will you ever be. It's okay though.)
This friend is a very classy human which is why she'd never agree with any perceived negative qualities such as my clumsiness. She never talks about poop or periods or burps loud and she always wears lipstick two shades off her lip colour so it looks natural yet polished. I've never been that kind of person, I don't think I was born to be. As a kid I won a milk chugging contest, learned how to burp really loud on purpose and arm wrestled all the boys in my grade beating every single one (because none of them had gone through puberty yet and I was strong from carrying my baby brother and sister around). As a teenager I was always in fiery debates about sexuality, race, women, religion, anything that stirred people up. I was a crusader! Really I just couldn't keep my mouth shut and was trying to figure out the world which seemed cruel and unfair– your typical teenage angst. As an adult I have gained a some classiness. Or maybe peacefulness is more accurate. I focus on accepting what is, not fighting it. I hone my skills on creating a better and more joyful life. And I never chug milk anymore. But I do burp loudly when alone or around people who know me very well. It's part of my charm? In a world so full of social media and it's contrived artificiality I aim to allow my flaws, to be uncovered and exposed. To be me in whatever state of myself is coming forward that day. And to always hold the most compassion for myself and others.
I've been contemplating the thought of becoming the person you dream to be– because maybe that person is who you really are. It's how we move forward and know what steps to take next, to come closer to our truer selves. So who exactly is that person? What do they think about? What do they do in their free time? What kinds of people do they surround themselves with? What do they talk about? What do they wear? What do they eat? How do they feel about themselves and others? How do they love and appreciate themselves and others? I did a journal entry about this person and it has really stuck with me. In the biggest way around how this future me treats herself– without disapproval or being hard on herself. Without investing time or energy into what others think. And always with love and understanding. I encourage you to ask yourself these questions and see what comes up. See what you can change today to become a little more of that person because they are ultimately who you really are. Personality is a bunch of characteristics we have constructed ourselves and we can choose differently if we want. We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react and the thoughts we focus on. It just takes some conscious awareness, compassion and desire to move forward into the unknown. These are some things to contemplate over a plate of purple blueberry fish. Sometimes things don't sound like they work... until they do.
My aunt Margaret always has the loveliest stories from travelling the world. One of my favourites is her recollection of Swedish Christmas. She told me people get together and go from house to house snacking on smorgasbords and having a drink at each one enjoying each other's company. Everyone has preserves, cured meats, pickled herring, gravlax, rye breads, meatballs, potatoes and glogg for all the indulge in. Apparently you must eat the julbord in certain stages– fish first, cold meats second, warm food third and then of course dessert. Don't even think about taking a meatball before you've had your gravlax. How rude! Doesn't that make you feel all warm and cozy inside? It is very hygge (to know more about hygge click here).
This is a very simple recipe and the preparation time is only fifteen minutes. A few ingredients, a blender, a fridge and voila! Purple brunch–lunch! Just make sure you plan accordingly since it takes 48 hours to cure in the fridge. This recipe is inspired by beet cured salmon which turns the exterior a rich red adding a hint of sweetness and subtle flavour. One of my favourite spots to eat in Toronto is Karelia Kitchen, a Nordic smokehouse and cafe where there are smorgasbords filled with fish, cured meats, breads, crackers, pickled things, and preserves. A little of everything to stimulate the mind and senses.
Now get out all your tiny bowls and mix and match to your heart's desire to create a different tasting bite every time.
BLUEBERRY TARRAGON GRAVLAX
inspiration: Karelia Kitchen in Toronto
the feels: elegant, salty, sweet, chewy, soft
eat with: smorgasbords, champagne, vodka, aquavit, rye or pumpernickel bread, bagels, crackers, pickles of all kinds, cheese (cream, goat, ricotta, brie), creme fraiche, capers, lemon, vegetables (cucumber, avocado, tomato, onions, radish, sprouts), herbs, caviar, honey, horseradish, mustard, potatoes
might like if you're into: cold weather countries, Jewish delis, Swedish Christmas, rolling rivers, catching crayfish, wild berry picking.
makes 4 to 6 servings || prep time: 15 mins curing time: 24 to 48 hours
- 1 fillet of fresh salmon
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed
- Add all ingredients except the salmon to a blender or food processor. Blend until evenly combined.
- Foil a baking dish just big enough for the fish and have to foil come up the sides. Pour in half the curing mixture. Add the piece of salmon and cover with the other half of curing mix. Cover the top with saran wrap tightly. Cover a couple bricks or heavy books with foil and set them on top of the fish. Put the dish in the fridge with weighted items.
- Keep in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours, turning the fish every 8 to 12 hours. The fish will be fairly firm when ready.
- Remove it from the dish when ready and gently rinse the cure off under cold water. Slice gravlax into pieces and serve with bread, crackers and accompaniments. Wrap tightly in saran wrap and it will keep for a few days in the fridge. You can freeze if you aren't going to eat it within a few days but it is always best eaten fresh as freezing will change the texture.
Recipe adapted from Copper River Red Salmon, Blueberry Gravlax.
Everything Bagel recipe + adjustments I used can be found through my last post.
Make your own Quick Pickled Onions ready in 15 minutes.