What a jam-packed weekend! Friday and Saturday were spent cavorting and celebrating music, dance and food at the Northwest Folklife Festival. What a hoot! If you’re anywhere near the Seattle area, I highly recommend you mark your calendar for next year. If you’re a musician or dancer, juggler, face painter, artist, wacky eccentric or everyone but your mother calls you a freak, I recommend you perform at the festival next year.
The fesitval is held at The Seattle Center. Several square blocks of theaters, community spaces, arenas, halls, The Experience Music Project, The Pacific Science Center and The Space Needle provide 30 different stages, indoor and out, with rotating acts every 15-30 minutes over the course of 4 days. There is much to see and to miss. Every 20 minutes, I was running back and forth to a new stage trying to catch it all. Along the way I’d stop to sample the chicken satay in peanut sauce or the roasted corn or any of the hundreds of dishes to eat. From fish tacos to Kenyan food, from gyros to butter chicken and Caribbean curried goat to vegetarian tempeh and burritos, there was yummy food to compliment the music everywhere.
In addition to the stages, there were street performers every 10 -20 feet. Americana bands with jugs and #10 tin cans beat out tunes while metal dobros resonated the blues. Local Native singers banged on drums and sang loud and proud their traditional songs and then got the crowd laughing with “…good old Indian lovin’, but no I cannot be your husband, because I am your cousin…” It was a festival for sure.
Sunday, I volunteered at a local shelter for people in transition. I joined a group to prepare lunch for 100 guests. I was on potato salad duty. I felt a moral pull as I kept adding cup after cup of mayonnaise to the recipe. The group was insistent that it wasn’t “wet” enough. Two gallons of mayo and a heaping cup of SUGAR later, it met with approval. The smiles on the faces of those we served made it all worthwhile. It was a pleasure to bring full plates of barbequed chicken, corn, carrots and overly sweetened, wet potato salad to folks who might not otherwise have a meal that day. I imagine some of them may have even served in the military. Though the day is for the fallen, I suppose it could be in how you look at it.
Finally, today I spent in quiet celebration and memory of my dearly departed soldier boy. In my youth, I eloped with a dashing young soldier. Not long after our betrothal he died quite suddenly. The details I’ll reveal in time. It was a whirlwind romance and an all too sudden ending to the life of a great man and a marriage that surely would have lasted at least a few years. In memoriam I made his favorite fish and a drink I know he would have loved had I been this inventive then.
Memorial Day Dinner
- Sparkling Herbed Ginger Limeade
- Cilantro, Dill Potato Salad
- Chili, Lime Grilled Salmon
Sparkling Herbed Ginger Limeade
This drink is intense with flavor. Herbed with basil and mint, made bold with ginger and sweetened with honey, my limeade is fantastic served alcoholic or not.
Prep time: 5 min
Make time: 5 min
Equipment: Blender, measuring cup, strainer
Yield: 8 servings
1-½ c fresh lime juice
1 c basil leaves
1 c mint leaves
¾ c honey
1 knob of ginger
Extra mint and lime slices for garnish
Sparkling water or club soda
White rum (optional)
Sugar for glass presentation (optional)
Juice limes. Rinse and pat dry your herbs. Peel the ginger. Place herbs, ginger, lime juice and honey into your blender. Blend on high until liquid. Strain and refrigerate concentrate.
To assemble: Run lime wedge around the rim of your glass, dip and turn in a shallow plate of sugar. Add several mint leaves to the bottom of the glass and bruise with a wood pestle. Add ice, a shot of rum (if you’re doing so), ¼ cup of concentrate and top off with sparkling water. Garnish with lime and mint sprigs.
Cilantro, Dill Potato Salad
After making that heart attack of a hot mess for charity this weekend, I felt the need to celebrate health with this lighter, more flavorful version. This is also vegan, another reason to celebrate.
Prep time: 30 min
Make time: 15 min active
Equipment: Blender, measuring cup, pot, skillet
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 lb red potatoes
½ c cilantro
¼ c dill
¼ c plus a 1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small jar (6-7 oz) marinated artichoke hearts
3 cloves garlic
1 T dijon or English mustard
2 T spring onion chopped fine
1 c kale (optional)
1 t sea salt
Boil the potatoes with ½ t of salt in several cups of cool water. Boil until potatoes are soft enough to puncture with a fork but still firm. Remove from heat, drain and put into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Allow to cool completely before assembly.
While the potatoes cool, assemble your pesto. Rinse and pat dry the herbs. In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and slice the garlic into the pan. Stir until golden. Transfer garlic and oil into your blender. Add ¼ c olive oil, ½ t sea salt, mustard, cilantro and dill. You can also add kale. Keep in mind that kale is strong in flavor and will make the final product a little bitter. Pulse and blend until you have a pesto like sauce. Peel and cube the potatoes into a serving bowl. Strain artichoke hearts. Gently toss hearts and potatoes with spring onions and the sauce until evenly coated. Serve or allow flavors to incorporate for up to twelve hours.
Chili, Lime Grilled Salmon
This recipe is so easy you’ll want to make it all the time. My late husband loved salmon and adored limes. I’m fortunate to live in Seattle where we can get some of the best salmon. This recipe was made with Copper River Sockeye. It’s also great with my favorite, the Alaskan King.
Prep time: 10 min (active) 4 -6 hours (inactive)
Make time: 8-10 min
Equipment: Bowl, blender/whisk, grill, tongs/spatula
Yield: 4 servings
1 lb fresh wild caught salmon
¼ c fresh lime juice
¼ c olive oil
1 T honey
1 knob of fresh peeled ginger
½ t chili pepper flakes
¼ t sea salt
Remove the pin bones from the fish (or have your fish monger do it when you buy it). Juice limes. In a blender or with your whisk, blend all the ingredients except the salmon. Place salmon skin side up in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Heat your grill to 450 degrees. High heat is needed if you do not have a temperature gauge. When preparing salmon you want the fish medium rare for the best flavor. Salmon that is too well done will make the fish dry. Use a clean cloth to wipe olive oil on your grill. Place the fish skin side down. Grill for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve on top or alongside potato salad.