Judging by the bug bites, dirt under their nails and their olive skin deepening to a color much like browned butter I say that we’ve been doing summer right; according to the unwritten rules of childhood summers. They’ve spent evenings camping (with more to come), sat out by countless fires, had their (almost) fill of s’mores, shot bb guns at magic hour, plucked peaches straight from the tree then consumed them until more dirt clung to their sticky hands and faces. And that was all just last weekend.
While my coffee sat brewing this morning, before the 4 minute timer signaled the time for the plunge, I stood at the fridge with pen in hand eager to mark off the items on our summer to-do list. “Only three items to check off?! But we’ve been so busy.” At first I felt a tinge of disappointment for the paintings I’ve yet to paint, the swim lessons we’ve yet to complete, the water taxi to West Seattle we’ve yet to take and the meals I’ve yet to teach the kids. But then I stopped myself because first of all, although the PR pitches and Back-to-School sales announce the impending start to school season and subsequently fall, it’s only the beginning of August which means there is much more summer to be had. More importantly I refuse to let some unmarked boxes on a to-do list that I created when I had very little idea of what the summer had in store determine the success or demise of these sun-filled days. The list was created not as a religious chart of must-do’s but as an idea generator on those days when we feel a little lost. It was to give our summer direction. But I don’t need a list to tell me (or not tell me) that we’ve done and are doing summer right.
I’m not much of a planner but having three kids has taught me that planning is no longer something I can caste off because it doesn’t come naturally to me, oh no, we have no choice but to plan. But whenever possible I still like to hold those plans with open hands free to alter them slightly or throw them to the wind if the day asks for it. I do love the satisfaction of marking things off of the plan, so much so that sometimes I’ll write things on my daily to-do list that I’ve already accomplished just so I can put a big gratifying check next to it. But I refuse to let that satisfaction rule the success of our day. I don’t want to say no to something because it wasn’t on the list. Life doesn’t work that way.
There are still things that I’d like to do that sit unmarked on our list of summer to-do’s but I’ll use them as motivation rather than law. Today I’m thinking we’ll cross off “have a lemonade stand” but if a picnic to the beach seems a better way to spend the day then we’ll do that instead. Maybe at the end of the summer I’ll write a list of all the things we did do then with great joy check off each and every box next to the item.
No matter how we choose to spend this day, I’m feeling incredibly grateful for these days, I know they are a gift and I intend to treat them as such.
As promised, I have the second in a series of three grilling recipes and videos to share today. I’m so glad there is much more summer left so you have time to enjoy these plank-grilled salmon sandwiches. There’s a bit of grilled bacon in there too, along with a red onion relish that is sweet, tart and tangy with briny capers tangled in between the purple lacy onions.
Enjoy the video and recipe then head on over to Porter & York to order your salmon and have it delivered right to your door.
Also, while you’re clicking around the internet I wanted to point you in the direction of One Kings Lane and the stunning (I almost said beautiful but I used up that word in the salmon video) sale they created around our trip to Charlotte, NC. It’s only available for the next couple of days so go there quickly. (There’s also a video and in it I attempt to play golf. It’s okay to laugh, I do it often.)
Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches
2 1/2 pound fillet of King Salmon (available at Porter & York)
salt & pepper
2 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
12 strips bacon
2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
3 cups arugula
6 brioche buns, halved
1/2 cup mayonnaise
cedar plank, soaked for at least an hour
Preheat your grill while you prepare the salmon.
Set the salmon on the soaked plank then season with salt and pepper. Spread the dijon on top then finish with the dark brown sugar.
Grill the salmon for 20 to 30 minutes or until the flesh is firm when touched and flaking.
After 10 minutes on the grill lay the bacon directly onto the grill and cook until crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Remove the salmon and bacon from the grill then let the salmon rest while you prepare the burgers.
Slather the brioche buns with mayonnaise.
Cut the salmon into 6 or so burger-size pieces. Place a piece of the salmon on the bottom bun then top with avocado, arugula and bacon. Finish with the red onion relish and then the other half of the bun.
Red Onion Relish
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons red wine
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup drained capers
In a medium pan over low heat, add the olive oil. Add the red onion and salt and saute for 15 minutes or until very soft, stirring frequently until done.
Add the sugar, wine, thyme leaves and vinegar. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid is syrupy. Fold in capers. Cool, then store in a jar in the fridge.
*Thanks to Porter & York for sponsoring this post and letting me create whatever I wanted with their gorgeous meat.