Dear 2009: I've changed the locks and you can send for your stuff later.

This miserable dungheap of a year is finally ending. The only thing that could be said for 2009 is that it made 2008 look good, and that's not really a compliment.

So, much like Mme. LeFarge would prepare something excellent to knit to celebrate the rolling of the heads of assorted aristocrats, I am getting ready for this year's sendoff.

Ideally, NYE would find me in black tie and holding court, but this isn't the year for that. Between the Very Bad Stuff and the Stuff About Which I Am Hopeful*, I'm dog-tired. So, as it turns out, are everyone in our immediate circle of influence, so we're just having a sort of foodie potluck cocktail thing.

So I've spent the last couple of days preparing cocktail mixes and garnishes (lemon mix, lime mix, REAL cocktail cherries, orgeat, falernum, simple syrup, etc.) and some cocktailish edibles. This year, as it turns out hyper-expensive Caspian sea caviar is unavailable at ANY price. Which is convenient since we're in the middle of the Great Recession and people are broke. Cynical people would spot something suspicious about this...not you, natch, but suspicious people.

Anyway, this led me to gravlax. Next year I may go utterly insane and smoke my own salmon, but for now, 'tis enough, t'will serve.

For this sort of cured salmony goodness, I am utterly enamored -- so much so I have hardly altered it over the years, which speaks volumes -- this recipe. It replaces the sugar normally found in the cure with molasses (treacle?) and gives the salmon a lovely dark ring.

1½lb (+/-700gm) salmon (I like it skinned, you do whatever)
¼ c. (NFI what the metric equivalent is) coarse salt
1 T. sugar (I like light brown or "raw" sugar)
1 t. ground cumin
½ t. EACH ground allspice and sweet unsmoked paprika
¼ t. EACH ground cayenne pepper and nutmeg
¼ c. molasses (I prefer the mild stuff)
2 T. soy sauce (I like San-J "lite" tamari)

Mix all the solids together and rub all over the salmon (if you keep the skin, score it lightly to get some flavor penetration), wrap in cling wrap and weigh it down (I have heavy tomato cans for this very purpose). Stash it in the fridge AT LEAST overnight, and 12 hours would be even better. Remove from the wrap, shake off the seasoning, and pat dry. (This is key.) Mix soy sauce with the molasses and coat the salmon. Rewrap, tightly. Refrigerate overnight or longer.

Unwrap, pat dry and slice as thinly as your patience will allow.

Now, what I have decided to do for this is a simple blini and a chive creme fraiche.

Happy New Year (belatedly so for my pals down undah).


P.S. For all the cocktail excellentness, I have some lovely Finlandia in the freezer.

* Still chanting, praying, sacrificing vermin by the light of the full moon? Good. Just checking.


blackbird said…
Happy New Year, Joke - may it be all you require and more.
Frogdancer said…
Like you, I'm SO glad that 2009 has gone. What a stinker of a year.
Happy new year (she said with a slight hangover...)

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