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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunny Day Fish Fry

Since moving out to Portland, one thing I have learned to do is to take advantage of nice weather, because you never know when it will be back. So as I left work on Sunday and stepped into the warm glow of the late afternoon sunshine, I thought: Tonight, we eat outdoors.

The sudden and unpredicted 36-hour spell of summer weather got us thinking about Southern food, but to keep it simple, we limited the menu to a few reliably delicious dishes. Sarah took charge of the mac 'n' cheese and, despite our ongoing battle of methods (she layers and uses egg, whereas I take the Bechamel route), knocked it out of the park.

I spearheaded the fried cod batter, using a bottle of our very own home brew and thickening it with flour, corn starch, and baking powder, with some cayenne thrown in. And we teamed up on the hush puppies, folding in a minced jalapeno and a lot of onion and then frying them until deep brown.

As for drinks, we went with the 2009 Naucratis Lost Slough Vineyard by Scholium Project. This winery was started by a Philosophy professor turned winemaker, a guy who makes wines that are definitely not for everyone, but definitely appreciated by most wine geeks I know. It weighed in at a whopping 15.3 degrees alcohol (did I mention it's white?), but we took our time with it.

The best ingredient, of course, was the backyard. The sun on its way down, long rays slanting through the blossoming trees, the cool of the evening wrapping up our first glimpse of the summer to come.

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