Uncertainty and marital strife

Its Saturday, time I suppose for a light-hearted post on why Kanye and Kim shouldn’t get married (better yet, why reporters think this is news), or perhaps the uplifting tidbit I read on the bank president who rewarded the 13 yr old girl who found, and returned, $4,000 dollars to a recent immigrant who’d lost it in the parking lot.

Instead, I’m stuck on the stress caused by uncertainty and what this does to my marriage. It didn’t occur to me until my right hand seized up like an engine suddenly choking from a gallon of sugar poured in the gas tank (former sister in law to brother) that I realized the hits uncertainty take on a marriage. Here’s my personal list.

Anticipation of change.
Since we learned that a certain event might happen (I can’t reveal this, one of the few things I’m legally obligated not to share), we have been dealing with a lot of uncertainty. I’m not a shrink, but uncertainty that life will change, a move may happen, along with a change of schools, social structure and church and babysitters and shopping, can cause a bit of stress in a relationship.

New purchases
At the same time, the same event that can produce change can also provide the opportunity to have fun. Purchasing a recreational vehicle, a new car or other non essential items that to this point have been the stuff of dreams, not reality.  Can this uncertainty really cause marital strife? Yes. It has caused more fights between me and Rog than the schools our children will attend.

Helping others

Our big “fatty-daddy” as Porsche calls him, will soon
go back in to his underground lair

As I was  emotionally vomiting black ink all over the page, it became evident that Rog and I had/have, a lot of pent up excitement over the prospect of helping others on a bigger scale that what we are able to do today. Providing for those in need, be it financial or doing good deeds or service, is great in theory, then one must execute. Rog and I started a row over how we’d find the time (e.g. what we were willing to give up) consider the recipients (what made one person/group more worthy than another, our criteria being completely subjective) etc. Here again, this intention results/resulted in all sorts of stressful conversations. By the end of another circular argument, the goods feelings have all but evaporated in the tactical mechanics of doing said deed. Bummer.

Emotional removal
Perhaps the biggest collateral damage of uncertainty is that Rog goes in to his world, and even when he’s with me, I can be talking and he’s looking right through me. Don’t get me wrong; the man has the mind of an elephant, and can tell me word for word what I’ve just said. But he’s completely devoid of emotion and the connection is gone. With every passing week, the seeping cancer rooted in uncertainty has infected him and our relationship.

By the time I couldn’t write, my palm locked up like a vice-grip, I knew the madness had to end. Put the lid on uncertainty. I’m going to pretend said event is not going to happen. We are going to live life. Forget the potential purchases, the possible move. Enjoy the space of my house, the surroundings, the frogs in the pond today, because in the coming weeks, they will go into hibernation and next year, we may not be around to see them. I was reminded of Rev. Leroy Allison’s quote: “We spend too much time living in the “what if” and need to learn to live in the “what is.”

When Rog came home from his early morning meeting today, I gave him a hug, and suggested we just enjoy being. He was caught off guard (I suspect by both hug and comment) but got it. We have it pretty good. Time to enjoy it. And that’s one thing that is for certain.

Mini-Mart Millionaire: Real life opportunity for financial prosperity

So boring. So profitable.

Ever wonder about the lives of those behind the counter at your local mini-mart? These corner stores are a familiar site in our great land, and provide the convenience of a late-night source of headache-reducing substances equally well as ensuring I have the organic Tillamook sweet-cream, salted butter that is a staple in most of my recipes.

Behind the counters are a mix of people. At my local convenience store stands a young woman in her twenties, who dated a meth-head addict until he wound up in jail, she pregnant, and this was the impetus for her to quit using her own preferred illegal substances (pot) and turn to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond recognizing me (for she can’t quite remember my name, although she’s been clean for nearly six months), she’s even stopped dying her hair rainbow colors and let it go to a natural, dirty brown, so she can continue her incubation in the healthiest manner possible.

Not far down the road is another mini-mart. This is less convenient (for it lacks the country feel), it’s been around for decades. The old man behind the counter reminds me of Methusela, for he must be at least 900 years old. He’s matter-of-fact, but in a kind, old-school type of a way, that bespeaks of a person who’s seen it all, but doesn’t suffer from the cynicism that afflicts many older folks (age is only a number right? I’ve seen 25 yr olds with enough cynicism for a fleet of younger, less encumbered seniors). At the same time, he’s got this don’t-mess-with-me air, that conjures images of him serving in the military.

It turns out that he’s a multi-millionaire, and the convenience store was his first business venture. When he was young and married, he opened the joint, raised two sons with his wife and started diversifying. First it was storage units, then it was more corner-store marts, then more storage units. You get the picture. Two businesses that will always be necessary. He also started buying land, bit by bit. Back in those days, land was plentiful, since the great migratory push from California hadn’t yet started. By the time the eighties came around, and Californian’s (and Europeans for that matter) realized that Washington is blessed with lots of water and no state income tax, this man and his wife owned several mountains outside Seattle, past Bellevue.

As one of my friends from England told me “it’s clear, beautiful and reminds me of our vacation home. It’s the perfect place in the world.” On a lark, my English friend had vacationed here 16 years ago and moved permanently when the school year ended.

This last month, my mini-mart friend (who I still mentally refer to as Methusala), sold yet another hillside for….$285Million (yes, with an M) to a batch of developers.

“I had to,” he told me. In a bit of irony, what he had acquired had increased in value to dramatically that he couldn’t afford to pay the taxes, which increased every year. He’d tried to hold on to the land for a nature preserve, but isn’t “blessed with the deep pockets of Bill and Melinda.” Bit by bit, he’d sold off land, and finally, he gave up the entire lot.

“I’ll always have my mini-mart,” he said. The thing profits (and I mean, profits) about $5M a year, he told me. (Thus, the eternal question of all car-driving people is answered “why is it two cents a gallon right across the street??” The answer, my dear friends, is that every two cents adds up to hundreds of thousands, and millions of dollars. The end).

Because I’m an inquisitive kind of gal, I ask him: “do you have any other wealth-producing tips?”

He smirks. I’m sure he wants to tell me he’s cheap and works hard, that he’ll go to his grave with the till ringing (because men of that era believe that retirement is an dirty word). But he must see I’m sincere, and proffers a few nuggets of wisdom for my future financial prosperity.

1. buy used. Let someone else eat the depreciation of a car. “But get the extended warranty.”
2. do it yourself. Time is money, “if you have money,” he said wrily. “Adults today waste more money they don’t have by getting someone else to do it because they think their time is so valuable. It’s not. It’s money that stays in your pocket instead of going into someone else’s.
3. go discount. That includes the movie theatre. My husband knows all about this. He only (and I mean only) goes to the $3 dollar showtimes. Not so great for date-nights, but then I don’t even know what that is, so I guess I’m not missing anything.
4. Just start. Ah. As an author, my favorite adage. It’s what my movie producer says. It’s what my voice teacher says. Just start. Results (e.g. money) will come. And if you apply the above rules “you can’t help but save,” said Mr. MMM (mini-mart-millionaire).
5. Hold on as long as you can. He did that with his land, and even then, it was painful for him to watch his hard-earned asset leave his hands.

With that wisdom stuck in my head, I grabbed my M & M’s and went to the other gas station that was 2 cents cheaper.

No-effort slim waist

Today I’m introducing you to two friends. Donita and Lei. These are my workout buddies, who, just this morning, sandwiched me as we made our rounds of cardio machines and weights for three, count ’em, three hours. Donita as a blond-haired Amazonian real-estate agent, who’s former husband co-founded and sold one of the few successful Internet ventures (that I happen to use all the time; if you cook, chances are, so do you). Lei on the other hand, is a 38-year old brain surgeon. Serious. She graduated top of her class, did her externship and no has offers from all over the country. Lei’s also a mother of two, and, get this, a Maxim model. (Why Maxim you may ask. Her husband challenged her to pay for her med school by modeling. By golly. She took that challenge and raised him. Little did he know she was going to do it wearing itty-bitty bikinis).

Now, I’m all for the notion that God gave us all different talents and gifts. But did he have to combine so many in one little dark-haired-hot-bodied-Asian-hawaiian-something else- chick? But I digress. I’ve been fortunate enough to workout alongside these two gym-queens. This morning started at 6 am (which meant I got my sorry-butt out of bed at 5) and ended at 9:15.

Some highlights:

1. “Bikini season is starting.” Huh? It’s over. “Not for me,” she says. Magazines go all crazy in the winter to motivate people. Fitness models like her “take the summer off,” and don’t do anything. When the end of August hits, she has two weeks to get it in to gear. I suppose this is good for those of us who have aspirations to vaca in the winter.

2. “It’s all about the —.” Yes, Lei was blunt. Maxim “is all about the —,” she reconfirms as she points to her derriere. You see, all the angles want a rock-hard, shiny-like-a-new-car, high, lifted fanny. That translates in to most of the movements, be it on machine, free weights or torturous movements like Plios, are geared to lift the largest muscle in the body that has a propensity to sag over time. Amen!

3. “100 reps of everything.” Egads. That means any circuit has five rounds of 15-25 reps. Most of the time 25. One word. Pain.

4. “Soft, non-muscular stomachs.” What the..? “Maxim doesn’t like the muscles to look defined. They aren’t feminine.” Ok. High and tight butts are okay, but this soft, lean stomachs are good. As I thought about it, I saw the light. When I 18, my fan-fan was high and tight, my stomach flat and soft. Oh. I got it.
That’s the easy part, she went on to say, and this is actually the punch line of this blog. “Get a belt,” she says to me, then lifts up my shirt. “Oh, you don’t really need it,” she says, with what I hope was a bit of grumpiness, for I pretty much carried up the rear on all the reps today.
“The belt is a no-effort way to lose inches during your cardio,” she says in a professional, hot-maxim-body-brain-surgeon type of weight-side manner. “$12 bucks. Target. $6 bucks at other places, like Amazon. Get two,” she continued. “They start to stink after a while.”
By 9:30, I was at Target. Bought three. Two for me and one for Rog. When I got home, I showed Rog. “Return it,” he said. “I already have one.” I giggled. He’s just never used it. 
“It makes me sweat.” That’s the point. Lei promised it will take off inches without additional effort ot work. “An hour of cardio will take off a half inch to an inch. All the models use them.” 
I’m sold. 

$400 Facelift- The perfect deck

The deck-before

Fall is upon us here in the Northwest. The leaves are now orange-reddish and the first ones fell this last week. From one day to the next, the temperature dropped fifteen degrees, the spiderwebs have appeared and my pumpkins are getting large.

To me, fall means one thing: Entertaining.

That means I look around the house, in a bit of a panic, and make a list of improvements. The dings in the walls I created over the summer (primarily on the stairway), the slate floor that needs to be acid washed and reglossed, but the biggest site for sore eyes? My deck.

The deck chair before staining

One must walk up the stairs, (over our little stream), to reach the front doors. The same is true for the back door (even friends must walk the deck). It wraps most of the house and when it’s clean and stained, it’s beautiful. But in the winter, it gets saturated, then moss-covered, making it treacherous for even our sure-footed four-legged beasty of a dog.

The biggest bang for the buck

This is the second coat of stain

Twice a year, Rog must whip out the pressure washer and go inch-by-inch across the entire thing. It takes him a solid six hours, usually done in the rain, (it is, after all, Seattle). Then we wait for the sun to come out. To apply stain, it can’t be too hot nor too cold. (Between 70-80 degrees). Rog purchases a sprayer (about $20) and the weatherproof stain (in cherry). Oh, for those men who want to know, we have ironwood on our deck, Ipe variety from South America. It’s increadibly heavy and durable, with screw-down nails. The good news is spraying the deck is very fast. For a deck our size (approximately 1,500 square feet) it takes him a mere 30 minutes, if that.

After 8 years of trying out different deck stains, he came to rely upon Preserva Wood Products (we use the Redwood color). It’s about $400 all in for the materials and well worth it.

Hint: the first 10 minutes of spray is always a bit thicker-he’s not sure why. He takes an old rag/shirt, and wipes it down (all the while, wearing rubber boots. ah, my sexy man).

A side note: The deck furniture

And this is after the 3rd coat has dried

As Rog was slaving away on the deck, I decided to upgrade the furniture. Here again, we purchased quality products that we leave out during the winter. It fades to a grey, and while I don’t mind it, I like to preserve the wood from splitting. Because me and the girls scraped and coated the chairs and table last year, this years application was much faster.

We used: 3 sponge paintbrushes and last year’s can of Cherry stain gloss. Placing the chairs on a tarp, it took us less than an hour to stain the 6 chairs and table.

Hint: It took 3 coats for the chairs and stable. The first layer soaked in quickly, making the furniture look black, but it was because the wood was very pourus. The second layer gave the wood a reddish and the final coat gave us the color I want

Now, two hours later, the deck looks new, the table and chairs look new, and we are ready to entertain through the Labor Day holiday, September and the fall. Once I was done with my labor, I sat back and enjoyed three cooking and entertainment magazines- on the grass of course. The stain hadn’t quite dried- allow a few hours or a day if you can.

Smoke salmon & Cheese

Yesterday Rog did his annual Salmon fishing derby, thereby saving us nearly $300 (at $18/pound, fresh, wild caught salmon is shhhbendy).

As I smoked it and had friends over, the question is always, every year “what’s the cheese you are serving?” followed by some complimentary phrase along the lines of.. “I’ve never tasted salmon so good.”

Hint: it’s not the salmon. Granted, it’s good. Don’t get me wrong, but it really is the cheese.

Use Premium Premium Aged Gouda– the kind I use is Premier and it’s aged 26 months. (tried to find a link-couldn’t) It’s healthy (ingredients- cows milk, salt, cheese culture, rennet & annato). It’s imported from Holland (I still have my wooden clogs from my trip hanging in my house), and only $11. Very worth it.

Serving tips-
You can spear it on a toothpick for bites, or slice it up or even use some crumbles if you want a more casual atmosphere.

If your local grocery/deli doesn’t carry Premier, other premium brands will work-just look for the ingredients and the aged.

1-hr bee sting cure- not just for humans

P-dog (aka Penelope the pitbull) Her eye swollen
from the be-sting (why must the bee choose the eye?)

The distance between my house and my next door neighbor is, as Mr. Collins described, “separated by but a lane.” Yet ours is not full of manicured hedges nor wild flowers. It is frought with overgrown maple trees, rogue blackberry bushes and a sliding ledge that descends off the narrow, rock path, five feet down in to the hole of unknown badness.

Still, our neighbors left for ten days and gave us the keys to their kingdom: it’s small, but has the value of a pool and a garden that looks like the cousin of the jolly green giant, for no matter what I do, the onions and tomatoes are twelve times larger than my own. But I digress.

p-dog is so forlone, my youngest comforts
her with a hug

It was here, on this path, after a dip in the pool with my children that our illustrious P-dog, the ever-present she-beast who follows us, got stung on the eye. In a matter of moments it puffed up, covering the inside corner of her eye. For those who wonder ‘how did you know it was a sting versus a mosquito?’ it is this: A mosquito bite doesn’t begin to itch for a day or so, and on my pitbull, rarely even leaves a mark bigger than an eraser head. On the other hand, a bee sting puffs immediately, is red, and the dog doesn’t want to try and itch or touch it.

This is my 20-year old apis

I figured it was Apis, the homeopathic remedy used for us homosapiens, but I’m not sure. I call swami, who confirms it is indeed, Apis. Apparently, what’s good for the servant is good for the master (as my husband says, I’m never the master when it comes to my own darn dog).

30 minutes after the first does and the swelling is down

Apis, in case you aren’t aware, also works for bugbites and sunburns. I love this remedy. I think I have six in my little satchels all around the house and in my cars. So useful. This last Friday however, I was out. I ransacked every last location, finally turning to my 20-year old red container my mom made for me when I left for college. When I’m on the phone with swami, I tell him it’s all I’ve got.

“Unlike western medicine,” he begins, his eastern-Indian drawl thick, “homeopathic remedies last forever. 200 years even.” All I can think is- heaven forbid I last two hundred years. I’ll be the walking dead.

1 hour later, it’s back to normal, with a teeny-tiny red! I
seriously love homeopathy.

“Every half-hour,” he tells me. What do I do, after insert the tiny white pill in her jowels (for she spits it out the first time, then I put it in her gums and massage it until I think it’s dissolved)? I whip out my camera. This I gotta record.

Half-hour later, not much has happened, other than it’s a little less red. But an hour later? All gone!

Bats in the attic

Two am. Scratching on the roof. It’s raining. The chances of a bird being out in a moonsoon is nil.

I can’t sleep. I listen. It’s not on the roof. It sounds like it’s in the house, like a mouse scratching within the walls. Except there are no mice. You know why? We have no open airways or ducks between our walls. You see, where modern, well-built, normal homes have insulation, we have solid wood. That’s what happens in the northwest when you purchase a “project.” You deal with some things and i
mprove others.

Little Brown Bat
Poor, misunderstood northwest bat.

But no matter. At 2:20 am, I’m not thinking mice. I’m thinking the new squeaking sound I’m hearing is coming from the massive lava rock structure twenty feet in front of me, the same one that extends up and down three stories in the center of my house. Anyone who has visited knows the rock centerpiece is hands down, the best part of this labor of love I call my abode. If the Earth falls apart, this vertical rock and cement structure that is home to 3 different fireplaces will still be standing. In fact, I’ll probably be buried within.

No matter. By 2:30, I’m wondering how many little bats have made their home in the fireplace this time around. I’m transported to all those summer time nights spent at our cabin, high in the mountains of California, where we’d wait until the bats came out at sunset, flocking from the attic to do a turn or two before darting out an open window. We didn’t bother with brooms, much to my mother’s dismay. We thought they were cool. Besides, Dad was right. Bats are good. They eat bugs, not humans.

I fall asleep, comforted that the little black darts will come swooping out of my fireplace to eat a random spider asleep in the high corners of my windows, gulping a lost mosquito.

Today, (5:14 pm on a Friday night), I hear the little buggers squeaking again. They were out last night, scatting around, slept it off and are now rousing. A few days ago, when I was picking my daughter up from a day at her friends, it was around 9 pm and the sun was setting. The bats were flying out of the barn and we were all looking up, counting our flying friends.

“I’d much rather have bats than mice,” my friend Barb says. As I have no choice in the matter, I’m in full agreement.

PS If you want to get bats out of your house, here are a few tips.
(of course, I can’t help myself. I have to put something in about getting rid of bats, as I anticipate my mother will shriek “bats in the house! think of your children!” Well ma, it’s not like they are flying around like a caged condor, leaving droppings everywhere from which we’ll contract the bubonic plague or something. Here is proof, taking from Bats Northwest:

“bats do not make nests nor can they gnaw, so they do not physically harm your home.”  

Letting Go of ‘No’

In a fit of personal honesty, I’ll admit that I hold on to the word ‘no’ with the fierceness gripping the rope I use to scale and rappel up and down the mountain that symbolizes my relationships. My ‘no’ is the lifeline to my identity and power position in my relationship. Saying no means I want to scale the mountain by myself, when in reality, I get higher, faster, when I can say yes.

It’s an interesting thing, the word no. As a toddler, we learn the impact of shouting no. It arouses fear, anger, laughter. This must make an permanent ingram in our psyche, because the rush of power is positively exhilarating. I’d like to pretend my uses of the word No is somehow noble, like jumping in front of a speeding train or standing up to an unjust boss. But…no. It’s not. Worse, I’ve perfected the use of the non-verbal no, thanks to my slight knowledge of avoidance mixed with a scosh of passive-aggressive behavior. My dear husband might disagree. He says “there is nothing passive” about me. I “tend to come right out and say no.” (This shows him how I snookered him).

It’s easy to come across sites that suggest ways to say no at work (thanks Forbes), or specifically, saying no to your boss (thx cnbc). Having issues with cold-callers? Here are some tips to say no to pushy sales people.

Beyond the work world, saying no in social circles is less black and white. Grey in fact. It made me think of “fifty ways to say no” (I suppose a play on the 50 shades of grey, which I have not read, thank you very much).  I seriously enjoyed, and learned a lot, from the suggestions about saying no bluntly, saying no subtely, and just about everything in between. My favorites include, in no particular order:

  • I have a conflict (one doesn’t need to identify if it’s a moral, ethical or other non-rational, emotional reason, if one lacks morals or ethics)
  • I’m not planning on it
  • You go ahead, let me know how it goes
But more than the advice, I love the categories, which includes:
  • “passing the buck no”
  • “no that leaves room for a yes”
  • “considerate and gentle no” 
  • and my favorite the “fatal attraction/restraining order no”.
I’m still going to say no, I’m just now going to say it with a bit more grace. 
PS. For my mother, I’ve included this top 100 list of sassy/rude ways to say no.  This generally falls in the category of “I want to say this but I don’t have the guts.” 

Low cost, high impact herb path

The start of the path has a retaining wall to the right,
a solar light in the front and a hosta behind it. I’ve used
odd-shaped, upright flat stones as an effect to catch the eye.

In our hearts, all Americans want to come back in their next life blessed with some version of the English gardenTo our untrained eye, the wild, mish-mash of flowers that are supposed to look naturally planted, yet were probably dropped seed-by-seed by a discriminating gardener, is the epitome of class and usefulness. Very few gardens in the western US have the French garden look, because let’s face it: those manicured lawns only works in Beverly Hills behind some monstrous fence we are never going to get over.

This is the flat area. For the path itself,
I’ve used crushed rock. I’ve allowed the
moss to grow over the retaining rocks.
Hostas of different varieties line the path.
A flat sitting rock is a great, inexpensive effect

The rest of us, particularly on the west coast, favor paths that offer up the deconstructed look. I’m not talking monster, let’s do the Darcy and Elizabeth walk around the property. A path can be a few strides long or maybe thirty seconds or a minute. I’ve seen small, herb paths in the back of a townhouse in New York that look as natural and interesting as one in Malibu or Philadelphia.

The effective ones have three things in common:

1. No hassle. Local plants, comprised of the flowering kind (spring, mid-late summer, fall) are mixed with roses, hostas and other readily available succulents.

A close up shot of the succulents that
spread, filling in empty spaces before
drooping over rock walls
The second rise, part sun, part shade.
I’ve placed most of the herbs on the right
side of the path

2. Are useful. As long as you are creating a path, make it an “herb path,” by planting basil and thyme, along with some catnip and perhaps even a few strawberry plants to liven things up. I also added a sitting rock that I embedded in the bank. It’s strong (crushed rock underneath covered by bark), then planted a few flowering plants around it, along with sheep’s ear (you know, that soft, fuzzy plant).

This is an expanded shot of 3 different
varieties of succulents. You can see they
creep down in to rocks. A rose bush
isn’t quite visible (lower left) but I also
like succulents because they don’t overtake
primary plants.

I love succulents, particularly for the rock walls. Whether its near a pond, along the path or over by the roses, I can always find a spot for soft domed, colorful succulents that offer up year-round color and interest.

Poppies at the top are the reward for
making it this far.

At the top of the path, I opted for the poppies. The POW of color is great (again, for the 1/10th of a second they last). Still, the fuzzy green part is nice. I planted yet another flower I can’t name, but it’s small, vibrantly red and takes over where the poppy leaves off.

The Mexican plant (I also can’t name–see, this garden stuff is not my forte. At least I know the names of the herbs:))

3. Are pretty. The first few years, I used two colors of moss in between my stone steps. Moss dies in the winter, but looks great in the summer. Yet I accidentally planted some thyme that crept in and eventually took over the moss. I LOVED it. The smell is amazing, and then I found something else–ground cover mint. Now, my entire path has herb ground cover, which bring forth this awesome aroma.

Basil after 2 wks of growth. Nothing like
a sprig on top  of buffalo mozzerella and
tomatoes. yum.

I also like to use upright, odd-shaped flat stones to give some dimension to a path. This works equally well on flat paths behind a townhouse in the middle of a city as it does in my country-bumpkin world.
 The tools:

  • Flat stones for the walkway. Carried by most home store chains in the US.
  • Strawberries behind the thyme
  • Plants (your choice). On my herb path, I have one rising area that leads to a flat section, then a second and final rise of six stones. To accent the top of the rise, I planted poppies, which are great, but they bloom for about 5 seconds then die. Next to it I planted a Mexican flowering plant (Thanks Janel, but I can’t remember the name), that flowers for about a month had smells great.
The red flowers were planted underneath
the poppies. When the poppies died,
the red and pink flowers took their place.

The cost is minimal, since I tend to add a little bit every year. Watering isn’t a problem (we are on a well), so I’m left with weeding. My realtor friends tell me an herb path is a great marketing tool for a homeowner (especially the woman) and the typically assign another $10K to the property value if it is included. (Of course you and I know it’s all in the eye of the beholder, but if it helps your case with your spouse, I say use it as an argument!).

Add caption

Beware the dear though. They love roses and strawberries but don’t
like the herbs. This year I have two fawns that walk up my
path every morning and take a siesta on my far lawn.

Steelhead Trout Northwest style w/dill sauce

Decapitating the trout

Rog brought home two ginormous trout last month, just in time for me to cook it for a couple out of town executives he told me we were entertaining (with 1 hour notice).

In that kind of time, there is only one choice, which, all things considered, works perfectly well for a party of 8-10, and requires limited prep. I highly recommend this simple, amazing, Sarah-created, recipe, along with the simple sides for a super meal.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

You will need:

  • Tinfoil
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • Coconut oil (natural, unrefined if you have it)
  • Lemon salt
  • The trout
Open the trout (I had to cut the head off myself. Ugh. Good thing I have a big butcher knife). My ovens are the largest one can buy outside a commercial kitchen. This bad boy was so long, I had to tuck the tail under.

  1. Fillet the trout (mine came filleted and gutted).
  2. Lay out the tinfoil on the baking sheet (I used one with curled edges to prevent run-off)
  3. Lay the trout inside
  4. Open it up and using a spoon, knife or spatula, spread a nice layer of the coconut oil on the inside. Follow this with a sprinkle of the lemon salt/pepper mix, followed by the sliced up onions and lemons.
  5. Close the trout, and repeat the process above. Even though you won’t eat the skin, I’m convinced the flavours seep in to the fish.
Cook for approximately 2.5 hours, until the fish is just flakey. This is important. If it’s truly flakey, like a croissant, it will in reality, be dry once the fish has a chance to rest.
Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. This is also key, as the fish needs time to come back together (e.g. firm up) before you start slicing it apart.
Serve with your choice of rice, asparagus or other salad and you are ready to go!

Now for the Dill Sauce.

I must say, I was a bit offended. The discriminating fishers who attended this feast liked the dill sauce as much, or more, than the fish itself (and this is saying something. The two guests, both in their late 50’s, hovered by the oven, looking/poking, and have fished since they were boys. I was under pressure).

Dill Sauce

                  1/3 cup sour cream
                  1/3 cup mayonnaise
                  1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
                  1 teaspoon lemon juice
                  1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
                  3/4 teaspoon dill weed
                  1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
              Pepper to taste

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