Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Getting back to my roots

An uncle of mine was asked to make a family recipe for a potluck at his daughter's school. He brought a brisket, and said that his recipe worked out great, which, no doubt, it did, as he's a great cook. While he was telling the story to my Mom (he's married to her sister) and me I asked about the recipe, hoping to adopt it, as our heirloom recipe collection is woefully deficient for reasons beyond our control. One of the first ingredients he listed off was sundried tomatoes. Now, I'm not from a Mediterranean bloodline, nor did I believe my uncle was. When I asked about how the sundried tomatoes found their way into his family recipe he replied honestly. He said something to the effect of "This was the way my mom would have made it if she had tried this recipe." At first I felt cheated, or at least like he had cheated, but I don't anymore--family recipes evolve. I've yet to get the entire brisket recipe from him, but I have no doubt that it is excellent. As great as my Mom's, who's to say.

All that being said, the picture above is a variation of the bagels and lox I grew up with. I don't think it's any better than the standard Sunday morning fare, although this version could easily be made safe should the occasion call for unleavened bread. So, like my uncle's brisket recipe, even though it's not entirely traditional, I don't think it does the original any grave injustice.

- Smoked Salmon* (This not Lox, or Nova, or the like, not that I don't love the stuff, becuase I do. This is Pacific Northwest/Native American style smoked salmon, hot smoked sans dill. For another presentation, smoked tuna would be great, if you can get it.)
- Goat Cheese (I used Cypress Grove Purple Haze. I like the herbs in it, and it seemed appropriate to use a good Northwest cheese with a good Northwest fish.)
- Water Crackers
- Chives, cut into small batons
- The picture is self explanatory (Minimal assembly required.)

So, hot smoked salmon instead of lox, goat cheese instead of cream, and water crackers instead of a bagel. I don't think my Mom would be offended, and I'm sure she'll let me know if she is.

*Smoked Salmon
I'll put the process for making this up shortly. It's pretty simple, but you'll need a smoker. While this recipe would work with cold smoked, thinly sliced salmon, that's not the point of this snack. The Northwest stuff is different, but equally good. Plus, the way it flakes is great for portioning.

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