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Halibut Cakes

There’s just something about babies fresh from the bath. They smell good, their unholy, softer-than-soft-skin is still damp, their hair is all tousled and crazy and they are of course butt naked and innocent as can be. She looked like this for approximately 3.5 seconds (enough for a shutter click) before she started wailing in my face about being cold. Who could blame her. She’d been in the bath for about 35 minutes with her big brother while they both splashed incessantly, moving all the water from the tub to the bathmat, and I’d left the bathroom door open. Cold water + Cold air + Wet baby = screamfest.

It could be one of the reasons I am counting down the days to our big move. There is no working heater in our bathroom right now, never has been. It’s cold as hell when you get out of a ridiculously hot shower and I hate it. I cower in the stall and open the curtain a slit to reach out one arm and find the towel. I stay in there until I’m dry. I have a thing with being cold.

In any case, it is now only 17 days until our move. We have exactly three boxes packed. I blame my laziness, but also the poor acoustics of our home and the fact that Isla’s room is directly in the middle of the house, one floor up. We can’t do anything while she’s sleeping in fear of waking her, but we can’t do it while she is awake because our kids are attention whores. There’s just no pleasing anybody.

I’m hoping we can get this place packed up in the remaining weekends, but we shall see….


So we managed to get to a playground recently, where I tried to get Cohen to try all the fun stuff out. He didn’t like it too much. He’s turned very timid in the past year or so, not wanting to try anything new (food, people, places, etc.) and we’re not entirely sure why.

We actually turned our discipline routine on it’s head recently in an attempt to get him over his fear of abandonment (he also has a fear of haircuts…don’t even get me started on that one). We haven’t left him with anyone since he was about 18 months old and we were getting a bit strained without a date night anytime in the near future. So we stopped doing timeouts, we stopped yelling (as much as possible) and we started with a calm take and a more patient ear. And you know what? It’s actually working.

We’ve been able to leave him with Adrian’s parents several times now with no grief. We actually got to be alone together, for like two hours! It was amazing, and so well deserved and I hope to do it many more times in the future.

I mean, it’s been killing me for a while now. Every time I try to leave he makes these faces (see above) and I feel like my heart is being ripped out. He just has the sweetest puppy dog eyes. But now I see that my life as an adult with a partner who loves me is in dire need of some one-on-one time. Now that Isla is getting a bit older and becoming a bit easier to care for by others, we’re taking that as our cue to head out. For coffee, for a movie, for a cocktails at pubs I’ve never even been to (because they don’t allow kids). It’s glorious.

But I still love spending time with my kids. I think being separated for those short little moments allows all of us to realize that we take each other for granted when we spend 14 hours a day non-stop together. One day he’ll appreciate all I’ve done and will do, but for now I am justly rewarded with the biggest grins and hugs and kisses one person could possibly take, and I love it.

Halibut season. Some people love it and some people could care less. I’m the former. I look forward to fresh seafood like some people look forward to Christmas morning. Seriously. When spot prawns come into season, you will find me first in line at the docks waving my money at the fishermen as they pull into their berths. I want it and I want it fresh.

Halibut is fresh and in season right now and pairs very well with other in season vegetables (like asparagus). These cakes are huge and bursting with all kinds of delicious flavours. They don’t overpower the fish, but there is a lot going on. For even more depth, I serve them with a smudge of the very best tartar sauce and a simple side salad.

One Year Ago: Asparagus Soup

Halibut Cakes

Yield: 4 extra-large patties
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

For the Poaching Liquid:
3 cups water
3/4 lb fresh halibut
1 lemon, quartered
1 tsp salt
12 peppercorns (12! not 13! not 11!)
Handful cilantro, whole shoots
1 clove garlic, quartered

For the Halibut Cakes:
3/4 lb. halibut, poached (see above)
1/3 cup panko
3/4 tsp Alaea Hawaiian salt (or 1/2 tsp other coarse sea salt)
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
2 green onions, diced
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 Tbsp capers, minced
juice & zest of 3/4 of a lemon
handful of cilantro, minced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup cornmeal

1. Add all ingredients (except halibut) into a large, heavy bottomed frying pan or sauce pan.
2. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and add in halibut. Poach ten minutes (turn fish over after five minutes if liquid does not cover it). Remove fish from liquid, place on plate and cool.

3.  Flake cooked, cooled halibut into a bowl. Mix in everything but the butter and cornmeal.
4. In a large, heavy bottomed pan (cast iron works great) heat the butter over medium high.
5. Form four large patties with the mixture and dip into the cornmeal, coating all sides.
6. Fry in the butter for about 3-4 minutes, flip and repeat on the other side.
7. Serve with the best tartar sauce known to man and a little side salad if you like.

Similarly delicious recipes from other fabulous food blogs:

Oil-Poached Halibut with Chervil on Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook
Halibut Cheeks on Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Chive Oil on Nook & Pantry
Crispy Halibut with Wasabi Panzanella and Earl Grey Potatoes on No Recipes
Grilled Halibut with Southwestern Rub and Tomatillo Salsa on Kalyn’s Kitchen
Seared Halibut, Flageolet Beans with 4 Hour Sofrito, Garlic Confit and Kale on Wrightfood

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