This month, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. I still feel so blessed to have Eric in my life.
Our shared memories include being wrapped into each other’s families, a long list of travel adventures, the addition of three grandchildren to our lives, and all the thousands of evenings that began with a good dinner and concluded with the simple enjoyment of being together.
This year, I couldn’t help but think about our wedding. We had just moved to Olympia in late 1988 and got married in September 1989. We had acquired a few new friends and a few more came up from California. Eric’s mom, Louise, and his beloved Aunt Shirley came from Florida and South Carolina.
The woman who had been hired to make my wedding skirt and elegant sheer blouse ran out of time and returned the material two days before the big day. Louise and Shirley pitched right in with a borrowed sewing machine and created a beautiful ensemble. I was so grateful that it was their loving hands, instead of a stranger’s, that carried out this mission.
For the reception, I planned a menu of Northwest ingredients. I gathered them up and turned them over to friends with a recipe and a $20 bill. Their gift of food preparation was far better than a toaster or a set of towels.
I ordered a whole salmon from Sea Blossom seafood at Olympia Farmers Market. One of the people in the booth agreed to go out and catch one that would serve 50 people.
My friend Rebecca Cody agreed to let the guy drop the fish off in her refrigerator. She was living in a houseboat at Percival Landing at the time. Everything came off like clockwork, and Rebecca remains a very dear friend.
I sautéed a huge batch of sliced leeks in butter and wrapped them up with the salmon pieces into phyllo dough packets. They were served with a yogurt dill sauce. It was a delicious entrée.
The salad took advantage of blackberry brambles loaded with luscious fruit in September. The tangy-sweet dressing just takes a few minutes to make and is a perfect foil for the greens and berries.
In a small saucepan, stir together a 1/2 cup of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of mustard powder. Add a cup of vinegar. I like using Kozlowski Farms black raspberry vinegar, but red wine vinegar works well too. (You can tell a true foodie by checking his or her pantry for the number of different flavored vinegars they keep on hand. I think 10 is the minimum on my shelf.)
Heat the dressing mixture over medium heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion. I had a Walla Walla left in my cupboard and used it up. Any onion, whether one of the sweet ones or just a regular brown onion, will work in this recipe. I used my Zyliss food chopper for this job. It’s easier to clean than a food processor for small jobs. An additional benefit is that you have to pound the top 20 times or more to get a fine chop. It’s a great stress reliever.
Add the chopped onion along with a couple of tablespoons of poppy seeds and three tablespoons of lime juice to the mixture. Slowly drizzle in a cup of salad oil. You can use olive oil if you wish, but the dressing will have a greenish color. Whisk as you drizzle to incorporate the oil. Remove from heat and pour over greens and blackberries or raspberries. It makes a big batch and you can store it in the fridge. However, be sure to reheat it before serving it on additional salads.
Karyn Lindberg has called Olympia home since 1988. She is passionate about cooking and entertaining. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.