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Salmon and Cedar

Salmon and CedarSunny my reflexologist was here this afternoon. This involves a lot of massage oil, some aromatherapy and me moaning occasionally and saying "tong, tong!" which is Chinese for pain. Sunny doesn't speak much English and that's usually the extent of our conversation. But seems he knows enough to be able to communicate that Lan Shui's wife had his first baby (and just remember: you heard it here first).

Sunny left around 6 after which I prepared dinner for two friends who'd come over. The centrepiece of the meal would consist of salmon cooked on a plank of cedar over the BBQ. This is a big thing in Canada now and I'd transported a piece of wood three thousand miles for the occasion. Admittedly I felt vaguely guilty for my complicity in the death of a tree just to add some flavour to my dinner. But what the hell, Salmon on Cedar sounds kinda cool.

According to instructions, you have to soak the wood for an hour and then, after placing the salmon on top of the wood, you have to "put the wood directly on the coals." Coals, schmoals. I soaked the wood and followed the instructions. Except I wasn't using coals: I was using a gas fired BBQ with an open flame.

I left the salmon for 10 minutes while I went to prepare the salad. When I returned, the wood had caught fire and the entire balcony was flooding with smoke. In about one minute, I went from smelling like a Javanese spa to a Canadian forest.

Char-Broiled CedarThe fire was put out with a cup of water. The salmon was saved. In fact is was cooked perfectly though it seems a bit much to risk burning down the entire building to reach culinary excellence. In my defence, it should be noted that I had to cope with two earthquakes during food preparation - one while surfing the net for instructions on how to use the wood, the other while trying to put out the fire before succumbing to smoke inhalation.

So I had two earthquakes, a fire and still pulled off the perfect dinner.

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