Can you blame me? Anyone who has spent any time in this area knows of its beauty and its bounty, its welcome quiet and its humble charm. I can't count the times I've met someone who's lived or visited here with whom I've formed an instant connection. We all agree it's a very special place and though I'm not ready to move back quite yet, I do envision myself settling into a big old farm house by the Gaspereau River in the distant future. For now, I'm content with my quarterly visits.
Am I spilling the beans with this post? Perhaps. But as this blog claims to be about my experiences with domesticity, I thought it was due time I shared with you the place I feel most at home.
My family lives in the village of Port Williams, a sleepy little community nestled amongst a series of farmers' fields. We are small (population just over 1000 last time someone checked) but we are mighty: we have a pub, a microbrewery (soon to be two), a fresh pasta shop, a cheese house and a winery. Clearly, we have our priorities in order.
My family frequents all the local establishments: we get our milk and gelato from Fox Hill Cheese House, our fresh pasta from The Noodle Guy, our beer from Sea Level Brewing and the occasional bottle of wine from Planters Ridge. And on hot afternoons, my family loves nothing more than heading down to the Port Pub. Perched on the bank of the Cornwallis river, we sip on something tasty and watch the tide come in or go out depending on the day (though more often than not, it's hard to tell the difference).
More than the community itself, my family home is what I miss most when I'm away. It's where I first learned to cook and truly appreciate what food can be: a connector, a life force, an art form. Whenever I'm in town, my mother and I spend half of our time in the kitchen, the other half eating or planning what we'll eat next. On clear summer nights, we dine in our garden room, a small wooden structure tucked behind the greenery at the back of our yard.
What does a night at home look like? I carry down the necessities (wine, cutlery, napkins, sea salt and pepper) in a wicker basket to ensure our summer table is set in one go. We watch the sun go down while we eat good food, something simple like grilled salmon, and the temperature drops. We head in when it's too cold to stay out, full and happy and ready for bed.
George's Grilled SalmonWhile my mother and I do most of the cooking at home, my stepfather is an expert griller. Salmon is his specialty (seared on the outside, buttery and moist on the inside) and a "convection-style" method is his claim to fame. Here's how he does it...
Remove salmon (portions or fillet) from fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Allow to air-dry on a large plate and season with plenty of salt and pepper. If using grill baskets (George recommends it), grease with olive oil to ensure your fish doesn't stick. Ignite the grill and allow it to reach a high heat before beginning.
Place salmon skin-side down on the grill baskets. If your fillet is big, you'll need to cut it into smaller portions so it fits easily. Cook over high heat until skin becomes crisp. Flip salmon and peel off skin. Season with salt and pepper on this side. Put down lid and cook for 5 minutes.
Flip salmon again. Turn off half of the grill's flame and transfer salmon to the non-ignited area. Keep one half of the grill ignited and hot. Put down lid to create a convection effect. Allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until salmon is done.