Recent climate changes have given us false hope and caused confusion. We were gifted with warm temperatures last weekend, screaming for sleeveless tops and short bottoms, then stabbed with an entire week of nonstop rain-pour, and strong winds, something rare up here even during the 30 degrees below zero winters. We woke up to a Sunday that showcased the sun, thinking it was the perfect opportunity to step outside of Hanover and drive up to Woodstock for brunch. (I say “up” because I mean Woodstock, Vermont, not three days of peace and music summer of 1969 Woodstock.) But, stepping outside into the cold winds, we decided this Sunday wasn’t the best choice to enjoy an outer-Hanover experience, specially if it’s going to be another 30 minute drive farther North.
Put an Iranian and an Italian together and you have two people who are always late. We did not step outside until the afternoon, when our stomachs could no longer take the pain of fasting. We ran some errands, and both on the fence of lunching in Woodstock, sniffling as we held our collars tightly closed, the guinea pig proposed we just go back to my apartment for a quick fix. I objected- I looked too nice to end the day with merely a run to the ATM and the air station at the gas pump.
I had transferred two cuts of Mahi Mahi loins from the freezer to the fridge before leaving. The plan that we never followed through was to have a sandwich, a revision from brunch, at Woodstock, and come home for a Mahi Mahi dinner. But that didn’t happen.
Brunch was delayed to lunch, and lunch ended up being “linner” (if I can call a meal in between lunch and dinner that), all because we decided to try out the new place in town, and everything on their menu. We went to 3 Guys BBQ Basement,(who didn’t open until 4:30, having us kill time in a dress boutique, me trying on dresses and the guinea pig being an awfully good wingman) and first ordered the brisket and the ribs, with sides of fries and baked bean, and of course beer from the draft. Halfway through, we reasked for the menu, and put in an order of pulled pork and fried pickles. The waiter, probably disgusted by the surprise of just how much two normal sized people can put into their stomachs, brought us the check, not even asking if we would like to try the big ass red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting and candied pecans for dessert, although, he did ask for our assessment on the various menu items we had sampled.
We left the place smelling like smoked pigs, and ended up replacing a dinner of fish with fruit- a salad of straw and blue berries, bananas, cantaloupe, an orange, and pink crisp apples tossed with Marsala.
And so, Monday night became Mahi Mahi night. Mahi Mahi is firm yet moist. The name is Hawaiian for “very strong”, but it’s funny because “mahi” is the Farsi name for fish. I grilled it with some salt and pepper, and served it with some rice that was cooked in tomato juice with peppers and black beans, and topped it with a wonderful salsa. I put a few tomatillos with some scallions, a bit of olive oil, and a chile pepper, seeds removed, into the blender. I finely chopped cilantro, and diced two avocados. I grilled the corn, getting a nice black char on the kernels. Come corn season, on the streets of Tehran, vendors will be sitting behind a rectangular tin pit in a sidewalk corner, with heads of corn shimmering directly on burning charcoal. They sit on an upside-down turned fruit crate, fanning the fire and turning the corn. Once the corn is cooked, charred and smokey, it’s taken off the fire and dumped into a bucket of salt water, and from the bucket, it’s shaken, then handed to the customer. After fiercely teething every kernel off the bone, I always suck the very tip, drawing in the salty, smokey, sweet.
The corn danced on the grill vigorously, almost in a salsa. Their kernels popped every once in a while, snapping out loud, like popping corn. I used my knife to slice them off the bone. I tasted the tomatillo mixture before adding the cilantro, avocado, and now grilled corn, and it was spicy. I had removed the seeds from the pepper, where most of the heat lies, and even tried a bite of its red flesh, and found it mild. But, soaking in the green tomato juices, it had released spice, and too much of it for the guinea pig to handle. So, I improvised, and counter-balanced it with a squeeze of honey. I waited, but, there was no complaining, no sniffling, and no eyes watering.
Put an Iranian and an Italian together and we’re always late, but, our stomachs are always happy, and full.