Oh hai, guys.
So, this one time I moved to New Orleans for exactly one month. The city, every bit as colorful as the houses that line the streets, was not exactly welcoming, but we were hopeful despite its flaws. There were flies. Lots of them. And the air was thick as gumbo. And I think there might have been a stabbing down the street from our house the day we left. But when you looked past the crumbling streets and despair, man, it was beautiful. It’s overflowing with music and food and life. You can feel the history seeping from the ground, whispering its secrets. New Orleans is alive. It breathes. And everyone living there are her children.
There were signs that it wasn’t meant to be, if you believe such things. Everything that could go wrong did. Moving there was postponed twice. There was a terrible accident on the freeway on our way there and we were stranded on a bridge for 4 hours. Though our home was gorgeous, there were little things that kept happening that put a damper on the day. Our poor Ghostface had uncontrollable allergies. And then, my job situation fell apart as jobs sometimes do.
When it all went to hell there was a convenient way out, and we decided to, literally, sell almost everything we owned and move across the country to the Pacific Northwest. It was crazy. It was a whirlwind of excitement and fear and stress. There were so many unknowns, and there still are, but Portland feels like home. Truly. We adore it here.
Ghostface likes it too. He gets 2 (!) walks a day! In the summer! In Austin it was so hot that even walks at night had him panting like mad. Although last week was pretty hot, in the 90s, the rest of the time it’s been just gorgeous. The high on Sunday is 74. Ugh, I’m in heaven.
Needless to say, I didn’t cook much in the last 3 months. Moving twice in 2 months will do that. But I finally got back to it a couple weeks ago and my body is relieved. New Orleans has 2 kinds of food: fried or drowning in butter. Though my mouth was happy, my body was in a state. And they had very little healthy options. Portland is the opposite of that. Though it may lack a little of the soul NOLA food has, it makes up for it in freshness and quality ingredients. I think I’ve already lost like 5 pounds.
I love bagel and lox. It’s one of my favorite things. But it’s not exactly something you should eat all the time. I haven’t found a great bagel place in Portland yet, so I had to make my own version of the classic. I also healthified it a bit by subbing a sugarless, whole grain bread for the bagel and cutting down on the cheese. Also, smashing everything together not only melds the flavors nicely, but it keeps everything in place. Smoked salmon does have a ton of sodium, so if you’re watching out for that, take note. Otherwise you have a healthy lunch full of protein, good carbs, omega-3s, and vitamins. Pair it with a salad and check off the veggie category too!
• 1 tbsp minced red onion (scallions or chives would work too)
• about 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1/2 tbsp capers, minced
• 2 slices of smoked salmon, chopped
• 2-3 tbsp goat cheese crumbles (or whipped cream cheese)
• squeeze of lemon juice
• crack of pepper
• 1 slice of whole grain bread, toasted
• good olive oil (optional)
Put all the ingredients except the bread and oil into a bowl and smash together with a fork until well incorporated. Top toasted bread with the lox smash and drizzle with some good olive oil.