Sunday, November 25, 2012

Salmon with Cilantro. War.

I was born during a civil war. I used to play "war" with my siblings and my cousins, full blown war, with rock(et)s and tanks and street fights, just like the war we were living. We were lucky, because whenever the fighting was in Beirut, we stayed in my hometown, whenever it was in my hometown, we fled to Beirut, and whenever it was in both Beirut and my hometown, we fled to Syria. We used to hear the rockets fly above us, and we'd ask my father, "will it fall here?", and my father would listen a bit more, and say, "no, it's high." We thought that was normal, that was our reality. (One time, a rocket did actually explode next to our house, and something happened; I may share that sometime later).

 There is nothing good about wars, nothing, dot. But for a child, the war is a game, the war is what everyone talks about, the war is scary, the war is how we meet other children, it is thrilling- fleeing is thrilling. Will we make it through the checkpoint? Will the fighters let us pass? Will we pass that 100 m dangerous zone? Will the rocket miss our house? Will my mother give birth in the car? Will the militias believe she's in labor? Will we not go to school? (The best war time was when one year we didn't go to school for 6 months in a row.)

 Extreme fear and thrill, and high doses of adrenaline, that's the experience of the children of the fortunate uninjured families. Then we, the children of war, grew up. I have lots of memories from the war, though I never talk about them, and never will. But that's who we are, that's our history and what we were born into. It made us strong and life loving. It made us fighters, and, it made us push ourselves to the extreme, seek the thrill of life and love the adrenaline high.

 During the war, I remember a car coming to our town to sell fish. I actually thought it was normal to buy fish from a car. I love the fish in Lebanon (though this year, when we went for a visit, we had a 1lb fish for 100 dollars! Just one fish that's true, so be careful).

Recipe: Salmon with Cilantro
The fish in this picture is cod and not salmon, but I prefer salmon or catfish for this recipe.

  • 1lb salmon, boned and skinned. (I also use the same recipe with different kinds of fish, like catfish).
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon poultry spice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • 2 cups cilantro.
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1 small tomato, sliced into small cubes.
  • 1/2 cup onion, sliced into small cubes.
  • 6 medium potatoes, sliced in large cubes (I keep the skin).
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Season the fish with the black pepper, poultry spice, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cilantro, garlic, tomato, and onion.
  3. Line an oven pan with tinfoil, and put half of the cilantro mix in the pan. 
  4. Put the spiced fish on top of the cilantro mix, then spread the other half of the mix on top of the fish. 
  5. Add the potatoes on the sides of the fish, then sprinkle the oregano and the crushed red pepper.
  6. Add the olive oil evenly over the potatoes and the fish.
  7. Cover in tinfoil.
  8. Bake in oven, at 425 F, for 1 hour, or until potatoes are cooked.  

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