Friday, June 20, 2014

The Midsummer Night Dream

Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities…

Tomorrow night, when Sun becomes the prisoner in the Tropic of Cancer and the summer solstice begins, tomorrow night will be the most magical night on Earth. That special night when air is heavy with magic and moonlight is full of mischief, when the ivied curtain pulls back away from the darkness of the forest and leaves curl inwards to let the fairies, elves and supernatural creatures alike come out of disguise; wearing their fairy garments fashioned after petals and fallen leafs, their tiny wings glittering with the starlight sprinkle, the flower fairies, the treetop fairies, the elves of the field and their garden friends open the door to their world and allow the mortals to come in.

Tomorrow night houses that special hour when the spells become alive and everything goes awry in the moonlit forest. The morning dew turns into love potion, pollen grows into fairy dust and the field of flowers becomes a mind-boggling mayhem of fertility and the playground for the festival of magic, poetry, art and love. A lot of love...

For one single night.

The shortest night on Earth.

Fennel Pollen King Salmon Tartare with Chunky Green Pea Hummus & Raspberry-Port Sauce

The idea for this plate came about while I was watching the Midsummer Night Dream ballet with Miss Pain. “OMG,” said Miss Pain. It looks like nowadays they teach kids OMG in school and afterschool, almost like “hello”, “how are you “ and “thank you.” “OMG,” I said, despite the fact that it really annoys me when people say OMG. Yet, it was the only thing I could possibly say -- the stage was the most beautiful explosion of colors set against deep emerald forest, the spells were flying in the air and I could hear kids giggling in the darkness of the theater -- just like fairies. Although it was 9pm not a single kid was asleep! I guess it was the magic around us. All I could think of throughout the performance was how to capture the moment, the beauty, magic, laughter, moonshine, flower frenzy; how to capture it in a photograph and plate...

king salmon tartare

* 1 lb boneless King salmon fillet, skin and pinbones removed
* 4 tbsp red onion, minced
* 2 tbsp fresh chives, minced
* 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or up to taste)
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 1/2 tsp Asian sesame oil
* 1/4 tsp Shichimi Togarashi
* 1/2 tsp Thai chili, finely minced (or up to taste) 

* 2 tsp mayonnaise
* 2 tsp Dijon mustard
* 1 tbsp sriracha
* a pinch of grated grapefruit zest
* a pinch of fennel pollen
* salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place salmon on a plate and freeze for about 20 minutes, until firm. Cut the salmon into 1/8" cubes. 

Place the salmon in a medium bowl. Add all ingredients except salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and if needed adjust acidity.

chunky green pea hummus

* 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas (about 2 lbs peas in pods)
* 1/3-1/2 cup kefir
* 2 tbsp tahini
* 1/2 tsp grated lime zest 

* 1/4 tsp ground cumin
* salt and freshly ground white pepper

Cook the peas in a saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender about 6 minutes. Drain and cool. (If you are using frozen peas instead of the fresh ones, boil them for about a minute only.) In a small bowl combine tahini and a tablespoon or two of kefir. Whisk well to “whip-up” tahini. 

In a food processor mix the peas, tahini, ½ cup of kefir, cumin, lime zest, salt and pepper and purée. If the hummus is too thick, add more kefir and adjust the consistency to your liking.

raspberry-port sauce

* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 1 shallot, minced
* 1/4 cup ruby port
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* 2 tbsp seedless raspberry preserves
* 1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
* 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
* 1/2 cup raspberries
* salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about two minutes. Add the port and white wine and cook over moderate heat until the sauce is reduced to two tablespoons, about 7 minutes. Add the raspberry preserves, vinegar and mustard and whisk over low heat until smooth. Add the raspberries and cook, whisking gently to break up the berries. Whisk in the remaining one tablespoon of butter and season with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm.

to garnish

* a handful of radishes, baby beets, purslane, fresh peas, raspberries, herbs and edible flowers

Serves 6

p.s. The raspberry-port sauce is from a wonderful recipe for duck breast from Food & Wine. You can find the full recipe here.


  1. I absolutely love this! The photos are so thoughtful and striking. You've really captured a bit of magic here.

  2. Magical. Love, love, love the photography and the recipe. I can spy the elves footprints in the pea hummus...

    1. We specialize in fairies and elves in our little household. I had at least seven books to learn from, plus a very supportive stylist.

  3. Magical indeed! I love your photos inspired by midsummer! It seems that as soon as school is out it is hard to get the children into bed before ten pm! By fall, I am quite ready for the darkening evenings as no one sleeps in the nordic countries during the summer! :)

    1. Hi, thanks so much for stopping by. If I am not mistaken, midsummer is the big thing in the Nordic countries... We too are getting ready for the summer and the no-school time; when it is all over, it is always quite a challenge to get the little ones back to their normal schedules.


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