A SLICE OF HOME

by Daughter Fish

Going home used to mean visiting my parents and sister in Washington state. That was back when I thought I was only passing through New York City, to get my big city experience (3 years, max!), after which I’d hoof it back to the best West coast. Of course, life intervened. Jobs intervened. Romance and marriage and a wonderful, unexpected, real-life life intervened, and in the 8 years since moving east “going home” has become more of a shifting term. When I’m in New York, going home has expanded to include visiting my sister’s husband and their five minnows. And when I’m west, it means going back to a city I love, where I have wonderful friends, and will likely stay for a long time. If home really is where the heart is, mine is split across a continent. I eagerly await the invention of a transporter to make seeing all these loved ones easier.

In the meantime, I make do with short visits to my west home. This past week I fled the 90+ temps here in New York for a blissfully cool Seattle drizzle that gradually turned into one of those perfect, sunny, mountain-and-water-views-everywhere-you-look Northwest summers that trick inexperienced outsiders into wintering in the area (wait for the soul-crushing gray, suckas!). I quickly became reacquainted with my nephews and nieces, who graciously reintroduced me to naps, outdoor tea parties, and the culinary delight that is Pirate’s Booty. Plus, we got to play in these:

Fabric teepees

My sister’s mother-in-law made them, and all week I’ve been imagining an adult-size version as a sleeping nook for our apartment. A little googling came up with several tutorials for similar teepees, such as those by Remodelholic and Saw Dust and Paper Scraps.

As a cool auntie, I also took the kids to get tattoos:

Too bad these kiddos’ll never be on time. (Tattly, the company that makes these fake tats, btw, has many other dope designs available on their site). Despite ample outdoor time, I was impressed (and more than a little terrified) by how tech savvy kids seem to be these days.

Minnow #4 (10 months) getting his food blog on

Of course, no summer visit to the Northwest is complete without eating one’s body weight in berries. My parents are now living in the heart of berry heaven near the Skagit Valley, and I put down a flat of Rainier cherries before diving into a box of raspberries, strawberries, and loganberries (cross between raspberries and blackberries):

Loganberries, strawberries, and raspberries

A trip west must include my family’s comfort food, some variation on halibut or black cod. Because my dad’s a commercial fishermen, my folks always have a freezer full of fish (I had no idea how lucky I was as a kid!). My sister and brother-in-law let slip that Mama Fish had a new recipe for halibut sandwiches, and we tricked her into grilling halibut just so she could make us these the next day with the leftovers. Because I think good food should always be shared, and every last morsel of halibut devoured, I want to share the recipe here.

I hope, whether you’re close or far from home—or splitting homes, as I do—that you’re having a wonderful summer.

MAMA FISH’S HALIBUT-AND-PICKLED-JALAPENO SANDWICHES

Makes 2 sandwiches

My mom makes these sandwiches the day after she’s grilled halibut for dinner, but I would argue this simple recipe is delicious enough to justify grilling halibut just to make these sandwiches. The technique is best with two layers of sliced jalapeños (sandwiching the fish between the layers of jalapeños!). We use mild pickled jalapenos, but you could also go with the hot variety.

Four Slices whole-grain bread (Mama Fish prefers Dave’s Killer Bread )

Mayonnaise

About 6 ounces grilled or baked halibut

Jarred sliced pickled jalapeños (mild or hot, your preference)

Toast the bread. Spread mayonnaise on bread, and layer  jalapeno slices on each piece of bread. Flake the Halibut and lay it on one slice of bread. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat for second sandwich.