Baked salmon and a daily walk with nature

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By: Rachel Shenk

Rachel Shenk

I am a creature of habit. Just about every day, Jim and I go to the park to walk or run. We’ve been doing this for a while now and more seriously since a wake-up call three and a half years ago.

We first started walking every day after taking a two month walking trip through France. Our youngest daughter had just left for college, Jim was at a turning point with his work and we thought it might be a fun and active way to rediscover each other after years of parenting and work.

It takes us away from the weighing details of our daily life.

So we left behind our daily lives in Goshen and headed out with small backpacks into an amazing adventure. For two months, we carried our homes on our back and walked long distances daily, mostly from town to town. When we returned here, we continued walking every day because we noticed how much more we saw on foot.

Then, three years ago, we became even more focused when Jim’s medical diagnosis put him in the at risk category for heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. No matter the weather or the work, we set aside time to walk, and then run. Not only did it help to reduce our busy life stress but it also whittled down our body weight. And the side benefits piled onto the real benefits.

Ox Bow County Park became our outdoor home. We have now seen it under all types of circumstances: heavy snow, leafy spring splendor, blistering heat, shrouded in fog, swollen rivers, pouring rain, strong winds, autumn colour, stormy skies. The list could go on. In its many forms, it always reminds us that nature surrounds us and is beyond our control. The natural world continues its cycles whether our life stops or not. And, as such, it takes us away from the weighing details of our daily life. Once we arrive at Ox Bow, what matters is what we see and what we smell and what we feel right there around us. No worries about finances, family, food, religion, education; just a time to let go and look. Sometimes, we do process the daily events we have just lived, but in that space, we find ourselves better listeners and better interpreters.

In these few short years of walks and runs, we have witnessed numerous animals in their habitat: the lush coats of a family of skunks, the feathers of the wild turkey, the eerie call of the sandhill crane, the mating song of two barred owls, along with deer, blue herons, bluebirds, raccoons, bunnies, red tailed hawks, and just yesterday, snakes. Through the seasons, we see their world, our world, change and understand that the world keeps on turning. Knowing that we live side by side with these makes our petty problems seem minor. And we see so much more now than we used to. I encourage you to find these places in your neck of the woods and let yourself go.

Tonight, after our run, we come home and have a simple but delicious salmon and roasted vegetable meal. Here is the recipe we use for our oven baked salmon.

Bourbon Marinated Salmon
Note: Quick to bake, but allow a few hours for marinating.

Ingredients

  • 2 6-oz. salmon filets
  • ⅓ cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Honey
  • Granola

Directions

  1. Place salmon in a baking dish. Combine onion with remaining ingredients and pour over salmon. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for several hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Take the salmon out of the marinade and place in a pan with a little olive oil.Top with some of the onions from the marinade.
  4. Bake for 7 minutes. Then brush with a little honey and sprinkle with granola.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with rice.
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