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Dishing It Out!:
Summer Lovin’!

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Summer Lovin’!
18 May 2011

As seen in Monterey County Herald : Todd Fisher Dishing it Out!
Posted: 05/18/2011 01:56:37 AM PDT
Updated: 05/18/2011 08:58:14 AM PDT

I will preface this column by saying I woke today feeling a little ADDHD, which I believe stands for my Attention Deficit Disorder in High Def. With that said, hold on …

Not that the lasts few days’ weather have sung the song of summer, but I do have summer on the mind. With my Abbie “Snail’s” 10th birthday just a little more than two weeks from today, and her joyous dancing and her vivacious celebratory spirit abounding (happy birthday, Snail), I am struck with the thought that the school year is coming to an end. And with that, the reminder that in as few as some 20 days my little baby girl of a young woman, whom I do believe was just born yesterday, is going to be a freshman in high school. Yikes!

She is such a beautiful young lady and dag-gum fabulous. Check out her blog at Life as Mackenzie Ayn. I knew she was brilliant, I mean, the fruit does not fall far from the tree as they say … and she is just like her mom. But wow, I am impressed. You make me so proud, kid.

Speaking of falling fruit, that blink-of-an-eye cherry season is at hand, and with summer scratching at the back door like an excited puppy, I have had beef on the mind as well. I just made this scrumptious, balsamic-marinated skirt steak and fresh cherry salad that was accented with tangy, stanky blue cheese and crunchy almonds — dyn-O-mite!

And when I was grilling away for the full 6 minutes, I was thinking of all the other things that I should have been, could have been grilling.

Remember, over the next two months, cooking classes at THE KITCHEN are both grilling focused. Steaks and seafood, vegetables and potatoes, pizzas and cobblers. Come on down. 

Perfrect for Father’s Day, the June 11, class (11a.m.-2p.m.) is Grilling A to M (grilled avocados, halibut, mushrooms and more). Saturday, July 2, is Grilling N to Z (grilled nectarines, tuna, zucchini). Each class is $75. Space is limited and we do have a few Chef Todd six-packs left for the year (six classes for the price of 5 or so). A sweet — or shall I say savory — deal. Call Katie Martin at 206-8401 or email

Here is where I am certain to grab a bit of grief from my buddies. Not too many of my friends have the opportunity to post a “love note” to their wives in the local newspaper for everyone to read. But I do! Sorry boys … happy wife, happy life!

This Sunday my beautiful bride and I will celebrate 17 years of blissful matrimony. With that milestone of love approaching, I have been telling everyone about the first meals I ever cooked for her and how I dazzled her into falling in love with me. It was “love at first sight” for yours truly, but she took a little convincing.

Consider that our first three dates included a dinner party in which I convinced her I was required to bring someone and I asked nonchalantly if she wouldn’t mind helping me out by going with me, while the next two were her and a girlfriend coming into the restaurant where I worked (I actually never even sat with her). That was obvious foreshadowing to a life of needing a date for every special event.

All that and she still gave me a fourth date that consisted of walking through the kitchen to get to our reservation because I only knew where the back door to the joint was … I know what you’re thinking — smooth. No, in fact, awkward, as Mr. Boston says. Can you blame her for being, shall we say, patient?

It certainly could have been how I ordered for you on that fourth, yet first, date of ours together, or the half-eaten sandwich you made me offer to a homeless fellow that made you fall in love with me. Either way, it was obviously meant to be, and I still remember sending out that artfully prepared plate of fettucini alfredo, tortellini pesto and penne marinara arranged like the Italian flag. (I know, highly creative. Well, it was for a 19-year-old budding culinarian and lovestruck boy.)

As I peaked around the bustling corner to see your face when it was set in front of you, I felt excitement when your face lit up and you made that approving glance to your girlfriend. It seems like just moments ago every time I look into your eyes. Ever since, you have been my biggest fan, hardest critic and greatest inspiration. Happy anniversary, my love! May this May mark the quarter mark of our life together. We will get that flag. I.L.Y.M.

We’re all so busy, let us not forget the really important things in life like family and friends. Lest they pass quickly by like the sprint of cherry season and we miss the whole thing, never truly enjoying the full flavor of their season.

Till next time, cheers!

Balsamic Skirt Steak and Cherry Salad
(Serves 2)

2 pieces skirt steak (8 oz. each)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. canola oil
2 T. California olive oil
4 cups baby spinach
2 cups arugula
½ cup pitted and split cherries
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
2 T. coarsely chopped almonds

Steps: In a small bowl combine the 2 T. balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic and the canola oil and marinate the skirt steak for 1 hour prior to grilling. When ready to grill, remove steak from the marinate, dab on paper towels to absorb any excess marinade, and add salt and pepper. Place skirt steak on a medium-hot grill or indoor grill pan for 2-3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine olive oil and remaining vinegar. season with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Add spinach; toss to combine. Thinly slice steak crosswise. Place spinach, arugula, cherries and steak on serving plates. Sprinkle with cheese and almonds.

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