Some of you may not know this, but in addition to a full-time job and running this blog I also moonlight as a freelance writer. I started doing freelance writing a little over three years ago. Those of you that were reading the blog back in 2010 know that The Husband and I went through some hard times financially and basically I started putting myself out there as a way to earn money. Funny how God uses tough situations to open new doors. Had we not been faced with two job losses and a baby on the way, I may have never taken that leap of faith.
So what began as an act of desperation has actually turned into an extremely gratifying part-time career. I don’t just write about food. So far my two most memorable pieces have been about a father and daughter that both survived breast cancer and the congenital heart program at the local children’s hospital.
But . . .seeing as how I am a food blogger, I have written a lot of articles about food. And occasionally I get to do really cool stuff. Like take a day of vacation from my full-time job to go hang out in Natchez with chef and cookbook author Regina Charboneau at her absolutely gorgeous antebellum home – Twin Oaks.
I don’t want to kill the story before it’s even published, so I won’t go into too much detail. If you live in the Jackson area, you’ll just have to pick up the June issue of Portico.
If you don’t live anywhere near the South, you may not know the significance of Natchez. The city itself is almost 300 years old and situated on the Mississippi River. Pre-civil war it became the home of several wealthy plantation owners who built big, beautiful antebellum homes. Because Natchez remained pretty much undamaged throughout the Civil War, many of those homes are still standing. It’s literally like taking a step back in time.
After cooking, photography is my second favorite hobby and Natchez is a prime location for snapping some amazing photos. After dropping Little Tot off at daycare, I made the two hour trip from Jackson, arriving in Natchez shortly before lunchtime. This unique little lunch spot is where I stopped in for a ham sandwich and a mason jar of cold blueberry lemonade.
After wards, I parked my car and walked up and down the streets of downtown Natchez looking for interesting photo ops. I love the colors in this old abandoned theatre.
I arrived at Regina’s house shortly before a group from the American Queen riverboat was scheduled to make a visit. Regina had quite an impressive and delicious spread laid out for her guests.
Later that afternoon, I was lucky enough to snag a signed copy of her cookbook. This was one of the first recipes The Husband picked out to try. It’s a simple recipe that comes together really quickly, but has a lot of complex flavors . I served our salmon over creamy corn grits.
Pan Seared Salmon with Bacon-Molasses Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced shallot
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the salmon:
- 4 6-7 ounces each salmon filets
- 1 teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 slices bacon coarsely chopped
For the vinaigrette:
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
For the salmon:
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and reserve bacon grease. Once bacon is cool, combine with vinaigrette ingredients.
Season salmon filets with salt and pepper. Place filets skin side up in pan. Sear filets for about three minutes per side, or until salmon is seared and filet reaches desired doneness.
Drizzle vinaigrette over salmon. Garnish with cooked bacon.