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Jan 9, 2007


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We know that you do not have all the time in the world to read recipes and stories.
But since we all need a little humor in our life to reduce the wrinkles, hopefully, we are hitting the right spots. 

On January 9, 2007, Mr. Goudas disappeared from his office at around 8:00 p.m. I was doing my usual stuff and the cleaning lady was doing her bit, vacuuming and mopping the offices. Needless to say, half-an-hour later a smell penetrated the office environment.
In other words, something was cooking! It was almost time to take my break and have a sandwich.
However, the smell meant I was going to have a full meal instead. After all, it is a known fact: Mr. Goudas never eats alone. 

Secretly, I went into the boardroom and set up the table for 3 people with plates, spoons, forks and the works, as well as one the bottles of wine presented to Mr. Goudas by various people over the Holiday Season.
Mr. Goudas in not really a drinker, but he enjoys a small glass of wine now and then. 

As predictable as ever, Mr. Goudas comes out of the kitchen with a rectangular baking dish covered in aluminum foil, and we surprised him by telling him to go into the boardroom.
He then said I have cooked for 3 and I am happy that you set up the table for 3. Let us all have dinner! 

When he removed the foil paper we were very pleased to see what was in the baking pan. The picture above says it all: 3 thick, juicy pieces of Salmon steak, surrounded by baked onions, whole marinated mushrooms, and sliced carrots in lemony juice. Mr. Goudas divided up the dinner among the 3 of us. It was not long after the first bite when we all admitted that it was simply delicious. And after the first glass of wine, we thanked him and asked what the occasion was, and how he cooked this wonderful dinner. 

He appeared to be in happy spirits and a talkative mood and therefore he started the story of how this all came about. We smiled. He began by revealing the recipe. He placed the 3 salmon steaks on the tray and then he cut 9 onions in halves and placed them face down around the steaks, together with three sliced carrots and whole marinated mushrooms. He poured half a cup of olive oil, a glass of water, the juice of one lemon, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of Trinidad Hot Sauce and a pinch of oregano over the salmon. He then covered the tray with foil and baked for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. When just about ready, he flipped the salmon around and then separated the layers of the onions to let them bake a little bit more until the water evaporated completely and his creation obtained a golden colour. 

We all agreed that we were having the best dinner ever, and then Mr. Goudas asked for another glass of wine. Then we asked him again what the occasion was and why we were having such a superb dinner, accompanied by the heavenly music of tenor Harry Secombe, in his album Highway of life. 

Then by sipping his glass of wine he told us the following story: 

You know that I have had problems with my back since I sneezed 6 months ago and dislocated a spinal disc. Now I feel much better and I am trying to walk without a cane. During this period, I met a very good surgeon by the name of Dr. Joseph McKenna, and although he is one of the best surgeons in the country, he suggested that I dont have an operation at the present time. He comes regularly to the office to check on my condition, sometimes even on the weekends, and so last Sunday, at around 11:00 am, I was cooking spaghetti and remembered my doctor friend, and felt like calling him up and inviting him to lunch. 

When I called him, his phone went to the answering machine. I left the following message: I have cooked the best mincemeat and tomato in the world and would like to know if I should complete the dinner by cooking some spaghetti, or maybe start another dish of baked salmon in the oven with onions and carrots in lemon sauce. Since I was not able to talk to the doctor directly, I continued with the mincemeat dish. 

A few minutes later, the phone rang in the office and guess who it was. He told me he would be there in 20 minutes because he was presently at a church service. I assumed that Dr. McKenna's cell phone was on vibrate due to the quick response. I continued cooking and thinking to myself that maybe, although the doctor is a religious man, he probably told them that he had an emergency to go to! 

I then pondered on something that happened to me many years ago. Right then and there I remembered an incident that happened more than 55 years ago. As an altar boy back in Greece, me and another altar boy were preparing the red wine for the chalice and communion services, and decided to have a couple of glasses of this red wine as our private communion. When we finally emerged from the back of the church to the front, to present the minister with the rest of the wine, we started dancing Sirtaki like Zorba the Greek. The whole church erupted in laughter and that was the last time I assisted at Sunday mass. 

The Doctor arrived just as I was bursting with laughter at this memory. I told the doctor to set up the table and we had a wonderful lunch and conversation. It was a refreshing start to the New Year!. Dr. McKenna had brought with him a gift, the CD mentioned above. Mr. Goudas then said that he was thinking to himself and remembered that he had three pieces of salmon in the refrigerator, which, if they were not cooked today, would not be any good for tomorrow. That is why we were enjoying this superb meal today. And since he was cheerful because he was feeling much better these days, he grabbed his harmonica and he played along with the tenor to How Great Thou Art. 

We wrapped up the wonderful dinner with the boss and continued on to our various assigned duties, which for me is this article and this story, the first for 2007! 

So, by now you should be able to cook salmon the Mr. Goudas way! 

If you wish to listen to the hymn as well as read the words, check out this Website link. It is not with Harry Secombe singing, but you can hear the tune and read the words. Enjoy!

You may read this article in book format under the title, Baked Salmon.

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