Sometimes you wake up feeling depressed and heat up some frozen macaroni and cheese for breakfast, schlep to the couch to watch America’s Test Kitchen reruns, and don’t move for hours except to refill your Coke Zero. Around 2 pm, you start to feel lazy and that compounds your bad mood, but you’re also paradoxically too tired to do anything. So you take a nap. Then you wake up too late, having wasted the whole day, eat more food, and watch more cooking shows.
(Right? This happens to you, right?! Or at least something similar?)
And then you look at a friend’s Facebook profile or Instagram feed and notice they woke up at the crack of dawn; canned 18 tons of blueberry jam; renovated their bathroom; fed their beloved backyard chickens, who all have carefully chosen names like “Huckleberry;” took their kids to the botanical gardens; went for a 14-mile run; enjoyed a green smoothie for lunch; and are now heading off to the farmers’ market to buy some squash blossoms for the dinner party they’re hosting tonight next to their gorgeous outdoor fire pit.
And you cry a little into your frozen enchilada meal and feel like everyone in the world is happy and healthy besides you. Ever felt this way? Even when my life is going wonderfully, everyone else’s happiest moments streaming by on Instagram can bum me out a bit. Why am I not at the museum? Why haven’t I been to the library lately? Why aren’t I hiking right now?
I loved this little video, which highlights an important truth: while not many of us outright lie on social media (I hope!), you’re never getting the full story.
We don’t have to share every time we get a hangnail (please, no.), but it’d be nice if the self-image we sculpt on social media were just a tad more realistic. It’d be nice if people didn’t feel like they were the only ones not invited to the perfection party while scrolling through their social media feeds. In that spirit, I’m going to offer the context behind some of my happiest social media moments:
A pitcher of raspberry, lemon, and mint water. I used my new spherical ice molds for this.
These Smoked Salmon and Whitefish Salad Melts are not without their own bit of embarrassing context. First of all, I only made these melts because the pie I made for you on Friday was a huge fail: so cloying and acidic that even Mike couldn’t eat more than a few bites. Tugging myself up by the bootstraps, I planned these melts as a backup recipe, but then I had to go to FOUR DIFFERENT STORES to find this smoked whitefish. I was hormonal and hadn’t eaten breakfast, so driving all around Raleigh on top of that sent me right over the edge. When I got home, I wanted to stab someone in the eyeball. BUT I dutifully made my melts and they were worth all the angst, believe it or not. May I suggest calling your local store and asking if they have smoked whitefish before you head out to buy it?
Any social media moments that you could add some #socialmediarealtalk to? Let’s all let each other know that life isn’t perfect for anyone. Share in the comments or tag me on Instagram with your story (@willowbirdbaking).
One year ago: Homemade S’mores Marshmallows
Two years ago: No-Bake Fruity Cereal Treat Cupfakes
Three years ago: Fig, Prosciutto, and Arugula Pizza
Four years ago: Chocolate Mousse Pie
Five years ago: Mallows
Smoked Salmon and Whitefish Salad Melts
Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking using the smoked whitefish salad recipe from Barefoot Contessa
Yield: 8 melts
Ohhhh, these are just incredible: buttery, golden toast topped with a thick schmear of cream cheese, melty Gruyère, heirloom tomatoes, salmon, and fresh smoked whitefish salad. This heavenly combo was inspired by a bagel I ate in NYC. A quick note regarding the fish: it matters that you get great smoked whitefish. I was crazily impressed with the Blue Hill Bay smoked whitefish I bought (not so much with the other brand I tried — flattened, salty, and rubbery. Ew.) I also bought a super oily and lovely package of Nova smoked salmon trimmings. The fish is in the spotlight here, so it’s worth it to find great quality products. You’ll probably have some whitefish salad left over after making your melts — a treat for tomorrow’s lunch!
1 1/2 pounds smoked whitefish, skinned and boned
1/2 cup minced red onion*
1/2 cup minced celery
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 big slices of a sourdough bread boule
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
Gruyère cheese (enough to cover the bread when sliced thin)
smoked salmon (enough to put a few hearty pieces on each slice of bread)
1 heirloom tomato, thinly sliced
microgreens for topping
*I soaked my red onions in cold water for 10 minutes to mellow them out and then drained and dried them.
Flake the whitefish with your hands to allow you to check for any stray bones. Gently combine the whitefish with the red onion, celery, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed (I didn’t need to add all the salt called for). Set in the fridge to chill while you finish your melts.
Spread butter over both sides of each piece of sourdough bread. Toast each slice over medium heat in a large skillet for about 2 minutes (or until golden) before flipping it, smearing a thick layer of cream cheese on the warm side (doesn’t have to be perfect—don’t burn your fingers!), topping with Gruyère, and then removing it to a wire rack once the bottom is toasted. Repeat this with all the slices. If the cheese isn’t melty enough for my liking after this process, I microwave the slices for 20 seconds or so.
Top each slice of bread with a thinly sliced tomato, a few hearty pieces of smoked salmon, a scoop of smoked whitefish salad, and some microgreens. Serve immediately.