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Published: Friday, March 10, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— From a distance, Chance Brough appears to be a normal teenager, and for the most part he is.
What happens to make the Stivers School for the Arts senior a little different from most his age is he just happens to be a world-class competitor in Irish dance. But his friends and fellow students are certainly aware, sometimes asking the 17-year-old to show off some of his moves at school.
“I demonstrate to them occasionally,” Brough said. “It’s funny. People find out that I’m a dancer, and in the middle of the lunch room (they’ll say) ‘You should do some dancing right now so I can get some video!’”
If Brough is ever fazed by the attention, he doesn’t show it. After all, he’s been training at the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance in Riverside and performing in front of thousands yearly since he was a small child.
All that sweat and toil paid off last fall when Brough, while at the Mid-American Regional Championships in Chicago, qualified to compete in his age group in the world championships held by the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin, Ireland next month.
“I had to work long and hard to get up into the preliminary championships. It’s a tough level to get up to, especially for me when I started off,” he said.
Since the word has spread, Brough, who is also a gifted violinist and will continue his music education at Wright State University next fall, has been bolstered by both his teachers and peers.
“They’ve all been really supportive. I’m really happy that I have everyone (at the Celtic Academy),” Brough said. “It’s like a big family.”
>> MORE: 10 things to do this week
In the meantime, between his schoolwork and performances, Brough is using whatever free time he has to rehearse his solo performance and hone his technique -- all while trying to handle the enthusiasm for what lies ahead.
“I’m excited because it’s a fun chance to go dance my heart out somewhere new and meet some new people. It’ll be interesting to go to Ireland,” he said. “I’m psyched for that.”
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 11:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 11:00 AM
We are all going to die.
Hate it, but it is a fact.
Here’s another fact: life is short not to live your best life.
There are a lot of good reasons to deny those two indisputable facts, but I haven’t heard an argument that makes them untrue.
We will sleep with the fishes.
The light in your eyes will dim forever.
Over, done and out.
One day you will die and so will everyone you know.
Your children, nieces and nephews will die and their children nieces and nephews will be gone too.
Until that day comes, why not whoop it up?
Do the do.
Make your mark.
Check everything off your bucket list that you can get to and add more stuff.
Don’t be cruel, wasteful or selfish — you are not the only one who deserves a good life — but why shouldn’t you enjoy the fact that you are alive and that you’ve already survived this long?
There are, sadly, reminders every day that that whole thing called your existence on the physical plane could end without a lot of warning.
The state of the world and the way things are now have people on high guard.
There are mass shootings, terror and fear that the world itself is spin on the tip of a needle spinning on top of another needle.
Danger Will Robinson, danger.
You could be hit by a bus. You could die from an unknown or known illness. You could be, as they say, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It is also possible that you won’t be hit by a bus, die from an unknown or known illness or be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I am going to die, but I’d rather live free than hide every time I see a bus rolling down the street.
I am going to do the thing, go to that place and laugh real, real loud.
The gross opposite would be not doing the thing, going to the place or laughing real loud.
How boring and how sad would that be at the end of my days.
There are as many good sayings about regret and wasted time as there are about fear.
New Zealand Writer Katherine Mansfield seems to have had it right with this one attributed to her: “Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.”
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— Cabin fever? Yep. We all have it, unfortunately.
With recent temperatures teasing us with warmer weather, we’ve been thinking about spring. Find your happy place with 10 things to look forward to when the warm sunshine returns.
There's no better way to welcome spring than with a beautiful hike through nature. The Dayton-area has an overabundance of scenic parks and trails, and they each offer something a little different. If you’re just interested in taking in some beautiful scenery, we recommend a walk through the paths at Cox Arboretum or a walk through the beautiful Charleston Falls. Looking for a more rigorous hike? Try the trails at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs.
2.) A day shopping outside
There's just something about spending money while also taking in some fresh air. Spend a day at The Greene in Beavercreek for a complete shopping, dining and entertainment experience. Shop in tons of great stores, including anchor store Von Maur. Grab a quick bite at Potbelly or E.O. Burger or enjoy a sit-down meal and drinks at places like The Cheesecake Factory, Fleming’s, Bar Louie, Pies and Pints and more.
If you want a more unique shopping/dining experience, head to Yellow Springs instead. The village is known for its unique shops and dining destinations, including Ha Ha Pizza, The Winds Café, The Sunrise Café, Peach’s Grill and the Yellow Springs Brewery.
3.) An activity-packed day at the dairy farm
Young's isn’t just for kids. It’s for the young at heart. Spend the day at the dairy barn and see animals, impress your date by showing off your skills in the batting cages or take in a game of putt-putt golf.
If you’re hungry, you can grab a casual lunch at The Dairy Store or some comfort food at the Golden Jersey Inn. End your day with a delicious ice cream treat with Young’s homemade ice cream. We recommend the Buckeye sundae – it’s a peanut butter and chocolate lover's dream.
One of the best parts about spring is taking your dining and drinking experience outdoors. Dayton area bars and restaurants have some amazing patios to grab a quick drink or a full meal. Here are a few of our favorite patios: El Meson in West Carrollton, The Winds Café in Yellow Springs, The Trolley Stopand Lily’s Bistro in the Oregon District, Jimmie’s Ladder 11 in Dayton and The Dublin Pub in the Oregon District.
5.) A day at the ballpark
A true sign of spring and warm weather is Dayton Dragons baseball. A Dragons game should be on everyone’s Dayton bucket list. Even if you aren’t into baseball, Dragons games offer a fun experience for all ages.
>> Dayton Dragons: 5 things to know about the team
It’s the perfect setting for a family outing, to enjoy a beer and baseball with friends or even a date. The Dragons’ home opener is set for April 7.
6.) Walk or run for a great cause
With the arrival of spring comes an abundance of charity 5K walks and races that will help you take your workout outdoors and help a good cause while you’re at it.
Nothing says romance like a picnic in the park. Make up your own meal, or take advantage of some pre-made goodies from places like the 2nd Street Market or Dorothy Lane Market and head to Cox Arboretum, RiverScape or any park of your liking for a scenic lunch or dinner with your love, your besties or your family.
One of the best things about living in the Dayton area is a wonderful, interconnected system of bike paths that allow you the flexibility to take a short ride or basically bike across the entire Miami Valley.
This is the perfect activity if you want some quiet reflection time while getting some great exercise, or something you can do alongside friends and family. Choose your own biking adventure with more than 300 miles of trails in the region.
9.) A day of thrills and more thrills
OK, it may not technically be in Dayton, but Kings Island amusement park is definitely worth the short drive on a spring weekend.
Filled with thrills and adventures, the theme park in Mason in Warren County offers roller coasters, water rides, a robust area with kiddie-sized thrills, plus great food like LaRosa’s Pizza and beer galore. The season kicks off on April 14.
>> PHOTOS: Kings Island through the years
10.) Plan a day around a summer concert or festival
For those seeking a more, let’s say, “festive” atmosphere, Country Concert at Hickory Hill Lakes in Fort Loramie will feature a three-day outdoor concert with some of the biggest names in country music. Signature summer festivals include Troy’s Strawberry Festival and Dayton’s Celtic Fest, among many others.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:39 AM
— The weather in some parts of the country is not helping people with allergies, and your pets could also be feeling the effects of the high pollen (and other allergens) count.
Pets are often sniffling grass, other pets and the ground. They are also much closer to where the allergens can sit, so they could be more exposed to more allergens, such as pollen.
Just like humans, dogs and cats can sneeze, get watery eyes and runny noses. Allergies can make these symptoms worse. According to the Humane Society, dogs often express pollen allergy symptoms by itching. The pollen gets on their fur, makes its way down to their skin and irritates it.
Here are some ways to help your pet cope with seasonal allergies:
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:00 PM
— For Christians, Lent is a time for quiet reflection. For austerity. For repentance.
But mostly it’s a time for fish.
Catholics and members of some other denominations choose to eat fish instead of meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday until Easter. (For the Orthodox denominations, Great Lent began Monday; adherents generally refrain from eating meat or fish on weekdays throughout the Lenten season.)
So the question is: How to make the fish?
Around here, the first choice, obviously, is fried. It is hard to go more than a couple of blocks in the area without running into a church or a VFW hall that is holding a Friday fish fry.
But what if you’ve had all the fried fish you want? What if you want fish — even if you don’t observe Lent — but you crave something a little more ambitious than fried?
That’s where we come in.
I tried making fish four different ways: with a flavorful sauce, lacquered in the Japanese style, marinated in herbs and spices, and baked in an exceptionally simple sauce.
How simple? It’s just mayonnaise mixed with garlic and a minced chipotle pepper from a can.
It doesn’t get easier than that, but it also does not get more flavorful.
According to the book “Food and Life of Oaxaca,” this is how fish is prepared in a tiny village in southern Mexico called Estero. What they discovered there is something I did not know or guess: Mayonnaise is a perfect medium for marinating fish.
As the fish roasts, the mayonnaise keeps it astonishingly moist and flavorful; it essentially self-bastes throughout the cooking process. It is great for smoothing out and softening the spice of the chipotle, or any other spice you’d choose to use, I would imagine. And most of it runs off the fish while it cooks, so it is less fattening than you might think. But no less delectable.
Next, I made the prettiest dish of the four, Baked Salmon With Watercress Sauce. The orange salmon sits in a pool of bright green purée, and it tastes every bit as delightful as it looks.
The salmon is salmon — it’s hard to beat. It’s briefly seared on top, and then roasted to perfection. That’s simple enough.
But what makes this dish stand out is the sauce. Though the title calls it a watercress sauce, it actually has more spinach than watercress. That’s a good thing, because watercress has a sharp, peppery flavor, and too much of it would overwhelm even a fillet of salmon.
Oh, and there’s a little bit of cream in it. Everything tastes better with a little bit of cream in it.
For a particularly elegant fish dish, I turned to the late Michel Richard, who had been considered one of the very best chefs in America.
Richard had a dish that started with swordfish, which is always an excellent idea. Slightly sweet for a fish, swordfish also has a pleasing texture that is vaguely reminiscent of meat.
But what makes this dish so startlingly flavorful is what Richard does to it — and you can, too. It’s simple, actually.
Inspired by a Japanese dish of lacquered eel, he applies the same method to the swordfish. You first sear the fish on one side, then pour in soy sauce, cover, and cook until done. The whole thing only takes a few minutes, but the soy sauce forms a glaze on the fish.
Then you just top it with a tempting heap of green onions cooked in ginger, sesame oil and a little more soy sauce. A sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds adds an enchanting final touch.
My last offering is more of a preparation than a specific dish. Chermoula is a spicy marinade used throughout North Africa. You just mix up a batch, marinate any one of a number of relatively bland types of fish for an hour, and roast.
Periodic basting keeps the fish moist.
This is a bold-flavored marinade, mixing several assertive ingredients together into an unexpectedly harmonious whole. On the one hand, you have spices: cumin, paprika, crushed red pepper. On the other hand, you have herbs: parsley and cilantro. Everything is tied together with olive oil and an all-important dose of lemon juice.
This is an all-purpose marinade, especially useful for fish and seafood, but also good with meats and vegetables. You can use it with salmon, shad (if you can find it), swordfish, haddock, halibut or perch.
I used it with catfish, because it was the least expensive option. If you’re ever looking for a way to class up some catfish, this is the way to go.
WHOLE BAKED FISH, ESTERO STYLE
Yield: 2 to 3 servings
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 whole (2-pound) sea bass, striped bass or red snapper, cleaned and scaled, gills removed (I used branzino, which is a relative of striped bass)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine the mayonnaise, chipotle chile and garlic in a small bowl. With a pastry brush or icing spatula, spread the mixture all over the fish, inside and outside. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place on a baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just barely opaque at the thickest part of the fish.
Per serving (based on 3): 563 calories; 56 g fat; 6 g saturated fat; 94 mg cholesterol; 56 g protein; 5 g carbohydrate; 2 g sugar; 3 g fiber; 818 mg sodium; 33 mg calcium
Recipe from “The Food and Life of Oaxaca,” by Zarella Martínez
BAKED SALMON WITH WATERCRESS SAUCE
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 bunch watercress, stemmed, 4 sprigs reserved for garnish
1 cup packed spinach leaves
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
Salt and white pepper
4 salmons fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each, pin bones removed
Olive oil, for coating pan
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. To make the sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes; do not let the mixture color. Stir in the watercress and spinach until wilted. Add the stock and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth. Return to the pan and add salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
3. In a shallow bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of the flour with a generous sprinkle of salt and white pepper. Very lightly dredge the top side of the salmon fillets in the flour.
4. Lightly coat a large ovenproof sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the salmon, top-side down, and sear for 2 minutes. Turn the salmon over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast the salmon for exactly 8 minutes; it should still be translucent in the center of the thickest part.
5. Just before the salmon is done, reheat the sauce over low heat until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the salmon to warmed plates. Spoon 1/4 of the sauce onto each plate and place a fillet on top, or spoon the sauce over the center of each fillet, allowing the ends to show and the sauce to pool on the plate. Garnish each fillet with a watercress sprig and serve immediately.
Per serving: 475 calories; 33 g fat; 11 g saturated fat; 127 mg cholesterol; 34 g protein; 9 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 270 mg sodium; 67 mg calcium
Recipe from “Seafood,” by Williams-Sonoma
LACQUERED SWORDFISH WITH GREEN ONIONS
Yield: 4 servings
For the onions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely slivered
2 large bunches green onions (white plus 3 inches of green part only), cut into 11/2-by-1/4-inch strips
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
For the swordfish
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
4 swordfish fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each, 1-inch thick
2 to 4 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1. For the green onions: Stir the sesame seeds in a heavy, small, dry skillet over medium heat until brown. Transfer to a small bowl. Heat the oils in the same skillet with the ginger over medium-high heat. Add the green onion strips and stir-fry until almost tender, about 1 minute. Add the water and soy sauce and stir-fry until tender but still crunchy, about 1 minute. (This can be prepared ahead, cooled, covered and set aside at cool room temperature.)
2. For the swordfish: Use the ventilation fan to keep your kitchen from becoming smoky. Mix the sugar and pepper in a large soup plate. Dip one side of the swordfish in the mixture. Transfer to a large tray. Immediately, place 1 very large or 2 smaller heavy nonstick skillets over medium-high heat and add the 2 to 4 tablespoons oil. Add the swordfish and cook until the bottom is browned and caramelized, about 3 minutes. Pour the 1/4 cup soy sauce into the skillet. Cover the skillet and continue cooking until the fish is glazed and just opaque throughout, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3. To serve, rewarm the green onions by stirring over medium-high heat. Transfer the swordfish to 4 plates. Spoon the onions over the swordfish. Sprinkle each with reserved toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 383 calories; 26 g fat; 3g saturated fat; 97 mg cholesterol; 32 g protein; 6 g carbohydrate; 2 g sugar; 2 g fiber; 1,168 mg sodium; 44 mg calcium
Recipe from “Michel Richard’s Home Cooking with a French Accent,” by Michel Richard
SPICED HERB MARINADE FOR FISH
Yield: 6 servings
1 large bunch cilantro
1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley
8 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat blade of a knife
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon cumin, preferably freshly ground, or more to taste
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika, or more to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (preferably) or white wine vinegar
6 to 8 small salmon steaks, about 6 ounces each, or swordfish, halibut, haddock, catfish or perch
1. Chop the cilantro and parsley leaves together to a very fine mince. You should have 1 cup of minced leaves. Transfer to a saucepan.
2. Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar, or using the back of a spoon in a small bowl, to make a paste. Stir in the cumin, dried pepper, paprika, olive oil and lemon juice. Add to the saucepan with the herbs and mix well.
3. Have the fish steaks ready in a baking dish large enough to hold them all in 1 layer. Meanwhile, set the herb mixture over medium heat and warm until is very hot, but not boiling. Taste and adjust the seasoning. When it is the way you want it, pour the warm marinade over the fish steaks. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the fish with their marinade to the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the fish is done, basting every 5 minutes or so with the marinade. Serve immediately, spooning a little of the marinade over each serving.
Per serving: 264 calories; 10 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 91 mg cholesterol; 38 g protein; 4 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 587 mg sodium; 43 mg calcium