POPS Cellist Makes Sweet Notes in Kitchen

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Marjorie Goldberg and Jonathan Fink | Photo by Keri White

A musician and a Realtor by trade, Jonathan Fink said the quarantine forced him into a new arena.

“I’ve been cooking like crazy,” said Fink, owner of the Jonathan Fink Group and assistant principal cellist for the Philly POPS.

Having been quarantined at home with his wife, Marjorie Goldberg, vice president of the Philadelphia Musicians’ Union and a violist with the Philly POPS, and their two college-aged children, Fink has become the family cook.


Prior to the pandemic, he was a fan of Home Chef, a meal kit delivery service, but found that he was able to re-create the recipes on his own, tweak them according his family’s preferences and adapt them using locally available ingredients.

The Finks, who are longtime residents of Fishtown and members of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, relied primarily on the Kensington Community Food Co-op for groceries through the lockdown and, given their experience, will continue to do so after things reopen.

When he’s not selling houses or playing the cello, Fink enjoys flying his restored 1960 Beechcraft Bonanza plane, which is hangared at Northeast Philadelphia Airport. In addition to using the plane for recreation and transportation, he does charity flights. Recently, he flew a cargo of hand sanitizer to New York, and often flies for dog rescues, delivering pets from crisis situations to new homes.

When asked how these things all come together in the kitchen, Fink is clear: “Cooking is about focus and attention to detail. You can’t be a successful real estate agent without paying attention to detail — you have to be attuned to your clients’ needs and address them quickly and effectively. If you can’t focus on your music, you will sound terrible.

And let’s not even think about what happens to a pilot and his passengers without focus and attention to detail!”

The following two recipes have become regulars in the Fink meal rotation.

Citrus miso salmon | Photo by Jonathan Fink

Citrus Miso Salmon
Serves 4

4 salmon filets
1 lemon
1 lime
2 tablespoons white miso paste
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Pinch salt/pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, to garnish, if desired

Make the sauce: In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, miso, honey, zest of half the lemon, zest of half the lime, juice of lemon and juice of lime. Stir until the miso is dissolved.

Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium, and add the salmon, skin side up. Cook about 4 minutes and flip.

Cook another 4 minutes. When done, the fish will be opaque throughout and flake easily.

Plate the fish and top each filet with the sauce. Garnish with herbs, if using. Serve immediately.

Bang Bang Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower
Serves 4

Fink was inspired to branch out on the original recipe by adding cauliflower. He said the bang bang sauce is a huge hit in his house, but he played with the proportions to get the right amount of spice for his crew; it is to taste, so adjust accordingly for your family.

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 pound cauliflower florets, similar in size to the Brussels sprouts for even cooking
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
⅔ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley,
if desired, for garnish

Heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the vegetables in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread them on a rimmed baking tray.

Roast the vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

While the vegetables roast, make the Bang Bang sauce: Mix the mayonnaise with the Sriracha.

Drizzle the cooked vegetables with the sauce, garnish with herbs, if using, and serve immediately.

 

 

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