Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

I’m not gonna lie–it is hard to serve most men salad for dinner.

Bad Mama Genny’s inner Gloria Steinem is recoiling at the generalization, but there it is. I think it’s part connotation, part social expectations (a la “real men don’t eat quiche,” which is such bull because I swear I could get Chuck Norris to eat quiche if HE WOULD ONLY RETURN MY PHONE CALLS WHERE ARE YOU CHUCK I’VE BEEN SITTING OUTSIDE YOUR BEDROOM WINDOW FOR LIKE EVER) and part vivid memories of poor salad execution. So when you endeavor to serve your man, or any other skeptic for that matter, a dinner salad, you must remember…


*Top it with meat. Lots.
*Top it with cheese. Lots.
*Include crunchy bits.  Nuts are good, crumbled tortilla chips and chow mein noodles are better.  I did not invent this logic, I just know it to be true.
*Include a delicious, warm hunk of bread. A low-carb salad just adds insult to injury, and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s big, strong man feelings here.
*Borrow the “sandwich method” from business management school. By that, I mean, flank a salad meal on either side with two extremely beef-a-riffic, man-friendly meals. Examples include: a steak sandwich, chicken wings, a whole side of buffalo, a double cheeseburger with steak fries, a T-bone served to him by you clad in a leopard-print loincloth, a beheaded buffalo passed briefly over an open flame.  Eaten off a stick.  Amidst ambient grunting.
*Act like he’s doing you a huuuuge favor for condescending to eat your salad, and my, isn’t he just the most wonderful, most handsome, most long-suffering The Boy ever? (What you really mean is, you should eat this salad, be grateful for this salad, think this salad is the best salad you have ever eaten in your life, and remember to tell me all of these things while looking at me the way you did the first time we ever met.)

And perhaps the most important rule of all:

*Don’t make it a habit. He will become immediately distrustful of your intentions, and will began to entertain nightmarish fears that you are secretly trying to go vegetarian. Even if your salads are doused in meat. Suffocated by meat. Shrouded by warm, still breathing piles of meaty meat.

You don’t have to take my word for it, either. When he starts breaking out into cold sweats at the grocery store when you pass the tofu, you’ll KNOW Bad Mama Genny was right.

Hey, don’t blame me. I don’t WANT to be right, here, I just am.  It’s my cross to bear.

In any case, this isn’t even the most man-friendly salad dinner I’ve ever made. I believe that one involved copious amounts of barbecued chicken, thick shreds of cheddar cheese, a creamy dressing, and a paper thin layer of lettuce. But really, now. We needed veggies.

The Boy will be just fine. Nobody feel bad for The Boy.

Especially because I split some lovely french rolls to accompany, stuffed them to the gills with double-cream brie, and baked them at 425 until they were oozy and delicious and melt in your mouth oh my god I need a cigarette.

This recipe is so simple and haphazard, which is what makes it great. It’s also what makes it painful to commit to words. Improvise, use what you’ve got on hand, and adjust proportions to your liking.

Then enjoy. Both the salad, and his lame attempts to convince you he’s excited by it.

I know I did.

Strawberry Salad with Baby Greens, Almonds, and Scallops
(I meant to include crumbled goat cheese in this salad, but then discovered that I didn’t have any. Sad, I know. That’s how I settled on the brie-stuffed French rolls…hardly a disappointing switch. Feel free to use whichever you like.)

Makes 2 Servings

Go Get:
2 Romaine hearts, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup mixed baby greens (mine were from my garden’s thinning. Not that I’m bragging or anything. Except I totally am.)
1/4 cup sliced, dry-roasted almonds
10 strawberries, sliced
20 smallish wild bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry (if I could have, though, I would have opted for just a few giant scallops. They weren’t available.)
garlic powder
apple cider vinegar
olive oil
fresh basil, or high quality dry (Spice House!)
poppy seeds

Go Do:
In a shaker bottle or dressing pitcher, mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts olive oil. Add poppy seeds, shredded fresh basil, salt, pepper, and enough mayo to make it slightly creamy (but not heavy). Whisk it or shake it, and set aside.

On 2 large plates, arrange the Romaine pieces. Then layer on the baby greens. Next lay on the strawberries and almonds. (Told you this was easy.) Lightly drizzle dressing over both plates.

Sprinkle both sides of the scallops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In a skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat until it’s hot. Gently lay the scallops in the pan and cook them (without moving them around too much–they’ll form a nicer crust that way) for 2 to 3 minutes per side. When they’re opaque, they’re done. Don’t make anybody cry by overcooking them. If you think they’re done, they’re probably done.

Lay the scallops on top of the salads, and serve.

If you were planning to include brie-stuffed rolls, as I did, put them in the oven at 425 before you do everything else. They should be ready to go when you are.

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A word on “prom food”…you know what I’m talking about.  The generic meal that they used to serve you at high school dances, a meal which has only grown up only imperceptibly, if at all.  Now, in your adulthood, prom food masquerades as a “crowd-pleasing” meal at corporate events and even weddings.

Allow your Bad Mama Genny to narrow this food phenomenon down to its key components for you:

  • Chicken cutlet, breaded to preserve moisture through multiple reheatings, in a thick, greasy sauce–this sauce may be vaguely lemon-y; do not be fooled, it is still prom food.
  • Tough green beans-they may be referred to as “al dente” on the menu, an Italian term literally meaning, “to the tooth.”  The Italians meant it to refer to food that has not been overcooked, which retains some of its bite.  Prom food cooks mean it to refer to food that has not been cooked at all, and which retains so much of its bite that you look like a cow when you have to masticate it for 3 minutes before swallowing.  The beans may be vaguely lemon-y, do not be fooled, they, too, are still prom food.
  • Mashed potatoes, whipped to the consistency of glue, with ample paprika on top to disguise a color which is remarkably like Benjamin Moore’s formula 2129-60, Mt. Rainier Gray.
  • Salad greens, probably bastardized by a few hefty handfuls of shredded day-glow orange cheese, accompanied by a thick, monstrously sweet dressing which is supposed to remind you of vinaigrette, though it really just reminds you of, well, since the Benjamin Moore people are being so helpful here, formula 2103-30, Peatmoss.
  • And, probably the least offensive item on the list, a white roll, also very “al dente,” served with decorative pats of butter.  I say it’s “probably” the least offensive item on the list because there’s still a very good chance that prom roll will be the very thing that chips your tooth, clogs your trachea, or gives you lockjaw.  Prom roll is rock hard and almost undoubtedly recycled.  I would tell you to check for bite marks, but actually, prom roll is impenetrable by the teeth of mere mortals.

We shan’t crucify the prom/corporate/wedding caterer people here, for they likely do the best they can under the circumstances.  Nevertheless, as I sat in the meeting that evening after having consumed this, this, this…FUCKALL STUFF, I thought about the kind of food that had been conspicuously absent from my life, the kind of food I wanted to make for myself upon my return.

So how about some Miso Honey Salmon?




Miso Honey Salmon
Makes 4 servings:

Go Get:
1 lb. salmon fillet
1/3 cup mellow white miso (Miso-Master is the best from what I can tell)
1/4 cup raw honey (regular old honey is fine, too)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper

Go Do:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Lay the salmon on the baking sheet, skin side down. In a small bowl, combine the miso, honey, and garlic until well-combined. Spread the mixture on the top and sides of the salmon in a more or less even distribution. Add a dash of fresh-ground pepper to the top, and put it into the oven. Bake it until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the glaze has developed a nice, dark-caramel-y look, about 25 minutes.

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