You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Dinner (in peace)


For those of you that don’t know me personally, you may think that all I do during the course of a day is work on new recipes, format those recipes and write this blog. To that I say, with a hearty laugh, “Yeah, I wish!” If you’re fairly observant, you probably can guess that I must be doing other things besides obsessing about and creating food, considering I only get to post new content every couple of weeks (or months..don’t judge me)

By night and on the weekends, I am The Domestic Badass, posting all sorts of shameless food porn, writing and filming webisodes and creating obscenely yummy food and then promising to post recipes (eventually). But by day, I am known by my alter ego, Tech Geek Girl, training mobile sales reps on the Windows Phone operating system in the greater Charlotte, NC area. It’s a full time job that keeps me on the road a lot (the amount of driving I do in a week is ridiculous) but it also has given me the opportunity to “get my geek on” and also meet some really terrific folks. When I’m on the road, which can be over 3 hours a day some days, I do what any other food blogger, chef, home chef, foodie, etc  does-I obsess about food. I daydream about the next decadent concoction I can whip up once I get home. Now, dinner at Casa Badass is, well, pretty interesting. Since I’m working on the blog, the web series and the cookbook, I’m always coming up with new dishes.  Part of the creative process involved in creating a new recipe is documenting it, both in writing and visually. So before a single bite of food is eaten, the “Pretty Plate” is styled, lit and photographed, usually by both my husband and myself, each with a different camera.

Trust me, getting food to look this pretty ain’t as easy as it looks…

This process can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes to an hour, depending on the components that make up the dish.

Now after a long day at work for both myself and my partner in crime, food and life (aka “The G-Man”) this process can be anywhere from victoriously exhilarating to slightly annoying to unbelievably excruciating, depending on whether or not each of us has remembered/had time to eat lunch. So one day, in the middle of a little, ahem, “lovers spat”, Gary said in a fit of passion: “And can’t we just eat dinner once in a while? I know we have to get the shots, but sometimes, I just wanna have dinner with my wife.” His comment struck a tiny little chord in me. He was right (shh-don’t tell him I said that). Every once in a while we just needed to be a “normal” couple and just have dinner.  So armed with this revelation (and a little humility) I set out to make dinner for just my husband and I.

No pictures.

No lights.

No styling.

Folks have referred to my food pics as “Food Porn” on more than one occasion. Well if that’s the case, then that night, the porn that was made was the kind you only share with your partner, in the privacy of your own home. Oh, yeah…

The star of this show?

A beautiful side of fresh salmon, so perfectly pink, it made me tear up a little when I saw it in the store.

I’d been planning the meal during my time in the car that day, carefully “tasting” the spice blends in my mind’s palette and debating on the balance of side dishes that would be a perfect match to the glorious fish waiting in the fridge. I went with an Asian inspired flavor profile and by the time I got home, I couldn’t wait to get started on preparing the romantic dinner I’d been dreaming about all day.

While I prepared dinner, Gary worked on editing the latest webisode (which will hopefully be up early this week). About 35 minutes later, I called him in for dinner. Well, “called” is not quite accurate…He kinda drifted in on the wafting aroma of the salmon, garlic and ginger which entered his office and took him by the nose, like a hungry cartoon character. Since I hadn’t planned on taking any pictures, I plated the food, without taking the usual care. So the plate was nice, but not NICE. Gary inhaled deeply and said, “Oh my God. This smells amazing!” I smiled as I said, “And, look! No cameras! We are just having dinner tonight!” Gary looked thoughtfully at the plates. “That’s a shame, because it’s a really pretty dish.” I sighed and went to grab my phone and took a quick shot. No lights. No styling. No food porn.

So much for a nice romantic dinner…

So after snapping a shot (or six…) we sat down to eat. Gary took one bite and his eyes rolled back in his head, kind of like a crocodile lolling around in the river after catching a nice fat warthog. I have to admit, the salmon was pretty damn good. The thing about this dish is that it is as impressive as it is easy. The fish is marinated briefly and then cooked in the marinade. It’s topped with a sweet-spicy glaze and served with steamed rice and green beans (I love using haricots vert when I can find ’em) sauteed with eggplant and garlic. Simple, delicious and best of all quick! I wasn’t kidding when I told you that I prepped and cooked this entire dish in 35 minutes.

But I digress…(don’t worry, I’m posting the recipe later in this post)

So Gary and I are sitting down, enjoying our salmon, when all of a sudden, Gary yells: “Dammit!”

I almost choked on a green bean.

“What the hell?!”, I managed to spit out. “FLY!” he shouted.

I knew exactly what he meant and it wasn’t about an airplane. At this point, I sprang off my chair and into action. “Quick! Cover the salmon!” I shouted as I grabbed the first thing I found to swat the fly that had managed to get into the house and interrupt our nice quiet dinner. To my husband’s dismay, the object I grabbed was an old baking sheet. “Seriously?” he said as he rolled up a piece of paper. “Well, at least I’ve got something with some power. Who are you gonna scare with that piece of paper? The fly is gonna laugh at you.” Gary gave me the stink eye and proceeded to stalk around the kitchen, eyes squinted, looking for the flying pest. “AH-HAH!” I yelled, “There he is! Here, take my sheet!” I cried pushing the makeshift weapon into my husbands hands. He started swinging the baking sheet around wildly. “I’ve got you now you little bastard!” he yelled and with a mighty “SWAT!” He slammed the sheet into the air. “Did ya get him?” I asked as we both scanned the floor for the body. “I think so”, Gary said triumphantly. “Let’s finish dinner.”

We sat down and began to enjoy the salmon again. After about 2 minutes of blissful quiet I said “Dammit! Not again!”

We repeated the previous scene three more times before Gary finally wrangled the fly out the front door. (I’m still not quite sure how he managed that one-something about drawing it to the light outside by shutting off all the other lights in the house-I may consider renting him out as a kind of “Pied Piper” for flies. Please contact me for rates and scheduling.)

We did finally get to enjoy dinner and as an added bonus, got our workout in too. What can I say? I’m a glass-half-full kinda gal. After cleaning up the kitchen and working up a sweat chasing the fly around the house, I was ready for a shower and a bit of downtime after a long day. So while the hubs retired to the, ahem, “throne” I got undressed and ready to take a nice hot shower.

What happened next defies explanation.

I suddenly yelled really loudly, “You have got to be freakin’ kidding me!!!”
“How loud?”, you may ask…well, let’s just put it this way-it was a good thing that Gary was already sitting on the toilet. “What the hell is your problem?”, he shouted from the bathroom. “The damn fly is back!” “Quick! Shut the light and open the bathroom door!”, Gary yelled. “You’ve got to shoo him in here so we can trap him and I can kill him!”
“You say that like it’s so easy”, I muttered. So naked, sweaty and chilly, I grabbed a magazine and started chasing the fly around the bedroom, trying to corral it into the bathroom,. After doing this bizarre little dance for about 5 minutes, I finally got the fly in the bathroom and slammed the door.

Then I waited.

And waited.

Finally after a few minutes of relative silence, I spoke up.

“Uh, honey…did you kill the little bastard?”

“Uh, I will, just as soon as I finish pooping…”

Gotcha.

A minute later, I heard the flush of the toilet followed by a noise that sounded like some sort of half growl-half incantation. The noise got louder and clearer as I began to understand the words coming from the bathroom…

“Yeah? You think you’re smart you little —— Well, I’ve got you now you little ——— and I’m gonna kill your ——- ass!!!”

“Help me…heeelllllpppp meeeeee!!!”

In homage to Jean Sheppard’s “A Christmas Story”, that night, my husband wove a tapestry of obscenities that, in thirty years, will still be hanging over the Catawba River.

Then I heard a mighty battle cry followed by a loud BANG and a maniacal laugh. “AHAHAHAHA!!!! Gotcha you little ——-!!!!”
Yay! I could finally take my shower! I don’t know what was more appealing-the idea of getting clean or the idea of getting warm. Either way, I had my hand on the door knob, about to enter the bathroom, when I heard Gary yell: “You have got to be kidding!”  Oh, no. Please don’t let me hear those words…

“There is another fly!”

Seriously? Questions began running through my mind: What the hell did I ever do to these damned flies to deserve this? How many more flies were secretly lurking in the shadows? Would I ever get to take a shower?

Another stream of insults were being hurled at the remaining fly.

WHAM!!! “Oh…you’re a tough little son of a bitch, aren’t ya?  SWAT!!!! “Now I’ve gotcha! Die you little bastard, DIE!!!”

Then the bathroom fell silent.

I was a little afraid to ask, but I had to find out what happened. “Uh, honey…is everything OK in there?” “Yup. You may now take your shower.” I gleefully hopped past him, gave him a light kiss and said “Thanks, baby! You’re my knight in shining armor.” Gary raised an eyebrow and gave me a little smile. I just love that man. And he loves this salmon. Try it-you’ll love it, too!

Asian Glazed Salmon

 

The Badass says: “Try this quick and flavorful fish with steamed rice and green beans sautéed with garlic for dinner with an Asian flair!”

 

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes total (15 minutes bake time, 3-5 minutes broil time)

Serves: 4-6

 

Here’s what you need:

 

2-2.5 lbs  side of fresh salmon (I prefer skinless, but you can leave the skin on if you like)

 

For the marinade:

½ cup low sodium soy sauce

1 clove (not the whole bulb) of elephant garlic (I like elephant garlic because it’s milder but if you don’t have elephant garlic, you can use 3-4 cloves of regular garlic)

½ TBS Sriarcha chili sauce

1 TBS apricot preserves

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ cup apple cider or rice wine vinegar

1 tsp pomegranate molasses (you can find this in Middle Eastern markets-if you can’t find it, you can substitute honey or plum sauce, which can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store or you can make your own pomegranate molasses by reducing pomegranate juice on medium high heat until it is reduced to a syrupy consistancy)

For the Glaze:

3 TBS apricot preserves

½ TBS low sodium sauce

1 TBS ginger infused white balsamic vinegar (if you cannot find this, you can use rice wine vinegar with ¼ tsp of ground ginger mixed in)

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp Sriracha chili sauce

1 tsp Black sesame seeds (you can use regular sesame seeds if you like)

 

4 scallions (to top the dish)

 

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Check the fish for pin bones and remove any you find. Place fish in a large zipper lock storage bag.

Coarsely chop the garlic. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic and all the ingredients for the marinade. Whisk together until everything is combined and the apricot preserves have fully “melted down” and combined with the other ingredients. Pour into the bag with the salmon and close the bag securely, making sure that all the air is out of the bag.  Now turn the bag over several time, making sure that the marinade gets all over the fish.  Marinate for 10-15 minutes at room temperature. (you can do this step earlier in the day or the night before, just make sure you marinate it in the fridge, then take it out 15 minutes before cooking to allow fish to come to room temperature) Lay fish in a shallow baking sheet and pour the marinade over the fish, making sure the marinade is under the fish (I like to use a large cookie sheet). Cover the fish with aluminum foil and put in the preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily, but is still moist (cooking times may vary depending on your oven and on what doneness you prefer your salmon)

While the fish is in the oven, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except the sesame seeds. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture just starts to get bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in sesame seeds.  Set aside.

Chop the scallions and set aside.

After 10-15 minutes, uncover salmon and set oven to broil. Broil for 3-5 minutes, basting fish twice with the marinade/pan drippings, until fish gets a little bubbly and golden on top.

**IMPORTANT!!! Keep a watchful eye on the fish during the broiling process or you may burn the fish!!!  Remove from oven and let fish rest for 5 minutes.  Top with glaze and chopped scallions and serve over steamed rice with Garlic Green Beans…

Garlic Green Beans

Here’s what you need:

1 lb Haricot Verts (these are a French green bean that are very skinny. If you can’t find ’em, regular green beans will work just fine, you’ll just have to adjust the cooking time)

1 tsp sesame oil (you can substitute veggie oil if you like, but the sesame oil gives a nice bit of additional flavor to the beans)

2 cloves of garlic, cut in half

1 cup water

a pinch or two of salt

You’ll also need:

A non-stick pan

Here’s what you do:

Heat the oil in the pan and swirl the it around to just coat the bottom of the pan. (If there is too much oil, remove some carefully with a paper towel-you just want a light coating)  Add the beans and garlic and salt and quickly stir fry until all of the beans are evenly bright green. Add the water, stir and cover the pan. Remove from heat and let stand for 3-5 minutes or until beans are tender-crisp. Remove beans, discarding water and garlic chunks.

***Note from the Badass*** You can also cut the fish into individual portions and cook this on the stove top in two batches. To do this, just heat a bit of veggie oil in a non-stick pan (high), add ½ of the portioned out fish and ½ the marinade and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes (times may vary) Add about ½ cup of water, cover and remove from heat. Let rest for 5 minutes and remove from pan carefully. Top with glaze and scallions.

I like to use either Jasmine or Basmati rice for this dish, but you can use white or brown rice if you prefer.

Enjoy!

So what is the moral of this story? Even though they say that you draw more flies with honey than vinegar, I can say from experience that you can actually draw more flies with salmon. At least with this salmon…

Until next time, Have Fun..and Be Fearless!

xoxoxo

2 thoughts on “You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Dinner (in peace)

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