Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bears, Honey, and Dad

Disclaimer: I admit that this story only very loosely ties into the dish I made because honey is involved, but I keep thinking about it and giggling, so here goes…

First, let me try to paint you a picture. Subject: My dad.

Imagine a rather large and imposing man, with long gray hair, a full beard and mustache, wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt, Wranglers and cowboy boots. (It might help the picture to note that my mom has tried to convince him to grow his beard out long so he could play Santa Claus at the malls. Needless to say, this suggestion has fallen on deaf ears.)

To look at him, you might think he was a bit gruff. Anytime my sister or I had a boy over, my dad would just sit there, not uttering more than a very terse hello, and just generally look scary. This was taken by these boys to mean, “You’d better not mess with my daughter unless you want to answer to me.” I remember some neighborhood boys once telling me that they spent the night crank-calling classmates, but when they got to me decided against it after recalling the image of my dad.

Truth be told, this image, as much as I’m sure he liked it, couldn’t have been further from reality. Now I don’t doubt that my dad could lay some hurt down if and when he wanted to, but these boys should have been more scared of my mom. All five feet of her could strike some fear into me…Dad was the one you ran to when you got in trouble with Mom.

Of course, it helped that I was (and still am) a daddy’s girl through and through. We couldn’t stand to be mad at each other, and many times when I would be sulking in my room after a fight, he would come knock on my door and say “telegram” Saturday Night Live-style over and over until I couldn’t be mad any longer and would open the door laughing. I remember thinking when I was young that if you didn’t know him you would never expect my dad to do something like that.

So while he likes to act tough, he’s the biggest softie I’ve ever known. But because of his outward appearance, sometimes the things he does and the things he says are just WAY funnier than if someone else said it. Which leads me to this example…

Not too long ago I heard my dad saying (while he thought I was out of earshot) that he was realizing he had to be careful what he said around me, lest it become topic for my blog.

Imagine my glee when this happened:

I was over at my parent’s house and my dad and I were cooking. I don’t remember what we were making, but I was using the honey. (My dad gets this honey from a friend up in the mountains somewhere, and it is some of the best honey I’ve ever had. It also happens to come in the standard bear-shaped bottle, which is very important to this story.) So after squeezing out what I needed, I flipped the bottle over and apparently let a stream of honey dribble down the side of the bear. I didn’t think anything of it until I heard my dad say, in a horrified and disgusted tone, “You’re getting my bear all messy!” Now if only I could have recorded it, you would fully understand how hilarious it sounded; my big “scary” dad was all worked up about his honey bear. His voice sounded like Napoleon Dynamite had suddenly inhabited his body and was all kinds of pissed about this honey bear getting sticky. Of course, Andy, my mom, and I found this way too funny and could bearly (ha ha) stifle our laughter. We immediately began mimicking Napoleon/Dad. As he wiped off his bear, I’m sure he was cussing all of us out in his head. Good times, huh Dad?

As promised, here’s a recipe that contains honey:

Salmon Carpaccio

1 salmon filet, very thinly sliced
vegetable oil
freshly squeezed orange juice
minced garlic
grated ginger
thinly sliced green onions

Arrange the salmon slices on two plates.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute until softened, then stir in orange juice and honey. Pour in some Pernod and light it on fire. Once the flames die out, immediately pour the heated sauce over the salmon. This will sear the salmon just the slightest bit. Top with micro-greens and green onions. (And don’t forget to wipe off your bear.)

This is a quick and easy but very pretty first-course and has a delicate flavor with hints of anise and orange. The micro-greens add a nice earthy taste.

Now here’s to hoping Dad will still talk around me…

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Should be Blogging

Obviously, I haven’t been posting much lately. I think about it and I mean to, but I end up doing other things. I find that I can come up with a lot of reasons not to blog when I want to. Some of these reasons include, but are not limited to: 

1. Jerseylicious - I can't believe that I'm admitting this, but I could watch this train wreck for hours. What comes out of these girls mouths is as appallingly stupid as it is hilarious. Each and every one of them is overly tanned, teased and loaded down with about 35 pounds of costume jewelry and makeup. There's a marathon this Sunday and you can bet the Tivo is set to record it. 

2. The Millionaire Matchmaker - Don't ask me why I find Patti Stanger entertaining, but I do. She's loud, over-the-top, and rude. I spend most of the time cringing at both her and the usually horrendous first dates that are spiraling out of control. But I can't stop watching. 

3. Angry Birds - Apparently this game is old news to anyone in the know, but I am pretty far behind in the "popular apps" category and most things involving technology. However, we recently downloaded this and it has since taken up a quite a significant amount of our free time. Killing those snorting little pigs is addictive. And the concept in general just makes me chuckle. 

4. Cooking just to cook - Not so much a time killer, but probably the biggest reason for a lack of posting. No stopping to take photos, and no stopping to write down what I'm doing. The end result is a hot meal instead of the cold, congealed one you get while you try unsuccessfully over and over and over again to get that perfect picture of the less than cooperative food. 

I think I'll stop there. The more I think about my other guilty pleasures, the more embarrassed I get. It would basically be a list of the worst reality shows on television, with an occasional visit to gossip columns and celebrity twitter accounts. I've said too much... 

Something else that occupies my time is champagne. (This sounds like I have a bit of a problem, doesn't it? What I mean is that I think about new cocktail ideas quite frequently, and they usually involve champagne. It’s not that I just sit around drinking it all day.) I've written about champagne several times already, but I never get tired of it. It is so versatile and easy to pair with just about any other flavor, which results in a fun, festive and sparkly drink. 

The idea that I had floating around in my head this go-round involved cucumber. Turns out cucumber and pomegranate are a delicious combination. 

Pom-Cucumber Champagne Cocktail

Makes enough for 1 bottle of champagne 

1/2 cup cucumber juice (from an English cucumber) 
1 cup pomegranate juice 
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
bottle of champagne
pomegranate arils and cucumber slices, optional 

To get cucumber juice, grate the whole cucumber on a box grater and push through a strainer until you get desired yield.

Mix cucumber juice, pomegranate juice and sugar together. Pour about 3 tablespoons of juice mixture into flutes and top with champagne. Garnish with cucumber slices and pomegranate arils. 

The grassiness of the cucumber is perfect with the sweet and tart flavor of the pomegranate. This very refreshing drink has beautiful color and would be perfect for an early Spring brunch. Or, if you're lucky enough to live in California right now, you could enjoy it in mid-January on the patio in almost 70-degree weather. Another fantastic way to kill time...