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hedging my bets

asia, apple pie, and emotional investment

photo 2

My mother may have told me not to put all my eggs in one basket, (the supermarket frowns on taking them out of the carton anyway), but my dad taught me to diversify: stocks and bonds, Fiat and Ford, oil futures and airlines, allocating investments to different economic sectors, different liquidities.  In the event of a volatile market, some level of performance is guaranteed.  Worst case, you claim a lot of capital loss on your taxes and the rebate eases the pain.  Like a decent gambler, you’re hedging your bets by taking a little off the table.

So how do you hedge “I love you”?

First, the problem of linguistics – “I love you” sounds epic.  Its a bullish trade.  Its a Candy Crush IPO – sweet and scintillating but no real substance.  The marketing is great but are we really betting the kid’s college fund on a iPhone game even if EVERYONE IS PLAYING IT?!

But what if you want to be more conservative in your efforts? “I care about you” works, but it sounds lame.  The government bond of emotion, it doesn’t carry any excitement.  Even if it is safe, it’s boring, and the rakishly cool will be telling their war stories of love and loss while you hang out, smug but alone, with your fixed income securities.

You don’t want to say nothing at all.   Even if THIS MOMENT NOW that seems so pivotal and desperate becomes inconsequential by the end of the day, it’s worth taking on the risk because regret tastes worse than failure.

That is, if you can stomach a loss.  Gambling is only fun if you have the resources to pay the house, and not default on your actual house.  Even with the best research, investing is only predicting market behavior.  Analysts agree his behavior suggests commitment.  Convention says now’s the time.  Hollywood says this is your rom-com fantasy come true.  But how do we trust that Tesla will perform out of the gate when all the electric car manufacturers have struggled to instill confidence in the sector? If initial enthusiasm is less than anticipated, the entire venture fizzles sooner than expected.

Do you option ‘I love you”? Put a right-to-sell just in case it tanks?  If it goes up, you lose a little; if it goes down, your ego is still intact.

How do you tell someone “I’m totally smitten with you, which is more than like liking you, but if I say I love you, you might not believe that I also respect your life path so go do your thang, I’m here if you need me but isn’t that what love is anyway?” without sounding neurotic or freaking him out entirely because OMG FEELINGS?!

You make him dinner: black sea bass with hints of the land he’s leaving for, and apple pie in the hopes that fate brings him back home.  You write the words you want to say, but hide them on collar stays, close to his carotid, not his heart, and out of sight. You engrave smushy sentimentality on one side, truthful reality on the other: mio cuore e tuo, l’avventura la tua.

You tell him it roughly translates to “go kick ass, and take care of yourself”.

Then you cross your fingers, and wait to see what the market will bear.

black sea bass with scallion ginger bourbon glaze, toasted sesame yams and bok choy, & bourbon apple pie

Both of these recipes work well for making dinner after work – few ingredients, most pantry items your standard bro-partment will have, easy to make, and quick to prepare.  Marinate the fish while prepping the pie, bake the pie while eating, because, you know, timing is everything.

You can actually prep both main and dessert  in the morning if you’re so inclined.  Dark rum also works in lieu of bourbon.

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the fish:photo 4

  • ½ cup tamari soy sauce
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 5 scallions, cut on an angle into inch long pieces
  • 1 piece (about 3 inches) peeled fresh ginger, sliced into thin, small strips
  • 2 whole black sea bass, gutted and scaled, head still on (about 1 lb each)
  • ¼ teas crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 baby bok choy, washed and quartered
  • 1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

For the pies:photo 3

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package specifications
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 teas cinnamon
  • ¼ teas ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 large macintosh apples
  • vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream for serving

Marinate the fish. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse fish and pat dry; place in a baking dish and fill cavities with half of the sliced ginger and scallion.  Place the remaing ginger and scallion in the dish around the fish.   In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce and ¼ cup toasted sesame oil; pour over fish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until done the rest of the prep.

Prep the yams. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Toss yam pieces in 2 Tbs toasted sesame oil and season with salt and pepper, spread on cookie sheet and set aside.

Prep the pie filling. Peel, core, and slice apples.  Set aside. Put ½ cup bourbon, brown sugar, cube of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small pot.  Let simmer on medium-low heat for about 5-10 minutes, stirring periodically.  Remove from heat, remove ginger, and stir in butter.

Because you’re at a boy’s house, and he probably doesnt own a pie tin, fold a large sheet of aluminium foil into a 5″x6” rectangle with 1” high sides, smooshing the corners together to seal them shut (you don;t want that bourbony goodness to leak out!.  Repeat to make a second “tin”.  (I like to double the sheet of foil and fold up the side 3 times, or you know use 2 small 5” pie tins.  You can also make six tiny pies in a muffin tin, or one 9” pie in a regular tin – the possibilities are endless!  I was at a boy’s house so I made foil rectangles with sides.)

Assemble pies. If using homemade pie tins, place them on a cookie sheet. Place apples in a single layer on the bottom of each homemade pie tin.  Pour bourbon mixture over them.  For each pie, stretch half the puff pastry as needed to cover the entire layer of apples, bringing the pastry just to the edge of the tins.  Poke pastry a few times with a fork and place in the refrigerator.

Bake the main course. Put the yams in the oven.  Sip a glass of wine for 10 minutes and/or snuggle on the couch.  Remove yams from oven and flip; place fish on the cookie sheet, still stuffed with ginger and scallions, return to oven and bake for 15-17 minutes.

While fish is baking, pour remaining ginger scallion marinade in a small pot with crushed red pepper flakes and ¼ cup bourbon and bring to a boil.  Let simmer on medium-high heat until fish is done, stirring periodically to avoid scalding.

Place bok choy in a shallow pot with ½ inch of water and salt.  Cover over high heat for 5 minutes or until bright green.

Bake dessert. When fish is done, reduce oven heat to 375.  Plate fish with bok choy and yams.  Drizzle with marinade reduction.  Just before you sit down to eat, toss the pies in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until pastry is golden.  Thoughtfully focus on not swallowing fish bones while avoiding any relationship talk.  Enjoy the peace of being in each other’s company.

Remove pies from oven and immediately flip upside down onto plates (careful!  hot!).  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve warm.  Use kissing as an excuse to lick bourbony apple drips off each other’s lips.

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