How I Waste Time

I’m sitting at my second office (Panera Bread) doing what I do best — procrastinating and watching other people. It’s an extremely productive way to waste time. Here come two 30-somethings dressed in jeans and cute tops. C’mon, give me something to chew on. No, I’m not interested in hearing about your cookie exchange. Next. The men at the table across from me are going over some sort of Excel spreadsheet. Bo-ring. I think one’s a regional. That’s a big thing down South. Regionals. I don’t know what they are or what they do, but there sure are a lot of them. And, like pilots, they always seem to have hair. Ever met a bald pilot? Me neither. And I’ve never met a bald regional either. Can someone interesting please walk in here so I don’t have to do real work?

Been waiting for the coffee to brew for about twenty minutes now. Man, what does it take to get good office help around here? Oh wait, it’s not really my office.

Guess I should do what I came in here to do and update my status. No, I’m not talking Facebook. Status as in assessing the progress of each of my work projects, report to clients accordingly, and then take notes to figure out what’s next. Filling out status reports can either be an uplifting or an incredibly humbling experience depending on what actually happened during the week. Today it’s humbling. Because in addition to everything else, I pitched a new project and now I’m in the ‘waiting’ mode. I’m not good at waiting. It takes the control away from me and puts it into the hands of someone I usually don’t know (or like). But it’s part of the process. Which is why it’s good to come to Panera so I can focus on someone else’s life to divert my energy. Except nobody’s life seems very interesting today.

Here come a few newbies. Old guy with a laptop from 1980. Nope. Screaming kid with mom who’s trying to ignore him. I give her credit but I’m not liking the atmosphere right now. Tennis ladies in the full getup. Okay, I definitely need to find a new office.

That’s the thing about freelancing. You’re a little bit like a nomad. I can pack it up at any given point and find a new place to put up my family pictures. I don’t even have to give thirty days notice. I think I need a little more culture and diversity. I need to move my office out of the suburbs and into the heart of the city.

But for now I’m still stalling and trying really hard to find something worth listening to. I’ll try again with the regionals at the spreadsheet table. Can’t one of you say something incriminating? Something juicy about a torrid love affair at work? Something other than pie charts? I wonder what they’d think if they knew I was writing about them?

Since none of this is working I guess I’ll figure out what to make for dinner. Not excited about stir fry and am feeling the need for something healthy. Oh, it’s Valentine’s Day soon, isn’t it? Maybe we should do something pink. Something pink and healthy. Salmon. Yes, salmon it is. And there goes the hour.

Valentine’s Day Salmon

Ingredients:

  • One large salmon
  • One Lemon
  • Mayo
  • Brown mustard
  • Capers
  • Fresh Dill
  • White Wine
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Butter (a few slices or chunks)
Directions:
  1. Place salmon skin side down in a baking pan (spritz with cooking spray).
  2. Squeeze lemon juice onto salmon.
  3. Mix appx. one tablespoon of the mustard and one tablespoon of mayo in a little bowl and mix up.
  4. Spread over the salmon.
  5. Place pats of butter on top of the mustard/mayo mix.
  6. Sprinkle a handful of capers over the salmon.
  7. Place fresh dill (or other herbs if you don’t have) on top. Pour a little white wine (about 1/4 cup) on top.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs on top of fish.
  9. Continue cooking for another 10 or 20 minutes until fish is no longer translucent in the middle and crumbs are lightly toasted. Serve with cous-cous, baked potatoes or wild rice.
  10. *Note* Capers are very salty so there’s no need for extra salt in this one!
  11. Serve with pink mashed potatoes (use beets for coloring!) and have yourself a very happy Valentine’s Day!
xox

Totally Rad Salmon

When I was young and wanted a snack my mom would always tell me to “Have a nice piece of fruit.” I hated that phrase. First of all, fruit isn’t nice and second of all, I didn’t want fruit. No kid wants fruit for a snack. They want brownies. So I always have to laugh whenever I go to a fancy restaurant and the waiter personifies the specials. “It’s a lovely white flaky fish.” “Tonight we have a handsome veal shank.” “Our catch of the day is just delightful.” Fish is usually described as nice or delightful. Beef is gorgeous. No slab of beef I ever saw looked gorgeous to me. Intimidating, maybe. Offensive, depending on where it’s being served. But gorgeous, no.

The fancier the restaurant the more the food is given human attributes. And sometimes they even use SAT words. “The special is really quite convivial.” Seriously? I think the concept should be banned for no other reason than it sounds absolutely asinine.

Now maybe if the offerings were better when I was younger it wouldn’t bother me so much. After all, what kid doesn’t want a “friendly bowl of hot buttered popcorn?”

But it does employ a good sales tactic, I guess. And I do notice that at least one person at my table always orders the “delightful something” whenever the waiter starts explaining how nice it is so maybe it works. Maybe if I try it at home with my family I can get them to eat something they normally wouldn’t. But I’ll have to use much cooler lingo to pull it off. Like a phat chicken burger. Or a dope lasagna.

Fish is one of those things that no kid ever wants to eat. I barely want to eat it myself. But it’s good for you and it doesn’t take long to cook so tonight I’ll try again. It’s all about the sell, isn’t it?

Totally Rad Banging Salmon with Ginger Soy Panko Crumbs

Ingredients:

  • One large salmon (or several defrosted pieces)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Ground Ginger
  • Garlic Clove (minced)
  • Honey
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Scallions
  • Panko Crumbs

Directions:

  1. Mix up some soy sauce (no more than 1/2 cup), a couple of splashes of rice wine vinegar, couple squirts of honey, a few squirts of Dijon mustard, garlic and ginger. Add a drop of sesame oil. *You can marinate the fish for up to an hour but you don’t really need to.
  2. Pour marinade over fish and sprinkle some scallions on top.
  3. Top with Panko crumbs.
  4. Bake/Broil at 400 for 30-35 minutes. Preheated oven is recommended on this one.
  5. Do not over broil or you will have a very mean and nasty salmon!
  6. Serve with crisp green beans and wicked cool rice.
  7. Remind kids how much of a hipster you are.
  8. Be reminded by kids that no mom since 1980 ever uses the term “Totally Rad” and realize how totally not cool you are.