Bob Blumer’s Maple Salmon

Before I set off for Paris, I figured I would return home super excited to cook again after my long break from servitude daily meal prep. However, I am still finding my groove again. As it turns out, dining out in Paris for many days only inspires one to return home and…order pizza? dine out more? serve cereal for dinner? All of the above. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the post-vacation blues, but I’m really not all that into cooking these days.

So, anyway, congratulations Mr. Bob Blumer, you have the honor of having created the recipe which I used for one of the first real post-Paris meals I bothered to cook, and the only one worth publishing. First and foremost, this salmon passed the Andrew Test. Andrew is my picky one who some days likes salmon, some days does not like salmon. He seems to like salmon only when I’ve not bought enough of it and counted on him NOT liking salmon that meal.  We had enough salmon last night, so he was gearing up to not like it, but he was immediately hooked after one bite and declared it his favorite new salmon. I agree with Andrew.

This recipe uses 3/4 cup of real maple syrup, which I realize can be kind of pricey. DO NOT USE FAKE SYRUP, THOUGH. NO MRS. BUTTERWORTH! If you want to use less maple syrup, start with 3 tablespoons of syrup to 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and then increase proportionately until you have enough marinade. Also, please give this at least 24 hours to marinade. It makes a huge difference. I made this once before and only marinaded a few hours, and it wasn’t nearly as good.

This recipe calls for the grill, but I cooked it in the oven at 450 for about three minutes a side.

Bob Blumer’s Maple Salmon from Glutton for Pleasure by Bob Blumer

¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup soy sauce
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
¼ cup coarsely ground black pepper (Grind it yourself, or purchase “cracked” pepper at your grocery store.)

In a small deep bowl, or a resealable plastic bag, mix maple syrup and soy sauce. Add fillets so that marinade completely covers fish. Marinate in the refrigerator for as long as possible (a minimum of 4 hours, but ideally 24 – 48). Turn salmon (or bag) every few hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high direct heat.

Place pepper on a small plate. Remove salmon from marinade and pat top side into cracked pepper to coat.

Grill for approximately 3 minutes per side, starting with pepper side down, or until salmon is just on the verge of turning opaque.

yield 4 servings

Review: Glutton for Pleasure by Bob Blumer

Recently I shared with you my cookbook shelf, as well as mentioning a very special and important cookbook to me, The Surreal Gourmet by Bob Blumer. It was the cookbook which gave me my wings and the confidence to fly, and fly away I did. In fact, I flew so far and didn’t look back, so I had no idea what Mr. Bob Blumer has been up to all of these years.

Turns out he had a pretty impressive and colorful career, including three subsequent cookbooks, two Food Network television shows, and numerous Guinness World Records. Needless to say, I was completely starstruck when Bob emailed me a thank you for the shout-out and mentioned he has a new and possibly cookbook-shelf-worthy book out, Glutton for Pleasure. I immediately ordered it on Amazon, so keep in mind my review is based on a book purchased with my own Ed’s hard earned dollars. In the interest of full disclosure, Bob was gracious enough to send me an autographed copy for The Shelf. How could he possibly resist his biggest fan?

I love this book! Part memoir, part guide, part recipes, and wholly entertaining. If I knew any young brides or young bachelors, I would give it as a shower gift or housewarming gift. There is so much great advice in here on the practical aspects of setting up a kitchen, choosing the right wine and entertaining in any sized space, in addition to humorous stories, classic recipes (my beloved Caesar salad, steak au poivre, and beer can chicken), new-to-me recipes (maple-icious salmon, mambo chicken, love me tenderloin), kid-friendly recipes (popcorn cauliflower, parking lot eggs) and just plain weird, uh, I mean surreal and clever recipes (lamb cupcakes with beet frosting, dishwasher salmon, cereal killer soup).

Some of my fondest memories are of our salad days, when we were newly married and living in our first townhouse. We would put on 10,000 Maniacs Our Time in Eden CD, prepare Bob’s Caesar salad in our small kitchen (beer and homemade croutons always mandatory) and talk about our life and our dreams. We had so much less back then, but we were very happy, and no salad ever tasted so good.

Twenty-plus years later, Bob is still inspiring me.

 

All My Cookbooks

As I mentioned back in my Caesar Salad post, my first cookbook was The New York Times Cookbook, a mighty doorstop-sized tome. I was about 22 when I bought it, and I immediately knew I was in over my head. I could only tackle the simplest of recipes (I believe cucumber salad was my first victory, and even that was a challenge). Mostly I would just refer to it casually in conversation, you know, like, “My New York Times Cookbook says the right figs make all the difference.” I am sure everyone was quite impressed.

My second cookbook was a complete 180. Bob Blumer’s The Surreal Gourmet was filled with recipes and language I could easily understand, and it provided me with the Caesar salad recipe I still use to this day. I’m pretty sure I made every single thing in that book. It was my own Julie and Julia (Dawn and Bob), minus the fame and fortune and advanced skill level.

We got married in 1993, back when Prodigy was everyone’s internet server of choice. There was no Google, and Food Network was still in its infancy. In other words, cookbooks were still relevant. And boy, did I love them. My cookbook collection grew exponentially each year. I dreamed of a kitchen with a dedicated cookbook shelf to display all of my babies.

One day while looking through the Pottery Barn catalog, I saw black ledges hung on a kitchen wall displaying cookbooks, sort of like artwork. I had a big, blank space on my kitchen wall, and I just knew it was meant to be filled with my cookbooks. The problem was that many of my favorite cookbooks were rather well-loved, Velveteen Rabbit style: ripped, food stained, and generally disgusting. Definitely not artwork. I had a few acceptable, non-disgusting cookbooks, but not enough to fill a wall, so I went online and ordered a vast array of bargain cookbooks based solely on their size, shape and cover art, and these served to fill in the blank spaces. I thought I was quite clever.

The problem was that the Pottery Barn ledges were ridiculously expensive, considering it was a simple black painted piece of wood, and probably cheap wood at that. Ed jumped in with the words I hear quite often, “Oh, I can make that!” And he’s right, the man can make anything. ANYTHING. We’ve all heard of the time value of money, but what about the money value of time? This is my number one rebuttal to Ed’s, “Oh, I can make that!” We compromised and bought the cheap Target knock-offs. Let me share with you just a couple of the horrible reviews of these ledges:

This shelf is flawed in design; the mounting structure does not lie flush with the actual shelf, and the shelf overhangs by about 2 millimeters– doesn’t sound like a lot, but IT WILL KEEP THE SHELF FROM EVER HANGING ON YOUR WALL. However, before you realize this, you’ll have dug several holes in your wall– or six, precisely, if you’re me. And then you’ll find that for all your hard work, painstaking leveling, perfect placement…. [……] wall shelf will NOT CONNECT WITH THE MOUNTING BAR. DO NOT BUY THIS. TARGET: YOU OWE ME A NEW WALL. MINE IS MARRED BECAUSE I TRUSTED YOU. MAKE THIS RIGHT

and

DO NOT BUY THIS SHELF. I work in contracting and never saw such a poorly made piece of [junk] in my life. This is by far, the worst buy I have ever had from target. The directions are incomplete and inaccurate and the bracket and shelf will never come together, despite your best efforts. Wasted [$$] on two of these things. TARGET PLEASE DISCONTINUE THIS PRODUCT.

But thank God I am married to Superman; not only can he build anything, he can also FIX anything. Needless to say, he had his work cut out for him. He was right, he definitely should have just built them from the get-go. Sometimes I’m wrong.

I have not purchased a cookbook for several years, thank you, Internet, but I still do appreciate a good cookbook. My cousin Linda recently recommended a fun, quirky, retro book called Square Meals by Jane and Michael Stern, and it’s a must for any cookbook collector. Cousin Linda says the kugel recipe is fabulous, and once I’m done de-carbifying, I plan to try it. The recipes — many of which contain gelatin — are both hilarious and historically accurate. All I know is that Square Meals will be an invaluable reference for me when I host my next Mad Men party.

These days, the cookbook has to be pretty special for me to consider it, but I do hope to add to my collection over the years. If there is any “must have” cookbook in your collection, please let me know. There is always room on the shelf for one more.