AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Taste-Driving Boyfriends DATE: 1/02/2010 03:43:00 AM ----- BODY:

This weekend, The Boston Globe published a story about my dating trials and tribulations. Yes, it’s more amusing than Fred Flintstone. And all true. I don’t want to give away the punch-line, you should read the story.

Due to space limitations, they could not publish the accompanying recipes.

Dinner for Boyfriend No. 2
Perhaps this dish should be a litmus test for future boyfriends. I don’t think any of the old boyfriends would eat this as it was served in the story… The original recipe, which was written for elk loin, is quite adaptable. I’ve substituted tuna, duck and beef with equal success.

Chamomile Scented Tuna with Blackberry Sage Chutney and Crispy Polenta

Spice Rub:

1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon star anise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. cumin seed, roasted
1 tbs. chamomile, whole
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 teaspoon paprika

½ onion, diced
1 small shallot, diced
1 tbs. butter
3 cups liquid (any combination of chicken broth, milk or water)
3/4 cup polenta,
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Plain oil

Blackberry-Sage Chutney:
3/4 cup diced shallots
2 strips smoked bacon, finely chopped
4 tbs. black- or raspberry liqueur
3/4 cup blackberries, frozen
1 tbs. fresh sage, chopped
2 tbs. brown sugar
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

To prepare the Tuna:
3 lbs. tuna loin
¼ cup pomegranate molasses

For the Spice rub: In food processor, grind peppercorns and star anise until completely powdered. Add cumin seed and chamomile; grind until smooth and then add remaining ingredients. Set aside.

For the Polenta: Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add onions and saute until soft. Add milk, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. When polenta is thick, pour onto a 9”x13” pan and bake for 15 minutes. Cool at least 2 hours (preferably overnight) then cut into fry shape. Heat plain oil in a large skillet. Cook polenta fries until crispy on all sides.

For the Blackberry Sage Chutney: Saute bacon in a skillet until lightly brown. Add shallots and cook until soft. Add liqueur and deglaze the pan. Add all remaining ingredients. Cook for 2-3 minutes, just to soften blackberries.

To prepare the tuna: Coat the tuna with the molasses. Dredge in spice mix and place in a very hot cast iron skillet. Sear tuna on both sides until dark in color, about 3 minutes per side.  At this point it should be medium rare.  If you like your fish more well done, continue cooking in a 400F oven.    Slice and serve with polenta and chutney.

Up next: Dinner for Ken..................

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Psychgrad DATE:1/03/2010 01:51:00 AM Which story is it? There is a list of about 12 at the link. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Peter Franklin DATE:1/03/2010 08:03:00 AM So true! So true! Nice article, Julia...I very much like your "voice" in this. If there is not a connection on a food level, then what is there?

Happy New Year...

PF ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:1/03/2010 08:30:00 AM PG - Sorry about that. I´ve updated the link. The story is entitled ¨Recipe for Romance¨ ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:1/03/2010 09:17:00 AM Isn't dating more complicated than ever? When I'm told she doesn't like vegetables, that's a major red flag! Someday I'll learn to cut it off right then! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Andrea DATE:1/03/2010 12:56:00 PM Congrats on the column! I agree that an interest in food can be a meaningful tie that binds within romantic relationships and families. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Ben Margolis DATE:1/03/2010 09:06:00 PM Hey, I'm sure you have SOMETHING you won't eat! But seriously, that was an entertaining read that I can definitely relate to. Food is so important to me. I just got this cookbook that gives a little bit of recipes for all the latin countries. It's pushing me outside of my comfort zone in terms of ingredients (bacon I have never cooked at home since it's the last vestige I have of being kosher for the first 10 years of my life, but excited for starfruit and hearts of palm). Do you have a process for shopping for a bunch of recipes at once? I'm using a google doc and spreadsheet for 10 recipes. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:1/03/2010 11:32:00 PM Food compatibility is almost as important as political compatibility. Almost. Loved the Globe piece. It's so you. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Julia DATE:1/04/2010 08:34:00 AM Chris - my weakness is popeyes fried chicken.

Peter - nice to see you here. Hope you and the family are well! Dim Sum sometime soon?

T.W. - No vegetables? Yikes! Total deal-breaker.

Andrea - I agree. Food is all about sharing.

Ben - I do the same thing. I go through the recipes and write out the ingredients, creating columns by store (or grocery store aisle). There is software out there that can simplify, but you need to have all your recipes in a database.

Lydia - Oh, that´s a tough call which is more important, food compatibility or political. I guess it depends on how divergent the couple is on either issue. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:1/04/2010 07:26:00 PM Lovely article, how can people not be interested in food!! Happy New Year my friend. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Melissa DATE:1/04/2010 10:22:00 PM I read the article as well. I also find that food compatibility is important to me - to a point. Steve is being dragged along with me into a whole new world of spices and flavors, whether he likes it or not HA!, but he is still slow to adapt to Asian cuisines. So I go out to eat on my own or with a girlfriend for those things.

But as for flat out food issues, I think that may be a dealbreaker. It would be like any other life passion that someone cannot get on board with.

Great recipe(s) by the way! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Nate @ House of Annie DATE:1/04/2010 11:24:00 PM Congratulations on being published!

The love of food and cooking is part of what brought me and Annie together. And now we're doing a food blog together! So fun.

Hey, if you cook something out of your garden this month, I'd love to have you participate in our Grow Your Own roundup again! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Julia DATE:1/05/2010 08:26:00 AM noble pig -- I agree! Food is so wonderful!

Melissa - You make good points... and there's definitely room for compromise. You have an interesting situation because when you and Steve met (and got married) you really didn't cook. It sounds like you've navigated well your evolving interest (passion?) in food.

Nate -- I've got lots in the freezer from my garden, so I'm sure I can come up with something. My garden is buried under snow right now... ----- --------