fore play

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Dinner Party, Posted on June 3, 2013 by Sandy Bergsten

There are things you do when you’re dating that tend to fall by the wayside once you get married. For me that would be golf.

I’ve never really warmed to the game. It takes almost all day to play. Those who partake tend to complain afterward about went wrong rather then what was fun. It never held much incentive for a full-time working full-time single mom.

Funny thing about dating you tend to do what the person who is wooing you wants you to. Funnier thing- you pretend to like it. Around the three-month mark the gig is usually up and if you mutually agree to move to the next stage of your relationship you mutually agree that each of you will now be doing most of your favorite things by yourself.

Like many adult daters I attempted to pick up golf. While games involving clubs and racquets are not my forte I learned to keep my eye on the ball and a smile on my face. We all have our dating patterns and one of mine obviously involved 6’ 4” men who love to play the game. When you see your new beau’s face light up at the mere thought of a merger between his two most beloved things (you and golf) it’s hard to resist. And if you’re lucky enough to bring in a new year together there is a good chance your new clubs will be collecting dust next to his new snowshoes and gardening gloves.

This year I gave my husband a new driver for his birthday. He excitedly scheduled a “fitting”. He suggested I join him for a mini lesson while he test-drove the new options, being his birthday I obliged. I dug around in my closet and found my old golf shoes. I searched in the storeroom and retrieved my three clubs. Big bonus, in my shoe I discovered my Velcro golf glove and a marker.

I panicked a bit about to wear. But while club technology seems to be a constant moving target I was pretty confident the old wardrobe rules hadn’t progressed. I found a pair of long black Bermudas and a collared izod shirt (both with the price tags still on them because let’s be honest where else would one wear black Bermuda shorts and a teal collared shirt).

I won’t bore you with the boring details of my lesson. But one interesting factoid stood out. My engagement ring cut into the neighboring finger inside my golf glove with each swing. I realized I had never played golf “with” an engagement ring. Once that specific detail lost its fascination I became aware that I was hot, my hand hurt and I wanted a big slushy soft drink.

The best thing about marrying your soul mate is that he is just happy to be with you. So while the course sounded like a good idea he found the reality of lunch equally delightful. To reward him for being such a good sport I whipped him up a special feast for dinner. Roasted sea bass, pan roasted carrots with dill, and a new recipe I found in a magazine for creamed spinach.

sea bass

For the roasted sea bass ask your fishmonger for eight-ounce thick cut skinned and deboned sea bass fillets. Score the top of the fillets with hatch marks.

sea bass

In a tall bowl combine the melted butter, soy sauce, sherry and lemon zest.

sea bass

With a hand blender pulse until emulsified.

Marinate the sea bass fillets at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Drain. Roast the fillets fin a preheated 450 degree oven for approximately 10-15 minutes.

(Note the marinade can be made a couple hours in advance, cover and keep at room temperature, blend once more before pouring over the sea bass.)

roasted carrots

For the roasted baby carrots peel and trim the carrots leaving the tops intact.

roasted carrots

Toss carrots with oil and salt on a rimmed baking dish. Roast carrots in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, flip halfway through.

roasted carrots

Toss with fresh dill.

(Note: The carrots can be roasted a little earlier, just shorten the cooking time, leave at room temp then reheat for 10 minutes until heated through.)


The spinach was just ok. I should have served up that standup side- sautéed spinach with garlic.

sea bass

We each have our passions. Thankfully my cooking is one we both relish.

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