“Bachelorette” Premier: Why Not Throw a Dinner Party?

I have a little obsession with “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”  I think it’s because in college we made a big deal about “Bachelor” nights and viewed it religiously, season after season.  Watching episodes of this program was always ‘an event’ for us and of course, that’s what you do in college: use anything, even a TV show, to have an event.

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As I’m getting older, I find myself holding onto things that make me feel like I’m still in college and this nostalgia for my youth tends to manifest itself in the form of television shows that I like to watch.  While sadly the “OC” ended a long time ago, fortunately for me, MTV keeps airing new seasons of “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” and ABC continues to set single folks up on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”  Yes, it’s shameful, I know.  (I must admit, I’ve given up on “The Real World” as its trashiness factor is too high, even for me, but how can I resist T.J. Lavin’s awkwardness and my washed up old favorites, like Paula and Wes on ‘The Challenge?’)

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Ali: The next 'bachelorette'

Can these shows be defined as quality television?  Absolutely not.  Do I identify with the people? No.  Is there anything valuable to learn?  Not unless you count “don’t ever go on a reality TV show” as a lesson.

But I continue to watch them.  I still enjoy making an event of watching “The Bachelor,” even in my old age.  When we lived in Virginia, we watched each week with my brother and his wife, Rob and Alden,  but now they live in Japan, I’m in Georgia, and I don’t own a TV.  Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to find a group of friends that also enjoys spending two hours on a Monday night watching what my mom refers to as ‘trash TV.’  I moved here in the fall just in time to watch last season’s ‘Bachelor’ starring Jake.  Those of you that watched (and I don’t think there are that many of us) will probably agree that it was terrible.  Jake lacked personality and can really only be described as a goober.  Also, minimal drama always leads to disappointment.  I could have told the show’s producers that Jake would be a less-than-mediocre bachelor after his super-cheesy, and even pathetic, role on Gillian’s season on ‘The Bachelorette’ but no one asked my opinion.  Even Vienna couldn’t save the season.

But I don’t let one season get me down.  I’ll be there, ready for the premiere this Monday night.  (It won’t be nearly as awesome/wonderful/amazing as the ‘Lost’ finale the night before, but more on that later.)  Since the producers of “The Bachelor” have adopted the trend of using a reject from a previous season for future seasons, next week Ali will be the new bachelorette.  Now Ali isn’t technically a reject since she chose to leave Jake’s season because of her job, even though she said, “I’m smitten with the boy.”  (Lame!)  Now Ali’s back and I guess her boss gave her the ok this time.

In honor of next week’s premiere of the new ‘Bachelorette,’ David and I hosted our viewing group for dinner this week.  We thought it would be fun to cook dinner and go through each of the 25 men that we’ll meet next week on the premiere.  Why not give even more time to the show than I already do?  You can go to ABC’s website to check out the bachelors yourself.  A word of warning: this group of men includes very little ethnic diversity, unless you count Canada.  Of course we thoroughly enjoyed analyzing each contestant and reading the comments that others had posted.

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So now to the food…For our dinner party, I enlisted David to make one of my favorite grill meals: Grilled Salmon from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. I hesitate to order salmon in a restaurant now because this version of salmon is so good and David cooks it perfectly.  It’s so simple, fresh and beautiful.  I love the presentation.  An added bonus of this dish: We share a communal grill with all of the residents in our apartment building so the bed of oranges and lemons keeps the salmon safe from gluten contamination from the grill.  Perfect for a warm summer night and great for entertaining.

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Grilled Side of Salmon (Serves 8 easily)

Ingredients:

  • Sunflower oil or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 4 lemons, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 2 oranges, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 1 small bunch of basil
  • 1 bunch of oregano (use whatever herbs are in season…lemon thyme would be great too)
  • 2 piece wild salmon, (2 ½ – 3 lbs.)

Heat the grill to medium.  Once it’s hot, scrub with grill brush and lightly sweep with olive oil.

Arrange the lemons and orange slices on the grate, then add the the basil and oregano, making a bed for the fish.  Lay the salmon skin side down on the herbs and season with salt and pepper.  Cook salmon 20 to 30 minutes.

Use two large spatulas to transfer the salmon and bed of fruit and herbs to a large platter.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  (I prefer my salmon hot.)

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As a side dish, I served quinoa with sweet onions and roasted carrots.  I used regular quinoa and red quinoa, as well as both orange and red carrots.  Mary Stuart and Victoria made a delicious salad with greens, blueberries, beets, and even beet greens.

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And of course, blondies for dessert.

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So think of me next Monday night as I spend two hours watching Ali meet Chris H., Chris L., Chris N. (yes, there are three Chrises, not including host, Chris Harrison) and the 22 other bachelors.  There’s sure to be a plethora of cheesy lines, awkward moments, and maybe the most dramatic rose ceremony ever.  I’ll be loving every minute of it.

  1. Alden says:

    Betsy, reading this is the first time I’ve been really really homesick! I will miss watching this next horrific season (I think Ali is going to be Ms. Dullsville, unless her “hater” side really comes out again) with you and David and I will really miss eating your blondies.

  2. Betsy says:

    We’re going to miss you guys too! It’s just not the same. At least you’ve got all of ‘Lost’ ahead of you…
    I think you’re right about Ali. Probs going to be a dud.

  3. Rob Watts says:

    Hi Betsy, I agree with Alden. We will miss this special time with you all. Will there be any ice cream and chocolate sauce to accompany your blondies?

    After taking a brief look at some of the contestants, and probably raising some red flags on my ship’s computer system, you might consider adopting the Bachelor Bio format for your “About” page. I think your loyal readers would be especially interested in the Tatoo Count.

    Example Bachelor Bio:

    Age: 33
    Occupation: Landscaper
    Hometown: Dennis, MA
    Resides in: Cape Cod, MA
    What a typical Saturday Night is: Hanging out in a bar with friends
    His biggest achievement to date: Teaching New York City high school kids for five years, and making a difference
    Who he admires the most: His dad — who went through so much and never left when the going go tough, and never gave up.
    His favorite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    His most favorite things to do on a date? Be near water, participate in adventurous activity and have good conversation
    Tattoos? Yes….let’s just say, check out his heart!

  4. Betsy says:

    Rob, that’s a great idea to change my “About” info to fit the Bachelor format. My five tattoos might catch people a bit off guard though. Biggest Achievement: “Blogging about reality tv.”
    Hope the navy’s not too concerned about you spending quality time on The Bachelorette website. Hopefully you and Alden can watch episodes on Hulu so we can still debrief. Do they sell Us Weekly in Japan?

  5. moxie says:

    He sounds hot! I love a guy with some ink.

    And I can’t wait to start watching LOST.

  6. Rob Watts says:

    We look forward to watching the Bachelorette through various websites that may or may not be entirely legal. Unfortunately, Hulu is blocked over here. They do not sell US Weekly over here, but Alden bought me a subscription for my birthday. It is mailed to the ship which is endlessly amusing to the rest of the wardroom. But, one must keep up with the news somehow.

  7. Bri says:

    My sister just found out she is allergic to gluten and her birthday is coming up in December and I am throwing her a dinner party. I have no idea how to cook a gluten free dinner. Do you have any ideas for a salad, soup,main course and dessert? I was this to be an elegant dinner.

  8. Betsy says:

    Hi Bri,

    There are many dishes you can make, that are naturally gluten-free. Since it’s going to be in December, I would make something hearty, in my Dutch oven or roasting pan. Try this red wine braised chicken dish. Perhaps a butternut squash soup and a simple salad that accentuates what’s fresh and local in your area. For dessert, are you feeling adventurous or want to keep it simple?

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