I’ve been playing around on Tinder lately. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a dating app that distills online dating to its essence: Look at a picture of a potential match, swipe the picture left for no, right for yes. If they swiped right for your picture too, you can communicate with each other. It’s entertaining, in a way: it requires very little effort – less effort than Candy Crush, which is the other app I use when I have time to kill.
I’m having better luck advancing levels on Candy Crush than I am in advancing my love life.
The problem with something that requires so little effort, of course, is that most people put very little effort in. In my zip code, fully half of my prospective matches – no, I didn’t count – have no text on their profiles at all.
Half of the available men in my area have absolutely nothing to say for themselves.
Of the half that do have something to say, often it goes a little like this: I like hanging out with the guys, working out, and watching sports. This is usually followed by some sort of statement of tribal allegiance (Go Hawks and/or Dawgs and/or Cougs!). I wonder where it is a woman fits into this equation, but I already know the answer.
Someone’s got to make the nachos.
The photographs in their profiles are usually taken at games, where they sport team logo gear, or at bars or parties, where they hold frosty mugs aloft, but either way they are surrounded by people and it is frequently difficult to determine which one I should be looking at. Some of them just cut to the chase, and use a team logo as their profile pic.
Guys, if you actually were Seahawks, you wouldn’t be on Tinder.
Some of them post pictures of their rides – usually motorcycles or muscle cars – and the photos may or may not have a person in them.
Guys, if I needed a new vehicle, I’d go to a car dealer.
Fatigue has set in, but I swipe onward: Genghis Khan without his horde, left. A kilt-wearing crossbow-toter with no face, left. Teddy Ruxpin at a urinal holding a beer, I give up.
I don’t enjoy spending my time this way, so even when a guy appears – not offering any information and wanting to get together ASAP – I smell hookup, and worse, I just can’t muster up any enthusiasm in spite of his GQ-worthy profile picture. I spend my free time going to brunch or the movies with friends, or at home, watching The Sopranos (who feel like friends, so many times have I re-watched the series), or maybe catching up on Game of Thrones (who I hope aren’t friends, though maybe that’s better than having them as enemies? hard to say). I take long walks with The Red Dog and Miss Liberty, a rescue dog I am fostering.
All in all, I find the time passes pleasantly this way. I make dinner for two, or often, just myself and when it’s the latter, I make what I want, exactly how I want it. This is how I ended up discovering Deborah Madison’s lovely recipe for Brussels sprouts – I had some of everything it called for, and nobody to tell me they don’t like Brussels sprouts, so I made it one evening as Tony Soprano had someone whacked in the background. Nobody was killed making this recipe, though I did burn a finger getting the toasts out of the oven.
It’s wonderfully simple, and takes pan-roasted Brussels sprouts off the side of the plate – where they don’t belong – and puts them center stage. If you’re not already pan-roasting your Brussels sprouts, you’re really missing out – the sprouts lose all the bitterness and become sweet and flavorful as they caramelize. I usually just toss them in the pan with some olive oil and salt, or maybe truffle oil if I’m feeling extravagant. But Deborah Madison takes it up a notch, adding onions and smoked paprika, which elevate the whole dish to heights I had not thought possible.
I redid this recipe a tiny bit: In Madison’s original, the Brussels sprouts are boiled briefly, then added to the onions. But I saw no reason for the extra step, since pan-roasting Brussels sprouts is the way to get the best flavor out of them, and if the onions caramelize a bit along the way, so much the better. So using this method, I’ve made the dish several times, each time better than the last.
The original recipe also calls for sharp cheddar cheese, which would be fine. I use Beecher’s cheese, which is local to Seattle, delicious, and can be purchased in large quantities at my neighborhood Costco. Another blogger adapted this recipe somewhat and used gruyere, which would also be lovely. It’s your dinner: Use whatever cheese you please.
I found the original recipe on Food & Wine; I am not sure which of Madison’s cookbooks it is from. I’ve already checked one of her books out of the library, so hopefully I’ll know soon.
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 4 slices of bread, toasted
- 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cover and continue cooking another minute.
- Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet and cook, stirring only to prevent scorching, until tender throughout and browned in spots, about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the toasts on a baking sheet and top with the cheddar. Bake for 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted; mound the brussels sprouts and onions on top and serve.