Pop stars are people too, you guys, and they want us all to know it. It is for this reason that the popumentary was invented. You see, to prove just how down-to-earth these celebs are, they allow cameras into their lives to document them doing totally normal people things (prepping for world tours, crying about leaked nude pics, etc.) We’ve seen it a thousand times, and in recent years the phenomenon has exploded. You have Katy Perry’s “Part of Me,” Beyonce’s “Life is But a Dream,” and of course, the creme de la creme- Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never,” referred to by everyone who is me as The Godfather of modern day popumentaries.
At their finest, the popumentary effectively humanizes the humans we idolize, painting an endearing portrait of a person we previously assumed was a narcissistic psychopath. At their worst, they are an early sign of a very serious mental breakdown.
The latest example of this is the new MTV docu-series, “My Crazy Beautiful Life,” profiling the last two years in the world of Ke$ha. If you’re unsure of who Ke$ha is, she has those songs on the radio that sort of sound like if nuclear waste could talk. But, like, in a good way, do you know what I mean? She has made a living off of singing about binge drinking and throwing up body glitter, so one can only assume that her new show would be very raunchy and exciting, right?
Well, not really. The first of six installments in the series debuted on Tuesday and it didn’t leave me feeling nearly as violated as a thought it would, which is something of a disappointment. I mean, sure, she got wasted and made out with some dirty looking dude at one point, but who hasn’t done that? I guess what I’m saying is I expected more. Here are some things we did get to see:
- Ke$ha stalking her ex-boyfriend, whose name is Harold, as in, “I don’t want to invite Uncle Harold to the wedding because he makes me uncomfortable.”
- Ke$ha reading the New York Times review for her show, which made her sad due to some scathing personal criticisms. (e.g., “not good at being a robot,” “cartwheels were sloppy,” etc.)
- Ke$ha crying about having been bullied. Not, like, middle school formative years bullying- adult famous person bullying, like being called mean names by Perez Hilton.
And that was pretty much it. I’m sure there will be more excitement to come, but I’m not gonna stick around to see it. Let’s just eat.
If there is one thing that Ke$ha has taught me, it’s that there are multiple uses for a bottle of Jack Daniels. A young lady may, for example, brush her teeth with it. Me, though? I prefer to brush my food with it.
Cooking with hard alcohol can seem intimidating if you haven’t done it a lot. The smell of straight up whiskey doesn’t necessarily excite my palate so much as it transports me back to some rough mornings with my head in the toilet. Once you reduce it down, though, it becomes so perfectly sweet and smokey with none of that bitter, harsh bite. Add some salty soy sauce, tangy dijon mustard, and sweet brown sugar and you have something that is oh so sexy.
The bold flavor of this glaze lends itself beautifully to cuts of meat that have strong flavors of their own, such as beef or dark meat chicken. Today, however, I wanted to go with some fish. Not just any fish, though- a white fish like halibut or tilapia would be too mild for this dish. Once again, you need something with enough flavor of its own to stand up to the glaze. That’s why I went with the salmon. Plus, gotta get them healthy Omega 3s somewhere y’all feel me??
It turns out that salmon and this whiskey glaze are a serious fucking match made in heaven. Top it off with a sweet and spicy mango habanero chutney and you really hit all your flavor bases in one bite. It’s a totally quick meal that will knock people’s socks off. Seriously- the whole thing takes less than 30 minutes. I’m basically Rachael Ray, y’all.
Start by making the chutney. All you have to do here is dice some mango, tomato, and habanero, add some minced cilantro, season with salt, and you’re good to go. Bam, biatch, you got chutney.
Now for the glaze. In a small saucepan, add whiskey, brown sugar, dijon, and soy sauce over LOW heat, and whisk to combine. (NOTE: It is very important to use low heat here. If you use high heat, the whole thing will catch fire. Don’t ask how I learned this.)
You will want this to come to a low simmer for a few minutes until it reduces by about half and thickens a bit. Then you take it off the heat, and start on the salmon in a separate pan. The action plan here is simple: season the salmon with salt and sear in olive oil over high heat until browned on both sides.
Transfer to baking sheet and brush with glaze.
Toss in the oven for 5 minutes just to finish cooking. When they come out, brush again with glaze, and top with chutney. If you want to get all fancy like me, serve it on a bed of arugula dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
Garnish with body glitter.
Whiskey-Glazed Salmon with Mango Habanero Chutney
2 salmon filets
1/2 cup whiskey
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 lb fresh mango, diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2 habanero peppers, seeded and minced (leave some of the seeds in for spice!)
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
***(To make this, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl, stir, and store in the refrigerator.)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a small saucepan or saute pan, combine whiskey, soy sauce, brown sugar, and dijon. Whisk to combine and put it over LOW heat (high heat will set the whole thing on fire; I have learned this the hard way.) Allow it so come to a low bubble and whisk occasionally for 7-8 minutes until it has reduced and thickened a bit, then take it off the heat.
Coat a separate skillet in olive oil and place it over medium-high heat until the oil is very hot. Season the salmon filets with salt and place them in the skillet, skin side down. Allow them to cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes until nice and brown. Transfer them to a baking sheet, brush with the whiskey glaze, and let them finish cooking in the oven for 5 minutes.
When they come out of the oven, brush again with glaze, and top with chutney. Serve on a bed of greens dressed with olive oil and lemon juice if you wanna get extra fancy.