Monday, November 22, 2010

Fall TV Report Card: Lone Star Flunks, Hawaii Five-O Aces

You knew this was going to be a rough Fall TV season when straight out of the gate, after just two episodes, Fox cancelled Lone Star, a show that earned glowing critical praise and should have been given more time to grow.

Since then ABC, who we like to call Always Be Cancellin’, took an axe to My Generation, which we admit we meant to watch, purely for True Blood’s Mechad Brooks, but never got around to (like most viewers it seems), and Maura Tierney’s The Whole Truth, while NBC cut Undercovers, which we were rooting for simply out of J.J. Abrams love, but seemed destined for failure after we saw the pilot, and Jimmy Smits’ Outlaw.

With many series still on the proverbial “bubble,” we decided to celebrate the new shows that earned season passes on our DVR this fall rather than the ones we love (what up, Blue Bloods?) that will probably be lone gone by February.

Moving to the head of the class, AMC’s The Walking Dead, which has already been renewed for a second season. Starring Andrew Lincoln, who audiences may remember from his devastating turn in Love Actually, where he proclaims his love for Keira Knightley Bob Dylan-style on a series of cue cards, this show about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse will have you squealing, jumping and clutching your pearls.

Although we were initially hesitant about Hawaii Five-O 2.0, one viewing made it instant must see TV. And not just because of the boogie-on-your-couch theme song or all the super foxy man candy on display. Sure, Alex O’Loughlin and Daniel Dae Kim make great TV, but it’s swaggering Scott Caan who steals the show and we’d bet gets the nod come Golden Globe and Emmy time.

Every DVR needs a guilty pleasure and ours is Hellcats. The CW show about a group of competitive college cheerleaders is surprisingly delicious viewing right down to its catch phrase, “Shake it like you’re from Memphis.”

Written for

Here's a delicious TV dinner to tuck into along with Hawaii Five-O's man meat, my homage to Hawaii's outstanding fish and strong Asian culture.

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks with Asian Slaw

The best part about this recipe is you can easily trade tilapia for chicken and have an equally delicious dish that’s a serious crowd pleaser. The secret to these sticks is panko, Japanese bread crumbs that impart an airier, crispier, lacier crust which stays crunchy longer and sucks up less grease than traditional bread crumbs. But don’t think I used panko just because this recipe includes an Asian slaw. Panko can and should be used in any dish, from your mac and cheese topping to eggplant parmesan, where you’re looking for a light crunch.

Serves Four

Fish Sticks
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder (can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. If you can’t find any powder at the market, ask nicely for some of the paste at your local sushi restaurant, they’re usually happy to oblige such a small request.)
2 cups panko (can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets, cut into wide strips
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly coat with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Place egg in a wide shallow bowl and add soy sauce and wasabi powder. In another bowl, combine panko, oil and sesame seeds.

Dip tilapia into egg, shaking off excess, then into panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Season with salt and place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, make slaw.

Asian Slaw:
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky depending on your preference
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 2-inch piece ginger, grated
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup mint, roughly chopped
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut in long thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut in long thin strips
1 carrot, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1 green onion, green and onion parts, as thinly sliced as possible

In a food processor or blender, combine peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and zest, ginger, jalapeno, cilantro and mint. Pulse just until dressing comes together. Check for seasoning and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cucumber, cabbage, bell pepper, carrot and green onion. Toss in dressing, reserving any remaining dressing for later use (it keeps in the refrigerator beautifully for up to ten days), and serve.

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