Thank you to all those who have taken the time to post a comment or send an email regarding my boy, Maximus.  Tomorrow afternoon, he goes in for a shot of – I want to say “prednisone” which sounds right but, to be honest, could have just been something I once heard on a rerun of E.R..  Anyway, he’s going in for a shot of a corticosteroid that will hopefully help stimulate his appetite.  Fingers crossed.

Speaking of appetites – one of my most favorite things in the world to do (next to exacting revenge on my enemies) is going to the market, picking up unique proteins available, and creating a meal around them. Now I know that many of you prefer your beef well done, your fish cooked, and your octopus on the mezzanine floor of your local aquarium.  I, however, am a fairly adventurous eater and occasionally enjoy fare some would consider “exotic” (others “disgusting”).  In an effort to help those of you looking to expand your culinary horizons (specifically those of you with your forthcoming New Year’s resolution to “eat weirder”), I’d like to offer a few suggestions/recipes to get you started…

Crispy Calamari


Not quite as daunting as other entries, squid can be found on the menu’s of even the most casual eateries – usually fried to crispy doneness and served with a dipping sauce.

Buying: Ask your local fishmonger.  They usually carry the “tentacles and tubes”.

Recipe: Rinse your tentacles and tubes, then pat dry.  Heat some sea salt (or salt of your choice) in a wok along with some peppercorns and spicier pepper seeds (ie. tepin or pequin) until they brown, then transfer them to a mortar where you will grind them to a fine powder with a pestle.  Place three tablespoons of flour in a plastic baggie along with the ground powder and some Old Bay seasoning.  Pour some vegetable oil into your wok and switch the heat to high.  Transfer your tubes and tentacles into the baggie and give them a shake, making sure they’re good and coated.  Once the oil is hot enough, lower the individual coated squid pieces into the wok and allow them to fry up to a golden brown (usually about a minute a piece).  Serve with sweet chili dipping sauce (available in most grocery stores).



If you’re feeling squeamish, you can just get the collar – but you’ll be missing out on the delicious cheek and head meat.

Buying: Available at most fish and seafood purveyors.  And incredibly cheap!

Recipe: Rinse your fish heads and pat dry.  Mix some sesame oil, black pepper, garlic powder, and salt in a bowl, then slather over the fish heads, making sure to cover inside and out.  Pop into the oven and broil for 10-15 minutes.  Great with rice.  Very Japanese!



Many who have sampled sea urchin at their local sushi joint have come away unimpressed.  I know that when my writing partner tried it for the first time, he likened the flavor to “the open sea…right beside an open sewer main”.  Much of the uni served in Japanese restaurants is packaged and, admittedly, possesses a bit of a funky flavor.  Fresh uni – and by fresh, I mean scooped straight out of its spiny shell and served – is nothing like the packaged variety.  It’s sweet and creamy and utterly delicious.  Forget the fact that they look like little orange tongues.

Buying: Tough to get but if you find them at your local fish market, snap them up.  I got mine at $10 a piece.  It’ll run you roughly triple that at your high-end Japanese eateries.

Recipe: Have your local fishmonger open them up and scoop out the meat for you.  Then bring them home and serve raw.  Rice optional.

Well, the advance digital copies of the first issue of Dark Matter (December 14, 2011: Dark (Matter) Developments!) have gone out. Wait.  What do you mean you didn’t receive yours?  Okay, I’ll look into it.  And while I’m at it, I should also get around to a couple of more online interviews.  First up, a Q&A with Eric Whitman at The Daily Blam! (now featuring interviews with The Walking Dead composer Bear McCreary, Sam Elliott, Gary Oldman & Colin Firth) The Daily BLAM! | Entertainment News | Movies Television Gaming …), then another with for Nerd World News (check out their update on The Goon and advance trailers of The Hobbit and G.I. Joe: Retaltion – Nerd World News),  and then one more with Ryan Thomason over at WatchPlayRead (presently offering sneak peeks at Secret Avengers 21.1 and Spartacus: Vengeance, WatchPlayRead – “It’s What We Do!”).  I’ll let you know when the interviews are up once they let me know that the interviews are up.

40 thoughts on “December 21, 2011: Fish Heads, Fish Heads, Roly Poly Fish Heads! Fish Heads, Fish Heads, Eat Them Up, Yum!

  1. I took a fish head to the movies, and I didn’t have to pay to get him in…

    I think I could eat the crispy calamari. I can manage just about anything if it’s sufficiently crispy. But as for the next item on the list, I say, “Yes, it’s a lovely fish. But it’s smiling at us.”

    – KB

  2. I’m afraid I’m not feeling very adventurous in dining at the moment. I think I’ll stick with a rare steak and some garlic shrimp. Could just be my mood…

  3. Im a very adventurous eater. I’ve had uni at a sushi place and it was terrible but long before that I had tried it fresh from the beach. My family and I were doing some fishing at some rocks and a whole school? herd? of them were on the rocks at the waves. Cracked a few open and had a try. Dont remember the taste that well apart from it being very salty XD but it was much better fresh than packaged.

  4. Praying that Super Max gets his appetite back… Does he have favorite tasty morsels at your Mom’s?

    It’s crispy calamari for me, an amateur in the weird food department. It’s de-rish, though. Yum.

    Oddly, was thinking about posting last-minute gift ideas yesterday before your blog. Then my mind was on Max. So, in case anyone needs them: 🙂

    Gift Ideas for Gals

    I was also going to make suggestions for good off-genre reads, for panic purchases, and also mid-winter reading while we have time off from work. Some “bargain” books in the SF/SciFi genre this year have really not been. The books were still in the developmental manuscript stage, and not publication ready. Was so itching to pick up my pencil and mark up the “manuscript” as I read (an occupational hazard). These are great reads, though not genre:

    Medicus (a novel of the Roman Empire)
    by Ruth Downie
    Ruso, a sardonic medical officer, finds himself dragged into solving murders while traveling with a contingent of the Roman army in what is now northern England. His gruff, dry humor deflects many absurd requests for love potions, but doesn’t prevent him from being drawn into unraveling mysteries, or unwittingly falling for a local Briton girl who thinks all Roman soldiers vile. Very entertaining, mixed with interesting historical details by the author, who studies Roman-era archeological digs in her native Britain. If you like Medicus, you’ll also like this well-written series: Terra Incognita, Persona Non Grata, and Caveat Emptor. (The titles given by American publishers.)

    Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts
    by Lucy Dillon
    The title screams Chick Lit, but this too is well-written with engaging characters. Rachel, tired of explaining her single state to gatherings of married relatives, takes a leap of faith bequeathed by her late aunt, who was also single and harried by family. The leap is a long jump, including an estate house, a rescue kennel of down-on-their-luck dogs, and her aunt’s Border collie, who has decided opinions on how things should be done. Rachel, not a dog person, not only makes peace with canines, but also with interacting with people again. Fun read.

    Not a book, but a Scarf
    Scarves are passé gifts, right? Nope. Not when you have new inspiration to make them look cool, ahead-of-trend, and unusual. These 25 looks, created by fashion guru and cheerleader Wendy Nguyen, use gauzy designer scarves or even fuzzy but elegant winter scarves. Wendy makes looking polished attainable by even we ordinary people. This tutorial video alone will make you seriously consider buying at least one, from 72″-84″ long, to better pull off the effect. (Or raiding your closet.) Choosing one of the styles is simple, and leads to a more sedate group of tutorials.

    Good luck to everyone shopping for last-minute gifts!

  5. Aw, darn. Left the ital. running and forgot to turn it off. ‘Solly! 🙂

  6. “Roly poly fish heads are never seen
    Drinking cappucino in Italian resturants,
    With oriental women, yeah”

    Calamari is wonderful, crispy or otherwise. Anyone who can enjoys shrimp may love decent calamari. I even like it non-crispy. I’m still wondering if Shakey’s in Japan still serves their corn and squid pizza, yum. Raw, not so much, but I’m not big on the texture of any raw seafood.

    I had my first calamari at age ten, fresh off the pier at Monterrey….

    Haven’t tried kama that I know of, but I’ve eaten many things from the sea which stared at me in that sad, sad way.

    Uni, not my thing, but perhaps if was straight out of the net…. perhaps. Back to the texture thing.

    I have a friend who prides himself on what he thinks is a sophisticated palate, yet will not eat mushrooms of any kind and dislikes all cooked seafood, or any food he deems gritty (cormeal, whole grain breads, and oddly, shrimp). I have yet to convince him that it isn’t all canned button mushrooms and fishsticks out there!

    Here’s hoping the shot boosts Max’s appetite! Poor kid needs some pot-laced doggie treats.

  7. Joe,

    I’m a bit older than you and have always owned dogs. My breeds are Newf’s mostly, and losing a newf is always devastating. I’m sure you are greatly troubled about the decline of Maximus and you’re being brave thinking about the day when you will be asked to end the life of a dear friend. All I can do is urge you NOT TO DO IT.

    Our first Newf was put to sleep, aka “killed” by my order 16 years ago. My wife and I were there with her at the end. That look she gave me (my newf Victoria) has spooked me since then. It sent an arrow through my heart and I could not stop crying for almost a month.

    A couple years later I learned that there was an excellent chance Victoria might have lived a much longer life if I had sought the opinion of another vet. I will have to live with forever.

    But, my concern for you is that you are a pet owner of one in a billion, most pet owners would never go to the lengths you’ve gone too over the years. Your love is there, of that there is no doubt….so I am afraid that if you do anything other than allow max to come on to “move on to a new life in a new universe”, by keeping her pain free, warm, and surrounded by love, you will regret a cold clinical death administered by a vet. Pain free, warm, with loved ones is how all of deserve to move on.

    These are very sad days approaching. If you need anything you have us here, and we’d do just about anything we old to help.

  8. Hope the treatment goes well for wee Max and he gets his appetite back in time for his Christmas dinner lol

  9. Calimari, meh. Can eat it, don’t go out of my way for it. The fish head recipe looks interesting, something I may want to try at work for shock value, if nothing else. Sea urchin is out; one try and I was much less than impressed.
    You’re right, its probably prednisone. I do hope it perks the old boy up so that your trip tomorrow goes of without complications. And do give the rest of the gang a good hugging and belly rub; we’re thinking about them too. Maximus’ illness is having its effect on them, even if they can’t tell you that. Thanks for the recipes, and safe flying.

  10. Sending my love to Maximus. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that he’s so lucky to have you as his owner. Hopefully you’ll have great holidays together. 🙂

  11. Funny, I would’ve put the Uni as intermediate and the Kama as advanced. I’ve been a sushi afficianado since I was about 9, thanks to my dad. His favorite was always Uni with Quail Egg. While we would visit about 5 out of the 20 places to get sushi in our town here, he’d only order the Uni with Quail Egg at about three of them because of the freshness factor and those restaurant’s reputaion for quality. I’ve had from time to time myself as I haven’t encountered a type of sushi, roll, hand roll, or most Japanese food that I haven’t liked or enjoyed yet. Granted, there are things they have that we do as well that just aren’t my style, like overly spicy hot stuff. I don’t care what it is, if I can’t taste it over the heat, it’s probably not worth eating to begin with. I do love a good spicy tuna hand roll, though.

    I’m like you, “Pregnazone” is what I’ve always heard. But that you miss, and you nail “corticosteroid”? That’s hilarious. If Maximus starts getting his appetite back, methinks he’ll be wanting some more of that pate Akemi made him the other day! That sounded good to me!

    Also, did I miss the culmination and the final results of the great macaron-off?

    Oh, and what is the difference between “written by” and “teleplay by” with respect to tv credits? Is one just a general story and the other is that story formatted for scripting and shooting?

    -Mike A.

  12. Steriods will make him feel better. Sending hugs to you & Max! When do you leave?

  13. p.s. Steroids may make Max drink and urinate more frequently. So you might want to work in a few extra bathroom breaks before/after the flight.

  14. @Mr. M. ‘I, however, am a fairly adventurous eater…’
    Really? I hadn’t noticed. 😉

    Crispy Calamari sounds scrumptious. Post me some, now, please!

    Fish Heads…not so much. (The eyes! The eyes! They’re following me around the room!)

    Sea Urchin…Run away! Run away!

    ‘I say, “Yes, it’s a lovely fish. But it’s smiling at us.”’
    Arf!!! 😀

    One food item that I saw on a doco on China, which really grosses me out (as well as sundry ‘fried-insects-onna-stick’) was a boiled egg – but instead of a yolk inside, there was a chicken FOETUS. Ewww!
    But, I guess, eggs are a bit icky anyway, when you think about it. Each to their own.

    Colin Firth, eh…

    Best wishes to Maximus.

  15. Joe! Thanks for the truffle advice the other day. Longer fridge time and the two spoon rolling method have made quite a difference, and I’m getting fairly proficient. Having fun these past few days experimenting with different chocolates and toppings.

    Merry Christmas to you and Akemi, and best wishes to Maximus. Though he’s had his health difficulties, for what it’s worth it sounds like he’s had quite a fun life with you. I hope all goes well today with his treatment.

  16. Hope all goes well with your travels and your cute carry-on companion. We’re heading to my in-laws in the middle-of-nowhere Missouri tomorrow morning. Happy holidays everyone!

  17. *hugs for Maximus* Sweet Maximus. 🙂 Poor guys looks like he could use a cuddle. 🙂 I’m praying for you li’l guy. 😉

    Fish heads?? Never had. But…I’m willing to try.

    I can safely say that I’ve never had sea urchin but hey don’t look too bad. I’m willing to try them.

    Mmmmmm…that calamari looks scrumptious! 🙂

  18. I hope the shot helps Maximus get his appetite back.

    I’ve not had any problems with my own appetite, although those pictures are putting a bit of a damper on it.

  19. I’d eat any of it 🙂
    Christmas blessings on Maximus and the rest of your furry family — hope the shot will help make him more comfortable.

  20. Oddly enough, I did not see my advanced digital copy of Dark Matter. I even checked the spam folder. Guess I’ll just have to wait it out.

    I have had fresh uni and it is fantastic. It’s been years though.

    Merry Xmas and happy holidays to everyone! Throw some hug on Max for me.

  21. Rinse your tentacles and tubes, then pat dry.

    That sentence actually make me laugh out loud.

    Here’s wishing you and Maximus a good visit in Montreal and a very merry Christmas. 🙂

  22. Hey Joe,

    Fish heads? I think my life is destined to be boring when it comes to food. While under cancer treatment EVERYTHING tasted like “the sewer smell dish”…Water even came out poorly. I have developed a sever allergy to minerals…and makes my food choices difficult. BUT I must say that fish heads would NOT make any list. I guess I am not meant to be adventuresome. You on the other hand…I find to be one of your charming attributes. You go where I would never tread with food…AND you love doing it. Your pictures are the beat show-n-tell I’ve seen…also my favorite. I kind of miss your weird food videos..I should look one up.

    I am also so very impressed with your family and how much you live them. Everyone and everything should be as loved as you love. What an example you are. You speak so lovingly of your little ones that I have grown to love them over these couple of years. I believe “The Rainbow Bridge” exists…and you will have many to greet you there.

    I am hoping your email has not changed…I want to send a Christmas message.

    I am so happy to be able to read again. My new “rose colored glasses” have been a success. I am still so excited about Dark Matter. I am hopeful it will be easy to find. I’m going to buy it for those in my family that have come over to “the dark side”! What??? A digital copy??? We can have one? You have my email…so YES I would love to see it.

    Best to you, Little A and the pups,
     ♥இ≻–♥ஜ╫╟╖A╥╖K╙╢O╙╜ஜ ♥இ≻–♥
    For all you generously share with us about your life. *smiles*

  23. In the morning, laughing happy fish heads
    In the evening, floating in the soup

    i first heard this on the Dr. Demento radio show in the early ’70’s. it still cracks me up!! 😀

  24. “What do you mean you didn’t receive yours? Okay, I’ll look into it.”

    Thanks! I appreciate it. 🙂

    (Still eagerly anticipating this comic, which is on my pull list at my local comic shop.)

  25. Fish fingers taste bad enough, but fish heads…?

    Maximus certainly is a tough lad. Looking at the top photo, he looks like there’s still some fire in his eyes.

  26. Some friends adult children do “Disgusting Food Night” each year. In their words:

    Our kids continued their tradition of Disgusting Food Night. The appetizer was balut (dead duck embryo still in the eggshell) which was truly disgusting. We also sampled rambutan, a Vietnamese fruit, and grilled banana flower. The main course was barbequed pig head. The favorite cuts being cheek, meat behind the eyeball, eyeball and snout. As our son Kenny said “everything was great except the tongue”.

  27. Your title of the blog entry made me affraid to actually read the post……….

    (warning, long post)

    In Stargate Universe, I looked over a few things and a thought came to mind. Actually when you think of it it makes far morse sense that what appears to be the case. When the ancients launched the Seed ships and Destiny, I think they were launched within a span of say, 100 years apart, but in the series, it is stated that they are over 2000 years travel apart. This can be for various reasons. Destiny probably travels slower as it is making numerous FTL exits and over time, the engines have worn down on efficiency. The Seed Ships could always maintain their engines or other systems using automated repair systems the Alterans would place on the ships as it would be impractical to preform maintinace on them. Although in the event a catostrophic failure occured, things could be done to manually repair the problem as we saw in Awakenings and Resurgance. Destiny has also sustained heavy battle damage over the millions of years it has been traveling as a result of the repeated Nakai attacks and doubless other attacks from other space faring races.

    When Destiny begain its journy, the Alterans intended to arrive on Destiny. Although we don’t directly see it, evidence suggests that the Alterans did indeed come to Destiny at some point. A missing shuttle on the third launch pad can be interpreated several ways. Either it was lost while it was docked at Destiny or while flying. The fried life support system is another indicator. If the Alterans intended on comming to Destiny, they would have had more of that stuff in storage and not just in the units it was used in. Also, other supplies neccesary to ship function probably would have been found in storage because of the enourmouse power requierments needed to dial into Destiny even after it has traveled through two galaxies. Of course, some things like food stufs I wouldn’t expect to find on the ship, while I would anticipate more things like spare parts such as essential electronic components.

    Well what evidence suggested that the Alterans actually wanted to come to Destiny in the first place? The fact that Destiny had furniture in the ship is basically a dead giveaway to that thought. “If you furnish it, you obviously want to live there at some time.” Destiny had a massive database and an unknown information storage capacity. Who knows, maybe there is more than twenty Icarus-type planets in ship’s archives. Dr. Nicolas Rush also states that the Alterans had originally intended on coming to Destiny.

    If the Alterans had come to Destiny, why didn’t they leave some sort of log entry behind as to why they left? Maybe they did but it got corrupted. More likely, due to the massive size of Desiny’s database they did leave a log entry behind that still hasn’t been discoverd. My theory on that question is as follows:
    Destiny is shown many times to be its own life-form. She has the abillity to make its own decisions although they can be overruled from the bridge of the ship. Destiny interacts with the crew guiding and testing them when they don’t realize it and helping them cope with stresses of being away from the home they used to know. She even is show to have feelings that the crew share as evidenced that when Destiny tested Young and Young essentially gave up, Destiny also appeared to give up on the mission she was sent on millions of years ago. It was Rush overruleing Destiny’s simulation that caused the ship to return to her mission.
    So to conclude from that side-theory, it is possible that Destiny archived those log files and hid them from the prying eyes of Nicolas Rush or even down-right deleted them.

    What is there to gain from all this speculation? Well, that just depends on your personal take on the matter. Perhaps if SGU had gone on for a third or even a fourth season, we might have seen some of these questions get answerd. Maybe we could have seen more into the real past of Destiny’s history and dive into the untold mysteries that the ship possesses. The untold story, the unsung song. The chronicles of Destiny.

    (I told you this would be a long post)

  28. Oh….One more thing I didn’t mention…..
    If Destiny had spare parts, chances were that when the Alterans were forced to leave the ship for an unknown reason, they took most of what they could so they could have a better chance of surviving.

  29. I’ll be picking up the calamari for Christmas Eve dinner in a couple of hours! We stuff the tubes with egg, cheese and bread crumbs and simmer them with the tentacles! Nothing like seeing those little arms coming up out of the sea of red tomato sauce. Mmmmmm, good!

    I’ve had hamachi collars at my local Japanese restaurant and was not wowed. Maybe I need to hold out for the cheeks. And maybe they have them at YOUR fish purveyor, but I’m not so sure I can get them here. Uni? Yum. Did you scoop them yourself?

    I hope that the prednisone works for Maximus. It might perk up his appetite and have the added benefit of reducing any swelling and inflammation around the melanoma. Best of both worlds.

    @das: loved the cat picture the other day!

  30. On a Maximus note, Joe, have you considered medicinal marijuana for Maximus’s appetite problems? I live in Washington state and the idea both among vets and human cancer patients in general is relatively positive for this concept. And there really is such a thing as medicinal marijuana for animals with cancer. Maybe you should talk to your vet about it. Hope Maximus does better with his shot.

  31. Paws crossed that the shot helps Maximus. Safe journey on Friday, take your scarf and hats, long johns, does Maximus have a winter sweater? looks like it might be a bit chilly in Montreal.

  32. Hey Joe

    Been very busy of late. But, I have read every day, both the posts and the comments!!

    Sorry to hear about Max’s ongoing problems, Hopefully this new stuff helps.

    Calamari, maybe I’ve always gotten ‘bad’ calamari, but how much chewing is involved? It always reminded me of a ball of elastic bands…

    Fish heads?!? That’s the part you toss out… or give to the cat.

    Never had Uni, by the looks of it I’d give it a try.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all not insulted by the saying and Happy Holidays to those that are.


  33. I am sure you are in a crowd of good friends and kind well wishers for you and Maximum. Many people have endured the trials of a close pet and it can be a very emotional time. I remember listening to one of my favorite local talk show hosts on the night of the passing of his beloved pet, and as you could hear the welling of his voice as he strained to finish the show. It was moving to hear his listeners offer support and share stories. A very moving, cathartic and sharing event. While I can’t keep pets due to allergies, I loved the pets my family has grown up with. Their pictures bring back memories, emotions and thought of a dear friend. I know you will do your best for Max and your followers and friends will be there with you.

    Now about the food. Fish, where are the rest of body. I agree with you on the head and cheek meat. I have finish off may a sea bass and snapper including those delicate parts. I do not recall fresh urchin. Most Thai food is fried, grilled, boiled or steamed. Of the sushi, I love that wasabi!

    If the shot fails I guess you could always take him with you on a business trip to LA and walk down Venice Beach. There might be a practicing herbalist who might help Max out. (sorry poor joke)

    May you still have a Merry Christmas and good blessings.

  34. Yes, prednisone or possibly prednisolone. Vets like to use both. The shot should make Maximus eat like it’s going out of style. Prednisolone made my cat absolutely ravenous. Good luck to you and Max.

  35. Earlier I didn’t bother reading the yucky food stuff because…well…it was yucky. So, I decided to read it tonight. I got to “Rinse your tentacles and tubes, then pat dry”…and totally read it as something else. 😛 I think what I really need to rinse is my filthy mind.


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