by Blake Stilwell
Some days, you just need to watch a Katherine Heigl movie. And I know we all have our favorite Katherine Heigl movie, but mine has to be Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, starring one of my personal favorite actors: Steven Seagal. In it, he reprises the role of Casey Ryback, who returns with all the majesty of an old friend in this follow up to Under Siege. No, really. Listen to the music. Our reunion with Seagal’s signature character is beautiful, patriotic, and heartwarming all at the same time. I get kinda giddy anticipating all the broken wrists and people thrown through windows that are coming up. Even Heigl gets to abuse a wrist.
For those of you unfamiliar essentially terrorists take over a train (the Die Hard model was big back then). There’s only one man who can stop them. You guessed it.
Oh yeah, he loves to cook. He owns his own restaurant. In the first Under Siege, he was in the Navy. He was the ship’s cook. He was also and ex-SEAL, “Expert in Martial Arts, Explosives, Weapons and Tactics. Silver Star, Navy Cross, Purple Heart with Cluster. Security Clearance revoked after Panama.” Or so we’re told. The first Under Siege is also arguably the most prophetic movie for predicting Gary Busey’s future.
This movie actually isn’t bad on the scale of an action film, even for Steven Seagal. Eric Bogosian is a great villain (if you’re unfamiliar, he’s on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I’m going to assume many of you still don’t know who he is because that’s the worst Law & Order of all.To put it succinctly, he’s like an evil Elliott Gould. Which is just as awesome as the real Elliott Gould). It even features a (relatively) young Jonathan Banks, aka Mike Ehrmantraut of Breaking Bad fame, a villain surpassed only by his boss, Gustavo.
I really digress here. I’m such a fanboy sometimes (like the time I actually saw Seagal at a Toyota dealership in Santa Monica heading to my friend’s Bachelor party).
So let’s move on. We’re here to make Casey Ryback’s Fruit Salad. A fruit salad that breaks your wrist and throws you off a train. Now, this is not actually made in the movie. What they actually make is some kind of cake with brandy. But later in the movie, Ryback uses his Newton (if you’re too young to know what that is, think of a smartphone that uses dial-up) to get a fax out to the outside world. It’s captured by the villains, who immediately go through it and find his recipe book, which includes a chicken cannelloni and this:
Forget that Casey Ryback can’t spell, he’s an American hero. And I don’t know what kind of cake they were making. And the chicken cannelloni is neither seen or read. So why not go for the fruit salad? You need to chop this stuff up into mouth-sized bites:
2 cups Granny Smith apples
2 cups papaya cubes
1 cup kiwi slices
¼ cup crystallized ginger
1 cup raspberries
¼ cup seedless grapes
Fresh mint leaves
You will toss it all with these:
1-1 ½ cups poppy seed dressing
2 tablespoons lime juice
I immediately thought of Bee Wilson’s chapter in Consider the Fork on measuring: How the hell am I supposed to use a volume measurement for something like grapes? Welcome to America, that’s just how our recipes are. (Thanks, Obama.) Just do your best with it. It’s a fruit salad, the world won’t end if you add an extra grape. Just don’t let Seagal find out you bastardized his recipe. My version looked like this:
Normally, I’d be concerned that the Poppyseed Dressing might be a little too strong and clash with the rest of the fruit. I also don’t like papaya. But the flavor, in the end is really spot-on. The sugary ginger is in a perfect balance with the dressing, which gives it all a little zing, and the only flavor that is really that powerful is the mint, which is both cool and enjoyable.