31 October 2009

TV Food

The recent articles about food shows keeping people from the kitchen made me think about the shows I watch and what I do with the information I glean from them. Do they get be into the kitchen?
MotH and I found Rick Bayless' show on PBS (Mexico: One Plate at a Time) - and the consensus is that it's pretty good. We'll need a few more episodes to be sure and he is a little slow, but I think that's just part of his personality. He's doing what the title says, taking on thing, salsa for example and showing what you can do w/it, beyond chips.  I was impressed with the roof-top garden at his restaurant Frontera. Not only is it innovative and appears to be something or rather long standing, but it's Chicago - how long of a season can you have there for hot season crops like tomatoes and peppers? Impressive. But his home garden is even more so -- wow! I. want.
Bayless was interesting on Top Chef: Masters - the only Top Chef we ever watched. We tried Top Chef: Vegas, but ugh. What a bunch of self absorbed icks. On TC:M he was stable, humble, I don't know, normal, especially compared to some of the rest (Michael Chiarello I mean you).
Another new show is Avec Eric - the first episode we watched - well almost finished was/is interesting, but the topic is artisinal and that is something that would interest me no matter what, so ... We'll give this a time or two and see how ol' Eric does. He's french (say it w/a freeench accent, itz more fun dat way) Eric Ripert -I know his name but I don't know why.
Final new show for now - Alex's Day Off** - hokey title. I mean please, but not half so gay as The Cooking Loft - ugh groan shoot me. Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter (love that name) has a new show. I've seen two episodes (TY TiVo) so far. She seems much more relaxed than on her last show - said cooking loft. Her breakfast show was very good if for just one idea - the cheesy hash brown (calories I can't even begin to count, but who the hell cares). Must get kitchen finished, because that recipe just went on the Must Make after Reno list.
** - No link because of Food Network's ridiculous obsession with video that annoys the crap out of me.

29 October 2009

Emma (cont)

I'm still slogging through Emma. I have figured out another problem I have with her as a character. She's never been anywhere. It's implied that she's been to Bath - maybe implied is too strong, for Mr. Woodhouse went to Bath with receiving any real benefit. Imagine that - either the water does not help (astonish me) or Mr. Woodhouse would still be the needy whiney old guy that his is even if taking the waters did help. Either way, she's not see much of the world outside of Highbury and Hartsfield, so her whole life is based on the fact that there has never been anyone of more consequence than her. Miss Taylor has done nothing to curb this and that's explainable again with the fact that she's a paid governess until Mr. Weston marries her.
I'm just never really going to like her... the story is good, not one of Miss Austen's best, I'll grant you, but give me Anne Elliot any day - hell, even Catherine Morland.
Thank goodness for Georgette Heyer.

Breaking the (only) garden rule

I broke the first and perhaps only rule of gardening - I didn't bother going out into the front garden for weeks. You see, when you go out into the garden, daily is best, you see little things that you can deal with or make note of that needs to be dealt with on the weekend. You can pull a few weeds or tie something up or maybe water a plant that looks a little blah. Well, in not doing that for much of the summer, I have created a huge mess to clean up. The weeds that need to be pulled are incalculable, the confederate rose needs to be trimmed and the leaves from it raked up because they are smothering some of the plants below. Seeds need to be collected or at least distributed for next spring. Hell, I even managed to let a knock-out rose die -- how the heck did that happen?

The back garden fared a little better. Largely because parking there means I have to come in contact with the garden there more often, though most of the time, in a rush. I let the zinnias take over the vegetables and then didn't bother to dead head the zinnias so I'm expected zinnias in the veg garden again next year - my justification that they attract pollinators doesn't really work if you let them tower over the okra so the okra doesn't get enough sunlight to produce.

So in going to the house via the front I have realized the error in my ways... must. work. in. garden. Or risk feeling like a sham as a master gardener.

26 October 2009

Bobby Flay

How was it that I really (really!) didn't like Bobby Flay until Throwdown? We started watching Throwdown to see Flay get his ass kicked. Then we realized that he wasn't the big jerk yankee that we thought. How did we miss it that he seems (for a "famous" chef) pretty normal? Now we've gone back and looked at other shows (Boys meets Grill) and we really like most of them. We even watched his chefography.
What's behind our change of thought
#1 - Perhaps he got a new PR person who told him to be nice
#2 - Perhaps he got better on TV - more comfortable and therefore coming off as less of a yankee.

I think it just might be #2.


While contrary to my friends, I don't consider myself a food snob. I am however a pizza snob. If it's not made from scratch - dough and sauce and cooked in a wood-burning oven then it's just not for me. Pizza needs only simple things - exceptional sauce  - tomatoes oil bail and a good melting cheese. My current favorite is fontina and maybe another ingredient or two - something different. Sun-dried tomatoes is a favorite, but roasted garlic is great, crimini mushrooms, prosciutto, spinach, bleu cheese. I'm not in the egg crowd though. The dough must be thin and crisp - sorry Chicago, but that thing you make has nothing to do with pizza - call it something else.
MotH's favorite pizza is any pizza. So that's how I get out of making dinner ...

Tuscan Oven
4801 North Ninth Avenue 32503

Blueberry Syrup

2 pints of blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer 20 minutes until it resembles syrup.
Store in clean, sanitized mason jar.

Definition of boredom (this meeting I'm sitting in)
              the state of being bored; tedium; ennui
              syn. dullness, doldrums, weariness

Ennui - love that word...