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Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Sick Day with the Food Network

I seem to be coming down with a case on bronchitis, so I told Kevin to go see to the horses today and stayed in. I decided to curl up with the Food Network and see what's going on with all of the shows lately. I watched for a few straight hours and almost wished I hadn't.

The Schedule:

30 Minute Meals: I just caught the tail end. Rachael Ray was standing in her ugly orange kitchen making mac 'n' cheese. At least she can make it homemade. She was making it "Lorraine" style. Great Rache. Bastardize yet another dish. Quiche Lorraine isn't that hard to make. Really, it isn't. I would even forgive you if you used a store-bought pie crust. Please stop doing crap like this.

Healthy Appetite: This is one of those shows that makes me go, "Meh." Ellie Krieger has decent food knowledge and she makes simple, healthful, and easy-to-follow recipes. On that topic, she's a better influence than Rachael Ray by a mile.

For this episode she made fish tacos, "refried" beans, chipotle cream. I like how each component was very simply flavored. She knows enough not to cram 16 unrelated spices in a dish. The fish had lime, the mashed pinto beans had cilantro and ancho chili powder (I saw Sara Moulton do something similar a couple of years ago), and the cream just had the chipotles.

Next she made teriyaki chicken thighs that looked decent for a weeknight meal. I've done similar things with chicken. Her teriyaki sauce wasn't premade. She made her own with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sugar. That's a good idea. Bottled teriyaki has a lot of crap in it. Then she made soba noodle salad. I don't get why she boiled the noodles first before she prepared the dressing and veggies for the salad. I would have prepared that all first and then cooked the noodles.

She discusses the nutritional content of the food. That's another good idea. People need to know why they should eat something.

She measures things! With real measuring instruments!

In summation, Krieger doesn't really surprise me with anything. She makes a lot of the kinds of stuff I make, but I've been known to sneak in a pat of butter or a jigger of real cream here and there.

What is up with her voice? She always sounds like she's stuffed up. Did I read somewhere that she used to be a model. Maybe she lived the glamorous partying model lifestyle and spent some time with the spoon up her nose.

Quick Fix Meals: *snore* I just can't get into this show. I don't hate it the way some people do. This show just doesn't inspire me. She makes nothing I would want to make or haven't made before. Today's show was a rerun though and it did feature the one recipe I ever did make from this show - cream of broccoli soup. It was gross.

She's another one who doesn't measure. She'll tell you the measurement, but doesn't actually use a measuring spoon or cup.

Her idea of having a "freezer library" of frozen chopped vegetables isn't a bad idea. It's more economical to chop your own veggies and freeze them than it is to buy small amounts of pre-chopped stuff. It seems like a lot of trouble though.

What's with the music on that show. I HATE HATE HATE the theme song. But the music during the show is constantly changing. It's jazzy at one point and almost new-agey at another.

Semi-Homemade: This is the show that makes Rachael Ray look like a 5-star chef. I like how some folks call this food SLop, because slop is what it looks like.

The theme was "Heirloom Recipes" because there were recipes that were handed down in her family. They were of course bastardized to the point of being unrecognizable.

First she made a repulsive looking crab rangoon dip. She made chips by deep-frying wonton wrappers. Deep frying is a pain. Why will she do that but not cook with more homemade ingredients?

Next came an orzo salad. I like orzo. She made a dressing with BOTTLED oil and vinegar dressing. She pointed out that it had all sorts of herbs and spices in it. Then she added herbed feta cheese. So we now have the herbs and spices in the bottle of dressing plus the herbs in the cheese? Then she added fresh mint to the whole thing. I think some mint, orzo, oregano, salt, and pepper would have been just fine with just plain olive oil and red wine vinegar and plain feta as a dressing. I'll bet there were a gazillion milligrams of sodium in that salad.

The dish that followed was a chicken scallopine dish with spring vegetables. She mixed leek soup mix with wine and then threw that sloppy sauce into the crock pot with the vegetables. The resulting veggies were overcooked, limp, and gloppy. The chicken was dredged with more leek soup and sauteed. It is that much harder to sautee some onion and shallot and put some flour-dredged chicken broth in a pan and maybe add some white wine? How about steaming those veggies and tossing them with a little olive oil and garlic?

She made a carrot cake in the slow cooker. It was another variation on Grandma's recipe. Grandma must be spinning in her grave by this time.

Her cocktail took three hours to make in the slow cooker. What's the point of a cocktail you can't drink right away?

It was really annoyed at how she said, "Lllllllllllllllllllllllllemon juice."

Paula's Home Cooking: I never complain too much about Paula. The theme was breakfast in bed. Her husband said he wanted to bring her breakfast in bed, but she would have to make it. How nice!

She made a cake first that used cake mix and instant pudding. Oh Paula! You're so much better than that.

Her savory dish was spinach and mushroom pinwheels. She kept saying that it's unusual to have vegetables for breakfast, even those. Hello! Spinach quiche anyone? How about a mushroom omlet?

She finished with a Dutch apple pancake. Yummy. No comment on that one.

This show, overall wasn't too bad. I still love Paula.

30 Minute Meals AGAIN!: Todays theme was comfort food. She's done that one 100 times. This time the comfort food was pasta fagioli. Oh great. How will she bastardize this one? Personally, I don't think of pasta fagioli as comfort food. What's so comforting about beans? I don't think beans make things very comfortable for the people around you.

She said she got the idea for this recipe in Italy. Her weird method was apparently legitimate. Okay. I won't get angry with her for making some bizarre pasta fagioli recipe. But I still don't get this whole, "Girl next door," thing. Yeah. She's ALWAYS talking about her travels in Italy. How exactly is an ordinary girl like me supposed to relate to that? Yet I keep hearing about how "relatable" she is. Ordinary people go to Italy on a regular basis all the time.

She commented on the necessity of canned chicken stock because in her world, no one makes stock anymore. Why do they not make stock? Apparently it's because no one cooks whole birds anymore. Everyone just uses boneless, skinless breasts. I wanted to sit her down and force her to read my roast chicken blog. I love to roast a whole chicken. That to me is real comfort food. I don't make my own stock regularly, but when I roast a chicken, I always stick the carcass in the freezer and when I have time, I boil them up for stock.

Simply Delicioso: Sue warned me that Ingrid Hoffman is very different on her show when her mother isn't in the kitchen with her. How right she was. Ingrid is so manic. To her credit, she seems to enjoy herself, and she seemed less scatterbrained on this show than she was on the last one I saw. I really think she enjoys giving a performance. I just wish she would put more of that energy into her cooking. I can't get into her food.

She did that stupid finger-snapping framing device. Whatever. Then you see her dancing over the opening credits. Girlfriend can't mambo worth a hill of beans. I want to drag her to my dance class.

She started with the turkey tamal pie. It looked so underwhelming. Ground turkey breast? BOR-ing.

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy in the world, STOP WITH THE SALT THING. That goes for you too, Rachael Ray.

On that note, STOP SHOVING FOOD IN THE CAMERA. We can't smell it, and we never will.

She's another one who "eyeballs" the measurements. Don't you realize beginner cooks can't always eyeball amounts? If you're aiming a show at beginner cooks, teach them to measure for god's sake.

I could definitely start a drinking game with this show. Drink whenever she says, "baby".

Nothing makes me happier when I ask what's for dessert and I hear, "Jell-O" - NOT! If you don't like to bake (LAME!) and have to bring a dessert somewhere, pick up some nice cookies or a cake from the bakery or something. Jell-O shots are what you use to get drunk quickly. They are not dessert.

The beer drinks looked totally gross. I'd rather just have Jell-O shots (with those bakery cookies).

Well, I've had enough. These cooks are just lame. I'm afraid I will have to skip Giada, Tyler, Ina, and whoever else is on today. I've watched so many bad cooks that I can't even watch the good ones. I just can't stomach anymore. (No pun intended - okay, maybe I intended a little pun.) This network is just getting too lame to handle.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Even if you HAD been feeling perfectly fine, after all that junk you watched, I'm surprised you didn't feel twice as sick. I could NEVER have watched all THOSE shows in a row. You deserve a medal or maybe a brain transplant...Carrot Cake in a slow cooker?! I don't even know what to say.