Monday, July 31, 2006

Hell's Kitchen: And Then There Were Four!

TONIGHT ON FOX: 8pm ET/PT (last week's episode); 9pm ET/PT (new episode)

Omigod! Finally, it has come down to THIS! How very, very sad. After season one's exciting conclusion of Chef Michael vs. Chef Ralph, season two's remaining group consists of Chef Kevin (self-dubbed "K-Grease"), Chef Heather (the NY sous-chef who started out with such promise and seems to have lost most of her fire in the kitchen due to feuds outside of it), Chef Sara (the Texas "deli-manager" whose most obvious specialty is sabotaging her teammates and then bad-mouthing them for good measure in her little video "diary" vignettes), and Chef Virginia (the NJ salad "chef" with the big tatas, who ain't afraid of going all out, if you know what I mean, when the situation calls for it -- in fact, tonight's commercial shows Virginia and Chef Ramsay in a kitchen supply store where she's modelling an apron emblazoned with "Kiss the Cook"!)

Honestly, I had such great hopes for Heather, but she seems to be cracking under the pressure. Sara is so nasty and underhanded, I can't imagine anybody in their right mind ever wanting to work with her. Virginia hasn't really distinguished herself to me as being able to actually run a kitchen, let alone own a restaurant as high-profile as the one the winner will get this year. And K-Grease may just be the one to win this year after all, despite his kind of luggish exterior at the beginning of the show. The one thing that can't be counted out is that the final will include former teammates as staff and so loyalties will come into play in a major way! Can't wait for Sara to get the boot!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tart Meets Her Maker

Ha! Thought that might get your attention. Well, actually, that title's not quite right, strictly speaking. I didn't really make it; my great friend Ruth, who lives just down the block from Jean-Robert's new Greenup Cafe in Covington, generously offered to stop by there to find a scrumptious treat to bring me on her Saturday afternoon visit. And what a lovely little still-life it was: an individual fruit tart filled with pastry cream and decorated with slivers of tartly ripe nectarine, slices of perfectly ripe strawberry, and deliciously sweet whole blackberries and raspberries. The only difficulty came when we tried to cut the crust with my cafeteria stash of heavy black plastic cutlery. Even Ruth, with two good hands, couldn't do much more than break it up with the knife and fork. Instead of flaky pastry, it was more like the Pillsbury premade sugar cookie dough we used for making "fruit pizza" the other week in recreational therapy!

SCORE:

Fruit: Plus
Filling: Plus
Crust: A definite Minus!


Sugar Cookie Fruit Tart

1 18-ounce package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mixed fruit (berries, sliced kiwi, peaches, nectarines)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and side of 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom and press cookie dough evenly into prepared pan. Or press cookie dough into greased baking sheet to measure 8-inch circle.

Bake for 22 to 27 minutes or until lightly golden and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled cookie crust to within 1/2 inch of edge.

Arrange fruit in concentric circular pattern or as desired on top of cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove rim of pan if using a tart pan; slice into wedges.

Makes 10 servings.
Source: Nestle

So Tired, Tired of Waiting...

...Tired of waiting for REAL FOOD! (with apologies to my main man, Mr. Raymond Douglas Davies.) After, what now, 31 days in the hospital, "it can't get much worse" (apologies to Les Beatles). Nothing on my tray ever seems to have crossed paths with a salt shaker and, puh-leeze, must I add it even to my mashed potatoes? (And, no, I am not on a salt-restricted diet; alas, I am on the one referred to by the dietician as the "regular" one. All is just bland, bland, bland!) Even some of my former food loves, such as the fabulously sexy and green asparagus stalk, ends up on my plate as anorexic "asparagus cuts"--skinny diagonally-cut overcooked bits resembling some kind of canned green bean more than anything else I can easily recognize. Even the little packages of lemon juice I stockpiled in my room from a trip to the cafeteria last week cannot revivify these poor little limp things. [sniff, sniff.]

Breakfast, unless there's a slice of toast or half a bagel, usually features some kind of hot dish, like waffles or pancakes. The peculiar feature here is that hospital "plating" technique requires that the bottom one be "glued" to the plate with a dab of applesauce, which, after the completed plate (with waffle or pancake's "mate" and a sausage pattie or couple of little links added) is heated with its lid on, guarantees that one-arm abled patients, such as moi, cannot cut the bottom breakfast item with only a fork (merde!) Oh! And since the dietician paid me a personal call last Wednesday, I have had my morning chocolate milk disappear, my specially ordered tossed salad at both lunch and dinner disappear after the first two days, and no drink except water included for lunch and dinner. Weird how none of the errors or corrections seem to show up on the computer!

Guess this just goes to show how much I need to go home soon, huh? :-))

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hell's Kitchen 2, Episode ?

Note to Garrett: Tonight's the night--two episodes beginning at 8 pm eastern (8 pm pacific time?).

My oh my! After last week and Sara's latest antics (passing gas with a big smile on her face while sitting right next to Chef during a photo shoot for TV Guide--apparently this is her idea of classy behavior!), she absolutely, positively must GO!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Celebrity Recipes

My friend Jim in Pittsburgh sent me a rather peculiar "celebrity" cooking website last weekend which I thought I should share with you since it made me laugh a little and I need every last one of those I can get these days! I mean where else can you find Andy Warhol's Ghoulish Goulash Stuffed Cabbage; Dolly Parton's Corn Pone; Klaus Nomi's Lime Tart; and Liberace’s Sticky Buns? :-))

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Update

Just to let you know, the reason I've been missing in action is because I have had a small stroke. It's affected my left side and I am currently in rehab and would appreciate any input from people who may have had to find ways to adapt to limitations in motion while cooking. Many thanks!