Saturday, April 14, 2007

Giada, What's For Lunch...Oh, And, Is It Too Much Trouble To Provide ALL The Recipes??

Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis

Everyday Lunches
Rotini with Salsa di Limone
Taleggio and Pear Panini
Chicken and Orzo Frittata

To get the recipes:
Click here

I love the idea of adding orzo to a frittata, but frankly, I'm not sure I would make it JUST for this. Instead, I would probably wait until I had leftover orzo and then make it.

Giada mixes 1/3 cup whole milk ricotta...Sorry, I have to interrupt again. Honestly, give your arteries a rest and go for low or even no-fat here. This is going to get mixed with plenty of eggs, which will pick the slack in the creaminess department, so it's really ok.

Now she's adding creme fraiche. I'm beginning to think we're watching Ina. Again, if you want to take it down a notch or two, use sour cream of any fat content (even no-fat.) If these were the only sources of richness in the dish, then you might have a problem, but you already have 6 eggs, so you'll be fine. All kinds of other wonderful things are being added - roasted red peppers, scallions and parsley. Between you and me, I wouldn't use a large whisk to mix everything together. All the little pieces of good stuff get caught between its wires.

Giada gives us the good advice of not adding the orzo HOT to the egg mixture, or you'll have cooked eggs before you want them.

She keeps a rotisserie chicken in the fridge to use many which ways. Who does that remind me of? Oh, in Nigella's Chefography, her mother (who suffered from an eating disorder, which affected the way she ATE, not the way she cooked) always roasted an extra chicken, so the family could pull at it at their leisure in the following days. You know what they say...a family that gnaws on chicken together stays together.

Giada cubes the breast meat and adds it. Puts the whole thing together in a large baking dish, which is nowhere near full. She places it on a foil lined baking pan to make it easier to move in and out of the oven. What's the matter, Giada, you don't like all those little burns going up and down your inner arm?

She says making the next pasta dish, Rotini with Salsa di Limone, means you have a little home cooking to take with you. The rotini is "so cute." Ok then... She squeezes out the seeds from the halved plum tomatoes. I know I'm sounding nit-picky, but I think she's making a lot of weird choices today. I would use a little teaspoon to more efficiently remove the seeds, plus you won't bruise the tomatoes that way. She adds lemon zest, juice and salt.

Puts hot pasta over the lemon-ed tomatoes. The hot pasta releases all the juices from the tomatoes. My goodness, that's enough to feed one's entire office for lunch...for a week. She IS learning from Ina. Giada adds cubed ricotta salata. If you haven't tried this, don't be afraid. It's like a super mild feta. We're told we can eat this hot or cold. Nice dish, but really, Ina's Orzo with Roasted Vegetables takes this idea to the next level. Sorry, Giada, I'm sticking with the Contessa on this one.

A Pear and Gorgonzola Tart is next. What a perfect recipe for the gals to come over to get sloshed! She cores, peels and slices pears. This would be a good place for a little lesson on which pears to use when. No? Ok, I'll do it myself: Anjou, Barlett and Bosc pears can be eaten raw or cooked. The Bosc holds its shape particularly well. Don't cook Comice, just eat them as is. And the opposite is true for a little Seckel Pear, use them only for cooking or canning.

Houston, we have a problem. I've just noticed that she hasn't given us the recipe for this. Is this a rogue recipe that she added at the last minute? This show will be repeated many times, so hopefully it will be added. Never mind, we'll muddle through without her help.

She sautés the pears quickly in a bit of butter. Into a bowl, she mixes 4 oz. of cream cheese - don't go low fat here. She adds Gorgonzola - let's say 2ish ounces - and fresh thyme (its nice lemony flavor works here, Giada says). She whips it up using a hand mixer. (If everything is truly at room temperature, you could use a fork.) Places mixture in baked tart shell- with an offset spatula. Thank you for bringing that to our attention. THAT is a great piece of kitchen equipment to have. Ok, use your favorite savory pie crust here. And don't buy it, make it, she did. She places cooked, sliced pears over the cheese in the shell and sprinkles some julienned prosciutto over and cuts a slice.

I think this recipe would have been better as individual tarts. Remember her show with everything served in little fiddly individual portions? I thought those dishes would have been better served as full recipes - family style, but I really think the reverse is true here. Who wants to eat a giant wedge of blue cheese and pear sitting in a pastry shell? I would make this in individual phyllo pastry shells. See? I'm not against Sem-Eye Homemak-ing something once in awhile. You would just have to cut the pears smaller, before you sautéed them. Now, that THAT'S settled.

She's making a yummy looking panini on ciabatta. Wow, that looks awesome. Nobody oils up bread like Giada, ok, maybe MC does...but they're both hot. She's using a cheese I'm unfamiliar with, Tallegio. It sounds wonderful, especially to use melted. She cuts a few slices of sweet peaches. If fresh are not available, use frozen (!) She drizzles a little honey over in a way that only she can. (Food as porn...) Then arugula. How about honey mustard or honey mustard dressing, instead of straight honey? Yeah...better choice.

I'm waiting to hear an alternative for the panini press. Ok, again, it's up to me. Cook the panini in whatever pan you want - a grill pan, a nonstick frying pan, whatever - and then press a cast iron frying pan on top. Put foil between the sandwich and the pan, in case the bottom of the frying pan is less than pristine. There you have it - an instant Panini Press.

So, there are Giada's choices for lunch. Not her strongest show, especially with a missing recipe, but I imagine a couple of these dishes would bring the hardest working person home for lunch.

1 comment:

TORRsMom said...

Thanks for Ina's orzo and roasted vegetable recommendation. I'm going to make it tomorrow for dinner. I've made so many of her recipes and they have never let me down!