Saturday, May 19, 2007

Giada Sells Her Wares

Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis
Giada's Bake Sale
Mozzarella Pillows
Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Pine Nuts
Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze
Italian Ice
To get the recipes:

Giada is helping her friend's daughter, Daisy, with a bake sale. Apparently, the poor child just wants to go on a field trip and she has to raise the money herself by slaving in the kitchen to get the funds. Luckily, she has Giada to help.

Giada starts with mini-cupcakes. Whoa!!! Her cleavage is a good 3 inches lower than in the opening segment...

She's using a cake mix AGAIN?! This is becoming a pattern with her. It would be one thing if we were watching Sandra Sem-Eye Lee, but this is Giada. Anyway, she adds luscious marscapone to the bowl. She has to add something good to make them palatable. (I DO love her triple strand gold necklace, though).

She finishes the batter and uses a small ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into a mini-muffin pan that she's lined with little foil cups. Ok, really, her cleavage is ridiculous.

I would watch her just as much with a higher neckline, but I guess it's for those college boys. They go into the oven - the CUPCAKES, folks. She's topping them with a strawberry puree, which is a lovely idea. She's using frozen strawberries - thawed, which she likes because they have a lot of liquid. That mixes well with the confectioner's sugar. (Her cleavage has been adjusted somewhat...Oh wait, not in THAT shot.)
That does look terribly easy and good. She places the mini cupcakes on a rakes and spoons the glaze, somewhat messily, over them. They sit to firm up.

What bothers me is that I want her teaching America that it's really not THAT MUCH more work to make a cake from scratch. ANYONE can make one from a box and while she is jazzing it up nicely, I don't really think it's a great use of her viewers' valuable time to be showing us how to make a boxed mix. If people see HER using a cake mix, then they'll think it's ok and, really, it's not. It just isn't.

For the chocolate chocolate chunk cookies, she starts by beating 2 sticks of unsalted room temperature butter with powdered sugar. (I don't, as a rule, like powdered sugar in baked goods, except meringues where you're sort of forced to use it, so they're not gritty.) She adds in cocoa powder. WHY is she adding that now and not with the dry ingredients? Why is she using that dumb hand mixer? 11/2 cups flour goes in.

What happened to the eggs? THERE ARE NO EGGS IN THIS RECIPE, she tells us, so that cookie is really flaky. Is flaky a code word for dry?
(Her cleavage is a little more under control.) She tells us again the dough is very "flaky" because of no eggs. That sounds fishy to me, who wants a "flaky" chocolate chip cookie, anyway?

She mixes in chocolate chunks, use chips if you wish, and chopped toasted pine nuts. Have you ever tried to chop pine nuts? It's not easy. Michael's Choppie-Chop would come in handy here. She's mixing the dough by hand and it does look a bit dry...She scoops the dough onto the parchment (foil would work fine) -1 or 1 1/2 inches apart - so that you don't get one big cookie. (That's funny, Giada, good one - I just love baking humor.)

She wants to bake one unique item for the bake sale and that's savory Mozzarella Pillows. She thinks it's a good idea to always have something savory with all the sweet things. She reduces store-bought tomato sauce (THAT'S ok) for 30 minutes and adds 1 cup of grated mozzarella and 2 slices of chopped prosciutto.

Giada rolls out a store-bought pie crust into a big square. She makes 3 long rectangles. She beats 2 eggs for an egg wash. No water? (Add 1 tablespoon of water per egg, no matter what she says.) She brushes each rectangle very well with the egg (remember yours will have a bit of water in it.) She puts a nice blob of filling towards the bottom of the rectangle. She didn't mention, but it's in the recipe, to cool the filling before using. She folds over the dough and presses down the sides to get all the air out. She cuts around with a scalloped ravioli cutter and brushes the pastries with egg and then sprinkles some Parmesan cheese over. Very attractive. Daisy is lucky to have her help.

But wait, she only gets THREE little pastries from one pie shell. Doesn't she have to make more than that? I consult the recipe. It says to use FOUR store-bought pie crusts, and to roll out the scraps, so you actually get 4 from each crust. That's still not a lot. I have absolutely no clue what they cost, because I have never bought one, but they must be a couple of bucks, right? That's kind of ridiculous. I guess that's what they do in Beverly Hills. They spend 25 dollars to make something to sell for 10 bucks...

Last thing to make is a sweet raspberry syrup for snow cones or Italian ices. Daisy zests lemons over a pitcher and squeezes the juice. Giada chops mint finely and adds it. (What kid wants THAT in his snow cone?) Daisy pours an entire bottle of syrup into the pitcher and they ready the crushed ice. Wow, that's a lot.

Daisy and Auntie Giada (my brother prayed for an aunt like that, when he was young...he probably still does) sit behind the lavishly arrayed table and sell their treats.
It goes very well, but we never find out if Daisy earned enough money for her field trip. I'm guessing that if she didn't, Auntie would have taken some extra scratch from her considerable bosom and supplemented the day's take.

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