Simply Delicioso with Ingrid Hoffman
Arugula, Avocado and Fennel Salad
Chipotle Tamale Pie
Lychee Gelatin Shots
To get the recipes:
Obviously what we have here is a case of the Food Network wanting to capitalize on Giada's enormous success. Just like Survivor spawned The Amazing Race and American Idol spawned Dancing With The Stars which spawned Skating With People who aren't even fifth rate stars and, of course, there’s America's Invented People Losing Weight Along With Their Talent. ANYWAY, the point is that ONCE one thing is successful, it's often given a little tweak and recycled to try to match the success of the original. I feel like that’s what they’re trying to do here. We shall see…
Simply Delicioso uses the slightly dumb conceit of freezing the action as host Ingrid Hoffman is serving a meal - today is lunch on a boat - and then scurrying back to the kitchen to show us how it's done. Not necessary and slightly jejune.
The "anchor of meal" (get it? she's going sailing) is a Chipotle Tamale Pie. Ingrid opens the refrigerator and gets out a package of ground turkey and puts it on the counter. I do not like the way it was just sitting on the refrigerator shelf. I always leave my meat and poultry, and fish for that matter, in the plastic supermarket bag in the fridge. I also leave it on top of that bag when I’m dealing with it before cooking, and then I throw out all the packaging together, AFTER WHICH I WASH MY HANDS BEFORE I DO ANYTHING ELSE. Not a good start.
She adds an onion to olive oil in a skillet and sautés it. Then she adds green pepper to make a light sofrito. Garlic goes in with salt and pepper.
Ingrid places the package of ground turkey on the cutting board, turns it over and unwraps it and, holding on the package (but it still has raw poultry cooties on it), she adds it to the sauté pan. She stirs it with a wooden spoon.
OMG!!! She puts a stick of butter right down on the same wooden chopping board that she had her RAW ground turkey on! The bottom of her square glass baking dish is SQUARELY in the middle of where she unwrapped her turkey. So now, she’ll be carrying the raw turkey juices to the oven, and probably to the table and to the fridge, if she refrigerates her leftovers in that dish. She butters the dish and now places it on the counter, thereby spreading all the germy stuff there too. Great!
Next she’s making a cornbread topping. OK, I really have to get over my aversion to spreading the juices of raw poultry all over the house (not to mention the boat) and into people’s intestinal tracts. PAY ATTENTION to the cooking, Sue! (I make a mean tamale pie. Let’s see what’s in her cornmeal crust.) WHAT???!!! PACKAGED cornbread mix. Not only am I getting food poisoning, but I have to use a mix?! No! Por favor, nunca!
She pauses and says, “I LOVE these recipes. They’re so easy. I always say, if I can do it, then you can do it.” I understand the Food Network has to devote a certain amount of its schedule to the dumbing down of American kitchens, but do they have to be so blatant about it?
Ingrid struggles (I’m not kidding) to get all the muffin mix out of the box. Plus she calls everything “baby”. I guess they feel she’s appealing to their Latin audience. It’s more like an insult to them, I’D say. Plus she is sooooo way overbeating the frigging muffin mix. Goodness, she can’t even do that.
She adds a can of chopped tomatoes to the turkey mixture. She takes 2 big chipotles out of the can. Oh great, those go on the board to get chopped. At least, they’ll be cooked. She adds them and then tells us she’s going to add some of the adobo sauce from the can - one tablespoon…oh no, actually one TEASPOON. (Don’t worry, Ingrid, that’s only a THREE HUNDRED PERCENT DIFFERENCE).
She adds cumin. NOW? Honey, add it AFTER you’ve sautéed your vegetables and BEFORE you’ve added your tomatoes. She really does have NO idea how to cook. She mixes up “this baby”, adds pinto beans and says “baby” at least twice more before simmering it for 5 minutes. She also has an annoying way of holding stuff up to the camera and saying, ”Smell this.” Ingrid, baby, this is television…
Now she’s showing us Chica Shots. Oh, good, now we can participate in the binge drinking epidemic of today’s youth…Just kidding. I love jello shot type things as much as the next person, especially after my 22 year old daughter told me what they were.
Ingrid opens 2 packages of pineapple flavored jello. Well, I guess, I really didn’t think she was going to harvest agar agar from the sea. She adds 1 teaspoon of sugar, because of course, those huge food conglomerates are always under-sweetening things for us health conscious Americans. She whisks in 1 cup of boiling water and 6 tablespoons of the syrup from the lychees. Ingrid adds ¼ cup of light rum. You know if she wasn’t on television she’d be quadrupling that. She fills little plastic cups (the kind that do so well when they’re thrown overboard in a bout of ocean-going jello-shot pong) with the jello mixture and pushes half a lychee in each one.
She confesses that she is not a great dessert maker. (REALLY?!) and that she hates to bake. Who could THAT remind us of? Listen, Hon, instead of taxing the limited brain power that you have making this jello crap, you could have learned how to bake a cake or roll out a pie crust. Jello in a plastic cup is NOT dessert. Seriously, this is rather enraging.
These ‘babies” go into the fridge for half a hour. Are you sure that isn’t too much trouble?
To the tamale mixture, she adds one cup of grated cheese and some chopped cilantro, and you guessed it, that cilantro did get chopped on the very same cutting board as the raw turkey. She adds the mixture to the baking dish. You remember the one with the rapidly decomposing juices on the bottom of it.
She adds the cornmeal crust on top. It looks thoroughly beaten down and tough. It’s just been sitting on the counter (in a bowl, she’s not THAT bad). Of course, she probably doesn’t know that any mixture that has baking powder in it needs to be dealt with as soon as the liquid is added. Double acting baking powder means the first action comes after liquid hits it and the second comes from the heat of the oven.
The tamale pie goes into a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 25 minutes. She needs the commercial break to figure out how she’s going to take all this food down to the boat. Uh, duh, let’s see. Pack it up and carry it!!!
She invites us to smell the tamale pie. That is so stupid. When Bobby, who I think invented bringing the food right up close to and underneath the camera lens, does it, he’s cool and charming and you really want to taste and smell the food. When Ingrid does it, I just want to shake her.
She halves and chops her avocados. They go into a big plastic container. She halves and slices a fennel bulb really finely. That goes into the container. She squeezes over the juice of 2 lemons and mixes it up with a little salt and pepper. (She’s NEVER washed her hands, so I, personally, am staying as far away from that salad as I can.)
She’s very proud as she gives us a tip of wrapping cilantro in a damp paper towel and puts it in a plastic bag before transporting it to the boat. Of course, most of us knew that before dinosaurs roamed the earth, but I am impressed that SHE knew that. She mixes up her dressing, lemon juice and olive oil and seasoning. She really shakes “that baby” up. Is she hoping that will become her “Bam”? I sure hope not.
Salt and chili powder get mixed up for Ingrid’s “Michelada” beer mixture. Then she mispronounces Worcestershire sauce at least 3 times, before telling us that it goes in the beer glass with some Tabasco after the glass gets lime around the rim and dipped in that chili pepper mixture. It sounds really dreadful.
She snaps everybody back to life. Oh good, does that mean the last half hour has been a bad dream? They eat. They sail.
Oh, she reminds us again that if she can do it, then we can do it too. Yup…that’s the problem. And it’s kind of a pity. She’s certainly accomplished a lot in various businesses and she seems cute and very likable (at least 50% of the time), plus real Latin recipes are always exciting. Whether this is her or what the FN folks wanted her to be, it’s a shame. And she really must get her kitchen sanitation issues sorted out. That’s just gross. I will really have to think about giving her another chance. Vamos a ver.
Oh, and you know how I was wondering how she would stack up against Giada? Don’t worry, Giada, there is NO COMPETITION. Ingrid is in her very own league or at least a league that includes Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee. Hosts whose appeal is, well, I’m not really sure what their appeal is. Whatever it is, their food is dreadful and isn’t good food kind of what the FOOD Network is supposed to be about?