Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm Dreamin' Of...Giada's Individual Fritatta;

Plus Happy Hanukkah And OY, That Ain't No Latke

Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis

Christmas Brunch
Linguine and Prosciutto Frittatas
Arugula and Roasted Fruit Salad with Panettone Croutons
Parmesan Potato Pancake

To get the recipes:
Click here

Giada is dressed in all white to greet her guests. Oh, I get it, she’s hosting a White Christmas brunch. She’s making individual frittatas…what an excellent idea.

Now we’re in the kitchen with her and she’s dressed in another white outfit. She breaks 7 eggs into a blender. WHY is she using a blender? Don’t tell me, it’ll be part of HER cookware line.

Anyway, Giada tells us that the idea of a frittata is to use whatever is left over. Of course, she’s not doing that today for THIS special brunch. But it would be a good idea to hold on to her formula of eggs and milk to flavorings and keep it for another time when you are emptying out the fridge.

She adds ½ cup of whole milk to the eggs with ¼ cup heavy cream, and ½ cup ofmascarpone. She whirls that together in a blender. The reason for using the blender is beyond me. In fact, I think that would overbeat the eggs and make the entire dish a bit tough.

She cuts up cooked linguini into smaller pieces. Hmmm..would it be easier to break it up BEFORE cooking? Perhaps. She pours the egg mixture over the linguini and adds 1 cup of grated smoked mozzarella. Then she adds Asiago cheese, which I personally always regret using, because it tastes sour to me, not tangy. Some chopped prosciutto goes in to keep the men in her family happy. I think chopped mushrooms, sautéed until the all their liquid is gone, would be a good alternative.

Then Giada adds 2 cloves of chopped garlic (I’m definitely getting out my garlic press here - I don’t want to risk an overly large piece of garlic in these little individual servings.) She grates in fresh nutmeg, and then adds salt, pepper and parsley. It really is a delicious looking mixture.

Why is her cleavage is getting more heaving by the moment? It IS funny how they mix in the closeup shots with the wider shots and there is often a variation of skin showing…

She scoops 1/3 cup of the mixture into each muffin hole in a non-stick tin. She bakes it at 375°F for 30 to 35 minutes.

Eew, there was a slightly suggestive ad from Rachael Ray. “Your stocking‘s not the only thing getting stuffed this year.” And then seconds later, there she is AGAIN in a Ritz commercial in an unattractive old-fashioned beige corduroy dress.

Giada moves on to a sweet dish using panettone. I have to admit, I’m usually unmoved by panettone because of the candied fruit (except in a French toast or bread pudding type of thing). Giada is making croutons from it. THIS is a wonderful way to use up those huge cakes. She slices an entire panettone in half and cuts it into one inch pieces. I think she’s only using half. They go on a baking sheet and into a 300° oven for 45 to 40 minutes.

G starts on a roasted fruit salad that will be served with the croutons. This is sounding so good. She mixes together one cup of cranberries, 1 cup of seedless grapes and a Barlett pear, cut into wedges. Then she slices 2 plums and adds them.

Giada likes how the “roasting intensifies the flavor of the fruit” and that this dish can be prepared ahead of time. She adds a couple tablespoons of lemon juice “to bring out the flavor of the fruit and to balance out the sweetness”. The last ingredients are 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. She pours the fruit onto a baking sheet and spreads it around to make one layer. She bakes it at 425° F for 25 to 30 minutes.

For the dressing, she zests half a lemon and then rolls it on the counter to release the juices. She needs ¼ cup. Then she adds ¼ cup honey (could that be too much?) and ¼ cup canola oil, which she likes for its mild taste.

She pours the dressing into a bowl to await fruit and arugula. Of course, there’s arugula. She whisks in 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to finish the dressing.

Giada is pouring tea for Todd, actually maybe it’s coffee. Todd gives her a beautiful necklace, like the one she often wears with circles. I want that!

She moves on to the potato pancakes. But first, she takes the roasted fruit out of the oven.

For the pancakes, Giada heats up a non-stick pan on medium heat and adds extra virgin olive oil. Watch out for that, folks. Never overheat a non-stick pan, particularly an empty one. And get your birds out of the kitchen!

She DICES her onions. Normally, one would GRATE the onions. Oh, look at this, she’s sautéing them first with a little garlic and salt. WELL! This is certainly no Jewish grandma’s recipe that I know of.

She peels 4 Yukon gold potato. No self-respecting latke maker would use Yukon golds. Russets are the potatoes of choice. She peels them and tells us she likes them because they’re “creamy and golden.” They get cut in half and grated in a food processor.

She places them in a dish towel over a bowl and squeezes them out to get rid of the liquid. There’s a lot. She puts the grated potatoes in clean bowl and adds 1 cup of grated parmesan and fresh chopped basil. She likes the color it adds to it. She seasons the mixture and adds the cooked onion and garlic.

Maybe this doesn’t quite rise to the level of blasphemy, but it is close. Obviously, we have to remember the title of the show and realize that Giada is going to give everything an Italian spin, but it‘s still a bit jarring…to add COOKED onions to potato pancakes.

She heats her non-stick pan and adds more olive oil. Don’t forget to get Woodstock out of the kitchen. She adds the entire contents of the bowl at once to the frying pan. HUH???????!!! She presses it down into ONE potato pancake. She flips it after 12 to 15 minutes. It looks way too brown, if you ask me. I just think this was an odd choice for a show screened so close to Hanukkah.

We see her dressed impeccably as she observes all her beautifully laid out food. Back in the kitchen, she finishes the pancake by flipping it like a frittata, laying a plate on top of the pan and turning it over quickly. She slides it back into the pan to finish cooking.

Giada adds arugula to a bowl and spoons over the roasted fruit salad. The panettone croutons go on top. THAT is a special dish. She slides her dinnerplate-sized potato pancake onto a board and cuts it into wedges like a pizza. Whoops, her bustline is getting in the way.

The family arrives. Oh how pretty, even the dishes and GLASSES are white. She has one of those all white trees with only gold and silver balls. Little kids open presents. Wow, she looks beautiful holding a baby. Who cares about her recipes? She looks like an angel. It really doesn’t matter if she can cook. But the good thing is she can.


Anonymous said...

All the food looked lovely, but while watching this I must admit thinking, "Man, she must've been pregnant while taping this because her boobs look HUGE!"

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

So the potato pancake was big and the frittata was small? Let's call it "backwards brunch"!

Sue said...

I do try to keep comments about bust issues to a minimum, but they were really gettiing in the way...

Short One,
Now, why didn't I think of that? You are exactly right!

Emiline said...

Hmm, panettone croutons. Interesting. I have 1 1/4 loaves.
I think it's too sweet, though. The dressing sounds sweet, also.

Mini frittatas sound cute, and I like potato pancakes.

Maybe Giada got implants? I don't remember them being so...bountiful.

Tom N said...

Wednesday's (12/5) Washington Post had an interview with Judith Jones, cookbook editor, who said, "More and more, the celebrity cookbooks get the publicity...you know, the lowere the decollete..."

Anonymous said...

I'm so confused...are you being sarcastic on this blog? If you are... BRILLIANT! OR are you being serious? Sorry if you are being serious but NOTHING is good about the food network anymore! It's all about $$$$$$$$ and more $$$$$$$ and less about love of food/food knowledge/food culture and SKILL. Anyone with any type of skill is OFF the network. All that's left is Bobby Flay (at least he's trained) and Giada (who, no offense if your blog isn't sarcasticly funny) is purely there for eye candy - just like many others that now joined the network (think of every thin, white woman on the show). Sorry if you really do love all these people, I really am. I just feel like the Food Network treats us all like we're stupid idiots and, honestly, it's insulting. Only Mario (gone), Emeril's Essence of Emeril (gone too!)and Cooking Live (buh-bye!)were the only shows in recent years which enlightened me. Alton is it's only saving grace! Maybe I just needed a vent, sorry if you feel like I took it out on you! But I just can't understand it and maybe I never will.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you, don't knock the blender until you've tried it. It does not make tough eggs. On the contrary it whips air into the mixture in the process, resulting in the fluffiest scrambled eggs I've ever had.

Sue said...

Hi Em,
Yeah, I definitely think there could be less honey in the dressing, but I do get what she was after…It’s likely this show was taped after she had her bambino news. So that may explain it, but they certainly love to exploit certain camera angles on Giada's show.

Hi Tom,
Santa is bringing me The Tenth Muse. I'm looking forward to reading it. This is a wonderful interview that Michael Ruhlman did with her (weeks ago) on his blog: http://blog.ruhlman.com/ruhlmancom/

Hi Anon,
You know, I was just thinking that I sometimes make frozen orange juice in the blender and it makes it thick and foamy and delicious. It tastes just like an Orange Julius. (That's a good thing.) Maybe eggs ARE improved. I guess you do get more air in them, but it still overworks them, compared to beating with a fork JUST until blended. I will definitely try it. It certainly was a method worth remarking on, because I have NEVER seen a frittata recipe that uses a blender.

Sue said...

Dec. 6th Anonymous,
Don’t be confused. Just read my blog more regularly. We’re basically on the same team. I’m pretty transparent, I think. When I like something, I say it. When I don’t like something, I also say it. I certainly go on about the dumbing down of the Food Network and its various hosts shilling stuff mercilessly. I criticize Giada plenty, especially when she brings out the cake mixes which I abhor.

Can I taken in by beauty, glitz and glamour? Absolutely. But does it detract me from my higher purpose of finding teachable moments in recipe presentations by increasingly famous (and yes, busty) celebrity food folks? No, I don’t think it does.

Talking about Giada, specifically, I have no problem admiring her classic techniques, when she’s using them…and I also get enraged at her increasing reliance on prefab ingredients that I would never use and I certainly don't watch cooking shows to see!

It’s terrible that Mario is moving on, but as I’ve said before in reference to Emeril, it could be that the Food Network needs them more than they need the Food Network now. And we can only hope that at least a handful of competent chefs will remain, before we get travel, lifestyle and nonsense all hours of the day.