Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Danny Does It Again...

And That's Not A Good Thing

But don't worry, I'll teach you how to make rice.

Rescue Chef with Danny Boome
Pomegranate Margarita
Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce and Long-Grain Rice

I wanted to give Danny another chance to see if maybe his non-lesson last week to Carla was just a mistake.

Today, he’s in Westfield, New Jersey. I guess his show doesn’t have the budget to go farther. Now this is odd, Art Director Amy, has called upon Danny to help her recreate her abuela’s Chicken Enchiladas.

Ok, really…the guy is Australian, he’s a soccer, or is it rugby player? and if he can’t even SAY the word enchilada he probably doesn’t know how to make them. Plus he says he’s going to teach her how to make the ULTIMATE chicken enchilada, so now he’s not only stolen the entire concept of Food 911, he’s using a phrase synonymous with Tyler’s other show.

Danny gives Amy a white onion to slice up. No instruction or anything, he just hands it to her. When she doesn’t know which end is up, he kind of mocks her and gets her started. Then he gets on with adding oil to a pan and crushing garlic with his knife. Amy peers over to see what’s he’s doing and he sends her back to her task of slicing the onion.

Maybe he should have started with a bit of knife sharpening and showed her HOW to chop and slice an onion. He gets a big miffed when she slices the entire onion – he had told her to do only one half.

He adds the garlic and onions to the pan along with dried chili flakes and more oil.

Danny does show her how to slice a boneless chicken breast in half widthwise. Well, actually there’s not much to show, you just do it. Amy is delighted with the information. (Not that there was any.) See, Danny, she would have gone into spasms if you had showed her how to handle a sharpening steel. SHE is the one who explains that by cutting the chicken in thin strips it will cook more evenly and quickly. Well, I guess she realized that Danny wasn’t going to do it. He cooks the chicken. A bit more seasoning wouldn’t hurt. How about some cumin and chili powder?

You know, this is really a bad show. Amy keeps asking questions, which should have been answered in the normal course of events. “How do you know when the chicken is done?” His answer: “When it’s not pink.” Brilliant, Danny.

Danny starts the green sauce. He picks up an anaheim chili and seems very proud of himself. I just noticed he’s cooking on a portable gas burner. There happens to be Viking stove in the background. We have to hear how Amy has heard of a serrano chili, a jalapeƱo chili and goodness knows what other chili, but never an anaheim chili. This is riveting television.

Danny places the chili on a flame, then in a bag. He does explain to Amy about removing the waxy skin, but proceeds to do it himself. He scrapes out the seeds and talks about how some folks feel the heat is in the seeds and others think it’s in the veins. Well, I think that issue has been pretty well-covered by now.

He puts the chili into a food processor, (he called it a blender) with ¼ cup of chicken stock, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. He shows Amy tomatillos. Danny rinses them off and quarters them and adds them to the food processor.

Tomatillo alert – While you certainly may use RAW tomatillos, the majority of recipes call for cooking them. I am by no means an expert in Southwestern or Mexican cooking - hard to believe, I know - but whenever I’ve encountered a recipe calling for raw tomatillos, I always cook them first. I chop them up and cook them in a bit of water or stock for about 8 to 10 minutes. They keep their wonderful fresh flavor, even though they're cooked. It gets rid of the bitter flavor that catches you in the back of throat. Any dissenters?

Danny finishes processing the green sauce ingredients and actually lets Amy pour the mixture into a measuring pitcher. That’s been the highlight of her cooking experience so far – pouring stuff into a pitcher.

He washes 2 cups of long grain rice. WHY in the world is he doing that? Long grain rice does not
need to be washed. He cooks it in 3 cups of boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes at a medium simmer. HUH? What kind of way is that to cook long grain rice? Amy will end up burning the rice every time AND undercooking it. Long grain rice couldn’t be any easier to cook, but not this way. He didn’t get any part of it right.

Use these quantities:
1 cup white long grain rice 1 ¾ cup water or stock
2 cups white long grain rice 3 ¼ cups water or stock
3 cups white long grain rice 4 cups water or stock
4 cups white long grain rice 5 cups water or stock
(Get it? Starting at 3 cups of rice, you use one more cup of water than rice.)

Place the measured rice and water into a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, an hysterical boil. Cover and turn down the heat to low, as low as possible. Cook for exactly 20 minutes without disturbing it. (No kidding. Don’t open the lid.) If you’re not ready to serve it, simply move it to the back of the stove and leave it covered. It will hold up just fine for up to an hour.

Danny gets ready to assemble the enchiladas. He has a small baking dish ready, which he doesn’t grease or anything. HE pours a cup of the green sauce (he’s made 2 cups) in the bottom of the dish.

He says to put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan to soften the tortillas. The recipe says to use one cup of oil. He turns the tortillas in the oil and then blots them a bit. Then he puts a bit of filling in the middle and rolls up the tortilla nice and tight. Gosh, he even lets Amy do one. I can’t tell who rolls the rest, but HE pours the rest of the green sauce over and HE covers the entire top surface with cheese. Okay, I really think Amy could have handled that. HE even puts it in the oven himself, 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes. He makes a point of telling her to preheat the oven. That seems to be his most emphatic tip of the day.

He shows Amy the finished rice. He stirs it with a…SPOON?! He’s mushing it all up. NEVER use a spoon, always a fork. He adds the juice of half a lime and some coriander and again stirs it with a spoon. He’s really making a mess of it. Amy is worried about how it will taste. The taste will be fine, but the texture will be like porridge when he’s finished with it.

For a margarita with pomegranate juice (it sounds kind of like an old lady drink), Danny squeezes lime on the rim of a margarita glass and dips it into salt. Oh, he’s actually letting Amy help do the next one.

He pours 4 oz. of tequila into a big jar. He counts to 4 as a way of measuring 4 oz. Amy is impressed. He adds Triple Sec and pomegranate juice. I think he’s using FRESH pomegranate juice. Now that's a bit exciting.

Danny shakes the mixture in the jar (?) and pours it into the glasses, over ice. Why is he putting ice in the glass? It's so painful to take a nice big sip of a wonderful cocktail (well, I don’t know wonderful this will be) and get a big lump of ice hitting your upper lip. No, shake it really well over lots of ice and strain it into the glass. Gosh, Danny, you don’t seem to know anything.

Then he spends far too much time and he’s far too impressed with himself for cutting a piece of lime so it will stay on the rim of a glass. He adds a splash of soda water to each glass. Oh, by the way, there is no lime juice in these margaritas and the recipe has it listed as optional. That’s wrong, isn’t it?

Danny plates up the enchiladas and mushy rice (on only one plate). Amy loves it. They toast to Granny.

She goes back to Texas and makes it for Dad. He says he likes it. What’s he supposed to say? The cameras are right there.

Actually, the recipe looked fine, except for not cooking the tomatillos. But did Danny teach us anything we didn’t know? Did he put a spin on a technique that would help us to remember it or make it easier to carry out? Did he use an unusual ingredient or a known one in a different way?

No, no and no. AND he wasn’t even all that helpful to Amy. She could have looked up the recipe and cooked it herself. It wouldn’t have been any different from having Danny in her kitchen, because he didn’t make any effort to teach her anything.

Look, he’s a nice guy, kinda cute and according to his biography, he’s quite an experienced cook. As long as it’s all true, and even if it’s not, it’s clear that the Food Network has come up with a really dumb concept for him. Why not have his actual cooking skills on display? Why have him pretending to teach somebody? Why not let Danny just be Danny?

A year ago today…And the livin' is easy........I wish the chef were and…Healthy Schmealthy, Just Make It Good!!!


michelle @ TNS said...

thanks for the rundown - now i don't have to watch! i used to be such a FN addict, but i'm really burned out on it now. except for ina, and the occasional late night 'unwrapped' viewing when i'm battling insomnia.

Emiline said...

I saw an advertisement for this guy, so I know who you're talking about. It does remind me of "Take Home Chef" and he's Australian (Or is he British?) too, so it really does seem like FN is copying that show.

I'm not an expert in cooking, but I do know that that's the wrong way to cook rice. I don't think he seasoned it right, either.

I just don't think I'll watch this show. Unless it's Curtis Stone that's the chef.

Anonymous said...

Amen ... you said it all in your reviews. This is a very poor program - sadly won't teach novices proper techniques and certainly won't hold the interest of seasoned cooks. After two weeks, I've dropped it from my tv schedule. FN needs to return to good cooking shows and less of a personality-based format. Perhaps there are budget constraints?

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This sounds like a terrible show - I am so glad I haven't watched it!

I personally agree with cooking the tomatillos - I don't think it takes away from the freshness at all.

Cynthia said...

You see, you see, you see! He has stolen even the phrase from my beloved-totally rocks-eye candy- Tyler!!!!

Sue said...

Hi Michelle,
That's what I'm here for.

I don't know why Curtis's show is so much better (I've only seen it a few times). I think he actually shows the person what to do, instead of only doing it himself. And on Tyler's show, the person has a pressing reason for needing to know how to make a dish. THIS show is purposeless.

I didn't mind the squeeze of lime juice on the rice, but his method of cooking it was screwy.

Don't waste your time. You have magazine shoots to get ready for!

I'd like to see a throwdown between the two. On second thought, Tyler has better things to do...like standing around looking hot.