Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Make Boome for Danny

Rescue Chef with Danny Boome
Short Rib Rescue
French Green Beans
Dijon Mashed Potatoes

The first thing that annoyed me about Danny Boome's new Rescue Chef on the Food Network is that he repeatedly referred to Yorktown Heights as "Upstate New York". It's actually in the upper reaches of Westchester County and NOT upstate. I thought if he doesn’t even know that, what else is inaccurate?

The other thing is that I’m not sure why this show is really necessary. There’s already a similar one with that really hot guy with the big schnoz…HE IS cute. Danny’s okay, but the premise is just not new…not that ever stopped anyone. Actually, that seems to be essential for success nowadays – an idea that’s almost exactly like an already successful idea. We’ll see.

Danny is “rescuing” a young married woman, Carla, who wants to recreate her wedding feast for an anniversary. I never thought of that before. I guess it’s not a new idea, because one blogger I read regularly had the same thought, and I’m sure others have too.

Danny shows a chart for a split second that’s supposed to educate us where the short ribs come from. It’s hard to absorb that in 2 seconds, but he’s anxious to get on with it.

He gets flour ready with lots of seasoning and coats the short ribs. I like Ina’s (or is it Michael’s?) trick of seasoning the meat itself BEFORE it gets dredged, rather than relying on the flour mixture to do the job.

Danny adds the ribs to a pan heated with butter and olive oil. Let Carla do it! (Plus he doesn’t explain why he’s using both – butter for flavor and olive oil for its higher smoking temperature.)

Next he teaches her about a mirepoix a mixture of aromatic vegetables used to flavor the base of soups, stews and sauces. He says we’re going to “baton” the vegetables. Well, actually, Danny, a mirepoix is not “batoned”, it’s diced. And he should be teaching her knife skills, which he really doesn’t, so she struggles a bit. (The FN recipe does say to DICE the vegetables.)

Next Danny turns the ribs over. Why doesn’t SHE do it? He even says that the browning evenly is the hardest part of the entire dish…so let her do it!

She slices an onion, not well, while he makes lardons. (The recipe calls them lardoons. I think of lardoons as being STRIPS of pork and lardons as being diced pieces.) He removes the meat from the pot and adds the whatever you wanna call them to the pot. And by the way, are YOU doing the cooking, Danny, or should she? He turns down the heat and adds the vegetables. (I wouldn’t have added them so soon.) They quarter the mushrooms and add them last (but still too soon.) He doesn’t remind her that whenever you cook mushrooms, it should always be on a high heat. Add them, stir them around in the fat and leave them for a few moments to pick up a nice color.

They peel Yukon Gold potatoes.

To a break…Does the Food Network realize we talk about Giada’s zealous Italian pronunciation? A new promo for her show has her teaching us how to say various Italian food words. It’s actually funny, although they aren’t the over the top ones like spah-gitt-tee.

Back to Danny. He’s stirring the vegetables. He tells Carla about deglazing while, of course, HE does it. She does get to stir for a minute. He says to use between a half a bottle of wine and a full bottle. NO, not to deglaze! He’s confusing the notion of deglazing with using wine for cooking. He needs to make it clear to Carla that FIRST you deglaze by picking up all the little brown bits in the pan with the wine (or whatever you decide to use) and let that mostly boil away and THEN you turn your attention to whatever liquid you want to cook with.

The point of this show SHOULD BE to cook a recipe WITH the person (not FOR) in a way that demonstrates various basic cooking techniques that he or she can then apply to other situations.

After Danny pours the whole bottle in, he adds the meat back to the pan and adds beef stock just to cover the meat. He cooks the short ribs in a 350°F oven for 2 to 3 hours. He does mention that it’s important to preheat the oven.

He teaches Carla how to get potatoes ready for cooking earlier in the day – peel them and put them in water with lemon juice to prevent browning. Again, he’s so busy slicing the potatoes that he forgets to show her how to. He adds them to simmering salted water, which he says cooks them more evenly. (Than what? Cooking them in cold water?)

To cook green beans, he places them in a colander on top of the boiling potatoes. Carla is really impressed with that idea. (She must not get out much.) Now this is weird…He puts the beans in a bowl and spoons over some of the hot water from the potatoes to “keep them warm”, which, of course, will also help to overcook them and lose their nice color. There’s a reason that many cooks follow the shocking method after cooking. If he doesn’t want to do that, then he should just tell her to steam the beans for 5 minutes before serving, and there’s no issue about keeping them warm.

9 times out of 10, I roast my green beans these days, which does require a bit of olive oil and salt. I place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and throw them into whatever oven I have going, anywhere from 350° to 400°, for 20 minutes or so. I find these are so good, they don’t even have to be served hot. Whatever - just don’t pour hot water over waiting vegetables.

The recipe on the website does use the plunging into ice water method. Why doesn’t he do that on the show?

Danny lets Carla drain the potatoes, but he looks a bit concerned as she does it.
He never does address her number one concern, which is how to tell when they’re done. Finally he says to use a sharp knife to test them. There should be no resistance when it meets the middle of the potato. He adds in a couple tablespoons butter and mashes them. He grates in a bit of fresh nutmeg, He adds a little coarse mustard (is that an EEW or an AHH, I can’t decide) and mashes that in. Carla tastes it and doesn’t look totally convinced that she likes it.

Danny pulls out the short ribs. He tastes. He adds a bittersweet chocolate, just a little, to give the sauce “more emotion”. Oh please, he’s only doing that to impress the gal. Interestingly, the recipe on the website does not include the chocolate. So what, they decided at the last minute that the show needed a little more voom? Dumb.

The beans are still keeping warm. He chops the ends off the figs, which is an interesting choice of dessert, because Carla doesn’t like figs. And what this has to with her wedding dinner, I don’t know. He cuts a cross in the end of the figs “to let the jamminess out”.

Then he shows her how to make quenelles out of the mashed potatoes. I’m all for using French vocabulary in cooking, but maybe it’s more important that the person learn the technique first and THEN learn the word. Here, she’s not learning HOW to do given task that well, but she does learn the French word for it. Again, dumb.

The mashed potatoes go in the middle of the plate. HE lays the short rib on top, puts the not-terribly green beans on the side and tops with the sauce.

He switches back to the figs, putting them in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes, until they’re “nice and squishy”. He says you can buy pistachios out of the shell. Good luck with that, Carla. The last time I tried, I couldn’t find them. Danny mixes mascarpone with honey and dollops that on top of the figs with shavings of chocolate and a sprinkling of pistachios. (What does chocolate have to do with this?)

We see the follow-up. Carla made the dinner. She forgot to turn on the oven for the short ribs, but eventually she got them cooked. Her hubby liked it all, so did she, but it didn’t look like the earth moved. I guess, for some people, that doesn’t happen in the kitchen.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I have to stop reading your posts with my morning coffee. It's a pain to clean off the screen after it shoots out my nose.

I haven't watched this show yet, but when I saw the promos, I had to wonder how it was any different from Tyler Florence's old Food 911 show. I actually used recipes from that one (mmmmm...jerk chicken with mango sauce). So what you're saying is that this guy doesn't teach, he just gives and in-home demo? What's the point?

Anyway the best short rib recipe I've seen (and used) from FN was the beer-braised ribs with hoisin from the deeply-missed Dave Lieberman. I liked his recipes. They were doable, tasty, and not dubmed down.

The Westchester/Upstate thing really pisses me off too. But I've had to learn to live with it. If you live in the city, Westchester is upstate. You can't change a city-dweller's mind and the FN studio is in NYC. Of course as a Westchester dweller, I define upstate as anything north of Rockland/Putnam and those folks don't consider themselves upstate either.

I like those new Giada commercials. What can I say? The Italian language was my passion in high school. It was one of my best subjects. Now if I could only get my husband to take me to Italy so I can practice it more.

Yvo said...

Hey Sue, it was great meeting you last night! I was laughing the entire time reading this because for some reason, I happened to watch this episode and I noticed a few things myself. Carla is totally not learning anything (and not only is there a similar show on a different network- there was a show on the SAME network, Food 911! with Tyler Florence) and she even says she's confused. Danny even said "preheat the oven for an hour or so" - um... an HOUR??? Isn't that a bit overkill? He was a bit overzealous and full of himself... And I found it really interesting that in the promos for the show that I later glimpsed, nearly all the clips were from the show with Carla. Is this a hint that they only filmed a few shows and it will soon be cancelled? Hmm...

PS I thought you might find this article interesting, I was amused to say the least http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g8Jxra5BMaMW-eRyohxTXrvx5ViwD8V668NO1

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Yeah, I hate when people are teaching something but won't let their students really aprticipate in the nitty gritty!

Catherine Wilkinson said...

I'm pretty convinced this show won't last. He's average in the appeal department. And obviously his cooking isn't extraordinary...it has to be one or the other to be a successful show! And his commercials drive me nuts - hockey player, indeed. Good commentary, I agree with all it. An aside - do you have "Trader Joes" where you are? They always have shelled pistachios...and pretty well priced.

ac claire said...

It's not just similar to Tyler Florence's show, it's the exact same show! Only minus TF, unfortunately. I also thought pulling out the diagram of the cow was a little Alton Brown rip-off.

Changing the subject...Sue, I love your idea of roasting green beans. I think I'll try it, it might make me actually like green beans! :)

I roast pretty much everything I eat these days, especially when throwing stuff together for a quick dinner. I'd be lost w/o my oven! This may just be a personal taste thing, but I think most foods (meat, vegetables, etc.) come out best when roasted or cooked under the broiler. It's also easier to cook a few things at once this way. And if you use foil-- less to clean up!

Emiline said...

Who is this guy? WHY does he have a show?

I'll stick with Curtis Stone, thank you very much. Good looking guy, muscular, Australian, and he can cook! If I ever go to California, I'm going to be constantly shopping at Whole Foods, just waiting for him to take me home.

I had the same pistachio problem. I finally found some on the snack aisle with the cookies. In a yellow bag.

Sue said...

Hi Rachel,
I'm happy to be part of cleaning out your sinuses.

Of course it's like Tyler's show. I had completely forgotten about that. But, of course, Tyler's show was good and you actually learned stuff.

Beer braised ribs? Do I spy a competitive entry to Emiline's contest?

I think anyone that calls any part of Westchester UPSTATE should go live in Niagara Falls and REALLY understand what upstate means.

Yeah, Giada is a lot less annoying in the commercials than on her show. AND I always do forget how to say bruschetta, so I like that they've included that.

Hi Yvo,
I enjoyed meeting you too. I loved your posts from Argentina. So interesting.

I don't why I zoned out the 911 thing. I guess the FN was hoping we wouldn't notice that it was the exact same show, except not as good...Interesting about the promos...I wonder.

Poor old Robert Irvine. What a dumb thing for him to do.

Hi Jenn,
I guess that might be why my kids never learned to cook...

Hi Cath,
You're right. He's ok, but not overwhelming in any area.

Unhappily, I don't have a Trader Joe's anywhere near me, but I LOVE them.

Hi AC Claire,
Obviously, I was watching the show in a coma not to note the
"similarity" to Food 911.

Try the beans, you'll love them. Asparagus too. For asparagus, instead of coating them in oil, try this. Put them in a dish or pie plate. Barely cover them with water. Add a tablespoon of oil and a big pinch of Kosher salt. Shake the water off and put them on a foil lined baking sheet and into the oven at whatever temperature you happen to have on for 20 ish minutes. Putting them in the oily water (sounds gross) coats them EVENLY with the oil using just a little bit. I don't do the green beans like that, because I think they'd get soggy.

You're a riot. Whole Foods IS a great place to pick up guys.

I wish the store were open right now, so I could run there and see if...you thought I'd say if there were any cute guys there, no, if there were any shelled pistachios.

jeanette said...

Oh my goodness! I thought I was the only one who thought there was no need for this show.

A former model/hockey player turned chef...what the what??!!!!

To think that I once thought that David LIeberman's show was not necessary...au contraire after watching this mess...I could even stomach "Cocktail Sandra" (Lee) more than I could this dude.

How is it that everyone and their dog has a cooking show and I don't??!

Sue said...

Hi Jeanette,

If you think the first show was bad, the second was worse. And actually, I've decided it's not Danny that horrible, it's the concept of the show. The FN is so desperate to get away from more standard cooking shows that they create these ridiculous excuses to have a chef in the kitchen. It really is amazing how they completely ripped off Food 911 on their own network as well as that cute guy Curtis's show.

I would LOVE a cooking show by a dog. Great idea!