Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gina Stole My Brownie Recipe And Stay Away From Canola Oil

Down Home with the Neelys with Pat and Gina Neely

Blissful BBQ

Grilled Vegetable Salad
Mini Brownie Bites with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Grilled Salmon with Chinese Barbeque Sauce
Lobster Salad Cocktail

Hey! Gina Neely stole my Brownie recipe AND the way I serve them!

Well, on closer observation, it turns out her recipe is SOMEWHAT different from my own personal private secret recipe
, but you mix them the same way…in one pot on the stove. Actually, my recipe is a lot richer and more chocolate-y, but I guess hers would do in a crunch.


But what IS the same is MY idea of unmolding the brownies and cutting them into small rounds. I use a fluted cutter, Gina uses a plain one and she ices hers. Mine don’t need icing…

Now that we've straightened that out…Pat lines an 8 by 8 pan with foil, overlapping the ends and sprays it with Pam. Gina melts chopped chocolate with 1½ sticks of butter. She stirs in 1 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla and 1/3 cup of flour and a bit of salt. She pours it into the pan. That’s not a lot of batter. It gets baked at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Pat prepares a Chinese BBQ sauce. He’s going to use green onions, garlic and ginger and sauté them in canola oil.

Now stop right there. From the first moment canola oil came on the scene, I didn’t like it. The first thing I didn’t like was the taste. I don’t care if it’s tasteless, I can taste it and I hate it. Then I hated all these magical health properties that were ascribed to it. They made it sound as healthy as Brussels sprouts. I hate the band wagon-y thing that always happens with different foods.

THEN I started hearing authentically bad things about it, that it’s manufactured from GMO's and that it’s used as an industrial lubricant, and goodness know what else.


Oh-NO I said (to myself) I knew there was a reason that I didn’t like it. Who knows? Maybe all the people writing these things are olive growers or dairy farmers, but I don’t like the sound of any of it.

Just to confuse you more, this website seeks to disprove every evil rumor.

True, not true, I don’t know. But I didn’t like canola oil the first time I tasted it and all the controversy makes me like it even less. I don’t need to enter a political arena every time I fry something.


And since I have no idea if all this brouhaha is bunk AND I don’t like canola oil ANYWAY, I choose to avoid it and I would suggest you do too.

Back in the kitchen (and off the soapbox), Pat and Gina continue with the barbecue sauce and chop a tablespoon each of green onions, garlic and ginger. They sauté it in that nameless oil. Pat adds red pepper flakes.

They add ½ cup hoisin sauce to a bowl with ½ cup orange juice, ¾ cup soy sauce and honey and sesame oil. Pat pours the mixture into the sautéed vegetables. Gina stirs it in and simmers it for 10 minutes. That’s not an awful recipe, but it does sound a bit sweet.

Gina starts on the frosting. She mixes 8 oz. of cream cheese and ½ stick butter with 4 cups of powdered sugar. They’re so into each other that he actually scrapes down the side of the bowl as she beats. That would definitely get in my body buffer zone, something that Pat and Gina know nothing about.

Gina adds 3 tablespoons of orange juice and orange zest to the frosting. If I liked that, I’d like it, but I don’t. Keep chocolate and orange juice at opposite ends of the kitchen…Pat takes the brownies out of the oven.

For the grilled vegetable salad, Pat gathers up all the produce and brings it over to the counter. They slice up vegetables – asparagus, cherry tomatoes, yellow and red pepper.


I don’t like the way they cut up the asparagus into short pieces. I like asparagus as asparagus and not short green sticks. But what do I know? They oil and salt them up. Pat adds them to a preheated stovetop grill for 5 to 7 minutes. That isn’t PER SIDE, is it? No, thank goodness.

Meanwhile Gina chops a garlic clove. (Let’s not even get into the niceties of my garlic handling.)

Pat salt and peppers four 1 inch thick salmon steaks. They go onto the grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side. That may be a bit long. I prefer to say 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

For a lobster salad, Gina mixes mayo with lemon juice, zest and salt and pepper. Pat chops 1 stalk of celery, chives and, unfortunately, tarragon. It’s especially unfortunate that the FN spells it “taragon” on the bottom of the screen. Gina chops a shallot and adds it to the celery.

Pat turns the overcooked salmon. He brushes the barbecue sauce (I forgot all about that!) on the cooked side of the salmon.

Gina adds lobster to the celery mixture and stirs it all together. She dips the rims of martini glasses in lemon juice and then coats the rims in


Gina spoons the lobster salad into the prepared glasses and sprinkles the top with more

Pat puts the salmon on a bed of spinach and chops some basil over the vegetables. He puts ¼ lb of goat cheese (the recipe says feta) over the top. He pours over some dressing or other that I’ve obviously missed. It’s olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Gina cuts out 1½ inch circles (MY IDEA) from the brownies. The fun is having the edges left, she tells us. THAT’S what I think too! Oh my, I guess Gina and I aren’t as far apart as I thought. Oh wait, she ruins the brownies with a smidge of orange icing on each one.

Pat and Gina enjoy the lobster. That’s A LOT of lobster. Gina proclaims the salmon nice and smoky. Pat likes the mingy asparagus pieces. They clink the brownie circles and the sun sets on the Neely house.

To be fair, this show wasn’t that bad. I might not serve a jumbo lobster cocktail before TWO salmon steaks per person, but at least they made everything from scratch.


Am I going soft for the Neely’s? Not really, but there’s a lot worse on this channel.

4 comments:

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I hate when TV chefs steal our recipes. I swear that Giada spies on me....
I don't like Canola oil, I am all about the olive baby!

Emiline said...

Yay! They made everything from scratch.

A brownie is perfect as it is - no need for orange frosting.

We have canola oil in our house. I admit it. I don't ever use it, though, because I almost always use olive, peanut, or sesame. My parents bought it, and they use it occasionally.
So, are we better off using regular vegetable oil? I'm going to have to buy some grapeseed, like you mentioned.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I don't like canola oil either. It does have a taste. It tastes like bland oil. The few times I've made things with it, I get this nasty bland oil taste in the background. After that happened to me a couple of times, I never bought canola oil again. If olive oil is too strong or I need to deep fry, I just use vegetable oil.

Sue said...

Hi Jenn,
That's funny. What does that say about us? YOU have Giada spying on you and I have the Neely's?!!

That's good that you stay away from canola oil.

Hey Em,
Yeah, everything was made fresh this time.

As the head of Brownie U, I'm happy that you agree with me about the orange frosting.

I use olive oil 99% of the time and when I want a flavorless oil - in cakes or in certain dressings - I use safflower oil. Grapeseed oil IS yummy.

Hi Rachel,
I'm glad I'm not the only one to disdain canola oil.