Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Love Ya, Aaron, But Keep Your Canned Pie Filling To Yourself

Big Daddy’s House with Aaron McCargo

Keep me in Bed
Super-Stuffed French Toast
Eggscellent Bean and Beef Burrito
Big Daddy Parfait
Getcha Goin' Grits

Aaron’s making breakfast, something special for his wife. He’s making a bean and beef burrito. (That’s a rather substantial start to the day. If he brings her all that food in bed, he may need a crane to get her out of there.)

He puts refried bean into a bowl with a bit of sour cream and then zaps it for 2 minutes in the microwave. He shows us 6 eggs in a big bowl. He chops a small onion and a poblano pepper finely along with some garlic.

Aaron opens up one pound of hamburger meat. He heats oil in a pan and adds the meat. It hits the pan with a big sizzle. He stirs it around and adds the vegetables with a lot of seasoning.

Aaron adds pepper to the eggs and whips them, telling us the more air you whip into them the fluffier they’ll be. He snips in some chives for “hidden onion flavor and eye appeal”. He adds a little oil to a nonstick pan. He pours in one ladle worth of beaten eggs and twists and turns the pan to makes crêpes. “Eggs, like my wife in the morning need(s) to be handled gently.” He says to get the egg crêpe as close to the edge as possible and then he flips it beautifully.

“Let’s start building this bad boy.” Oh, this reminds me of an absolutely fantastic Julia recipe – I call it crêpe pie. Julia made a gâteau by stacking up crêpes in a buttered soufflé dish, alternating different fillings made from all kinds of bits and pieces. I often use leftover chicken in a white sauce and then a piperade type of thing with onions and peppers sautéed with diced tomatoes. I top the whole thing with another crêpe and then cover it with a Mornay sauce and bake it and serve it in wedges. I often use tortillas instead of crêpes or sometimes I use eggs, like Aaron is doing. It’s fantastic!

Back to Aaron, he’s making a variation of a traditional burrito. He places tortillas on a board and spoons some refried beans in the middle. Then he adds some meat on top and then Colby cheese. He brings in the sides and rolls it up from the bottom. Then Aaron rolls the whole thing in an egg pancake. He places it on a dish and tops it with more cheese. (Wasn’t there a Taco Bell-something like this, which was a tortilla wrapped around a taco?)

It goes into the microwave for 3 minutes. He puts a little salsa down the middle and a dollop of sour cream on each one. He garnishes it with some long pieces of chives. He tastes and exclaims “Baby, I know why you love me.”

I would have preferred if he had scrambled the eggs and added them to the inside of the tortilla, and just completely forgot about the meat. But I guess he knows the Mrs.

He moves on to super stuffed French toast. He starts with fresh ½ inch slices of brioche. He mixes together 6 jumbo eggs, with a lot of vanilla - 2 tablespoons for 6 eggs - ¼ cup heavy cream, a heavy teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ cup sugar and a pinch of salt.

Just a minute, here, folks. WHY is Aaron using jumbo eggs? Remember how we always have the same issue with Ina with extra large eggs? Here’s the chart again. It doesn’t even HAVE 6 jumbo eggs on it. Luckily, for this recipe the measurement isn’t critical. I would just use 7 or 8 large eggs.

Okay, this is not good…what’s about to happen. I’ll tell you in a sec. He beats the eggs. He brushes the eggs around the edges of half of the pieces of bread. He presses the center down to make a bit of an indentation. THEN, this is the bad part, he puts 3 spoonfuls of CANNED CHERRY PIE FILLING in the center. He tops it with a slice of the brioche which has been brushed with the egg. He presses the whole thing together.

He repeats the same thing with APPLE canned pie filling. Then he dips the entire assembly into the eggs to coat the outside. Aaron places them on a hot griddle. Oh, that’s a panini press type griddle. He cooks them for 6 to 8 minutes. He smears the syrup from the cans on the plate and plates the French toast. He covers them with powdered sugar that’s been mixes with cinnamon. He garnishes with strawberries and a mint leaf.

Okay, let’s get real here. Cooking canned pie filling between 2 pieces of bread is NOT what I signed up for in watching this show. I don’t mind fast. I don’t mind easy. But I do mind CRAP.

For his grits, Aaron heats 1½ cups water and 1½ cups milk with a pinch of salt over medium high heat in a covered saucepan. He places the container of instant grits near the stove to be at the ready.

Aaron dices 4 or 5 slices of bacon. He’s using it as a salt and fat substitute. He chops ½ onion very finely (and very nicely) and slices scallions. He adds the bacon to a hot pan. He renders the fat and then adds the onions. The bacon starts to get crispy. He adds black pepper.

He stirs 1½ cups of grits into the boiling liquid. He cuts a huge amount of American cheese off a huge block and dices it into small cubes. He adds it to the grits and stirs well. He adds the bacon mixture, which looks particularly good and stirs in the scallions. He pours it into a bowl. To add a bit of color, he slices some pepper rings and fits a bouquet of parsley inside them to garnish the plate.

There was a really good Scotch Brite commercial about 2 guys that have their own Iron Chef cook off and use the occasion to raise money for something or other. They were charming. Plus the food looked good (monkfish) and the loser gets to clean the kitchen with Scotch Brite sponges. Here's another really funny one.

Back to Aaron, he’s finishing up with a parfait. He grabs a huge martini glass. He drains yogurt through paper towels. I prefer cheesecloth. “This is going to be a dance party in your mouth when we’re done.” He prepares fruit, lots of fruit - 1½ pints of strawberries, blackberries, bananas and blueberries. He zests an orange and adds it to ¼ cup coconut flakes and some sugar. He chops up pineapple.

To assemble, Aaron adds granola to the bottom of the dish, then yogurt, then fruit, yogurt, granola, blackberries, yogurt and finally blueberries and then strawberries and bananas. He sprinkles over the coconut mixture. He mixes whipped cream with the pineapple and spoons that on top and tops the whole thing with a strawberry and mint. “It’s a circus” after he tastes.

Wait, there’s more bad news. I check the tape, because I thought I spied something strange. Yup, there it is. I check the recipe and it says, “1 (8-ounce) container whipped cream (recommended: Cool Whip) “ Cool Whip can only be “recommended” if you’re making a list of things to be banished from the face of the earth, not to use with 5 pounds of fresh gorgeous fruit. There is no reason in the entire world to use Cool Whip. If this trend continues, I may have to reconsider the potential of Ms. “Fine-Dining” as a cooking show host.

Aaron ends the show with, “I told you I was gonna make you want what I got, but the only way you’re gonna get it is to make it yourself.” Fair enough, but I’m leaving out the Cool Whip and canned pie filling.


Emiline said...

I hope he served his wife small portions! I definitely wouldn't be able to get out of bed.
I'm kind of a bowl of cereal or piece of toast girl.

I've never used canned pie filling. I'm guessing there's a lot of high fructose corn syrup in it. We have cherry pie filling at work, to spoon on top of (frozen-purchased) cheesecake. It's freakishly bright red.

Anonymous said...

I think the recipe looked good. Not everybody has time to make a homemade fruit filling to add to a breakfast dish. Get real and stop being so critical. Most working, on the go people don't have time to make everything from scratch so we're looking for simple alternatives to spruce up our food dishes. It's not something I would eat everyday but for a simple nice treat, go Aaron!! Good Job!!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Egg burritos, french toast, AND yogurt parfaits? Do you actually see his wife? Does she weigh 300 pounds? Is she getting breakfast in bed because she can't get out of bed?

I loves me a big breakfast, but only if I know that I have to fuel myself up for a long, active day.

How hard can it be to cut up an apple and saute it in a little cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar? If all you're making is a topping for french toast, you don't need anything that's going to hold up to baking in a hot oven.

I also don't get wrapping a tortilla up in an egg crepe. Overkill.

I haven't watched this show yet. I wonder how I'll feel about it when I finally do. (Although just like TNFNS, Top Chef, and most other FN programs, I think I do quite well just reading your recaps!)

Anonymous said...

Some stewed fresh fruit would have been better I guess, but if it's a good quality canned fruit filling, I won't kill him. But his show reeks of mediocrity.

Jen said...

Hi Sue- your Julia recipe reminds me of a cake I had in Hungary which I think is called Dobos Torte. It's made with layers of crepes and cream I believe and topped off with chocolate ganache but it's been a while so I only have a vague recollection of it. Your savory version sounds really good.

Sue said...

The portion sizes WERE gross, but I’m just hoping there were at least 10 other people in the bedroom helping her to eat all that.

You are so innocent to only have been exposed to that stuff at work. Keep it up.

Please don’t hold you breath waiting for me to stop being critical. I don’t want to be responsible for the consequences. You must admit that when I find something to praise, I do so, effusively.

IF people are so busy that they can’t throw a bit of fruit and cinnamon into the microwave for 2 minutes to make a quick purée, then I don’t think they’ll be making this in the first place. Adding canned pie filling only garbages up this dish. What’s the point of spending 5 bucks for a loaf of brioche only to add dreck to it?

Hi Shortie,
Yeah, I’m a bit worried about what was on the other side of the door. I do hope it was LOTS of people.

I meant to add that sautéing apple suggestion to my post. AND I don’t mind tortillas WITH eggs, but I’d rather have them scrambled inside.

Thanks for the nice words. Let me do the viewing for you, so you can get on to making Chicken Marbella.

What’s a good quality CANNED fruit filling? You’re right, just stew some fruit (in the microwave) and jam it in between those bread slices.

Mediocre? Nah, I think Aaron’s better than that, but he does have to show a bit more range if he’s going to last.

Hi Jen,
I love Dobos Tortes. But even more I love dacquoise, with its meringues, instead of crepes, sandwiched with all kinds of delicious buttercreams. Actually, forget the savory things, let’s have those.