Saturday, October 17, 2009

Giada At Home Bowling Plus More On Egg Whites

Giada at Home with Giada De Laurentiis

Bowling Night

Grilled Pork and Fontina Sandwiches

Red Potato and Tomato Salad

Mini Chocolate-Meringue Cupcakes

This is a new season of Giada at Home. Jade has gotten so big.

Giada says she and Todd gather some friends every once in awhile and go bowling. Would you have pegged Giada as a bowler? Wow, look at that bowling alley! It looks like a nightclub.

Giada is making dinner at home and then bringing dessert to the lanes for everyone. They allow THAT? Don’t you usually have to buy greasy pizza or gross nachos to go with your athlete’s foot-infested shoes?

Giada starts with meringue cupcakes. I LOVE meringue-anything. Please don’t use a mix. Please don’t use a mix. Please don’t use a mix. Giada melts ½ cup of chocolate over hot water. That IS the right way to do it, but does ANYONE use a double boiler anymore? I NEVER use anything other than my microwave.

She separates 3 yolks to use 2 yolks and 3 whites. Couldn’t you just sneak in that extra yolk? How much difference could it make?

Giada adds 1/4 cup vegetable oil to the yolks. She tells us we have to measure when baking. Well, yeah, we’re not all geniuses after all. She adds 1/3 cup of sugar.

I know GDL is making MINI-cupcakes, but I’m feeling as if she’s not making that many. If this were the Contessa, we would have cracked open a half dozen eggs already and melted a pound of chocolate.

She adds 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon (interesting) and vanilla. I like it when Giada says vanilla adds a sweetness you just can’t get from sugar. EXACTLY. She whisks the mixture by hand.

She beats the whites with a hand mixer. I so don’t get that. And she is using a glass bowl, but I guess that's just a food television necessity. She adds 1/3 cup of sugar slowly while beating them until soft peaks form.

I really hope she lightens the chocolate base with a spoonful of the whites before she adds all the whites in. Let’s see what she does.

Giada mentions that the melted chocolate should be cooled before adding it to the cocoa and egg yolk mixture, so you don’t scramble the egg yolks. Okay, does she lighten it or not?

Well, sort of…I can’t completely blast her. She folds in the whites little by little in a few batches.

The reason you don’t fold them in all at once is that the base is often too thick to absorb them nicely, so you end up with big clumps of egg whites that don’t get mixed in. THEN the problem is that in your zeal to mix in the clumpy whites, you overfold and deflate the egg whites, which defeats the entire purpose of beating the whites separately in the first place!

The best way (really the ONLY way I’ve ever done it) is to beat in one quarter of the whites first to lighten the mixture and then fold in the rest. Once the mixture has some of the whites in there, you don’t NEED to add the rest in several batches. The base can now handle the whites just fine.

It’s kind of like dealing with your mother-in-law after you’ve had a drink or two. It makes it so much easier. Any mothers-in-law that I’ve had (or have) have been just wonderful!

Back to Giada, she folds in the whites in several batches. Whatever. You know where I stand.

She sifts in ¼ cup of cake flour. It’s interesting that Giada did that AFTER she added the whites. I’m not sure what the point is. Sometimes RLB does things in a counterintuitive way, which works best for the final outcome.

Using a small ice cream scoop, Giada adds the batter to papered mini-muffin pans and bakes them at 350ยบF for 12 minutes.

We see the cupcakes baking in the oven. That is so cool. They’ve come out and they’re cooling. Giada drizzles 1 cup of chocolate chips melted with 1 tablespoon of oil over the top. She says she adds the oil for the shine.

Her icing IS a lighter way to go about things. Melting equal amounts of chocolate and cream would be another alternative. But since Giada and friends are going to be engaged in vigorous athletic activity, they obviously don’t want to be weighted down too much. She lets the cupcakes stand for an hour to harden the chocolate.

Giada moves on to the potato salad. She boils one pound of halved red potatoes and scoops them out of the water and into a bowl. She adds two cups of halved cherry tomatoes, black olives (I’d use Kalamata), chopped fresh parsley and fresh thyme. She adds salt and pepper and three chopped scallions. She adds some of the green but not all.

(Sorry to mention Rachael Ray, but she has a nifty trick for halving cherry tomatoes easily.)

Giada says sometimes she like to add red onion, but not today. Next capers and lemon zest go in. She pours over extra virgin olive oil and tosses the potato mixture well. She tastes for seasoning. She adds a bit of pepper. She lets it sit for an hour in the fridge.

Giada seasons 2 boneless pork chops with salt and pepper, herbes de provence (which I only like in my bureau drawers) and oil on both sides. She oils her stovetop grill pan and adds the meat to the hot grill. She cooks the pork chops for 10 minutes on each side.

Giada flavors up mayonnaise for the sandwiches. She adds 1/2 cup of mayo to a bowl. She adds salt, pepper and the zest and juice from ½ a lemon. She chops and adds some fresh basil, which she says lightens the mayo along with the lemon.

Giada cuts half a loaf of beautiful ciabatta. She adds the mayo to both sides with lettuce and sliced fontina without the rind. She flips the pork. (Sorry, I’m not being rude, she DOES!)

That Tabasco on pizza commercial is disturbing.

Giada calls Todd for dinner. Where’s Jade? She assembles the sliced pork on the sandwich. They eat and then go to the bowling alley. It’s so exciting looking with those lights. (I really need to get out more.) Giada bowls brilliantly. She offers cupcakes to her friends. They are all really good bowlers.

Nice episode. And I’m thrilled there were no boxes.


Tom said...

Hooray for no boxes! But I don't think RLB would fold in flour after folding in egg whites. (RLB's new book is really nice, btw).

Cynthia said...

I love that trick for cutting the cherry tomatoes.

Sue said...

Yup, Tom. No boxes is a good start to the season.

I've been thinking about it. That IS what you do for an angel food cake. Could it keep the cake lighter?

I know, Cyn, it works so well!

Sheila said...

You crack me up! I love it. So, are you saying if I give my mother-in-law a couple drinks at our next holiday get together, it'll be lighter? (for the record, I also have a wonderful MIL....)

I used Herbs de Provence for the first time a couple weeks ago... I think next time, I'd put it in a tea bag and pull it out before serving it.

And that RR trick IS awesome. :-)

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

If you're Giada DeLaurentis and you're coming into the bowling alley with a camera crew, I guess it's okay to bring your own dessert to the bowling alley.

Sure there are no boxes, but she's been making a lot of sandwiches lately. That's Rachael Ray territory!

Tom said...

Ha! At least Giada doesn't call them sammies, which puts her a tiny step ahead in my book.

With angel food cake you make the meringue and then fold in a little flour mixed with some sugar -- the relative proportion of whites to flour is huge and the meringue is pretty stable. Maybe since there's only 1/4 cup of flour in there it keeps the cupcakes more tender. But since there are all those other ingredients in there, I think the whites would be more likely to deflate. Either way, it doesn't look good enough to waste the effort or calories!

Sue said...

Yes, Sheila,
That's exactly what I'm saying.

Good idea about the Herbes. I like it for scenting a garbage can bag...

Oh Rach,
I know it was a sandwich, but I was so relieved that there was no cake mix that I gave her a pass. Frankly, she is sooo lovely, she wins me over...most of the time.

You know, I really have been thinking entirely too much about this, but I have decided that if it's a choice between BEATING in the flour early or FOLDING it in last, the latter is better. But what I would do is to BARELY fold it in before the whites and then fold in the whites.

I think they look okay.

Emily said...

I certainly don't use a double boiler. What a pain.

Lol about the mother-in-law. That's hilarious.

Whoa! Look at that cherry tomato tip!

I've never used herbs de provence, but I bought some when I went to France in high school. Funny, it sits on top of my dresser, instead of inside of it.