What Would Brian Boitano Make? with Brian Boitano
“Bri-Guy” (it rhymes, as in BrEYE-Guy, not Brie-guy) is babysitting for a bunch of babies AND preparing a fabulous meal for their parents. I think that's a neat nickname.
As we hear all the things that Bri is doing this week. I realize what the other Food Network shows lack. An announcer! Usually we have the voice of the host telling us what’s coming up. But Brian’s show is narrated by a funny, yet professional, announcer. He’s bright-tongued and bushy-voiced as he lets us in on the action. It gives a kind of sitcom feel to Bri-Guy’s show. (Voiceover-Guy was the one that called Brian, Bri-Guy.)
Besides having VO-Guy, the other innovation is having Spry-Bri start his show with turns and spins and jumps. The only other show that happens on is the Barefoot Contessa’s, when she’s icing a cake on a turntable (or maybe after a pitcher or two of martinis).
Wry-Bri enjoyed babysitting for a friend’s daughter sooo much that he offered to treat all his friends to a grownup “date night” dinner AND watch their kids at the same time. He’s insane.
Sly-Bri should just treat them to restaurant meal, but I guess that would blow the premise of this episode. But, really, do they want to hear their kids screaming a room away and watch a frantic skater while he cooks? Anyhoo, he gets the menu together, including special cocktails.
Brian starts with crab cakes. He takes a pound of lump crab meat out of the fridge. He puts it in a bowl with 1 cup of homemade bread crumbs.
To the crab and crumbs, Bri-Bri adds 2 tablespoons mayo, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, some hot sauce, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. He makes 6 crab cakes and places them on a piece of parchment. Bri flours, eggs and crumbs them.
(The crust question is particularly germane HERE. So? Are you leaving your crusts off or on? I’m going with off. That small amount of waste is not worth compromising the integrity of the final product.)
I love this. “Every crab cake needs a place to lie down.” Too cute. Nearby-Bri (I’m just trying to mix it up) suggests a bed of arugula with a blood orange dressing, which is a simple mixture of ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Wiseguy-Bri whisks the dressing up and then goes on to make a rémoulade. Oh goodie.
Wait, this ain’t like no rémoulade I’ve ever seen. 1/2 cup of mayo gets mixed with 2 teaspoons of sweet chili sauce? (Maybe this is the figure skating version of rémoulade.) He adds a splash of blood orange juice too.
Narrator-Guy comes back to tell us how much other stuff Bri-Guy still has to do. Magi-Bri tells us about his ambitious main course, which includes sea bass AND filet mignon.
Brian makes a cauliflower purée by ROASTING a cauliflower and a Fuji apple with olive oil, salt and pepper. I admit, I did not see THAT coming – the roasting or the apple. It’s just like when Ina ROASTED butternut for her soup.
I’ve been making this awesome cauliflower purée for ages that’s supposed to fool you into thinking it’s mashed potatoes. So what if it has butter, cream cheese and parmesan cheese in it?!! AT LEAST there are no potatoes!!!
Brian adds some vegetable stock and bakes the cauliflower another 20 minutes before puréeing it. This is one great thing about cauliflower. You can purée it in the food processor, unlike potatoes, which get gummy.
He moves on to a leek beurre blanc sauce. I’m liking this menu.
I sure hope Guy-Bri finishes up most of the cooking before those pesky babies arrive.
He soaks his sliced leeks in water to get rid of the sand. I do it a bit differently. I cut the tops off at an angle as if sharpening a pencil. I rinse them well and THEN chop.
Brian sautés the sliced leeks in olive oil, then adds 1½ cups of white wine and 1 cup of vegetable stock. He reduces that and sets it aside. Right before serving, he’ll add butter.
Okay, next are cocktails. The clementine one sounds fabulous and since I’ve had a clementine juice revelation, I’m excited to try it. And happily, Bri is squeezing the juice fresh, not getting it from the same place as the blood orange juice.
The Clementine Cosmo is equal parts clementine juice and vodka, some triple sec and lime juice. A mandarin or citron vodka would give it some extra verve, Bri-Guy.
At this point, I predict mayhem will ensue, since he “just” has to finish the dessert AND the entrée AND babysit for the kids. Aye-yi-yi.
Brian still has to babyproof the house. He wraps everything in bubble wrap. Excellent idea actually, and if they drool all over everything (or worse), it's not a big deal. His friends arrive to drop off the kids AND a baby toilet. They leave to get gussied up for dinner. Oh relief! Brian’s housekeeper helps with one of the kids.
Uncle Bri wears one (a kid) on his back and another is in a highchair, while he’s chopping chocolate. He mixes it with cream and heats it on top of a double boiler to make a ganache filling. He melts another batch of chocolate with butter in a separate bowl. The ganache gets cooled over ice.
For the cake batter, he beats together 4 eggs and 4 yolks with ½ cup sugar. One of the babies is fascinated by the mixture. Future chef? Brian sifts ½ cup flour over the egg mixture and folds that in with almond extract.
Now he’s down to the wire, so Shoo Fly-Bri asks his housekeeper to take the kids, while he finishes the cooking. He adds the second chocolate mixture (with butter) to the cake batter and fills the buttered and sugared ramekins half full. Stink Eye-Bri (this rhyming IS getting out of hand) tells us that the sugar coating will give the unmolded cakes a nice crust on the outside.
He wipes each ramekin down, because he says, otherwise, Ina GARDEN wouldn’t be happy. Brian scoops out some ganache and drops a bit in each ramekin. He makes sure that it’s completely covered with batter. Those get baked at 400°F for 12 minutes just before serving.
Oy, the guests arrive and dinner isn’t done. Gadfly-Bri is making pretty big promises to his friends. He keeps them happy with the cocktails.
He runs to the kitchen and fries up the crab cakes in TONS of oil. They go on their bed of blood orange dressed arugula and then get topped with a bit of his “rémoulade”. Brian serves them and then vanishes back into the kitchen.
Brian salts and peppers the filets and sears them for 2 minutes on each side and then adds butter, fresh thyme and garlic. (He’s using canola oil, btw. Oy.) He pops the filets into the oven for 5 minutes at 300°F, while he finishes the other stuff.
He sautés the fish, too - 3 minutes on each side. And then the fish goes into the oven with some butter. Won’t that be overcooked?
THEN he takes the time (NOW?) to blanch asparagus. Why, Bri, why, didn’t you do that earlier?!! He sautés the asparagus and makes a little reduction from balsamic vinegar, sugar and butter for the steak.
The filet is plated on top of the asparagus and topped with the balsamic reduction. The cauliflower purée goes next to that on the (rectangular) plate. Then the fish goes on with the leek beurre blanc on top, which we didn’t see him finishing.
Bri-Guy serves the entrées to raves. He unmolds and garnishes the cakes with fresh fruit and more raves.
Alright, pretty good performance. I give him a 154.89. (Those new skating scores are ridiculously complicated.)
There were several ways that Barfly-Bri (it was the last rhyme I had left) could have made his life easier. Number One – He could have told his friends to LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME. Number Two - Get more done in advance. The asparagus and the balsamic reduction should have been done earlier. Number Three - MAKE ONE ENTRÉE, not two. Who needs to eat steak AND fish, although, truthfully, his portion size wasn’t extravagant. Actually, I take that back, the double protein entrée was nice for a special occasion, even if it was A LOT of cooking for one meal.
Well, that’s my Bri. (AND my last rhyme, I promise.)