Saturday, September 17, 2011

Giada Leaves Out A Step

Giada At Home with Giada De Laurentiis

Viewer's Choice: Vegetarian
Curried White Bean Dip

I love that Giada was doing vegetarian dishes today. I tuned in late while she was making her Herbed Tofu. Basically, she drizzled some olive oil over the tofu (the recipe says to brush it on) and then she smothered it in Herbes de Provence. That would be okay if they were going to be used to scent your grandmother’s underwear drawer, but personally, I would leave out the lavender and just make a quick mix of thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil. I’d probably leave out the fennel as well.

Giada grills the tofu beautifully on a grill pan. That's a nice pan. Is it one of hers from Kohl’s? Let’s look. Mmm…I can’t find it. OH, that’s the problem. HER cookware is from Target. Today she’s using a Panini Pan, which comes with a lid to use a press. $71.99 is the online price.

May I digress for a moment? That looks like a fine pan. It’s made from enameled cast iron and looks nice and heavy. All 7 reviews were positive. But I recall a Panini Pan that is extraordinary in its beauty and heft. It was Mario Batali’s and I gifted someone that pan in a magnificent apple green. It was so shiny and so substantial and gorgeous that I regret that I didn’t buy a second one…for me! It appears to be in short supply on every website that has it. Would I really want a “used” one from Amazon? Ew, and it’s in persimmon anyway.

Oh, I found one, actually two. They call it pesto green and believe me when I say that that picture does not do it justice!

What to do? I am, at this moment, without a grill pan and it WOULD match a particularly attractive apple green Dutch oven that’s sitting on my baker’s rack... I certainly wouldn’t admit it here, but let’s just say that there is a chance that I could be grilling my own batch of tofu in a very special pan…sometime soon...(in 5-8 business days) IF I HAD ordered it…

Back to business, let’s discuss my unhappiness with Giada’s bean dip. I get that she’s trying to throw together a quick dip without a lot of fuss. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be a humdrum version of what it COULD be.

What’s Giada’s big crime? She commits probably my number one pet peeve in the kitchen. (I actually have about 50 number one pet peeves). Giada doesn’t cook the curry powder or the other warm spices she’s adding to the beans. She’s just cavalierly throwing the dry spices into the food processor.

I would add an additional, admittedly slightly time-consuming, step. Pour a bit of oil in a pan, soften a small onion in it and then add the curry powder, cumin and cayenne. Stir it over low heat for two minutes and add it to the food processor with the other ingredients for a spicy flavor that will taste fully developed and not raw.

One more thing…and I know this is just me. Typically, folks add twice as much curry powder as cumin to whatever they’re making. Giada doesn’t downplay the cumin as much as many others do. She uses 2 teaspoons of Madras curry powder and 1½ teaspoons of cumin. I would add even more - at least 2 teaspoons of cumin with the curry powder and cayenne to the cooked onions.

The finished dip looked fine, but you and I know it could have been so much better. I liked her homemade pita chips, but I might have jazzed them up a bit with a little chili powder added to the seasoning.

The recipes were pretty good this week, but the reminder of a certain pan that my kitchen lacked was particularly helpful. Thanks for the suggestion, Giada.

Note: Is it weird that the URL for Giada's bean dip says it's BOBBY FLAY'S recipe?
What's that about, I wonder?


Lys said...

I didn't watch the ep. but loved the recap! I agree with you about blooming the spices with heat - great tip.

Now - if only we could read the 50 Number One Pet Peeves post - that would be fabulous!

Sue said...

Don't get me started! But, okay, I'll start a little list in my head and when it explodes, I'll post it.