Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Pirates Eat, Jamie Deen’s Admirable Objectives - Even If His Grammar Ain’t Too Good - Plus My Favorite Kitchen Tool Of All Time

Home for Dinner With Jamie Deen

Jamie IS very appealing. His son, Jack, is cute too, when he’s not being that first-son, little prince kind of bratty. But Jamie has used the work “I” wrong twice in just the first few minutes of the show. “That gives Jack and I enough time to head over to…”

Why can’t people realize how easy it is to figure out when “I” should be used and when it should be “ME”?!! Just take out the word "Jack" and you’d never say, “That would give I enough time to…blah, blah, blah.”

He also said, “One of the sweetest things Jack said to his mom and I is…” To his mom and ME!!! People don’t talk to I…They talk to ME!!!

Jamie is a sweet dad anyway, and I do like that he’s in charge of dinner. He wants to be in control of what he feeds his family and that’s certainly commendable. Today he’s making a pasta salad and throwing in lots of vegetables.

Jamie tells us about a little trick he uses with Jack that’s really ingenious. He throws Jack “curve balls”. That’s when he tells his son little white lies to get him to do stuff. (I certainly had no problem lying to my kids every chance I got, but this particular tale is very clever.)

Jamie tells Jack that pasta salad is PIRATE FOOD. Isn’t that hilarious? And really smart?  I think it’s perfectly acceptable to fudge the truth about a certain dish or what ingredients are in something (to kids OR adults), as long as no actual allergies are involved. But saying something is PIRATE FOOD is really original.
Jamie says you’ve GOT to salt the pasta water. Agreed. But his water does NOT look like it’s boiling when he adds the pasta, but I guess he knows what he’s doing.

Jamie advises us that he NEVER peels his carrots. I think we were supposed to know that about him, but this is the first I’VE heard of it. It’s a simple notion – not peeling carrots - but it makes me think about living a purer, better, more moral life.

This is actually something that I aspire to - to cook and eat unpeeled carrots. I DO buy organic carrots, but when the time comes to peel or not peel, I lose my nerve and I always give in and peel them. But I need to work on this. Remember when I promised recently to wash my lemons and limes as soon as I get home from the store? I’m 50/50 on that so far…I forgot the second time. Baby steps…And this carrot thing is another improvement I should make.

Jamie cuts the carrots in quite large pieces, almost an inch big. He cuts broccoli into florets. He doesn’t use the stem, which is kind of a pity. I usually peel it and cut it into a julienne. For the dressing for the pasta salad, he mixes 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 1/3 cup of mayo. There’s nothing to argue about there, except maybe nutritionally, but it’s not SO over the top. Jamie says this is one of the first dishes they used to make at his mama’s business, The Bag Lady.

I wonder what his orange rubber bracelet is for. It could be for a number of things.

Jamie adds the carrots to the pasta water. He likes to clean out the fridge when he makes this. He says there are no rules about what to add to this pasta salad, because “PIRATES follow no rules, Matey”.

He readies edamame and grape tomatoes. He told Jack the tomatoes were candy - “Curveball!” He says his wife gets mad because he never uses a timer to cook pasta or anything. He just knows when things are done. (Most husbands do far worse things and if mine is making dinner - not that I know what that feels like - I am NOT going to harrass him for the crime of knowing when something is done without a timer.)

He adds the broccoli to the cooking pasta and carrots and tells us not to overcook it. He also says that you really realize time is speeding by when you have kids. I THINK that has something to do with the broccoli…Is he comparing it to a fast-growing baby?

Jamie drains the pasta and vegetables and rinses it all in cold water to stop the cooking. He adds it to a big bowl with the tomatoes, edamame and dressing. Then he adds a cup of already-grated mozzarella. I don’t think it needs cheese and that’s not the one I would have added if it did. I love cheddar in a pasta salad or a bit of parmesan, but a kid would probably prefer cheddar.

He says the pasta salad gets better on standing, just like chili. Jamie doesn’t say this, but have you noticed that blanched vegetables hold up better than raw ones? So if he hadn’t cooked the broccoli and carrots, they might have looked a little sad the next day, but blanching them helps to keep them LOOKING fresh, at least.

Next Jamie makes a rosemary chicken dish. He says folks ask him what his favorite kitchen tool is and they’re expecting him to say something fancy like a chinoise. Nope, it’s a zip-lock plastic bag that he can use as anything from a glove to a garbage bag to holding a marinade, which is what he’s using it for today. I think that’s probably what a pirate would say. I have a different answer…It's at the end.

Jamie mixes garlic and ¼ cup of oil with Dijon. (Pirates love garlic, although Jack Deen doesn’t.)  

Squeeze bottle alert – don’t be fooled into buying Grey Poupon in that tall squeeze bottle – it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get it all out of that container. It’s a waste, unless you add water or vinegar or wine and shake it up.

Jamie loves rosemary with chicken, so he adds fresh chopped rosemary and fresh lemon juice to the oil. He places the boneless chicken cutlets in the plastic bag and pours the marinade over. With leftovers, he makes chicken salad with chopped hard boiled eggs, dill pickles and mayo. He seals the bag and mashes the chicken around. Jamie says you can marinate it for only 5 minutes OR overnight. He greezes up his grill pan and places the chicken on it and cooks it for 3 minutes on each side.

Jamie says his number one goal is to prepare the same dinner for the kids as the grownups. Right on! He also grills some lemons as a fancy schmancy garnish. Jack comes into the kitchen and Jamie places arugula on a platter with a bit of olive oil. He puts the chicken on top and squeezes over that grilled lemon. That looks nice, but I want to see the kid eat arugula. THAT would be impressive.

Jamie takes a walk with Jack to Leopold’s ice cream shop. (I thought it was dinner time.) They’re borrowing an old time ice cream maker. Wouldn’t mama have one he could borrow? While they’re waiting for the ice cream machine, Jamie gets him some raspberry sorbet. He gets a HUGE cone and they sit down. Jack refuses to share. He makes his dad SWEAR not to take any while he holds the cone for a sec. Stratton, the owner, brings out the machine and describes to Jamie and Jack how to use it. Jack is too interested in not sharing his sorbet to listen.

Back in the kitchen, Jamie says he’s going to make a true homemade ice cream and all of sudden Ginny (pronounced “guinea”) appears. She cuts the strawberries and Jack moves them into the bowl with sugar. Jamie adds lemon juice. He heats whole milk and cream with a vanilla bean and gets 4 yolks ready with more sugar. He tempers his eggs with the hot milk, which he says is going to bring up the base temperature of his eggs. He adds the eggs in and lets it cook for 6 minutes.

It’s too bad he doesn’t discuss all the signs that you look for in a cooked custard. As it nears the end of cooking, the foam disappears. It coats the back of a metal spoon and sometimes, depending on how thick it is (not really in this case), as you stir the bottom, you can make a little temporary highway through the custard with your spatula before it all flows together again.

But the best way to judge when the custard is done is with a candy thermometer. My all-time favorite classic Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Craig Claiborne had a custard base which he cooked to 180°F. Because the custard keeps cooking, I usually go to 170°F (which is what most folks say these days) and THEN I immediately strain the mixture into a glass bowl. That gets rid of any little snotty bits and cools it quickly. Plus if you’ve left it too long, it will get rid of any curdled egg.

Jamie adds 1/4 teaspoon of salt (ick) to his custard and pours it into a bowl and cools it over ice. He doesn’t strain it. That's not good. He pours the sweetened strawberries, which he puréed, into the cooled custard and refrigerates it for 30 minutes. Maybe he thinks because he’s got the chunks of strawberries in there he doesn’t have to strain it, but I still would.

Jamie sets up the ice cream maker and pours in the ice cream mixture. He starts churning. He makes Jack turn it and count to 5000. The kid is smart and starts counting at 1000. Finally it's done and they get to sample it right out of the ice cream machine. Jack gets a bit exuberant when his dad says no more ice cream until after dinner. He practically rips the tasting spoon out of Paula’s hand. (I guess he knows her well.)

The three eat dinner together. Let’s see how Jack does with the arugula. Well, at least he’s eating the chicken and pasta salad. His dad serves him ice cream and Jamie asks for a taste. Jack says NO. Then Paula runs over with a spoon to take a bite. He’s not having it. Are you supposed to teach a kid to share his portion of food? I can’t remember. I don’t think I ever tried to rip food out of my kids’ hands, so I can’t really say.

I do know, though, that when you train a puppy, you DON’T want him (or her) to guard his food and get aggressive. So you’re supposed to bother your young dog while he’s eating. Stroke his feet, move his dish a few inches, things like that. But a kid?  I guess it would be nice if he would share, but frankly, I’m not so sure I would share anything as good as homemade ice cream. (I would just make enough for everybody.) Maybe I can’t blame Jack for guarding his ice cream, but it wouldn’t kill him to give his granny a bite (although it might kill HER).

About my favorite kitchen tool of all time… What’s yours? I don’t even need one second to think about it. Mine isn’t sexy or surprising. It’s basic and it’s a chef’s knife. With a knife I can do anything. I can take onions and carrots and chicken and make 10 different dishes, based on just the way I cut them up. Anything from a dice for a stew to julienning for a stir fry and everything in between. You can’t do THAT with a plastic bag, Jamie! 


Aly ~ Cooking in Stilettos said...

I have to agree with you regarding the knife as a favorite kitchen tool. Great recap - that chicken recipe was beyond delish. I only marinated it 25 min. and my chicken got a little white. I used breasts tho so they can take a longer marinade I think. I'd hesitate on marinating them overnight with all the lemon juice.

Sue said...

Hi Aly!
Good knives are the greatest!

That's good to hear that the chicken doesn't need a long time in the marinade. I hope you have leftovers, so you don't have to turn on the oven today...Its hot!!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

What irks me even more is when people say "myself" instead of me. Really hate that. I think people are afraid of the word "me" because when we were kids parents and teachers would correct the heck out of us if we said, "Me and Sue are going out to play."

Jody Mauldin said...

If his grammar drives you crazy, do yourself a favor & DON'T watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. It drives me insane. Everytime someone talks to the camera they use improper pronouns. I find it hard to believe that all of those people don't know which pronouns to use. I think the same person has been writing the cue cards all these years & those dummies just read it.

Sue said...

Hi Rach,
I, myself, also don't like that, but people are really far gone if they do that.

Sue said...

Hi Jody,

That't funny. I guess the geniuses on those shows are too busy taking helicopter rides or snogging in hot tubs to concentrate on good English.

Anonymous said...

The first time I saw someone not peeling carrots was Giuliano Bugialli. Back when I was in high school one of the local PBS stations used to show Italian TV on weekends, and I saw his cooking show (no English spoken on it, but a lot of very emphatic hand gestures). He never peeled his carrots if he was cooking them, and I started doing that too.