Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I think FN gave him the show to help make him seem less pompous.
For example, the formula of the throwdown:
1) Find someone who makes the best ____ .
2) Have a bike messenger deliver B. Flay's mission for the day in a staged, yet hilarious, situation.
3) Put B. Flay with two women who kind of insult, yet flirt with him, as they try to make the best ____ , instead, in the FN kitchens.
4) Have BF surprise said "someone," challenge them to a "throwdown," and film awkward reaction shot of the someone 15 minutes into the show ("Damn you, B. Flay, you came in so unexpectedly...what does my hair look like...I'm going to kick this cocky mofo's ass").
5) Have Bobby make a ridiculously upscale version of whatever the item is for a twofold purpose, first, to let the judges know which is Bobby's, and, second, so the judge can make the obligatory, "while this is GOOD, it's not a true _____."
6) Have the "someone" raise their arms in victory and warn others about the throwdowns to come.
Bottom line: look at how friendly and up with people Bobby is. He's not pompous, he loses so graciously...
So, anyway, I love "Throwdown." Plus, you learn about new foods, too. Like the Kentucky HOT BROWN. I had never even heard of it before that show...suddenly I wanted one so badly! Luckily, a friend of mine, we'll call her BW (no, come on people, it's not this BW), decided she couldn't live without one, either. Thus resulted the field trip to one of Bobby's restaurants, Bar Americain, where the HOT BROWN is on the lunch and brunch menu. Since we're not degenerates, we had to go for brunch - we can't be skipping out of work to go eat a HOT BROWN during the week, now, can we?*
The reservation was for 1:30 on Saturday (brunch from 11:30 - 2:30), a good time to go, the restaurant was just emptying out when we got there.
Clearly, the first thing we did was order alcohol. The drink menu is not large (that's what she said) but the drinks were all awesome. Seriously. I would just go drinking there...who needs food? Here are my Bloody Mary, BW's B & T, and the basket of delicious breadstuffs with strawberry jam (also PW's hand).
Next up, the food!! Clearly, we had to get a HOT BROWN!!! But, since I think it's lame to order the same thing as the other people you're dining with, I ordered the poached eggs with Tasso ham, and smoked pepper hollandaise. And, because BW is my hero, she ordered the Vidalia onion soup, too. Here's the food:
THE Mother-effing HOT BROWN!!!!!
Yeah, jealous, aren't you? That bacon. The melty Mornay Sauce (that's a bechamel (white) sauce with cheese for you non-French-food-inclined people). Oh baby. The drool is starting to form.
The food was really good. I kind of expected it to be OK, you know? Pricey, but ultimately alright, nothing spectacular. But, it was really good. Still pricey, though. My eggs were cooked perfectly and looked good, which, if you've ever tried to make poached eggs, is not an easy task. The Hollandaise sauce was great, not to mucus-y and thick. The salad was freshly dressed and the tasso ham had a delicious, rich, smoky flavor. The HOT BROWN was also great...very, very heavy and filling, but delicious. Although, anything smothered in a melted cheese sauce can't be that bad, right?
Here's the aftermath. Strong work, BW! Damn, I should have eaten that last piece of bacon.
After all that eating, what's a group of people to do? Drink more, clearly. I mean, it was only 2:45, we had to prep our livers for the onslaught to come later. So, we all had a post-brunch drink, you know, to help the food settle. I guess I should mention there were six of us eating, so you know (now) that I have more than one friend. I chose the Dark 'N' Stormy as my post-ingestion drink. Rum-y and good!
Once the drinks were imbibed, it was clearly time to leave...the damage to our wallets had been more than done, plus any more alcohol and we were going to have to take a nap on the banquette before leaving. And our waiter wasn't going to want any part in that...he seemed kind of pissy since we were basically the last group in the restaurant. Before we left, we fashioned a parting gift for him out of some leftover food on the table.
Thus ended our field trip, and a strong one at that. Here we are happily frolicking outside after brunch!
Overall Verdict: The drinks are very good. The food is good, well prepared and served in a pleasing manner. The waiters are pissy, but maybe it was just with us. I'd go again. I hope Bobby's there next time - I'm itching for a short rib throwdown...
*Apparently, we can BLOG about it while we're at work, though.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I'm loving the relaxing sound of small waves splashing against the shore instead of the usual music.
So far Anthony's insulted most of the Greek population, calling their Mousaka disgusting, the people fat, and saying it looks like a Dress Barn exploded onto the entire population. I'm excited to see the aftermath of this episode.
OK, first meal looks delicious, lots of lemon, olive oil, lime, greens, and INNARDS!! Tony's (not so much my) favorite. I think he might be in trouble, though...that Raki looks deadly. Now he's just doing shots and eating lamb...uh oh, the entertainment (live music) is starting. Abort Mission, Tony, ABORT! Anytime Tony's hosts start with the live music and copious amounts of liquor, morning after takes an ugly turn. He's not listening...too late. Well, at least he looks like he's having a good time.
Next day, he's referencing "blowing chunks" and calls the coffee "crunchy." Rough night, much? He's going on some type of field trip...oh, wait, they're going to slaughter a sheep! Good Times! (I can't look, oh, it's not too bad, wait, maybe it is...no, it's bad...no, it's OK, yes, maybe...yeah, um, NO!. It's OK). Now they're skewering that mofo and grilling him up, including a special delicacy, small intestine stuffed with spleen. Oh, they busted out the Raki!! Tony looks thrilled. They literally have the Raki in one of those plastic containers you have to use when you transport gasoline. The insulting starts again - he calls the Raki antifreeze! Now, they're shooting firearms, doing some kind of a jig, and playing music...looks like another rough night. Why do all the men just hang out together, drink and dance?
Apparently the Germans stripped Greece of any and all food after WWII, the people could only survive on greens. Apparently, they did and now are the focus of numerous nutritional studies. Wow. This family dinner looks tremendous. They're actually just plucking greens from the ground and cooking them. Delicious.
Oh! The sea urchin! Raw! Ha! An old man is feeding him bread with olive oil. What's with the HoYay in this episode? Oh, great, they're giving him more Rika. He just said, "kissing the night goodbye." Good call, Tony. Maybe the greens will save you...yeah, not so much, the music is starting - a cell phone ringtone. Surly Tony's back! He just called Rika "battery acid wall."
The making of phyllo:
Flour, water and oil. Roll that bitch out as thin as you can. Use for a thick breakfast - fill with ricotta-like cheese. Bake. Eat. Take nap. The warning against smoking sign, with the package of cigarettes with syringe and bottle = Tony's early years! Ha!
The Trip to the Ionian Islands:
Tony + guide have a deep, philosophical discussion about Greek mentality (live everyday to its last, all-or-nothing mentality) and beautiful (obligatory) shots of the sunset over the ocean.There we go...Tony's sleeping off the cheese-filled phyllo. Oh, score! Looks like bigger firearms are coming up!
Quail hunting! (Wait, this reminds me of something:
Tony with gun! Dog Caesar! Oh holy crap! That quail exploded when Tony shot it. Like Randy Johnson pitching into that bird...literally a pile of feathers and nothing else left.
Ah, the ubiquitous local meal. With INNARDS! Stuffed spleen! Rabbits they chase around in the backyard, trap and kill! What's with the excessive animal slaughter? What's our tally now? Sheep, quail, rabbit, and I guess we can count that sea urchin they ripped open straight out of the water. Ha! Tony's hunting skills are being questioned. Seemingly, there wasn't enough left of the bird after he shot it to make a meal. Hey, wait, why aren't they drinking some kind of battery-acid alcohol with some kind of animal intestine or frog carcass decaying inside? This might be the first time during this show there was no disgusting liquor. Or dancing.
More music! And dancing! More killing! An octopus has been dispatched. Oh GOD, that fish stew looks amazing! Oh whatever, the whole meal looks amazing. More dancing! Frolicking! More Rika! At least there aren't any firearms around...
I'm so depressed. Let's go to Greece right now. What's better than lemon, olive oil, bitter greens, and fish so fresh they actually squeeze the lemon over themselves before you eat them?
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Side note: Ed looks hot in his suit. I wish I could find an effing picture of him...he's probably not famous enough to warrant even a pity-photo. It's OK, Ed, you're still my favorite!
ETA - Here's a group shot - you can kind of see Ed! They all look so nice (and shiny)!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
In honor of this momentous event, I will have an Ed-themed TablesKape (an EdsKape?) and Italian food, because, while he is not Italian (as far as I know...I don't stalk him THAT much), he likes the food:
(Yes, it's a Rachael Ray Mag article...don't judge me)
On the menu:
Broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic and olive oil
And I, to you, in addition...some Ed-related stuff:
Why can't I faint around Ed?
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
1 - 5 to 6 lb chicken
4 tbsp butter, softened
2 hefty sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
1 large lemon
salt and pepper
2 carrots - rough chop
1 onion - rough chop
2 stalks celery, rough chop
1 small head of garlic, cut in half
salt and pepper
For the Vegetables:
1 lb small potatoes (red, new potatoes work well here)
1 lb big-ass, thick carrots (TWSS)
3 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
salt and pepper
For the Jus:
1 - 2 c GOOD, low-sodium, chicken stock, if needed
salt and pepper
some kind of roasting dish that will hold the chicken (I prefer the Le Creuset stoneware in blue, yes, pretend it's blue - blue makes the food taste better):
small, heavy-bottom sauce pot
(Preheat oven to 400 F)
1. Rinse chicken inside and out. Remove giblets and reserve for another use. Pat chicken dry.
2. Rub chicken with 1/2 lemon, then rub with the softened butter.
3. Cut lemon half into small pieces and place in chicken cavity, along with the rosemary and thyme sprigs.
4. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken. Tie legs together and tuck the wings under the chicken (to prevent them from burning).
5. Rub inside of roasting pan with canola oil, add carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Place the trussed chicken on top of the vegetables in the tray.
6. Place chicken into oven and roast until the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 170 F, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on your oven.
7. Remove chicken from roasting pan, place on a platter, and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 1/2 hour before carving.
8. Strain accumulated juices from roasting pan into sauce pot. Add the wine (and more chicken stock, if needed). Reduce over medium heat, skimming frequently to remove excess fat and foam, until sauce has desired flavor. I prefer a thin, jus here, but you can thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry or a roux if a more gravy-like sauce is desired.
9. Season jus with salt and pepper and add a tbsp, or so, of butter to gloss and finish the sauce.
10. Carve chicken (that's another post) and squeeze the other 1/2 lemon over the chicken. Serve with the jus on the side.
1. Cut the potatoes into equal sizes (small ones in half, larger ones into quarters).
2. Peel the carrots and cut into chunks about the same size as the potatoes.
3. Place the vegetables on a cookie sheet or in a shallow roasting dish, large enough so the vegetables remain in one layer.
4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and the herbs. Mix the potatoes and carrots with the oil and seasonings so each piece is evenly covered.
5. Roast at 400 F for about 45 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the potatoes have browned slightly.
6. Serve immediately. Alternatively, the vegetables can be kept, covered with foil, on the stove, and reheated for 5 minutes at 400 F, but they won't be as delicious.
If you only want to clean one roasting pan, you can just skip the mirepoix in the bottom of the tray with the chicken and put the potatoes and carrots in there instead. Just put the chicken on top of them and roast. The vegetables will have a delicious, smoky, rich, chicken flavor, but they may not brown as much. Your call. Either way, it's really win-win.
Oh, and I guess this serves four, maybe six - kind of depends on how big the chicken is and how hungry people are...
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
OK, so I'm watching Jay Leno and he has this kid, "Ryan Sheckler," on who's causing the audience, apparently made up entirely of 12 year-old girls, to shriek uncontrollably (bear in mind I had to Google various incarnations of his name before I could figure out who the eff he was). Plus, the "Jonas Brothers" (Is that even a thing? Is it like Hanson? I feel like Tina Key asking if Zac Efron is a"thing") are singing and the squeeing continues. I can't believe I'm so out-of-touch that I have no idea who any of these people are...why can't Jay talk to normal people, like John Cusak or Brett Favre? Who are these douche-hats? Why do young girls have the worst taste in teen idols? Mostly, why am I so upset that I have no idea who these people are?
Edited to add -
OK, SERIOUSLY...now I'm completely depressed. Allegedly, "Ryan Sheckler" was born in 1989.
Edited to add again -
OMFG. One of the Jonas Brothers was "apparently" born in "1995." Like when I was (maybe) in High School. Can people born in 1995 even talk, yet? Do they know what "Thundercats" and "Jem" are? Who wants to open another bottle of wine?
Friday, January 18, 2008
Notice the French wine, the French cookware (blue Le Creuset 2 -qt oval oven, plus bonus blue Le Creuset small spatual-spoon - I absolutely will NOT call it a "spoonula" like screechy ho), the cover page to my "Classic French Cooking" book from cooking school, the sea salt (imported from France), the French wine bottle-candle, and, most importantly, the traditional French condiment - Heinz ketchup (you can't tell, b/c the picture is small, but the label IS in French). Technically, it was imported from Canada, so we have some legitimate French items and one semi-ho, French-Canadian item. I think the combination of legitimate and semi-ho is the base for any TablesKape. Although I guess I should have gone the other way - maybe, say, 70% semi-ho and 30% legitimate?
Again, notice the sign, proclaiming the food as "classic French cooking."
Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots (I promise I'll post the recipe later, no time now, I have to go to Happy Hour)
Mushrooms Sauteed with Shallots, Garlic, and White Wine
Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc
Some closeups of the food:
Roasted Vegetables - delicious and nutritious, especially when covered in olive oil. Also notice the platter warming in the oven - it's important to warm your plates before serving food on them.
Food Prep - Golden-brown chicken? Check. Chicken Jus reducing on the stove? Check. Delicious sauteed mushrooms? Check. Bowl of disgusting chicken fat and impurities? Check. Horribly filthy stove - the result of drinking pinot noir while cooking dinner? Check and double-check!
A closeup of the dismembered chicken:
Here, it's important to see the garnish (thyme sprigs) was also used when preparing the chicken. Nothing is worse than an giant rosemary tree sticking out of a bowl of Pad Thai. Just because the herb is pretty doesn't mean it belongs on your platter. The garnish should match the food. Hear that, T.G.I. Friday's? That being said, I didn't use cell phones in the recipe, so ignore that part of the garnish. Also important - I was three glasses in when I carved that mofo, so apparently my dismembering skills are still intact!
Initially, we thought we would watch "Sideways," figuring that, despite the fact that it's not really French or even remotely related to France, it's at least about wine, which the French seem to like - and, to be fair, we like it, too. So, clearly, win-win. However, by the time we ate, bashed N.P., and watched assorted episodes of "30 Rock" season 1 on DVD, (solely to squee about how cute Jason Sudeikis is in the show - God, his dimples are INSANE!!!! - see examples below:
also, this example, b/c it's adorable, even without the displaying of the dimples):
we decided it was best to further delay watching the movie, perhaps saving it for German Night (yes, I know, even LESS related to the movie than French Night) or Ed's Birthday celebration next week. The rest if the entertainment consisted of "A Daily Show" (brilliant clips of young Jon, before he had entered this "thankless untenable situation") and The ColberT ReporT (GOP primary roulette, anyone?). In fact, Stephen IS French-Canadian, so actually did watch something marginally French-related. French-Canadian for the win. Strong night all around.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
model x = y;
x = dependent variable
y = independent variable
So, let's say you have a large population of data and you run a simple linear regression and get an r2 = 0.03. Pretty crappy, right? But, at least you have a scatterplot with 500+ data points, showing the independent variable cannot predict the dependent variable, or, at least, there are other factors, aside from that one variable, which need to be examined, in order to explain the dependent variable. So, instead of trying to examine other factors,or, God forbid, just say the results showed no relationship, you take a bunch of means. Leaving you with four data points. Four. Four out of 500. Then, you run a simple linear regression on the FOUR data points. Four. And your r2 is 0.98. Pretty good, right? Now you can report the highly significant predictive value of the independent variable and your research has the appearance of being legitimate. Using only FOUR effing data points. The start of any good statistical procedure.
In conclusion, science (in this case - statistics) is whatever we want it to be.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
This just in from the set of Rachael Ray's latest Dunkin Donuts commercial, according to a New York Magazine tipster: "She took one sip of her Dunkin' Donuts coffee, yelled "What is this shit? Get me MY coffee," and would not continue until she was given "her" coffee -- i.e., Starbucks."
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA! I love this! That screechy ho hates D & D! Maybe now we won't be subjected to her lame -dash-O commercials featuring "cutesy" catch phrases and ill-fitting shirts. Perhaps I will no longer be forced to avoid eye contact with her giant, orange, pumpkin head, leering down on me from the giant poster on the wall (actually, I just realized her head is probably life-sized in those posters, even though they're all like 6' x 4') encouraging me to buy a "gingeriffic" latte. On the other hand, maybe she'll start shilling for Starbucks, now.
There HAS to be somewhere else I can buy coffee...
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
(based on a combination of every recipe for short ribs I've ever read)
4 - 6 lbs short ribs - get good, meaty ones (that's what she said), trimmed
1 large onion, rough chop
2 large carrots, peeled, rough chop
2 stalks celery, rough chop
1 head garlic, cut in half (you don't need to peel it)
(above four ingredients = mirepoix)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 c good, dry, red wine
1 small can whole tomatoes (low-sodium), or trimmings from fresh tomatoes (see note)
2/3 qt. beef stock (homemade if you have it, I never do, b/c I don't have 8 hours to boil beef bones, sorry Michael Ruhlman) - also low-sodium
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp. peppercorns
For finishing the sauce:
sea salt and pepper
Dutch Oven (I prefer Le Crueset, in blue, not the crappy Williams-Sonoma blue either, the REAL Le Creuset blue) as seen here:
Fine mesh strainer (or chinois - to be fancy, hey, wtf? I need to use my French culinary knowledge in some (kind of) legitimate fashion)
1. Heat olive oil in dutch oven.
2. Pat short ribs dry and sear in dutch oven in as many batches as necessary (to keep the pot from being overcrowded). Remove ribs to plate after searing.
3. Add mirepoix to the dutch oven and brown - maybe 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato paste and stir briefly, about 1 minute, until a deep, rust color.
5. Deglaze with red wine (be sure to scrape up the meaty bits on the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon) and reduce by half.
6. Add ribs to pot with any juices that have collected.
7. Add tomatoes, stock, and enough water to almost cover the ribs. Add rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns.
8. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, and skim any foam from the top.
9. Cover, reduce heat, braise for 2 hours, skimming occasionally, or until ribs fall apart easily.
10. Remove ribs to a bowl, cover, keep warm.
11. Strain braising liquid into a small pot and reduce by half over medium heat, until thickened.
12. Taste, adjust seasoning, add vinegar to taste (about 1/2 tsp.).
13. Turn off heat, add two tbsp. butter.
14. Pour sauce over the ribs and serve.
Some tasty accompaniments:
Any kind of potato, especially mashed
Roasted Root Vegetables
Good, dry, red wine - I've been liking the Rioja
Added Meaty Bonus:
Leftover ribs can be shredded and added to pasta sauce or be used as a filling for dumplings, burritos, etc. Or, you can bring them with you to work for lunch - saves you some money and makes your co-workers jealous. Win-win.
Serves 4 people, maybe with some leftovers, depends if you leave the ribs out on the table for people to pick at over the course of the evening...
Note: If you happen to be making a batch of tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, and have the skins and seeds laying around, you can definitely use those instead of canned tomatoes. Or, say you're making a platter of roasted cherry tomatoes and some look a little mushy...just throw those bad boys in the pot and roast the rest off as a delicious side.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Also, I was two seconds away from naming the blog "Yij (dot) bar," but I didn't want a bunch of stat geeks inundating me with SAS code...although, maybe I should start a "SAS code of the day" post.
So, here begins my blog of random thoughts, rants, favorite TV shows, food, and anything else I feel the need to write about, as well as inflict my ramblings on the general public. Good Times.
SAS code of the Day:
How to get SAS to calculate tertiles (why does Mozilla think this isn't a word?):
output out = bla pctlpts 33 67 pctlpre = p;
Learning this was the highlight of my day. My life is sad.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
If I'm going to be subjected to T.G.I. Friday's commercials during the current semi-brilliance that is"A Daily Show," w/o writers, can they at least be truthful or somewhat based in reality? They're advertising the disgusting $12.99 3-course menu, probably filled with sodium laden frozen appetizers fraught with fake cheese and deep-fried vegetables, entrees of processed chicken breasts pumped full of hormones, and diabetes-inducing chocolate cake, but, worst of all, they're trying to tell me people go to T.G.I. Friday's and order wine. Seriously. In the commercial, there's a group of 20-somethings sitting at a (somewhat questionably) clean table, drinking wine (only the women) and beer (only the men). WTF? What kind of ghetto-ass wine could they possibly serve? Livingston Red Rose? Who drinks that? What, are they high? America makes me sad.
Side note - Stephen Colbert dancing to JT "SexyBack" (imitating Ellen DeGeneres) is arguably the best thing I've seen on TV since the New Year.
Also, Stephen's attorney Gorlak is hot.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Current mood: enragedIt is "Belgian Waffle," correct? I think our-lord-of-garlic Emeril just called them "Belgium" waffles.
Also, in addition, Rachael made some kind of "lasagna," actually pasta, sauce, and cheese mixed together her stupid, giant, useless, oval pan, then baked in the oven. Isn't that Baked Ziti? Or at least a Baked Pasta, is she didn't use ziti?
Why does Food Network think we're all idiots?
EDITED to add:
Here's a quote from a NYT article from Jan. 2 about the Skinny Bitch Cookbook:
Kimberly Latham, a fashion publicist in New York, said: "I would never have read 'The Omnivore's Dilemma.' I'm not even sure I know what an omnivore is. But I know what a skinny bitch is, and I know I want to be one."
Apparently we are all idiots. This makes me sad.