Saturday, August 08, 2009

A TV chef day

I would not want anyone to think I spend my retirement days glued to the TV but I did watch quite a bit today. After I came home from Central Market today, I had the Food Network on while I checked emails, etc. When I started to work on the cookbook I muted the sound but as I often do kept an occasional eye on it. When I saw the Barefoot Contessa come on, I turned up the volume and abandoned my work. I think hers is my favorite of the cooking shows--some have frenetic, too perky hosts and hostesses (recent finalists on the Food Network competition illustrate this) but the Contessa is warm, quiet, soft-spoken, welcoming. Today she was fixing lamb kebobs with red onion, having marinated the lamb in yogurt and various spices; spanikopita (looks like a lot of trouble, and I'm intimidated by phyllo, but it also looked delicious--she served it as an appetizer); grilled pita; a sauce of grated cucumber, yogurt and dill; and a Greek salad with way too many bell peppers (but Jordan can make a Greek salad that we all love). I wish the Food Network still posted recipes--I hunger after that lamb.
Then tonight there was a two-hour special on Julia Child, which I watched in preparation for seeing Julie and Julia tomorrow with Sue and another neighbor. Watching Child is fascinating. Of course KERA used it as a fund-raiser so there were only three of her episodes, but also quite a few people paying tribute to her. The first segment was on making omelets and I really learned about omelets--it's all in the wrist, and I'd have to practice the technique but she did make it look easy. I wasn't as interested in bouilliabaisse (I can eat lots of things other people wouldn't--Julie Powell in an interview today wrote that she used to be a picky eater but after cooking Julia's recipes she can eat all kinds of offal--I draw the line at some and besides brains and sweetbreads, I don't really think I want eel, though Julia says it's delicious). But watching her sling a roasting chicken around was a real hoot. She threw it this way and that, getting out giblets and fat and the neck--as far as I could tell she only cut off part of the neck. I've roasted a lot of hens in my life but I never trussed them with string and even a trussing needle like she did In the end she had string all over that bird which, of course, she had to cut off after it was done. She cooked it on a rotisserie, and I admit I've never done that. But know what? I can carve a chicken better than she can--I learned at Thanksgiving dinners at my brothers to remove the breast meet in one whole piece and then slice it. I can remember my dad carefully carving slices off the breast--carving was a ceremony with him--but this way is much better, and you get more meat. Julia also didn't have our modern precautions about washing your hands after working with raw chicken. She'd fiddle with the chicken, then pick up the whole ball of twine, with chicken on her hands or simply wipe her hands on a paper towel. I guess it never made her sick. Knock on wood--working on my wood cutting board with raw chicken has never made me sick, though I'm pretty careful about washing it, and I wash my hands often.
My own meals today were pretty good--tuna salad, hearts of palm, tomatoes, and raspberries for lunch; 1/4 lb. lean chopped sirloin and sauteed zucchini and squash. I've ignored Weight Watchers on the sauteeing bit, because I like it much better than steamed squash. I think there's a big psychological factor to this weight loss business--if you don't use too many of your bonus points and if you exercise every day you convince yourself you're losing weight and then you do. We'll see Monday morning how my theory tests out since I had spaghetti two nights in a row this week.
Making progress on the cookbook except for one chapter that boggles my mind. Otherwise I'm waiting for people to send me bits and pieces. think I'll finish that mystery tonight.

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