Becoming A Tourist In Ontario I didn't grow up in Ontario. I grew up in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Part of my family now resides in British … [Read More...]
Okay I’m a food show junkie. I can never get enough of someone like Jamie Oliver showing me just how to cook an "easy peezy" meal. Never mind that he is funny, charming and cute…the guy can COOK! Need I say more? Yes…there are lots of reasons to watch cooking shows ; – P! I’ve watched The Naked Chef, The Surreal Chef, Bobby Flay, Barefoot Contessa, Chef at Home, Chef at Large, Nigella Bites, Iron Chef…you name it. So it seemed natural that I would be attracted to the series "Hell’s Kitchen" with chef Gordon Ramsay. I’d seen how well, how should I put it, how totally mean and awful the guy could be on an English program called "Who’s Coming to Dinner" that featured celebrity chefs that came to your house to show you how to cook a meal. At that time I didn’t know who he was, but he stuck in my head since he was calling the poor guy on the show every name in the book and was just plain nasty. Flash forward a few years and he is ultra popular and the star of Hell’s Kitchen where he is basically the meanest drill Sergent of the kitchen I have ever seen. Given the fact that he is very skilled in the kitchen I like to try to overlook his obvious flair for being the over dramatic scream queen of the kitchen and just look at it as entertainment. He "trains" sous chefs that are willing to put up with his incessant insults, yelling and humiliation just so that they can get a chance to have their own restaurant and be around the bully 24/7 (are they nuts?) Let’s just say…he is no Jamie Oliver.
This past week I have to say that I think he finally went too far. He actually made a very rude comment to a woman who was a guest eating that the restaurant on the show. The comment was about woman’s breasts! Like WHAT????? What does that have to do with the kitchen? I was stunned. So was the woman on the show since she decided to pick up a plate and toss in on the floor, food and all. I have to say I applauded her. Just who does that guy think he is? Okay it’s a show but REALLY…would he have said the same thing had it been a man there with a large chest? "Excuse me Monsieur…your very large strong masculine lean chest is blocking my view!" The obvious sexist chauvinist remark is a disgusting commentary on what has become acceptable in today’s society and an extension of just how far a chauvinist PIG can succeed and continue to behave that way in the year 2006. Riveting TV or shock value. Who knows? All I know is that So You Think You Can Dance is on tonight and I’ll be there watching…oh did I mention…I’m hooked on that reality show too?
I’m not a bad cook. I’ve studied cooking at a professional level and most people will tell you that I know my way around a kitchen. I can even boast to have made some very memorable party evenings based on my well planned and executed cuisine. This does not mean I am a pro when it comes to barbecuing. We only purchased our new BBQ about a month ago. I’d seen on a TV program on the cooking channel "The Surreal Gourmet" where you could cook a whole chicken on a BBQ on top of a beer can. They looked lovely and so simple, I had to try it. I decided to give it a go on our national holiday, Canada Day, July 1st. I spent quite a while preparing the chicken, cleaning it, rubbing the inside with salt and pepper, stuffing and massaging under the skin with butter, herbs, garlic and lemon…it looked beautiful. Since we didn’t have a beer can handy I decided to use a coke can with wine poured inside. Robert had turned on the BBQ and it was well heated and ready for the bird.
When I was ready to start cooking the temp on the BBQ read 600 F. I knew that was WAY too hot, but figured if I turned it down, placed the bird inside, the temp would regulate and it would have a quick blast of heat , sealing the skin and creating a good crust to keep the juices in. After a few minutes the heat would subside and the rest would cook at a lower temp giving me a wonderful juicy chicken. So with thought of a perfect meal in my mind I decided to place the bird on the BBQ, close the lid and let the "magic" begin. On the cooking program the chef said specifically not to open the lid since the chicken would not roast correctly. So, I took a chance and let it cook uninterrupted.
About 25 minutes later I came to check on it. I opened the lid and 2 foot flames blasted me in the face! I’m lucky I still have my eyebrows! The aluminum can was burning…that’s right burning! The entire chicken was black and crusty entirely engulfed in bright orange flames. Smoke was everywhere. I didn’t know what to do! This was not what the chef on the cooking show had shown me. Where was my picture perfect roasted chicken? I grabbed the tongs and managed to place the black flaming mass on the plate holder of the BBQ. After the flames died down, there in all it’s glory, smoking, black and shrunken, like an oily piece of coal, sat my lovingly prepared chicken. Where was my Canada Day feast? What were we going to eat? Could I salvage any of it? I figured it was worth a try. Maybe if I let it cool down, the meat underneath would be good. Amazingly enough, after I managed to take hold of it and the charcoal skin dropped off in crusty ashen chunks, underneath it all, the meat close to the bone wasn’t even cooked! The entire thing was a salmonella disaster. Can someone say FRUSTRATED?????
Our holiday feast turned into an all vegetable (mostly cooked in the microwave) uninspiring snack. I’m still trying to make friends with my BBQ…and now understand that 600 F is not "searing" temp….rather the temp for creating lumps of coal. But hey…it’s not all bad news…as a scrapbooker I know this is going to make a GREAT layout! : P