Jacquelyn: Were You At “The Taste 2” Finale?

English: Jean Claude Szurdak and Jacques Pepin...

English: Jean Claude Szurdak and Jacques Pepin (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest judge: Chef Jacques Pepin. In the finals, Marina, Lee and Louise.

The season of “The Taste” is over. As I’ve stated in earlier posts my highpoint of the show was when Jacquelyn exited mid-show, literally walking off stage. She is my Norma Rae. Nigella seriously needs to learn to play with others.

The first test was to make something for the poor and for the rich. It was so uninteresting it really didn’t matter what they made. Basically for the “rich” they added a lot more butter, truffles and caviar. For the “poor,” they all made a stew or soup.

Many past contestants in the audience: I see Cassie and Sarah, Shellie and Don, Audrey and Jay, among others; I am not making this up or exaggerating, I swear, I didn’t know who Audrey was because she didn’t mention “her fans” and she wasn’t complaining.The one person I wanted to see but DIDN’T was Jacquelyn. What, no invite? You people have NO sense of humor.

Final challenge: “Basic cooking: Make me breakfast, lunch and dinner bites that showcase your most dazzling skills.”

They tried. They did TRY.  I didn’t really think anyone made anything over the top that the judges actually swooned over. We’ve all seen good before, the last few episodes missed “stunning and amazing.”The finale did not break the “just ok” pattern. Shame.

Lee: Breakfast: Parmesan flan with bacon quail egg. He forgot that he left his parmesan flan in the oven but remembered at the last second. He saved his behind and put them in the cooler (not his behind, the flan) with bacon, eggs. Pure luck. Lunch: crab cake (he wastes a lot of time trying to get the crabs out of the shell) with avocado. Dinner: strip steak, cauliflower purée..” He was absolutely frazzled,or should I say fried?   Lee plates too soon doesn’t listen to Chef Jacques Pepin who advises him to plate later. Lee is acting cocky, doesn’t listen to the guest Chef.  Poor judgment. Dinner: Strip steak, parmesan tulle, mustard demi glace. Even with his fan favorite girlfriend Cassie giggling (did anyone else notice that rapid fire laugh) nothing could stop him or slow him down.

Marina:  (Chef Pepin looked a little befuddled around her) Marina starts with an (English muffin,?) quail egg, onion, fig and bacon. (“well executed”) :Lunch: Fried spring roll, oyster and pork, deemed (“not that successful.”) Dinner: short ribs, rice, kale, port wine.  She forgets to taste her own food, a definite no-no. Marina won’t take advice from anyone,she listens to no one, she prides herself on that. Marina used chicken testicles and pork blood. She certainly is imaginative. Have you cooked with chicken testicles and pork blood? Me either.

Louise: Breakfast: Fried quail egg with tomato sauce, (similar to Chef Pepin’s model that he displayed.) Lunch: fried oyster po’ boy sandwich, Dinner: steak with red wine sauce (which Chef Pepin salvaged)  potatoes, makes food look beautiful (she is also a food stylist.) She touches the steak and isn’t sure it is ready, Chef Pepin touches it and says 5 more minutes, in it goes. She is more needy and ready to listen to Jacques Pepin and believe me it shows. Her sauce breaks, she can’t use it. Chef Pepin helps her find a teaspoon of meat drippings again. Lousie feels like the underdog (again) and complains about something, was it brioche again? Much to everyone’s surprise, including Louise, she won “The Taste.”  As if she was in “Survivior” Louise flew under the radar, bothered no one, smiled a lot and portrayed herself as the victim.

3rd place LEE, 2nd place Marina, First place Louise

Congratulations? I mean, Congratulations.

The show is over. I’m done. We are all grateful. Would I watch it again? Probably.

*any error of description of food was unintentional and due to extreme fibromyalgia tiredness. I still am annoyed at the amount of alcohol on TV, just sayin’ sponsors?

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It’s Really Not About The Turkey

Folk Family, ca. 1940-1941

Folk Family, ca. 1940-1941 (Photo credit: americanartmuseum)

It’s Thanksgiving Eve’s Eve, if that is a holiday. It’s 11:30 pm and my husband and I are waiting for our two, college aged children to come home from their respective colleges, together. We like that they are traveling in one car; we like that they are getting along. For someone, with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, I am usually in my sleep shirt as early as seven pm (okay, you got me, sometimes at 4pm) but I wait, dressed, until 12:30 am so I can greet them. There are a lot of things I can’t do for them, but this I can and I’m proud.

Those first sights, those first hugs are amazing but fleeting. My daughter’s friend came over to talk and my son left right away to go to the diner to meet up with his friends from college. His friends from college, you ask? I asked the same thing. “Yes” he replied, grinning widely, “I really don’t know why either, it just happened but I’m looking forward to it.” With our usual admonishment to “wake us up when you get home”( we are old-fashioned) he said “Wow, it’s going to be really hard to remember that.” We replied “Try.”

This morning, as I sipped my strong coffee in bed, deeply inhaling the fragrant aroma like a bouquet of flowers, I heard my daughter’s door open, (we have a very small house and she is right across our door) earlier than I thought. She walked in and sat on the bed and started talking about college and I was so incredibly happy. If that wasn’t enough to fill my heart up to near capacity, ten minutes later I heard familiar loud thumps coming up the stairs. It was that moment, when her older brother walked in, made himself comfortable on the bed and started joining in on the conversation that I was so grateful for my life.

I’ve realized with time, that it’s these special moments that make a life worthwhile. If only I had a better memory to remember them; I confess I seem to remember bad things easier, traumatic things, than the glorious moments I had this morning. At least I can look back here and visualize them.
After we talked for about fifteen minutes, my daughter decided she was hungry and I taught her how to make her favorite breakfast meal. While part of her wanted me to make it, at 18, I thought it best for her to do it herself with my help. So there was a little shell (okay a lot) in the eggs but I taught her how to take it out, so the avocado was not perfect, we worked around it, the flame was too high, she lowered it, I told her to ask her brother if he might want some, she did and he said “yes, please.” It’s all a matter of growing up, and if my children still want to come up and talk with me, I’ve done my job well.

(Easy) Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Avocado (for 2)

Crack 4 eggs in a bowl (remove shell if there is any, and don’t worry if there is-it happens to all of us)
Add a bit of milk (we don’t measure here, just a sip or two from the carton, any milk or cream will do nicely)

Prepare a frying pan with butter or cooking spray, enough to coat the bottom of the pan

Separately, slice the cheese (ANY kind) she used mozzarella and added it to the eggs

Pre-heat the pan and when it is warm, add the cheese and egg mixture

Prepare avocado (use 1/2 or whole depending on taste) slicing it. (I’m assuming you know to peel it and  throw away the pit?)

Do NOT put avocado in frying pan until the eggs and cheese are nearly done.

Once the egg and cheese mixture is almost done, add the avocado, stir gently and serve.

ENJOY!

Mellow Yellow Monday: Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes (Photo credit: babe_kl)

Not just any yellow fluffy pancakes but BANANA PANCAKES!

For added ecstasy, carmelize a few of the bananas

(often carmelized bananas are dessert in our

family-some add chocolate syrup to them, others, vanilla ice cream.

I just go for the sweet, sticky bananas fried (Use Pam) in a frying pan, with low heat.

In fact, I go bananas for banana pancakes.

(similar to* “I go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”)

*Cocoa Puffs, a product of General Mills

PLINKY PROMPT: Breakfast For Dinner: Are you a fan?

  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Breakfast, Anytime Except For Breakfast
    Syrup & Pancakes I am a major fan of breakfast for dinner, or lunch… just not for breakfast. A cup of strong, steamy coffee is all I need for breakfast to wake me up, with fat-free half and half and a packet of chemical sweetener or Truvia/Stevia, to take the edge off the bitterness.
    Any other time, breakfast is my favorite food group. I’m drooling just thinking about the options: pancakes, soft, buttery, drenched with (real) maple syrup, scrambled eggs, extra crisp bacon, whole-grain toast kissed with butter, eggs benedict, home fries, extra crispy…..Breakfast for dinner, breakfast for a snack: in our house we have cereal together after dinner and before bed, it’s not only comforting, it’s a tradition.
  • Previous Answer

If I Had My Own Restaurant

Rubber duck

Image via Wikipedia

Cozy, Fun, GREAT FOOD

My restaurant would be called EATS, in big, bold black letters. It would represent the type of restaurant I want to own: Simple, tasty and delicious meals in both small size portions and large portions, even half size portions, all through the day and evening. Diners would be able to mix and match and not have to order a huge portion and then leave leftovers that could feed a family of four for a week. I don’t like being served huge mountains of food; you would get exactly what you want: a filling meal but not a mountain of food. I get turned off when I get served a pasta dish that is so large it is overwhelming, it looks unappetizing and it is wasteful. All untouched leftover food would be connected with local food banks, that would be my personal commitment.

I would have breakfast, lunch and dinner items available all the time. It would be like a diner in terms of menu items and variety but not in terms of style. I want EATS to be cozy and playful; nobody would rush you and I can guarantee you, the food would be fresh and the coffee would be strong. There would always be an ornamental item on every table, sometimes a few twigs in a small silver vase, another time yellow rubber ducklings or miniature pink bud roses, or replicas of small, smiling cows. It would be casual, fun, delicious:  combination sandwiches (I’m drooling) and of course, a huge selection, of home made desserts. Desserts are important to me so there would be home-made chocolate cake with fudge icing, vanilla coconut cake (I’m a vanilla girl) apple/cherry/blueberry crisp, baklava (oh, honey!!!) and rice pudding with raisins. Carrot cake and cheese cake with various toppings would be available too. Stop in, it’s almost open….well, in my dreams, that is. Giada, Paula, Bobby, Chef Ramsey (you are too intimidating for me to call you by your first name) The Donald, Warren Buffet (what a blessing you are to the universe, Sir), Oprah, Rosie….anyone interested in INVESTING?? Please contact me. I guarantee you a great meal. On the house.

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Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, Pick One And Just Eat That

Pancakes & Eggs

Image by Ben Ward via Flickr

I Pick: BREAKFAST, HANDS DOWN

BREAKFAST! Pancakes with sweet maple syrup and a pat of melting butter, English Muffins with cream cheese, butter or peanut butter and jelly, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, egg in a hole, bacon extra well done and crunchy, cereal…. Want more?  Scrambled eggs with cheese or an egg and cheese sandwich on a roll, French toast, sometimes with cinnamon, sometimes plain, cinnamon-sugar toast, a fruit cup, ripe red raspberries, plump blueberries, a sliced banana cut into “coins.” Strawberries and nuts and raisins and brown sugar in hot oatmeal. Your beverage order? Freshly squeezed orange juice, hot chocolate, coffee, tea? Toast or bread with butter and honey. I’m drooling here…….Breakfast is comfort food, I like just about everything. It’s warm, it’s a memory of your childhood, it is sweet cinnamon rolls with vanilla icing. Just one thing, please hold the sausage.

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