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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Haiku Heights- Lunch

Crying alone. Lunch.

fruit and cheese plate

fruit and cheese plate (Photo credit: kungfu_kc)

Eyes stab, silver blades ready

Adolescence s***s.

***********************

A bite of cracker

juicy pear, cheese, almonds, dates

Forever in France.

My Father’s Famous Sandwiches

A club sandwich (Chicken, bacon, salad, etc), ...

A club sandwich (Chicken, bacon, salad, etc), photo taken in Preston, UK — Ein Club-Sandwich, Foto aufgenommen in Preston, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was growing up, my dad never cooked a thing. Ever. It was my mom’s “role” and we never questioned it, nor did she. Once in a while, however, he would “prepare” lunch and it would take a lot of time (A LOT OF TIME) making each one of us the perfect sandwich.

Layers of ham, turkey, cheese, washed and dried crispy iceberg lettuce, pickles. Sometimes he would serve them on trays, with flowers on the side and a few cookies for dessert. It may have taken a while before we could eat and we probably complained (which in retrospect was not very nice) but what we received was so special, each one made according to the individual’s preferences. He paid special attention to little details, everything had to be perfect. They were large, hard to eat sandwiches but they were so tasty and beautiful to look at.

My mother invited my sister to lunch today and my sister said she would bring sandwiches. Our mother’s idea of a sandwich is slapping a piece of turkey between two slices of bread. She never cared about presentation or food but Dad really did.

It’s surprising what you remember when those you love have passed, I haven’t thought of my dad’s famous sandwiches in years. I’d give anything though, to have just one more bite. It may have taken him hours to make us a sandwich but he always made them with love, great, big, love. I miss you, Dad.

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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If I Could Be Two People

Circle-question-blue

Image via Wikipedia

Seriously?

1) I would seriously consider asking the person that wrote this prompt, what on earth he/she was thinking?

2) Then I would ask his/ her boss the same question.

3) Then the boss and I would go to lunch together (their treat) and I would give them some really awesome prompts.

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5 Things I Am Looking Forward to This Week

english: This is the american HBO brand logo. ...

Image via Wikipedia

Monday and a New Week
The end of a very long Holiday weekend. Thanksgiving was lovely but it was a lot of work and ended too soon. That happens when you plan something far in advance; once the day arrives, it seems to go so quickly, in one blurry moment. After the Holiday there are three more long, cold, days (I refuse to shop, even if I could, on these wild shopping sales days). Also, last week was HELL, this week is a redo. Everything last week felt depressing and gloomy. Been there, done that. Not going to let that happen again.

In Treatment (HBO)
Looking forward to watching the In Treatment episodes that I DVR. Love the show. I do miss Gina from Season One but love the characters of Jesse and Sunil, in particular. Debra Winger also plays a patient. This is a television show that is worth watching. It’s quick, intense and draws you in to the life of Paul Weston, a psychiatrist (on tv) and his patients.

Lunch/Dinner
Having lunch with my friend Sarah sometime this week. Always nice to catch up with good friends. We talk about going different places to eat but we always end up at our favorite diner. Perhaps date night with my hubby, just going out sans kids, to regroup and support one another.

Facebook Friends
Reconnecting with my supportive Facebook Friends on-line. I’ve found a bunch of incredibly nice and understanding group of friends that share the same illness I have: Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an auto-immune disease) These women have become very important to me; we all care about each other. There is no judging, no one cares about race, religion, ethnicity, ANYTHING. We know what we feel and how and nobody in the outside world can truly understand it. But, we know you try…..

Closure
A few loose threads dangling in our lives; we may not get good news but at least we should have some definitive answers. After that we can give each other a push and move on……again.

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My Dream Job

Society Junk Food Platter

Image by GLOWBAL COLLECTION via Flickr

RESERVATIONS FOR 6 AT 6:30 PM, Please.

Antipasto Platter – Yarra Glen Cafe and Store aka Cheesefreaks

I pick up the phone and call four or five of my closest friends. “Are you free Thursday night?” I ask. “Great” I say, “see you there.” I mentally choose my outfit and plan on wearing a scarf that hides some of my face. No, I am not a private investigator; I don’t work for the secret service. What I do, is eat. I am a restaurant critic (only for those foods that we, the common people eat). There is no escargot, snake meat, or goat in my meals. I’m the voice of the people, the regular people, not the elite. I go to restaurants with my husband, with friends, with nice people who I meet and we eat. We eat, we talk, I take bites from every dish and secretly write down notes. Sometimes, I just specialize in dessert. Once home, I type up my notes, drink chilled CVS diet black cherry club soda and head to bed. My stomach is full and I am extraordinarily happy. Goodnight.

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OH, A Feel-Good Happy Day!!!

It’s been a long, long time since I have felt this good. It’s been many long months in fact (if not years), but today I had an absolutely wonderful day. Maybe it’s because of karma, what goes around comes around, something I’ve always believed in but I tend to need reminding. I woke up early, looked at the bright yellow sun on the cloudless brilliant blue sky and knew where I had to go. It was the right day to go to the cemetery, to visit my dad, who passed away 9 years ago. I always go, each year, around Father’s Day out of love and respect but I don’t usually plan when I go; I go when I feel I should. Today was that day.

I bought a plant with tiny red flowers, like heart-shaped kisses, in a pot, wrapped in shiny green aluminum foil and brought it with me to the cemetery. I talked to my dad, out loud, I cried, I asked questions and I implored, all the while cleaning the headstone from old dirty grass and respositioning and cleaning the stones that lay faithfully on his headstone. ” I need your help, Dad, I’ve been so sick (and also, just remember Dan hasn’t worked since September.) Honestly, I just want to feel better and I know you would want that too. Mom’s worried about me too, please help me, please help her.” I asked directly for his help and for a day, today, he showered me with love. Asked and answered, with a great big smile.

Right after the cemetery I drove to my mom’s apartment, a minute away, unannounced and knocked on her door. We ended up spending much of the day together and I felt so pampered. It’s nice, once in a while to be a daughter, to feel like a daughter and not just a mother. My mom took me out to lunch at The Club where I had a beet, mango, fennel salad with goat cheese and pistachios. Heavenly. My mom had a grilled chicken salad sandwich that came on a croissant but I nixed the croissant since she is diabetic and I watch out for her too. We laughed a lot and marveled at the serenity and the gift of the weather, warm, sunny, with a breeze and not too hot; a perfect day.

We went to her condo pool and I sat in the sun, in my mother’s cute black and white bathing suit that she gave me as a present and I felt so pampered, so loved, so taken care of.  Thank you. I swam in the pool, I sat and talked to the lounging ladies and when I was ready, I left to go home.

I left to go home to my daughter. My daughter and I had date night where we went to her favorite restaurant, just the two of us. We drank sugary sweet strawberry smoothies and ate brick oven pizza, fresh and hot straight out of the oven. The pizza had chunky tomato pieces and thick mozzarella slices and  fresh basil on every slice. Now I am home, reliving the day with happiness, with gratitude.

I know deep down inside I am hoping that tomorrow will be the same and that I will feel really good again and energetic. I would be lying if I didn’t hope for that. But, if I don’t feel that way, at least I will  know it is possible. That’s more than I had months ago, that’s more than I had even yesterday and I appreciate it, I truly do.

Dedicated to my mom, who wants me to be happy and healthy as much, or even more, than I do.

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