Friday, February 27, 2009

Hell's NO

I watched Hell's Kitchen last night. I don't usually watch this show because honestly, I think it's ridiculous. How experienced chefs (and we're talking Executive Chefs & Sous Chefs in most cases!) screw up scallops and risotto as much as they do blows my mind. First of all, most of the contestants are restaurant chefs-this means that at some point, they've had to work on a line in order to get to where they are. How is it they don't know how to time their food? Why do they not know how to cook meat to temperature?

The other thing that drives me mad is the fact that over and over we've seen risotto and Wellington served in Hell's Kitchen. Ever. Single. Season.

Why would you NOT perfect those 2 things before auditioning?!?! Clearly, they are just plain stupid. It drives me MAD. It's a pretty big freaking contest with a very intimidating (and highly decorated) chef as the judge. Maybe it's just me, but I'm pretty sure I'd want to be prepared as much as I could be before going on national television. (I'd even use a micro sd to store photos of the food to use as a study aide.)

I know from experience that working in a kitchen is hard, stressful (and physical) work. But if you are going to be brave/stupid/arrogant/driven enough to audition for a cooking competition, please PLEASE at least be a little prepared. If I were to train for this show, these are the things I would start mastering:

1. How to cook an egg.
It is said by some people that the way a chef cooks eggs is a true test of the kind of chef they are. I'm not sure I believe this 100%, but it is true that cooking eggs to order is harder than you think-especially on a crowded day. Poached and sunny side up are the hardest. Ramsey almost always has eggs in at least one challenge if not on a regular basis.

Risotto. The method, then the dish.
Risotto is actually a method of cooking rice. Every trained chef should know this which is why it amazes me that everyone flubs this up on the show. Once you master it though, it's pretty darn simple. Ask my friend Daniel-it's the first thing I ever taught him how to make and now he's a pro. (Hi Danny!) In fact...I think he could kick some ass on this show with his mad risotto skillz.

Beef/Lamb/Meat of any kind Wellington.
Before anyone knew who Gordon Ramsey was I saw a show in which he visited a private home of an everyday woman who wanted to learn to cook Wellington. Not individual ones but a huge tenderloin wrapped in yummy golden pastry. I remember him telling her that Wellington is one of the hardest things for some people to master but when done right, it's heavenly. I disagree slightly that it's hard and agree 100% that it is heavenly. In any case, if you do not know what "black and blue" means in regard to making Wellington you have no business even thinking about auditioning.

How to cook scallops.
Really-this one amazes me because they are quite possibly the easiest things to cook. Not to use Daniel as an example for everything but I remember the look on his face when, after he cooked about 40 scallops for a group of our friend (to order), he exclaimed, "That's it?!" Yes. That's it.

How to shuck clams, oysters or any shellfish.
This one, I have to admit, is hard for me. I have the know how but I do not have the hand strength. I would easily get voted off the show with this one but would do my best before the show to strengthen the fleshy part of my thumb area (which is the part that always hurts me) before hand.

How to fabricate (break down, carve, etc) meat.
How many times have you heard Gordo yell, "Aw, c'mon! You wasted the best part!" Cutting meat off of the huge bones it comes on is an art.

here are just a few things I'd work on off the bat if I were thinking of (and rest assured, I am NOT) auditioning for Hell's Kitchen. These are things that anyone who has any experience in kitchens should already have a grip on, but mastering them would be key. I really don't know why some of the people on the show haven't done their homework. It sort of pisses me off.

Can you tell? :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I dislike being ignored. Very much.

I started going tanning again. I used to do it a lot and then stopped for several reasons. I've been very down lately and thought that by getting some rays and color would make me feel a little better. I was right.

Monday's are my worst days-because I know that I should be getting up and hating Monday's for another reason.

I've been watching my carb intake lately as I did years ago (when I lost 40 pounds) and have remembered how much I enjoy Breyer's low carb ice cream. It's a very good treat now and then when you're trying to limit high carb foods.

It's hard to have a can of Redi Whip in the house and not spray a little in your mouth. It's not very lady like, I know, but...honestly? It's hard.

I've been walking about 1.5 miles a day, which is nice-but it's been really, really cold and windy. I also only have a couple of pairs of workout pants and feel like a bum wearing them all of the time.
I am not using weight loss pills
I love the show "What Would You Do?". It's very interesting.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Toosdae ?'s

Sitting on your butt for 2 months being unemployed tends to make you feel not so good about yourself. Because I'm bored and have no money to play I've started walking and doing yoga and step aerobics again and so far, it's made a world of difference in my energy level. Though I'm still having "down" days, I'm hoping that they'll start to fade away.'s questions have to do with exercise and dieting...enjoy! (Not pvc fence installation)

1. Does exercising make you feel like you have more energy or less?

2. What is your favorite way to get exercise? Walking, running, gym, aerobics...etc.

3. What is your favorite "diet food"? What do you crave most when you are limiting yourself?

1. Exercising makes me feel tired at first but in a good accomplished way & I always sleep better when I get regular exercise. Overall-after a couple of weeks-I have more energy than before.

2. I love walking outside-not on a treadmill. My whole life I've been a walker and have recently started walking more regularly to get out of the house. I also really like yoga and step aerobics-but only in the privacy of my own home. Not a fan of the classes.

3. My favorite diet food has to be air-popped popcorn. I love popcorn anyway even when I'm not dieting, but knowing it's not bad for me is wonderful. When I'm limiting myself, I miss pizza and oddly enough, peanut butter and jelly.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Manic Monday: Fire

He had black roots and orangish blond hair that feathered on the sides when he ran his right hand through it. He did this constantly, almost like it was a nervous tick except that he was the coolest person in school, so it couldn't possible be a nervous tick.

He wore a macrame bracelet on that wrist; his nails were kept short-mainly because he chewed on them. I thought he was beautiful.

He was from the richest of the 3 towns that went to our school and normally that would mean that we would be a snob. But Gavin was the nicest boy I knew. It's probably why, on the first day of 7th grade, I went home and gushed about him to my Mom.

We were in a few classes together but it was Spanish class I enjoyed the most. Mainly because there were no kids with names that started with the letters E-I which meant that we got to sit right next to each other. Most of the time we'd just talk about things that 7th graders talk about-who likes who, who kissed who and who was going to the dance. (Ok...these were things that 7th graders USED to talk about.) Sometimes he would sing to me, even though I was the one in chorus.

This is why, on a Manic Monday whose word is "Fire", I am remembering Gavin. Whenever I hear the song "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel, it's Spanish class in 7th grade I think of with Gavin leaning over with his elbows on his knees, singing to me...

We didnt start the fire
It was always burning
Since the worlds been turning
We didnt start the fire
No we didnt light it
But we tried to fight it

It's too bad he went to private school for grades 9-12. He was fun.