Friday, July 28, 2006

Start of Something Medium - 10 Things I Learned...

So I'm going to do an ongoing column on this blog. 10 Things I Learned from XXX. I consume a lot of food related media - tv shows on both PBS, the Style Network, and the Food Network, magazines (Fine Cooking, Bon Appetit), and websites. Each have their value and I wanted to write what exactly I get out of them. So this is the inaugural 10 Things I Learned... I want this to be discussion starter. What are other things YOU learned form the particular book, magazine, or tv show? On the other side, what are ways in which the particular food media bites? So to kick off I am doing 10 Things I learned form the Barefoot Contessa. I know I will cover 10 Things I Learned From: Martha Stewart Living, Paula Deen, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Giada DeLaurentiis, Chowhound, Tyler Florence, Nigella Lawson, Kylie Kwong, and Rachael Ray (GASP).

10 Things I Learned From Barefoot Contessa:

1. In a cocktail party, remember to come up with recipes that are ideally served at room temperature.

If you don't have a citrus zester and are need finely zested zest, mash the zest in a food processor with the sugar you need for your dessert.

3. It's okay to pimp out your totally stilted society matrons and gay friends for a little face time on tv.

4. How to make jam without using pectin. (Hint - a LOT of sugar)

5. You can keep your mashed potatoes warm in a bowl above simmering water. Corollary - new potatoes make for really creamy mashed potatoes.

6. The exact amount of time you need to dunk a ladyfinger in espresso to make tiramisu.

7. In making a cheese plate or antipasto platter, group things together as opposed ot mixing all of the things up. For example, put strawberries in a big clump on one side of the plate and figs in a big clump on the other side of the plate with a wedge of brie in the middle.

8. If you don't have things like cake stands you can turn things like souffle dishes upside down and put a plate on top of them to create height on your table.

9. Hershey's chocolate syrup makes great cupcakes.

10. Women with round faces should have their hair messily curles with the bangs parted to the side as opposed to straightened with the bangs coming directly down.

P.S. To Jon at Ihatebroccoli. I totally read your blog but beep won't let me make comments.


ScottE. said...

11. how to pack a lunch for your man who's leaving for work for a week.
12. how to roast chicken...she's always roasting chicken.

So how long do you dunk your ladyfingers? After the last time I made the tiramisu, I decided I'd actually brush the liquid on, so that I don't go too long in the coffee/booze combo.

I like the zest/sugar idea...hadn't seen that one.

Jon said...

I'm not sure if I can come up with ten, but one of the greatest pieces of wisdom I remember from watching cooking shows on PBS with my dad when I was a kid is from Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet: "Hot pan, cold oil, foods won't stick." I still recite it out loud to this day, as I pour oil in a smoking-hot pan...

I might think of more as I go through the day.

P.S. DC Food Blog -- Beep is weird like that. It's set like one of the settings in Blogger, where only those with accounts can comment. You can sign up for an account here:

Anonymous said...

Oh, Fruggie. I used to read his cookbooks cover to cover when I was in elementary school, and I also think of him when pouring oil into pans.

As for the Contessa, she's taught me the value of a really good cocktail and of having friends in the events industry. I'm still building up my portfolio of designers, florists, bakers, and whatnot. Oh, less inspirationally, she has taught me that nervous laughter gets really, really grating after a few episodes.

Stef said...

I learned that it's possible both to have dinner dates with all your fabulous gay friends (aka the men who really understand and celebrate you) AND still find a guy willing to marry you.

Does that sound bitter??? ;-)