Thursday, August 03, 2006

10 Things I Learned From...Rachael Ray

I know this 10 Things is going to suprise some of you readers but really, if you ignore the stupid personality tics, she actually has some good advice. While her meals take far longer than the 30 minutes she talks about, Hecate's Handmaiden #2 (Handmaiden #1 is Sandra Lee), does know how to put together a fairly decent meal in less than an hour. I hope you all will forgive me. Here goes:

1. Choose recipes that are not dependent on exact measurements. Measuring takes time. A forgiving recipe (one that doesn't involve baking) really makes the cooking go a lot faster.

2. A grill pan is your friend. Hecate's Handmaiden #2 is right about a grill pan giving your food a nice char-grilled flavor without having to heat up a barbecue.

3. A garbage bowl is also a big timesaver. Rather than going back and forth to your garbage can, having a bowl right next to you for the garbage you create while cooking shaves at least 10 minutes off prep time.

4. There IS such a thing as overexposure. If I ever build me a media empire I will stop at one television program, a line of cookware, and a magazine. Three tv shows is just overkill (PAULA!).

If you tear out some of the inside bread in a baguette, you will have more space for the fillings. Hollowing out a baguette or any other crusty bread is useful because the filling won't be sliding out the back.

Vanilla ice cream with a topping is a perfectly acceptable dessert.

Day old bread that is cut up into bite sized pieces is NOT an acceptable substitute for gnocchi.

BEHOLD...the power of deglazing. Throwing wine/chicken broth/cream into the pan that you just seared some meat in makes for some damn fine sauces.

If you are posing for some cheesy lad mag, try not to dress up like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island.



Jal J said...

Hi there! I found your DC food blog the other day while looking for something similar to a San Diego-based food blog I read. I know... when am I ever going to a SD restaurant while living in Maryland?

I really enjoyed this post. My husband calls Food Network the "Rachael Ray Channel" for her overexposure, but I agree she does have a lot of good tips.

Addie said...

This was the Top 10 I was waiting for! :) I have to admit I am a Ray fan - but for the types of things you mention. She can provide a lot of help to the everyday cook who shops at their 'not Whole Foods' grocery store. I appricate that.

I also take her for what she's worth - I do my best to not get worked up over the incessent repeating of things (much like the #1 person from Hell) and I enjoy that she makes a full plate of food in my 30 minute viewing time.

But just my 2 cents...

ScottE. said...

I was about to say something witty, but the view out of my office window just filled with a total hottie playing mind has wandered.

Anyway. Love Rachel, as Addie says, for the things you mention. She has some great ideas and when you find ways to work them into your routine, they are a huge help. I've gotten over the 30 minute time limit a long time ago. I was horrified by the 'gnocchi' episode....horrified...nearly as horrified as when H.H.M.#1 put kraft parmesan in her risotto...tragic.

she's much better looking in real life, fyi.

BTW: still distracted by the view...whew! But really, who plays tennis in this heat?

dolphingirl said...

Oh DC, you lost me with this one. Please see this site for help.

Dancer in DC said...

I'm forgiving, because there was a time where I thought RR could do no wrong. She is a victim of her own success, but at her core, has good tips.

11. Adding broth to many sauces adds depth of flavor. Never use water when chicken broth could stand in!

PalacePool said...

Rachel Ray is the most annoying person on the planet. Her squinty eyes, crazy smile and faux kitchen are awful.

Her recipies are uninspired and dull. The constant positive attitude and perky thing makes me want to jam a chop-stick into my eye.

And the EVOO is the most annoying thing ever. It's effing olive oil.

Jon said...

Ugh -- for all her annoyingness, she does have some good, easy recipes. No. 1 for me: The words, "Yumm-O," "Delish," "Stoup," and "Sammy" should never be uttered.

I found myself watching her REALLY old stuff a while back -- she was actually much less annoying, much more personable (ALMOST watchable) back then.

Stef said...

I agree with all the comments, particularly about those words that never should be uttered, but I can say my Ray-Ray annoyance has mellowed over the last year, especially in comparison to that Tablescape Bee-yatch. Things I have learned:

1. Carry your flavors through your main entree and sides - like lime or nutmeg or cilantro or whatever - by adding it to each dish.

2. Ditto on the grill pan being the best friend. The biggest thing grill-wise I've learned from all food network shows: flip only once, and don't move your meat around. (heh heh)

flame boy said...

No. 12: Apparently, there isn't a dish you couldn't "totally entertain with!"

I wouldn't have a problem with EVOO if she didn't then follow it with the full phrase! Every! time! So rather than saving time by using an acronym, she's actually wasting time by drawing it out longer than need be. That's definitely not "a 30-minute girl's best friend"!

Oh, and add "spoonula" to the words that should never be uttered again. Ugh.