Sunday, September 30, 2007

Blueberry Cosmopolitan

Ina’s recipe for cosmos is my “go-to recipe” for any variation I make of the drink. I use more cranberry juice than she does, since I usually like a greater juice-to-liquor ratio than most people, and for two drinks it’s simply:

1/2 cup vodka
1/4 cup triple sec
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/8 cup lime juice

I often replace the plain vodka in this recipe with cranberry vodka, and I think I like that version even better. Friday night I had an awesome blueberry cosmo at a restaurant downtown, and I knew I was going to have to recreate it at home. I simply replaced the usual cranberry vodka with blueberry vodka, and voilà: blueberry cosmopolitan.

There’s a lot more you can do with this recipe—it’s as versatile as it is delicious. Ina makes a great pomegranate version, as well.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Barefoot Sides

I love Ina Garten. I think that, among all the Food Networks stars, her recipes are the most reliable. Everything I’ve made of hers has been excellent. Tonight I made two of her sides: cauliflower gratin and sautéed cabbage.

The cabbage was incredibly simple: cabbage, butter, salt, and pepper. Sauté. Delicious.

The cauliflower took a bit more work, but it was worth it. Basically, it requires baking the cauliflower in a Gruyere/Parmesan sauce. The cheese sauce was enhanced with nutmeg, a perfectly delicious and classic combination.

The results were fabulous. I achieved something with this recipe that I’ve never achieved before: a truly crunchy delicious crust. I think it must’ve been the fresh breadcrumbs. This is the first time I’ve used fresh breadcrumbs to create a crust, as opposed to dried, and the outcome was exactly as it should be. I’ll be experimenting with this further.

Chica Homemade

Is it just me, or is Ingrid Hoffmann quite possibly the Food Network’s very own Latina Semi-Homemaker? Let me say right away that I like Ingrid—she has some good ideas and delicioso dishes, and her show is fun to watch—but recently I’ve seen some similarities between Ingrid and Sandy Lee that . . . I don’t know . . . I find a bit troublesome. I don’t know that I can take a double-dose of semi-homemaking.

Take, for instance, Sandra’s “Berry Time” and Ingrid’s “Hardware Chic.” Tell me if you don’t see what I’m talking about.

First we have Sandy in a gothic Alice-in-Wonderland-scape. You can’t see them all in this picture, but there are about a thousand black-and-white clocks in that kitchen right now. I won’t show them here because quite frankly I’m afraid they’ll cause someone a seizure—I think the enormous black number is quite enough. Where in the world did she get that thing? I don’t remember seeing those at my local craft store. And, while I believe in kitchen coordination as much as the next semi-homemaker, I think we’ve left the fine line between “coordinated” and “tacky” and crossed right over into “insane.”

And finally it’s tablescape time. More clocks, of course (because there’s no such thing as “excess” when it comes to semi-homemaking. I mean, if a KitchenAid stand mixer in 23 assorted colors isn't excessive, then certainly a few fake clocks all over the kitchen can’t be a problem), set off with metallic detail. We have metal watches for our napkin rings, metallic rimmed wine glasses, and some sort of metal fountain that’s holding the oh-so-important nametags. Don’t worry—you can’t see it here, but there is a clock with the name “Kim” on it, so Kimber won’t have to wonder where she’s supposed to sit. So considerate, Sandy. You never disappoint us.

Now let’s see what Ingrid’s up to. Take a look at this picture:

You know you see it. Don’t tell me this picture doesn’t immediately make you think of Gothic Sandy a little farther up. But, ok, if the dress isn’t enough to concern you, consider Ingrid's table:

If that’s a not a tablescape, then Sandy has done a poor job of teaching me what a tablescape is. That looks like a tablescape to me. Not only that, but note the metal theme. Granted, there are no clocks. But there are metal-enclosed apples in lieu of metal-enclosed napkins and, the clincher, metallic rimmed wine glasses. See the evidence for yourself:

Certainly, this is more tastefully done. Certainly, Ingrid has not gone over the top and concocted a scene that would scare any reasonable guest away. But I can still see where this is going, and it frightens me. Don’t go there Ingrid. You’re a few place-settings away from semi-stupidity. I worry for you. Don’t let me see the day you use your first seasoning packet.

Vicarious Foodie Welcomes You

Hello there,

You have found Vicarious Foodie. Lucky you!

This is where I explore my obsession with the Food Network--the stars, the shows, the food. Here I present to you my collection of observations, ramblings, and, of course, criticisms.

Enjoy guys. Dig in.