Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lies Rachael Ray Has Told Me

It's completely unoriginal to hate Rachael Ray. Do a quick Google search for "Rachael Ray"+"hate" and you'll see what I mean--the vitriol that spews forth! But I have to admit I find her completely irritating. I don't have cable which means I have seen her show from my sister's house, once. Once was enough--her constant "yum-o," "delish" and other frankly irritating cutesy-isms were reminiscient of a yappy dog whose owners once thought its yapping was cute and never trained it to stop but then it became quickly un-cute and totally annoying, making everyone around it want to commit acts of violence.

But! For Christmas I requested and received a grill pan from my sister from the Rachael Ray line. I was determined to make grilled meat with professional looking grill marks on it. It was a happy orange and reasonable price and the Le Creuset version was $90 which seemed like way too much for a grill pan.

Anyway, to break in said grill pan, I perused the RR website for recipes and found one that sounded good, Drunken Risotto wih Grilled Chicken. This was a 30 minute meal, right up my alley, but here my troubles began.

Rachel's philosophy is that we can cook yum-o hassle free meals from simple ingredients that one can buy at any grocery store.

LIE: My local grocery store, despite boasting an entire aisle and a half to wine, did not have Barolo, prompting me to make a call from the wine aisle to Jac who recommended a Chianti instead. Furthermore, I needed dried porcini mushrooms which the store was out of but had portabella. I figured p-o-r made them close enough.

This is the Bay area which is just about as foodie as it gets. What about the rest of the country? Can you buy fresh arugula in Wyoming in the dead of winter? Fresh rosemary? RR did not give the dried equivalent, so I busted out my Joy of Cooking to tell me--1/2 teaspoon crushed dried for every fresh tablespoon.

Rachael instructed me to first preheat my new grill pan on medium high heat with nothing in it.

LIE: According to websites I read trying to figure out how to clean my hopelessly blackened crusty grill pan that laughed as I approached with soap and sponge I learned one should NEVER heat up the pan with nothing in it as it can cause sticking.

LIE: Nor should one EVER heat enameled cast iron on high heat because it holds heat so well.

LIE: If I had followed her instructions and preheated the grill pan for the amount of time indicated, I would be posting this from a Red Cross shelter.

Rachael encouraged me to "eyeball" the first two liquid measurements, a hallmark of her devil may care approach to cooking. She does the same thing on her show, pouring slugs of EVOO into pans with a toss of her head as though measuring ingredients is for the fuddy duddys of yore.

LIE: The subsequent liquid measurements are not accompanied by (eyeball it). So I still have to take out, use and wash my measuring spoons and cups, so what difference does it make if I measure the first two as well? No time nor hassle was saved.

Rachael instructed me to start cooking the chicken, which takes 12-14 minutes before finishing the risotto instructions, which called for 22 more minutes of additional cooking.

LIE: Clearly, RR's steps are all out of whack. She has clearly never followed this recipe herself.

LIE: This is no 30 minute meal. As a matter of fact, this meal took an hour and a half. Even her fans point this out.

Rachael Ray was born on August 25th, making her a Virgo.

LIE: There is no way on God's green earth that this woman is a Virgo! She is totally flaky, loosey-goosey, untrustworthy and icky! She is an emoticon personified and I cannot accept that I share a birth sign with this woman.

In the end, it was a fantastic meal. I would make it again in a heartbeat, now that I actually know how to do it, no thanks to the misinformation provided by RR.

Would I consider trying another RR recipe? I don't know. It takes time to heal from this kind of betrayal and besides I still haven't managed to get all the scorch off my grill pan.


jac said...

Wets, glad to hear the Chianti didn't ruin everything. How was the rest of your evening?

Professional Critic said...

Good. Though the cat and everything else in my apartment reeked of charred poultry for the next week. However, I did discover an almost foolproof way to clean the pan. After grilling, fill pan with 2-3 inches of water and let it boil for 10 minutes. Much of the blackened goo can be easily scraped off with a wooden spoon. What's left can be attacked with Bon Ami and a sponge. Not perfect but much much better. I will grill again.

Anonymous said...

I have watched that stupid show before. She had a "party expert" on whith tips such as: "Put out an extra empty bowl for pistachio nuts so people can put their shells in it." "Put ice in your washing machine and fill it with cold drinks, then when you are done you can just leave the ice....because it's a washing machine." For real. She and her guests are idiots.

Professional Critic said...

Agreed! But then how can this show be so popular? Okay, ask a dumb question and get a dumb answer. For the same reasons that "According to Jim" and that other stupid show with Jamie Gertz is still on. Why oh why isn't there a non-cable channel devoted exclusively to running non-censored episodes of The Wire, The Sopranos, Weeds and Nip/Tuck?

Anonymous said...

wow, dont hold back

Professional Critic said...

Thanks, I won't. Isn't blogging great?