Tag Archives: Food Network

Say Aaah!

11 May

The topic of food used to dominate this blog, now all I seemingly talk about is my pregnancy and writer’s block, sorry about that.  Well, my good friend Kristina gave me the idea to start these recurring posts about the different kinds of food that Mr. Mondoo and I make.  It’s really a great idea.  We like to cook, try different kinds of foods, and then brag about how awesome they turn out.  Sounds like a blog post to me!

So, let’s get started on this first “Say Aaah!” post, shall we?  I know that these posts won’t hold the same amount of sarcasm and wit but some of you may enjoy the recipes and the “food porn” pictures.  Oh and I don’t promise that any of these recipes will be healthy or easy to make.  They may be, but more often than not, they are just going to be simply delicious.  So, try ’em out!

This past weekend, the Mondoo’s celebrated both Mother’s Day and my birthday.  At nine months pregnant, all I really wanted for these special days was good food, and by George, that’s what I got!  Baby brain prevented me from taking pictures of all of the wonderful food that was made in our house this past weekend so I’ll just focus on the dessert (which we still have plenty of, fortunately for me!)

Tres Leche Cake

According to Wikipedia, tres leche cake is a “sponge cake—in some recipes, a butter cake—soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. When butter is not used, the tres leches is a very light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.”

Mr. Mondoo and I were introduced to tres leche cake by Alton Brown via The Food Network on his  Good Eats episode “Milk Made.”  Sure, Alton Brown is a little fussy when it comes to exact measurements (he uses weight, kind of a pain) but the man makes a great cake.  Don’t believe me?   Try it out for yourself!

A couple of notes:

– Although it needs to be made a day in advance so that the cake has time to absorb the milk, it’s worth the wait.

– This is also a perfect cake for the upcoming summer months as it is kept and served cold.

– Some of you may be reluctant to make this cake because of an intolerance to lactose.  My advice?   Take a Lactaid and get to eating.

– Although I’ve made this cake a few times before, it is important to note that Mr.  Mondoo made it this time.  One helluva guy!

– If you decide to take my advice and make this fabulous cake (or any recipes that appear in future “Say Aaah!” posts), please leave a comment and let me know how they turned out!

Tres Leche Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

For the cake:

Vegetable oil

6 3/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pan

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces sugar

5 whole eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup half-and-half

For the topping:

2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

The cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.

The glaze:

Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.

The topping:

Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on high until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

(Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/tres-leche-cake-recipe/index.html)

Love/Hate: Food Network

16 Oct

LoveHate

We’ve been writing a lot lately about food and television, so what better topic to cover for this week’s edition of Love/Hate than the Food Network?  Read on…

Love

1) Ina Garten—Barefoot Contessa. You know what I love about Ina?  She’s all about the food.  She encourages you to buy good vanilla, good olive oil, and good balsamic vinegar.  I mean, I don’t, because I don’t live in the Hamptons and I shop on a budget, but I still appreciate it.  You can tell that she’s all about the food, too, because she used to be thin and now she’s… well… bigger.  No disrespect to Ina, I love food and I’m sure that I will follow in her plump footsteps one day.  I also love that she talks to you about the ingredients as she’s cooking instead of telling you pointless anecdotes like so many other Food Network chefs.  And, more than anything, I love her food.  We own Barefoot Contessa Family Style and each and every recipe that we’ve made is simply delicious.  Pretentious or not, this woman knows her food.

2)  Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (The Food and Locales). Whose mouth doesn’t salivate every time that they watch this show?  The food looks simply delicious… and terrible for you.  I love random, hole-in-the-wall places that serve the best food in town.  And that’s why this past summer during a road trip, my husband and I mapped out all of the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives along our way and ate at as many as we could.   Sure, I gained a few pounds but it was well worth it.   A few highlights:  the Marietta Diner and their giant slabs of cake, The Highlander and their Jamaican Jerk Chili, The Silver Skillet and their red-eye gravy, and the Smokey Valley Truck Stop and their down-home eats.

3)  Alton Brown—Good Eats. AB has described his show as part Julia Child, part Mr. Wizard, and part Monty Python.  I can’t come up with a better description.  When I first started watching Good Eats, I was kinda bothered by his science-y explanations of everything but it really does help to understand the ingredients that you’re working with.  Granted, AB does cook things that you don’t really need to cook and could just buy at the grocery store like marshmallows and tortilla chips but at least he’s really entertaining while he’s doing it.

4)  Throwdown with Bobby Flay. I love that Bobby Flay thinks that he can compete with chefs that have been cooking specific food like sushi or matzo ball soup or BBQ for their entire lives.  Actually, he usually doesn’t even compete; he usually just loses because he takes something simple like fish and chips and makes them Bobby Flay-vinized with poblano peppers and chipotle mayo.  Except for this one time when he competed with America’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese queen, Delilah Winder.  This woman’s mac ‘n’ cheese was voted best in the nation and was even featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  There’s no way that she could lose to Bobby Flay!  Except she did, and it was the most depressing episode ever.  Wah wah.

5)  Foodnetwork.com. Visit www.foodnetwork.com and visit it often.  This site houses some of the best recipes in the world for free.  When I need a recipe for anything, I go there, and you should, too.  Love it.

Hate

1)  Select Food Network Hosts and their gimmicks. Sometimes Food Network hosts are all about the food, sometimes they are all about being loud and obnoxious.  Case in point, The Neelys.  I can’t even enjoy the food on that show because this husband and wife team is too busy talking all sexual to each other and to the food that they are cooking.  And then you have Paula Deen, who, aside from her recipes of butter and mayonnaise, was pretty adorable when she first emerged on the Food Network scene.  Now she has this Paula’s Party show where she just makes out with audience members and seductively tastes her food.  Listen Neelys and Ms. Deen, if that’s your thing, take that food into the bedroom and close the door.  Don’t put it on my TV.

2)  Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (Guy Fieri). Speaking of Food Network hosts and their gimmicks, Guy Fieri is one big gimmick from his annoying abbreviation of his own show title (Triple D), to his annoying catch phrases (“That’s money!”  “Killer, man”  “That’s a trip to Flavortown right there!”), and his 90s Sugar Ray/Smash Mouth combo look.  Above all, Guy just plain grosses me out.  The way he makes out with the food simply turns my stomach.

3)  Any show that revolves around cakes. Why is the Food Network obsessed with cake?  Every time I turn on that channel, I see Ace of Cakes or some Food Network Challenge that involves Disney cakes, haunted cakes, cupcake cakes.  Cake overload.  Now, I love cake, but I don’t love when you muck it all up tasteless fondant until the cake becomes dry and crumbly.  I like my cake moist, fluffy, and covered in velvety frosting.  I could care less if cakes look like Yankee stadium or a skyscraper, I care how they taste, and I’m sure those taste gross.

4)  Rachael Ray and her 30 Minute Meals. I could have easily roped Ms. Ray into Hate #1 with all of her catch phrases, (“Stoup, it’s like a stew and a soup!” “I just took a little help from the store here, kids.”) but this woman deserves her very own hate.  First of all, I’ve made some of her meals and while some are delicious (namely Middle Eastern Chicken Pot and Butternut Cous Cous and Butternut Squash Risotto), they cannot be made in 30 minutes, the show is a complete farce.  Second of all, maybe I’d try more of her recipes except she only cooks chicken and pasta dishes and I can’t eat those every day.  And finally, the catchphrases.  They are annoying but they are made even more annoying when she uses the abbreviation and then immediately explains them (“EVOO, extra virgin olive oil,” “GB, garbage bowl”).   Honey, if you’re going to abbreviate, you only need to explain once and then move on.

5)  Giada De Laurentiis and her disappearing, reappearing Italian accent. Giada is Italian and sometimes she likes to remind us of this by saying words like gnocchi or ricotta with an Italian accent.  And then sometimes, she forgets that she’s trying to impress us by being Italian and she doesn’t use her accent to pronounce other Italian words like orecchiette or parmesan.  Make up your mind, you either have an accent or you don’t.  Your food is delicious either way, I’m not impressed by the accent.