19 September 2008

Dan's Garlic Bread

Dan's Garlic Bread (with title)
I wish I had known far in advance that just blabbering on like I usually do takes much less time than doing screen captures of television shows and arranging them neatly in Photoshop (yes, even with the grid tool). Actually, anybody with common sense and an ability to blabber would have been able to say, "duh," but today I wanted to try something different. Because it's Fall/ Autumn in the US, baybee! And that means the return of many television shows I love and love to hate, and even the start of some shows in the UK.

There's this new show I stumbled upon from the UK, "Masterchef: The Professionals." It's basically a super-simple Top Chef where the weekly winners (young professional chefs) fight each other tournament-style. The first half is devoted to making two dishes out of a theme ingredient and a few other givens, and the second half is for making a classic dish and dessert using master recipes and their own unique twist. The captures I've posted up there are from the first episode, with the theme ingredient: Scallops. The dishes are (left to right): Seared scallops infused with ginger and mango and avocado salsa (Chris), Ceviche of scallop with dressed herb salad and pancetta crisp (Chris), Roasted scallops with rocket, crushed peas and potatoes (Richard), Pan-seared scallops with cauliflower puree, roasted parsnips and pancetta crisps (Richard), Grilled scallops with pancetta in a beurre blanc (Adrian), Pan-seared scallops with carrot and ginger puree and black pudding (Adrian). If the last dish sounds disgusting, that's because it is. Two-Michelin-starred judge Michel Roux, Jr. said of it: "Never again do I want to see ginger and blood pudding on the same plate. That was, for me, a disaster." Clearly, Chris was the winner of this round. His scallop dishes look and sound amazing.

During the second round, they were supposed to make their own versions of Duck A L'Orange and Chocolate Mousse. Chris crashed and burned on this one, presenting an unrested duck the size of sabots which bled all over the plate. His chocolate mousse was flavored with Kirsch. Richard's strange plate arrangement garnered him an "are you a chef or an architect?" from Roux. They also didn't enjoy that the chocolate mousse, good as it was, was filled to the brim (above it, actually) and hidden under a pile of rubble. Adrian's traditional presentation of duck won the day, and the judges enjoyed his modern presentation of chocolate mousse, which had a layer of orange curd under it. Actually the curd looked really runny to me-- it might have worked better if he had emulsified cold butter into it or if he'd cooked or chilled it more.

However, the real reason I wanted to show you Masterchef was to have an excuse to capture Michel Roux, Jr.'s face throughout the show. Admit it: if you all were 16 year-old girls with corkboards in your room, you'd SO print this out already. I saved his 6 best looks for the bottom row (bottom-left corner: cracking his neck, getting ready to rip on the guy's technique later). Frankly, if I were a contestant, I'd be freaked out by his constant hovering and the threat of his eyes ejecting themselves into my plate. But he is a great judge, and his deadpan comments are dead-on. Come on! His name is ROUX! He's like your crazy grandpa who'd only love you if you ate his cooking, which consists of snails and wren forcemeat.

By the way, Adrian won that week.

But the scary faces are not limited to your French grand-peres; they also apply to overtanned Hollywood denizens, like Rob Estes from above. Those two captures were taken 2 seconds apart. If you're wondering what I'm doing watching 90210, then that makes two of us. Maybe I'm just waiting for the damn catfight already. Your ratings won't go up until someone slaps a bitch, CW! Thankfully, I can always rely on the idiotic bigotry and useless modeling tips of America's Next Top Model to tide me over until non-guilty pleasure shows like The Office, 30 Rock, Heroes, and Pushing Daisies return over the next few weeks.

Finally, while I wasn't specifically asked to answer this meme from Kittymama, it looked like a lot of fun. The idea is to answer the following questions by entering your answers into Google Image Search and posting an image from the first page of the results with as little explanation as possible. The questions are:
1. The age you’ll be on your next birthday: (the answer is 27, and I had some pretty boring ones to choose from: the other interesting one is a lamprey, and an image of a turtle that's been run over on Highway 27, which may have been too disturbing for many.)
2. Place you want to travel to: (I had to cheat and put the TWO places I wanted to go, since Kittymama already answered Paris)
3. Your favourite place: (Home)
4. Your favourite food: (Kung Pao chicken-- No Special Effects on the first page! W00t!)
5. Your favourite pet: (Dog, for lack of anything else-- isn't he the cutest?)
6. Favorite color combination: (Blue and white)
7. Favorite piece of clothing: (Pinstripe suit. Sue me, I feel sexy in one. Mine is not in three pieces like Mr. Bond, though.)
8. Your all time favorite song: (Learning to Breathe)
9. Favorite TV show: (The Office)
10. First name of your significant other: (Nobody)
11. Which town do you live in: (Quezon City-- there were results for my barangay but I didn't want to give out that information.)
12. Your screen name/nickname: (Manggy-- a pic from No Special Effects again.)
13. Your first job: (Medical intern)
14. Your dream job: (Doctor. Rockstar seemed like a stupid answer.)
15. One bad habit that you have: (Procrastinating)
16. Worst fear: (Hell)
17: Things you’d like to do before you die: (Travel)
18. The 1st thing you’ll buy if you get $1,000,000: (Trip to Europe. I thought of a grand piano and a house, but those won't be the FIRST. A Playstation 3 sounded lame.)
19. Your husband/wife: (No one)
20. What present would you like for your next birthday? (Ticket to Europe-- but of course I'm not expecting this. I wanted to make it appropriately ungiveable. In truth I don't want specific material things for my birthday, I'm happy to receive anything.)

Dan's Garlic Bread
This is artisan baker, teacher, and food writer Dan Lepard's eponymous bread: a tender yeasted dough with sweet, syrupy cloves of garlic swirled into it. I dare you not to eat one of the garlic cloves as they come out of the balsamic syrup. I only wish that I'd used a better flour to make it: mine was old. Great served with pasta, or simply toasted and eaten for breakfast. Lepard has his own picture story on how to make it here.

By the way, I found out that a great way to make sure dough slips off your peel easily is by using a mixture of flour and dry, flavorless bread crumbs.

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