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At first, you sit with your eyes wide open and the jaw hanging by your ankles mesmerized by the kaleidoscope of images thrown at you. You desperately want to understand what it is that you’re witnessing, but the scenery on the screen changes at such rate you just sink deeper into your couch more perplexed and confused. Only a few minutes passes when you get put off by the steady current of F**Ks and BLOODY H**Ls flowing out of the TV monitor with the might of a mountain stream in springtime. Next, you see a few pots thrown in the air followed by commands with a Cockney accent (get excited):
That in a nutshell is Gordon Ramsay’s show THE F WORD that I’ve discovered recently on BBC.
There’s so much happening on the show, it took me a few full episodes to understand the concept behind each one. Gordon brings in a team of four people to cook at his kitchen. The patrons are the judges as they have the right not to pay for food they dislike. In between the bits of the competition Gordon travels to the end of the world, and then along the Milky Way searching for various delicacies. While he’s hog hunting, his colleague tries to convince the entire United Kingdom to eat veal and domestic beef rather than imported meat from such dubious locations as Turkey, POLAND, and Portugal. (Why the meat from my homeland is a NO-NO beats me, but that’s their show. I’m still alive and kicking despite the fact that I grew up consuming embarrassing amounts of Polish meat. Unless… they care about their carbon print. Aha! Me likey.)
Despite all the above I got hooked. I tivo and watch every episode. Sometimes more than once. Not only have I grown to like Gordon, and I mean I really really like him, but also I find myself snapping the back of my right hand against my left palm when making a point. Call me Ramsay.
Clearly, I had to share my enthusiasm with someone. Hence I force-fed Jason THE F WORD (f for food, hopefully). After initial strong resistance, finally he also admitted chef Ramsay was highly entertaining.
The show is different. It is British after all. What I like the most, however, are Gordon Ramsay’s recipes he shares on the screen. All of you who have been following me on these pages know I don’t cook much red meat or pork. The consumption of meat especially in this country is through the roof these days severely affecting the balance in Nature and more directly our health. I do use pancetta; little bits and pieces of that Italian bacon are enough to add a depth of flavor to any given dish without the need to eat half a pig at one sitting.
This may have been the third time over two years that I cooked pork for dinner. It only shows you how enticing the food made by chef Ramsay is. Below, I retraced the steps Gordon commanded me to take when making his pork chops with crashed sweet potatoes. My twist are the roasted beets and carrots. Voila!
SPICED PORK CHOPS WITH ROASTED BEET ROOTS & CARROTS
Begin with a marinade. Crash coriander seeds (about 1 tsp) with star anise (4-5) in a pestle and mortar. Toss the powder into a bowl and add the following:
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, generous pinches
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
Mix all the components and spread all over the pork chops. (When buying the meat, choose the kind on the bone. Ask the butcher to expose the bone for you. Not only the pork chop has a more dramatic effect when plated, but also baking meat on the bone assures for a moist and flavorful dish.) Cover that with a plastic wrap and chill in a refrigerator for minimum 2 hours. When ready, take the pork chops out, heat a little olive oil in an ovenproof skillet and add your meat. You want to color the chops on each side and then bring the whole skillet to a preheated (400°) oven for 8-10 minutes. Take the meat out and rest for 10-15 minutes in order to let all the juices get back inside the meat. If you were to cut it right away, all that nectar would seep out onto your plate leaving the chops dry and utterly depressed.
While the pork chops relax on the side, into the same hot oven slide a tray with peeled and quartered beets. Make sure that they are seasoned with salt and pepper and moistened with olive oil before you sent them in! Half an hour to 40 minutes should do the trick.
You can add spice to your meal by adding a drizzle of Balsamic Vinaigrette, or Basil Vinaigrette. Let the flavors and colors of fresh produce bring your dish to live. If it looks appetizing, followed by a great taste, even your child (or your sister’s) will devour the veggies just as fast as the meat. In other words, no one’s safe around GOOD & HEALTHY FOOD. Eating habits, limitations, mental blocks dissipate when one’s nostrils get teased with the meal’s aroma. A beautiful arrangement of elements on a plate tempts the eyes. The hands will resist no longer and bring a bite to the deprived mouth. There’s no turning back from here.
Welcome to my Heaven. Make yourself at home, my friend.
Coming home from work at 9 or 10 pm leaves me only enough time and energy to bitch about it and not so much for writing, nor any other intellectually stimulating activity. I follow the feeding/wee-weeing routine with Cosmo and when relieved sleepwalk back home on a leash pulling me forward. Cosmo turns the key in the door, pushes it open and lets me into the bedroom where I crawl straight into my bed and roll into a fetal position, tail underneath my heiney.
My kitchen feels deserted. Hungry pots and pans line up on shelves, dust collecting on their ribs. Three neglected bananas rot away on the counter without a word. The refrigerator echoes EMPTY-PTY-TY. Except, there’s a chick.
On the top shelf of the icebox a whole chicken lounges, sunglasses on and all, anticipating the roasting party it’s been invited for. It’s the happy kind, organic and free roaming while munching on grains and grass. The BIG DAY, the R Day is Saturday. It’s TODAY!
Time for glitter and jewelry. A whole garlic head sliced in two horizontally and four quarters of a whole lemon roll inside the carcass. Three rosemary spears push through right behind. Olive oil for moisture and that California golden tan is applied to it’s whole body. Celery seeds, pepper corns, thyme, salt, paprika, all get smashed and crashed in a pestle and mortar, then rubbed into the dry skin of the chick, all the while the oven rushes to raise its temperature to 425°.
A big sweet onion gets peeled and sliced into half moons, which are scattered all around the chicken inside the roasting pan falling as snow flakes on top of Pikes Peak. A couple of potatoes and a bunch of naked garlic cloves join the company. Can you hear the music?? Low-sodium chicken stock floods the pan. Bay leaf, one and two, float its stream. Wings get tucked underneath, while legs are handcuffed with a strip of twine. That Chicken Boat of Love is ready to set sail.
Into the oven they go for one full hour and another 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the bird will have reached 175°. Then, a silver sheet of aluminum dress wraps around the roasted meat, hugs it tight, and they bond. Fifteen minutes of such splendid rest allows for the best spa treatment any chick can ask for. All the juices get locked inside the bird thus ensuring a perfectly moist bite every time.
S H O W T I M E !
It’s the best thing ever to touch your lips.
IMMACULATE. SUBLIME. PERFECTION.