Tag Archives: tv

Better the Morning After

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

Nigella Lawson

Screenshot of Nigella Lawson snacking away

I love watching Nigella’s cooking shows! I think she’s awesome. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

Sorry, I just had to get that out. This post isn’t really about her… although she’s sort of its starting point. There’s a couple of seconds at the very end of some of her shows that show her munching away in the darkened kitchen, illuminated only by the refrigerator’s light. I totally get that — we’re big on midnight snacking in my family, and we absolutely love leftovers.

I think there are certain kinds of food that taste even better after they’ve been in the refrigerator for a bit. My scientific explanation is that some time in the fridge evaporates some of the moisture, making the flavors more intense, and with the added time to settle in, the flavors are now living comfortably and have gotten really friendly with one another.

So here are a 3 kinds of food that are better the morning after a night spent in the fridge — covered, of course.

Stews and other Saucy Dishes

Malaysian Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang. Image via Rasa Malaysia.

Adobo

Chicken adobo. Image via Au Pif.

It makes for a heightened taste experience when meats have absorbed as much as they can from their sauces. Curries and stews take on amazing flavors after a night in the fridge.
In the Philippines, we have a stew called adobo, the basic recipe of which is chicken and/or pork stewed in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns. Before the advent of electricity and refrigeration, our ancestors prepared their meats in this way to preserve them — as the salt and acids in the soy sauce and vinegar serve as curing agents, and the fact that it keeps well is just as widely accepted as the conviction that it gets better with time.

Pastas

Pasta a la Puttanesca

Image via A Bitchin' Kitchen

Frittata

Pasta Frittata. Image via On the Move Gallery

Spending the night in the fridge may make pasta a bit dry, but oh my gosh, the yumminess that those noodles have absorbed more than make up for it, in my humble opinion. I would totally eat these dishes cold, although I’ve tried making leftover pasta puttanesca into frittata, and it’s heavenly!

Brownies and Bars

Brownies

Image via East European Food

Date and Walnut Bars

Date and Walnut Bars, also called "Food for the Gods". Image via Panlasang Pinoy.

In hot climates, there’s a bigger difference between room temp and refrigerator temp. Getting the cool treatment gives certain sweets a hugely different mouth feel. Brownies, date and walnut bars (aka “Food for the Gods”), butterscotch bars — they get less cake-y and more chewy, and this for me raises their awesomeness to the stellar level.

How about you? Have you discovered some eats that get better in the fridge?


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Extremes in TV Cooking Competitions

The kids competing in Junior MasterChef Australia

Contestants in Junior Masterchef Australia Season 2. Image via Star World.

I’m a sucker for cooking shows.

I remember tuning in to this Chinese cooking show when I was a little girl, and how I loved the clatter, the sizzle, the knifes flashing at kung fu speed, though I understood not a word. Even then, cooking shows fascinated me — watching people cook, in general, fascinate me. Cooking to me is magic, and seeing it happen gave me endless thrills.

The cooking show genre has its own heartthrobs and bombshells, as evidenced by hotties such as Rocco and Curtis, Giada and Nigella. (I did write about hottie chefs before.) Add a little reality, a little competition, and you’ve got a sub-genre that can be totally addictive! There’s Iron Chef (Japan and America), MasterChef, Top Chef, The Next Food Network Star, Throwdown with Bobby Flay… and a whole slew of others.

But there are two that I’ve been watching the past couple of weekends that I feel stand at either end of the cooking competition gamut. At one extreme is the high adrenaline action-suspense-thriller type, Hell’s Kitchen, and at the other end is Junior MasterChef — a cotton candy sweet, children’s-educational type of show.

Hell’s Kitchen (USA)

This show is definitely not for the faint-hearted. I get headaches and get palpitations from this one. It’s like watching 24 sometimes. Tough-talking, potty-mouthed Chef Gordon Ramsay is as in-your-face as it gets, and the contestants take their cue from that and project their own versions of it — whether they have the skills and talents to back it up or not. There’s lots of cursing and swearing, lots of fast-paced action, and lots of alliances that fall apart as fast as they’re made. It’s a vicious, dog-eat-dog, throw each other under the bus kind of environment. And some foodies get a kick out of that.

Chef Ramsay

Image via Star World

Junior MasterChef (Australia)

This one is the antithesis of Hell’s Kitchen. Junior MasterChef Australia is comparatively laid back and relaxed. And where rage, tension, and terror reign supreme in Hell’s Kitchen, in this show from down under, it’s all about friendship, inspiration, positivity, and really adorable and talented kids! Everybody’s really, really nice! The judges are just as critical, but much less harsh. The contestants are sweet and supportive to each other, but no less competitive. It’s all sunshine and rainbows, but in its own way, it’s just as entertaining as the doom and damnation of Hell’s Kitchen.

Greta from Season 2

For more on kiddie cooks, check out Midori’s post about Kids in the Kitchen.


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Men in the Kitchen

image from connectedchefs.com

The person who first said that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was on to something. The truth is that the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach too. Why do you think dates usually involve food of some kind? Didn’t the prehistoric men who brought to the village the biggest boars get the most admirers? They would’ve gotten even more in their furs if they’d roasted the boars themselves. That’s macho.

At least, this is what I came up with while trying to come up with a viable explanation for why I just love watching men cook on TV. There’s something so attractive and compelling about them in the kitchen, where they handle beautiful ingredients and wield steel not to make war, but to make wonderful, delicious eats. They make the kitchens look good, and the setting makes them look even better. When I see them on the screen, I stop channel surfing and stare. And drool — over the food or over the guy cooking, I know not which. Of course it also helps that the TV networks manage to find chefs who are easy on the eyes to begin with, as well as knowledgeable and talented. They fill up the on-screen kitchens and make of the cooking shows even more yummy eye candy.

Note that I love watching Nigella Lawson, Giada de Laurentiis, Ina Garten, and Rachael Ray too, but I these men, I find irresistible:

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay in the heat of the battle on Iron Chef America

Love a man who loves a challenge. I especially enjoy watching him in Iron Chef America, where he competes with the best chefs under extreme time pressure in what they call the Kitchen Stadium. The show Throwdown with Bobby Flay shows him taking on the masters of a particular dish in a cook-off. He does his thing with such an endearing cockiness that charms everyone, including his competitor, no matter what the outcome of the contest is.

www.bobbyflay.com

Rocco DiSpirito

A lot of Rocco is good for you

This one is such a cutiepie. I like that he’s down-to-earth and really tries to make things as easy as possible for the amateur cooks. His thrust nowadays is to bury the notion that anything “good for you” is boring and tasteless. In short, he’s a chef who doesn’t want to make you fat, and for that, we have to forgive him for his Dancing with the Stars stint.

www.facebook.com/RoccoDiSpirito

Tyler Florence

Tyler Florence at a cooking demonstration

Clean-cut or slightly mussed, Tyler Florence is the ultimate. His show, Tyler’s Ultimate gives you the most pimped up decadent version of the most well loved dishes — from pizza, to pie, to paella.

Jamie Oliver

He is kind and generous with his talent, and he uses his gifts to uplift the quality of food in schools, and the quality of life of kids who are out of school. Despite the seriousness of his causes, he’s still like the Peter Pan of food shows — with his adorable accent, goofy smile and the casual boyish way about him when he’s cooking, which seems to say, encouragingly and with lots of enthusiasm, that there’s really nothing to it.

www.jamieoliver.com

Ming Tsai

His brand of cuteness makes you want to smile. And what he represents is the concept of East Meets West. Long after the cooking show with this title has produced its final episode, he still exudes this vibe, especially in his current show, Simply Ming. It is brilliant in theory, given today’s increasingly global society, but translated to food and yummy recipes, it is stellar.

ming.com

Curtis Stone

He doesn’t have a signature dish or culinary genre, he doesn’t even have a trademark look to his kitchen. His trademark is his spontaneity — he is just fantastic at winging it. He is Curtis Stone, the Take Home Chef, and his kitchen is whomever’s that he crashes.

www.curtisstone.com


Posted in Culture, Food, Kitchen & Bath | Tagged , ,

7 Films You Can Hang as Art

Gone are the days of bulky, boxy TVs. Slim, sleek models are the standard now, and manufacturers try to outdo one another not just in technology, but also in aesthetic appeal. One of the features in these sets is that you can mount them on your walls, and thus they are more than ever able to integrate into the design of the space.

But the thing is, a black rectangle is just no fun on the wall. It isn’t art; it isn’t worthy to be framed. So fill that screen with any of these 7 awesome films! Each one is so gorgeously made that each frame is a truly visual feast. Pick one that goes well with your room, pop in the disc and hit play. Whether you let it run on or randomly freeze a frame, you’ve got art on your wall.

1. Amelie – 2001 – Jean-Pierre Jeunet

This movie has a beautiful, dreamy atmosphere of saturated reds and greens. It’s a charming, feel-good story filled with quirky characters, delightful montages, and bright splashes of vibrant colors.

Watch this film clip and imagine it playing in this room.

Predominantly white room with red and mint green accents

image from blog.hgtv.com

2. Hero (Ying Xiong) – 2002 – Zhang Yimou

Apart from the mind-blowing, Rashomon-like plot line, Hero features breath-taking photographyand thrilling and elegant fight sequences

Wall-mounted TV

3. In the Mood for Love – 2000 – Wong Kar Wai

This one is heady like wine. Wong Kar Wai’s images of 1962 Hong Kong are intoxicating, his pacing languid, keeping the viewer tantalized and teased by the story’s unconsummated romance.

Gold, red and white room, lit with yellow light

4. Dreams – 1990 – Akira Kurosawa

Before What Dreams May Come, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Inception (all wall-worthy films, by the way), there was Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams in 1990. It is a series of 8 short films filled with visions bizarre, rich, and pregnant with hidden meanings and symbols—just what you would expect of… well, dreams.

This clip’s from the segment entitle Crows, and is about a man who walks right into the world of Van Gogh’s paintings, and meets the artist himself, played by Martin Scorcese.

Top view of a den or living room

image courtesy of static-romance.org

5. The Fountain – 2006 – Darren Aronofsky

Apart from the beauteous cast (I mean, who wouldn’t want to gorge on Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz?), there are worlds and eras to see in The Fountain. The story spans centuries into the past and into the future, but the visual elements remain transcendent and glorious.

Den with wood and stone elements

from www.roomu.net

6. Sin City – 2005 – Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino

Every scene is a comic book frame here—high contrast, action laden, dramatically composed. This movie is so stylized and so stylish, even the really violent parts look awesomely artsy.

Artsy black and white room with wooden flooring

7. The Matrix Trilogy – the 1999-2003

What would the last turn of the century be without The Matrix? It defined an era in filmmaking, with its consciousness-altering premise, slick and polished special effects, and coronary-inducing fight sequences. This film trilogy offers hours and hours of spectacular visual stimuli.

Modern room with warm accents

image from contemporist.com


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