here's the deal. i love watching the food network. i especially love watching the food network on saturday mornings, while still in my pj's, drinking extraordinary amounts of black coffee. there was a time in my life when i would try at least 3 new recipes every week from my saturday morning food network binge watching sessions. ah, those were the days before children took over my kitchen, my household and my life. but, i'm trying to get back some of that kitchen-joy i used to have in finding and trying new recipes, instead of letting my kids win the battle every night while we eat things like hot dogs (nitrate-free, but still...) and mac and cheese (organic and homemade, but still...)
so, let's get to my declaration, the "fuck you, pioneer woman."
i'll start with this: i (used to) LOVE her. i started out reading her food blog, then got into her whole love story between her and her husband (which eventually became a book). then she got this show on the food network. initially, i was stoked. but i have found her to be kind of awkward to watch and listen to, even though she's a fantastic writer and i'm sure a decent human being. i just kind of don't like watching her talk to me. sometimes i'll put on her cooking show, turn it up really loud and leave the room just so i don't have to make eye contact with her. it isn't about external beauty, she's super cute and that blazing orange hair of hers is really something... i just think she's got a whole lot of weirdness in front of the camera and she's always kind of looking at you, but kind of looking at something else, and it's almost as creepy as mount rushmore.
|"thank you for being a friend..."|
let's pause here while i say this - who am i to judge, really? sitting here, hiding behind a keyboard and a 22-inch screen, i mean really. who am i to judge? nobody. i'm nobody. so, ree? if you're reading this? i'm sorry for not-judging judging you.
anyways, where were you? oh yes, the "fuck you" part.
a few saturday mornings ago, in my frumpy pj's and ratted hair, i decided to actually watch her show. and this particular episode was something called "16 minute meals". hot damn, i was hooked! this is the kind of thing i love - chefs (or, in this case, a blogger-turned-food-network-reality-tv-star) handing out cooking shortcuts and ways to prep meals more efficiently while still feeding your family some semblance of real food. okay. so the episode was great, and she must've dialed down the crazy in her eyes, because i didn't mind watching her. so, i decided that instead of our typical boring "taco tuesday" that we do every week consisting of ground beef seasoned for tacos, crunchy taco shells, and fillings, we'd try ree's quesadilla recipe from this show (check out the video here). and anything that i can do in 16 minutes on a weeknight is a guaranteed "hell yeah, i'm doing this!"
i bought all of the ingredients during my weekly shopping trip on that saturday afternoon, and by the time tuesday evening came around, i was ready to tackle the recipe. i walked in the door from work at 5:30pm, and told the family we were having quesadillas "like, in 16 minutes!". of course, nash threw a fit "but i don't LIKE quesadillas!" she didn't even know what a quesadilla was before this night. i was able to get her on board by telling her that a quesdilla is just a taco shaped like a frisbee.
and then it all fell apart.
the 16 minutes doesn't include the time it actually takes you to cook those chicken breasts when, after dutifully following her instructions of "4 minutes per side", your olive oil starts to smoke, and you have to wipe out the pan and use something with a higher smoke point... like coconut oil. which is what i did. i wiped out the pan, moved the still-nearly-clucking chicken breasts to a cutting board, re-greased the skids with coconut oil and put the chicken back into the pan to finish cooking. this took an extra 4 minutes.
we're at a running total of about 12 minutes, for those of you counting along at home.
at 1:36 in the video, you'll notice she says "i've got a sliced onion, a sliced red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and green bell pepper..." um, ree? i don't have a sou-chef or a personal make-up assistant helping me with my meals. so, add another 8 minutes to the time, since you now have to find an onion, peel and slice it, pull your 5-year-old twins off of the cat that they continue to tackle and torture, then find 3 bell peppers in the caverns of your fridge, wash, de-seed and slice those.
we're at 20 minutes now.
at 1:56 in the video, she says "now i'm gonna dice up the cooked chicken..." it was at this point that i did as she said and realized that the chicken was totally, bright-pink and raw inside. so i had to get the pan back out of the sink, back onto the heat and put the chicken breasts back into the pan for another 6-7 minutes per side.
at 2:20, for the love of christ, she has a nice big pile of cheese already shredded and ready to go. this shredding time is not included in her catch phrase "16 minute meals!!!" so i started shredding the gigantic block of cheese that we bought. 4 minutes later, that's done.
we're at 36 minutes.
i finally start assembling the tortillas, and we don't have enough cheese. we must eat a lot more than ree's lovely cattle ranching family. i guess living in northeast minneapolis, driving to work and sitting at a desk all day long really works up more of an appetite than being a cattle rancher. so i had to find another block of cheese and shred that one up.
people, i finally got the quesadillas assembled, but realized i didn't have that fancy stove-top griddle thing. so i opted to bake these on cookie sheets in the oven. preheat oven to 425...
in go the quesadillas, finally.
i pulled the quesadillas out of the oven and attempted to cut one. it's so fucking hot that all of the innards spill out all over my counter. it's at this moment that nash decides to join me in the kitchen, and sees this happen to what she assumed was "her" quesadilla. she erupts into tears over her "flat taco" that is now "ruined!". not to worry. i told her i'd eat that one and she could have the next one, hoping that i could somehow keep the innards in. i decided to let them cool for a bit before cutting.
not 16 minutes.
and so, in summary, fuck you, pioneer woman.
on the bright side, they were really delicious. and nash actually ate hers, full of onions and peppers and chicken - three things i don't think she's eaten without gagging ever. so we hatched a plan to have them again the following week. however this time, i spent part of my sunday pre-cooking the chicken, slicing the peppers and onion, and shredding the cheese.
ashley "that ree drummond is full of shit" rebekah