Thursday, April 3, 2008

Beef, BBall & Brownies, (Part 2)

This post was going to be about baseball, the other BBall that's important this time of year, but I got distracted watching TV the other night. No I wasn't watching Giada, I was watching "Hell's Kitchen" with British Chef Gordon Ramsey.

If you haven't seen this show, noted chef Ramsey spends an hour each week bellowing at a dozen chef wannabes, culminating in the dismissal, execution-style (or is it gangland-style?) of the worst contestant. All this is done in the confines of some Southern California restaurant called "Hell's Kitchen", (conveniently, the kitchen and dining room of which is filled with small cameras capable of observing all the action). What allegedly makes the show interesting is that every other word out of Ramsey's mouth is either the F-bomb or the S-bomb. If the language weren't bad enough, he does it with a venom and vigor usually saved for the political talking heads on FOX or CNN. Think Marine drill sergeant with a truly severe case of Tourette's syndrome helped along with a nice dose of amphetamines.

Now, I have no sympathy for the contestants. They're all food professionals of some experience and, by now, should be completely aware of Ramsey's reputation as a cursing , bile spewing dervish. Ramsey berates the cooks, hurls food like a two year old and is perpetually telling the chefs to, "do it again". In short, it's great TV. The high point of the early episodes comes when, with the customers leaving and the imperious maitre 'd complaining, Ramsey finally snaps and says, "ahhh, F***, shut it down, they've all left".

That whirring sound you hear is Edward R. Murrow spinning in his grave.

The people I don't understand are the ones who come to eat at the restaurant. In every season to date, no one has been served a full meal during the first three episodes. The customers all show up, dressed to the teeth L.A. style and then are video taped complaining that they haven't been served in three hours.

People, you're going to a restaurant named "Hell's Kitchen", what did you think the experience was going to be like? Here's a tip, watch a few episodes of the show and bring a lunch. You're not going to be eating anything during the first few weeks.

Well folks, no cursing or food throwing today. Here's the promised Espresso Brownies recipe. They are a decidedly adult dessert, but are a great finish to the barbecued beef from the previous post. They are rich, so cut them small and let those with a high sugar tolerance have multiple pieces.

SeaShell Sal tells me the only tricky part is the frosting, so take your time with that part. I'll be back soon, until then, well you know: You can do it, you can cook.

Espresso Brownies
courtesy: Giada DeLaurentiis
from, "Everyday Italian"

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk 1/3 cup of water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add the brownie mix. Stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies. Refrigerate until the glaze is set. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.


Jeannebean said...


Anonymous said...

Greetings from South Africa!

Had a dessert here that deserves a quick mention.

Pureed chickenlivers with cruchy peanut butter parfait and apples.

Food is great, weather equal, people are terrific,beaches awesome!