Welcome to my world!

I've developed a passion for cooking since childhood, but in the past six years, that passion has grown into a geeky obsession. I love cooking, baking, and most importantly, sharing the love of food with family and friends. I invite you along on my journey of food discovery and passion.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sandra Lee - genius or annoyance?

I confess, in my downtime I watch way too much Food Network, but there is one show I absolutely turn off when it comes on - Sandra Lee's Money Saving Meals.  Either you think she's a genius for taking a Le Cordon Bleu (France campus) education and reducing it down to using pre-made items from the grocery store for like 70% of her stuff, or you absolutely hate what she does and how she does it.  I tend to fall in the latter category.

So, one day when I was looking for new recipes and for cookbooks I really hadn't given much of a chance in my pantry, I found Sandra Lee's first cookbook, "Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade."  It was based on her first TV series and definitely heavily focused on entertaining themes (read: drunken shindigs featuring cocktails for ANY occasion) and party foods to accompany her elaborate tablescapes. 

Sandra - not that you read my blog - but I really think you missed your calling as a party planner/interior decorator.  Dear Food Network - please put her on HGTV instead - she is really a frustrated interior designer masquerading as a chef!  Anyhoo, I found about 5 or 6 appealing recipes and decided to make this cookbook my first victim, er, project in my quest to review my cookbooks. 

Obviously, Sandra had a lot to overcome with my bias against what I previously saw.  I have to say, in trying all the recipes identified, all but one recipe was a bust.  That one recipe, however, was awesome.  I've included a modified version of it that I like better.  The short version doctors up a deli rotisserie chicken quickly.  The long version uses raw poultry and can be done on the grill or in the oven on the broil setting.  It received rave reviews from a neighbor as well:

Lemon-Butter Basted Chicken (short version)
1 deli rotisserie chicken, cut up into pieces
1/4 cup butter, melted (the real thing)
1 Tbsp. Hollandaise sauce mix
1 tsp. lemon herb seasoning
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Turn on oven broiler to low.  Arrange cut-up chicken pieces on baking sheet.  Mix butter, sauce mix, herb seasoning, and lemon juice in a bowl.  Brush chicken pieces with the mixture.  Place in oven for 4 minutes or until skin is crisped up, but not over browned/burned (you should watch carefully).  Remove chicken and turn over.  Baste other side and return to oven for 3 - 4 more minutes, again watching for skin to crisp up, but not burn.  Remove from oven and baste again before serving with remaining sauce.  Goes well with a rice dish and steamed veggies.

The verdict: Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Cookbook was repurposed to a friend who does a lot of entertaining, often with themes.  There, the cookbook happily resides with someone who appreciates her talents.

1 comment:

  1. HGTV would be a better spot for her the way the show is now. I always thought they did a) a horrible job marketing her when she frankly does things that the average Food Channel viewer can do/relate to b)had her doing the wrong things on the show. She really did stress the entertaining thing way to much for a food show.