Originally Posted by Scotch
However, she is supposedly a Cordon-Bleu-trained chef, so I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Lee is quite proud of the fact that she dropped out of Le Cordon Bleu after about two weeks deciding "I knew it just wasn't for me." As a matter of fact, I believe the course she attempted was held at a satellite location.
Let me fully disclose here...When I found out that there was a show that purported to teach "shortcuts" in the kitchen, the cook inside me pictured a savior to make real cooking
quicker and tastier. I watched my first ep of Semi-Homemade with high hopes. These hopes were dashed as I watched Lee dump a can of chicken rice soup into the stuffing in a roast chicken - where it really wasn't performing a "short cut" worth tolerating the salty concentrated soup's affect on the taste of the resulting dish.
The necessity of using heavily salted, heavily chemical-preserved food in the name of "express" cooking is a misleading fallacy. Lee's aversion for the feeling and aroma of fresh garlic on her fingers only dictates she should concentrate on um...inexpensive
curtains and bric a brac in rooms other than the kitchen.
There are plenty of healthy shortcuts to be had in a pantry that would hardly be considered that of a food snob. Canned beans; a selection of pastas; a selection of canned tomatoes in a variety of cuts; chicken and beef stocks by good companies like Kitchen Basics and Pacific; olive oils and vinegars; even peeled whole garlic cloves are a path to wonderful dinners. These products don't contain a great deal of preservatives, letting natural flavors shine through. And you get to take 100% of the credit.
Here's a tip you can use. If you're coming into a heavy cooking season - a cluster of birthdays, holidays, etc., grab whole peeled garlic cloves from Sam's or Costco (or BJ's or whatever is near you). Dump them all out into a big steel bowl. Wipe out the container. Fold a full sized paper towel in half, then half again. Line the bottom of the garlic container with the paper towel. Pour in 1/4 of the garlic cloves. Fold another paper towel in the same way and place it on top of the garlic cloves. Pour in another 1/4 of the garlic cloves. Repeat until container is full and make sure there is a paper towel right under the lid. You may have garlic cloves left in the bowl. Fold a paper towel and line a mason jar. Pour in remaining garlic cloves, then screw on the lid. Use the cloves in the mason jar first, then move onto the garlic in the original container.
You don't need a family the size of the Waltons to make this a worthwhile purchase. BF and I are TWO people and though we entertain a bit, we go through the garlic pretty quickly. I've found this shortcut item to be indispensable around the holidays.