(The Blog Formerly Known as "Countdown to 30" and "30 is the New Twenty")
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I was watching her one day on the "Today Show" and she made a baked white pasta dish. It looked so easy and combined some of my favorite foods: spinach, mushrooms, garlic and pasta. I decided that I would cook this amazing dinner. I didn't copy the recipe down while watching, so I stopped by Border's and copied it out of her new cookbook. Yeah, I admit, that's a bit ghetto, but I was not about to spend $30 on her cookbook (at the time I didn't have Internet at home and this seemed like a simpler solution). As I wrote down the recipe, I was a bit puzzled at some of the quantities. Two pounds of spinach? Six cups of Mozzarella cheese? Two cups of Parmesan cheese? It seemed like a lot to me, but I figured she has to know what she is doing. I am a mere novice in the world of cooking.
After a trip to the grocery store and $30 later (What? She said this was a cheap meal!), I was ready to cook. The meal was supposed to only take me 30 minutes to prepare. I spent 30 minutes chopping up spinach and the entire clove of garlic. I actually only used a pound and a half of spinach. The colander was over flowing with spinach. Anymore just seemed like too much. I made the sauce, an easy white sauce, that ended up being a bit on the runny side. I don't know how, I followed her recipe perfectly. I decided to move on to the pasta part. Another 30 minutes passed as I sauteed the garlic, onions and mushrooms and wilted the spinach. Next I broke up the no bake lasagna noodles and threw them into my giant skillet. Another plus of this recipe is you only use one skillet. Amazing. I poured my runny sauce onto the pasta and dumped all of the cheese on top. Something didn't seem right. The ratios seemed way off, but I put the skillet into the oven for another 30 minutes. In the process of taking the skillet out of the oven, I managed to burn my hand badly. My own stupidity, of course. I grabbed the metal handle without a pot holder. Damn you, Rachel Ray! I ran my hand in cold water and cried. I felt like a cooking failure and possibly might have a severe burn, all because of Rachel Ray and her ridiculous recipe.
At this point, I had wasted 90 minutes cooking an "easy" pasta bake. I had feelings of hate building up for Rachel Ray and her perkiness and too tight tops. I was tired and my hand really burned. I felt like one of Oprah's fans who thought that Beloved would be an "easy" read. I was hoping that it would be a wonderful meal. That would be the one saving grace for the meal. It wasn't. Due to the massive quantities of dairy, it was extremely rich. Not in a good way either. With every bite, there was a half a pound of spinach, cheese, and garlic. It was not delish. It was edible and just ok.
All was not lost. I swore to myself that I would never, ever make a Rachel Ray meal again. It was not as simple and fast as she made it seem. I also learned that sometimes you need to go with your gut and not use massive quantities of spinach because the recipe says so. After this incident, I have been very leery of recipes. In fact, I decided to make my own pasta (not using a giant skillet) bake without a recipe. It turned out much better than Rachel's, took a shorter amount of time to prepare, and was a lot cheaper. For the cost of Rachel's pasta bake, I can make three my way. Take that, Thirty Minute Meal Queen!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
The Marcus Amphitheater before the show (Taken from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
My dad really had a great time. He actually enjoyed Willie more than Bob. My dad is sort of a Bob Dylan purist and likes it better when it's just Bob, his guitar, his harmonica, and a stool. Although, he did enjoy the Everly Brothers style of 50's rock.
All in all, an AMAZING show. If you ever have the opportunity to see either one of these legends, you should go. They will not disappoint.
I feel fortunate that I've had the opportunity to see one my favorite musicians of all time, Bob Dylan twice. I have so much more respect for Willie Nelson after seeing him. He is an amazing musician and person. And Bob, is always Bob. Both of these musicians have been able to stay true to themselves and not sell out. They are huge Icons in the music industry. It takes a lot to impress me ( I am a bit of a music snob), and Bob and Willie left me in awe. They are truly national treasures.