Monday, November 20
I think everyone needs a full week or so after Thanksgiving to recover, so that's why this is so late. Hopefully you've all had plenty of time to see it.
The secret ingredient was cranberries. Both teams discussed a bit about what they'd make (or just pretended if they already had it planned) before getting into it.
This is right about where I fell asleep the first time, so it's fitting that my pictures begin from this point.
Giada immediately got flustered with that food processor. Her nerves were over the edge for the rest of the episode.
Mario Batali quickly got on the judges good side by sneaking some cranberry Bellini's over the them. Cheers!
When asked to comment on this obvious bribe, Bobby Flay sort of just acted his normal, alien-like self:
No words. Anyhow, he's a focused chef. No time for chit chat.
Mario didn't seem to mind prancing around, handing out pannetone to both teams while taking his own dishes to the refrigerator when needed... himself!
Since the chefs (and Rachael the "cook") are so focused they rarely have time to look at the camera. Most of the time you get these top of the head kind of shots.
But with all they looking down and bending over, you'd think we'd get some of those cleavage shots Giada has made famous! Come on, Mario! Don't let us down.
So they cooked a lot, both teams making osso buco-inspired recipes. They all looked and sounded interesting to me, but some looked better than others. Rachael boiled pasta in red wine which sounded really nice. I had seen Michael Chiarello do a similar wine-soaked pasta and wanted to try it. Hmm...
Finally it was time to judge. The honorable judges were Mo Rocca that I remember from the Daily Show, some girl from Entertainment Weekly (I think), and David Evangelista who used to do hair and makeover segments on the Rosie O'Donnell Show (before the View became the Rosie show II).
Team Fliada went first:
This one gets a check mark by me. I like everything about it. Some of the judges didn't like the AMOUNT of goat cheese on it (too thick or something), but more cheese is always better in my book. Especially when it comes from a goat.
Sorry, Giada. I love you, but these ravioli look like flat, oily disks rather than gourmet, hearty Italian fare. Next!
This one gets a ribbon by me. Honorable Mention! I say that because I'm not the biggest fan of duck, but know many people are. They would have liked it better than I.
This one might have done in Team Fliada. Again, I don't like venison, but that's not even why. When compared next to Mario's osso buco, this one just doesn't match up. Also, that cranberry risotto looked really runny and sort of grayish. They showed some overhead shots of it and it kind of appeared to be what throwing up Pepto Bismol must look like. Sorry!
Giada's zeppole always get a check mark from me! Even though, admittedly, balls of fried dough should always get good marks. She had some trouble getting them to fry through, but they turned out great. Would love to try some.
Mo Rocca asked if Italian cops eat zeppole instead of "regular" donuts. Haha... that got him a hug from Giada.
This dish gets... a sheriff's badge from me, basically because I don't really remember anything about it. Can't even really tell what it is from this picture. Hmm...
These shrimp things get a check mark, but NO BOX:-) They sound all right, but I don't love the idea of wrapping meat in more meat. Maybe I'm wrong. Alton pointed out pancetta is like bacon, but not smoked. Great.
The drunken bucatini that I mentioned earlier gets a check/exclamation point! It sounds delish, and I've even eat the sweet and spicy sausage.
This one wins. I love saffron and the gold leaf.
This looks beautiful. I would get over my dislike for trifles by eating this, I think.
And now for the scores:
... but first
What is that in/on Rachael's teeth? As Jordan Baker pointed out, it sounded like Rachael had "smoked a full carton of reds" before the taping. It looks like it, too. Someone get Rachael on the patch quick!
After tabulating the scores, the winner is TEAM RATALI!
Rachael can't believe it; Mario knew it.
Looks like Giada thought Mario might try to throw the match her way. Flay is in alien mode.
That is a pretty saucy reaction from Ms. De Laurentiis. At least it wasn't this:
Better watch out!
All in all, a good episode. Fun times. Even if it took about 3 tries to get through it.
Okay, this post took forever. I gotta go sleep again:-)
Congrats Team Ratali!