Thursday, April 14: Day Of.
The garden has had its full Spring clean up and the pool is even open. The sky is a bright cloudless blue, so the flowers in bloom look all the more wonderful. It should make great establishing shots, as they say in the biz.
In the kitchen, we've decided to feature our Zucchini/Cheddar Blintzes with Cherry Sauce, because a) they're different, b) the dish is colorful and should look good on the plate, and c) it is really freakin' yummy, so much so that I am glad there are almost never any leftovers when I make them.
I agonized over how much to prepare in advance. While the segment is all about food, it isn't a cooking show, per se. So I didn't figure I needed to have all the pre-measured ingredients in little ramekins like on the Food Network that you hold up and say "Add two tablespoons of chopped garlic..."
On the other hand, grating a zucchini by hand doesn't make for very scintillating TV.
(Okay, you ask, why not use a food processor? After all, the Barefoot Contessa does. Answer in general: The recipe calls for a cup each of the cheese and zucchini, not a quantity that generally requires my hauling out the Cuisinart. Answer specific to today: Because unlike Ina's kitchen, we don't have electrical outlets on our kitchen island, so using a machine would mean I turn into a wall to work. I'm telling you, this is the sort of stuff that I worry about.)
Just in case, though, I did have my blintz filling and my grated ingredients prepared and pre-measured. And it's a good thing I did, because the Fios team was really pressed for time. In only 2-1/2 hours, they had to set up, shoot bits of the whole house and garden, interview Chris about the origins of our name, do the cooking segment, eat, and tear down. Had I chosen to feature an entree that required baking (which is most of my reperoire), I'd have had to do the Martha Stewart voilà- instant-food move of assembling the dish, putting it in the oven, then turning and taking an already-finished perfectly cooked version out of another oven.
Because the blintzes are filled, rolled and sauced just before serving, it's a good choice for show and tell. For the same reason, it's something I tend to make off season or midweek if we don't have a full house.
I think it went well. Host Amanda Price and camera wizard Danielle raved over the cherry-sauced blintzes (when they finally got to eat them). But I admit to being nervous about being observed under the microscope, so to speak, while preparing the food. Especially under the tight time constraints. I've decided I'm NOT auditioning for a food show in my next life.
I'm not sure when the episode will air; watch this space for updates. But in the meantime, here's the (simple!) recipe I prepared on camera, which can also be found in A Butler's Manor: The Cookbook.. It is very yum, if I do say so myself.
4-5 servings; 2 blintzes each
1 cup baking mix or pancake mix
1 cup milk
1 cup grated zucchini (about half a medium squash)
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 cup cherry preserves (I like Bonne Maman), warmed up
Combine filling ingredients until smooth; set aside.
In large bowl, combine zucchini, cheese, pancake mix, milk, vanilla & egg with a wire whisk; mix thoroughly.
Drop batter by quarter-cupfuls (blintzes will be about 4” diameter) onto a lightly-oiled preheated griddle. Turn over when blintzes began to dry along edges. Cook approx 2 minutes longer, then transfer to a warm plate. (Mix will make approx. 10 pancakes.)