If you have been following this journey on PBS Great American Recipe this post covers Episode 3-For the Love of Food and Episode 4-Meals on the Move.
PBS Great American Recipe:
What should have been an easy cook turned into a real nightmare for me.
Comfort food should be easy, except when you make it on national TV and are told you can’t cook something the way you have for thirty years, well, then it becomes a challenge.
I wanted to make my standard blintz casserole which is a “Break The Fast entree” for us along with Lox and Bagels.
Easy to do using frozen blintzes, this simple casserole is baked right before breaking the fast on Yom Kippur.
Creamy, and a bit sweet, this dreamy blintz casserole is pretty standard Jewish fare.
Honestly, it would be perfect for any Sunday brunch and I know you will appreciate the ease of preparation.
What I made on the show in no way resembles this recipe.
And what was made on the show was nothing like what I serve on Yom Kippur.
The powers that be wanted me to make actual blintzes with prepared crepe wrappers and though I gave it my best shot, the ingredients I was supplied with just didn’t work.
It is not so easy if you are handed giant dry crepes that fall apart when you attempt to roll them.
And those that did get rolled, broke up when I tried to fry them, even though I also chilled them before hand.
Being told I couldn’t use frozen blintzes was a surprise to me.
I could have made real blintzes but I was worried about the time limit and therefore tried to do it with pre-cooked crepe wrappers.
This is not a mistake I will make again!
The whole thing about PBS Great American Recipe is they want you to cook and they didn’t think a dish made with frozen blintzes was enough cooking.
Though I argued I said I agreed to trying it their way, which was a big mistake on my part; because it did not work!
I ended up layering the crepe wrappers like lasagna and if I had known this would happen I am sure I would have made another recipe for this challenge.
Thankfully Graham Elliot, my knight in shining armor, stepped in to rescue me and I at least had something to place before the judges.
Not my favorite way to do things!
But I promise if you make what I have been making for thirty years, you will love it!
Normally I serve blintzes with jam, but on the show I made this Sephardic charoset, which they didn’t even mention.
We love it, so next time you want something besides apple charoset, give it a try.
The second half of this competition was, ” The Way to Your Heart. “
My mother in law’s recipe for red beans and rice was what she served to me the first time I met her and also the last meal she ever made for us before Alzheimer’s took over.
This is a great recipe but on the show required me to use a pressure cooker.
Not being familiar with a pressure cooker meant in my case the beans did not cook enough.
Yes, it was a real bummer!
Technicalities do count and the judges were right, but I can’t accept this as my failure because I do make great red beans and rice.
I just don’t make them in a pressure cooker.
I cook them low and slow on top of my stove where I can smell them simmer all day long.
They are savory, full of lots of spice and melt in your mouth.
Perfect with cornbread, my red beans are loved by whoever tastes them.
But some things in a competition are just beyond your control and though I felt bad, I can’t beat myself up over it.
PBS Great American Recipe Episode 4
Meals on the Move!
Making breakfast burritos isn’t hard, but making good breakfast burritos is.
I love breakfast burritos and often make them for dinner, too.
But making breakfast burritos taste good can take some time.
Anyone can throw together a burrito but it is the layering of ingredients in the correct order that makes a difference.
Not using too much or too little filling does also.
Cooking everything and assembling them is not a quick process.
Granted this recipe makes 8 burritos, but it does take some time.
Somehow the producers got the idea that I should roast and chop my own green chiles.
(They made time management very hard for us, thinking they knew how long things should take. Since we have been cooking these dishes for years, it would have been nice if they had trusted us on how to use our time.)
I quickly nixed that idea and was able to rely on a can.
Then they had me boil potatoes and chop them, but ordinarily I would use frozen hash browns which taste great and save time, too.
Using ham is also a timesaver, but cooked chorizo or other breakfast sausage works and tastes great in these also.
Plus you don’t need sausage unless you want it.
Since these are supposed to be recipes by home cooks I could never quite understand why they felt the need to make them more complicated.
Additionally, they had me make pickled vegetables to serve with these.
Now I don’t know about you but if my kids are grabbing these on the run, there is no way they’d grab pickled vegetables to take with them.
The judges loved my burritos and that made me feel good after my disaster in round 3.
If you like breakfast burritos, give them a try and see if you agree with the judges.
Then it was on to the Bake Sale. I do love bake sales. Do schools still have them?
I made my coconut macaroons which I bake every year for Passover in countless varieties.
The pina colada version was a hit and though the judges found no fault with my recipe and actually raved about them, I still did not make it in the top two.
Subjective, yes. Disappointing, yes. But that’s the way it goes!
Give them a try. Coconut lovers and cookie lovers will rejoice!
These chewy, moist macaroons are rich and candy-like.
And before you know it we are halfway through the competition for the PBS Great American Recipe show.
Stay tuned for further adventures and be sure to read my last two posts about this journey.
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