April 7, 2008

Jamie Oliver Swoon

You were forewarned - I'm about to wax poetic about Jamie Oliver, aka the Naked Chef (which is such a dumb moniker, in my opinion).  Before you run away...have you seen his latest series on the Food Network? If you haven't, but he annoys you so you think you don't care, keep reading.

Let me first admit that I have always been a fan. I've been with him through all of his various incarnations, I have all of his cookbooks, I have let him hold my first-born (really! I have a photo to prove it). My admiration for him and his values was immediately validated the day he started trying to improve school lunches in the UK - and that was before his kids were even born. I know he's a superstar and everything, but I also think he's real and he means well.

That brings me to his latest series called Jamie at Home. It could also be called, Jamie Goes Hippy, Jamie Loses the Punk, Jamie has an Amazing Garden and Gardener. I don't care what it's called, I love it. I could watch these episodes over and over again. For starters, the setting is perfect. He could be outside, surrounded by his garden and next to his woodburning oven. Or he's inside what looks like a garden shed, or he's in his old-timey kitchen. Each one is quirky and kind of small in a British way. I feel immediately transported in an armchair traveler kind of way and just imagine myself getting cooking lessons in a locale just like that.

The whole theme of Jamie at Home is that he uses produce straight from his garden. Seasonal, fresh, what-do-I-do-with-this-again kind of thinking. The latest episode was squash. I was kind of bummed since we are now out of squash season, because man did he make that squash soup look GOOD. Did you know you don't need to peel a butternut squash? Either did I. He also made an amazing batch of squash muffins/cupcakes that are very kid friendly. I'm stashing this recipe for the fall when I will need to bring a snack to my daughter's preschool once a month .

I hope you give it a try! Saturdays @ 9:30 AM. Upcoming episodes are Pastry, Asparagus, Peppers & Chilies, Mushrooms, Eggs, Leeks.

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