Props to Vera for another stellar recap!
Today’s episode: 16 Minute Meals Around The World, in which Ree makes vaguely Indian, Thai and Italian foods with an unnecessary 16 minute time limit which is only mentioned part of the time.
We start in the kitchen at The Lodge, where they are still using the colorful decorative background items from last week. Ree is wearing a patterned green shirtain and using a Caribbean blue LeCreuset dutch oven. She says she has a short deadline to make some soup to take to Hyacinth, who has driven Alex back from Tulsa. Ree has to meet Hyacinth somewhere and exchange the soup for Alex. Now, why you would wait until you are on your way out the door to meet someone to make soup to take along remains a mystery, but on with the show. Ree starts with one scrawny looking boneless skinless chicken breast, which she says she’s going to cut into small dice. She cuts it into large chunks, then puts butter into a skillet on high heat. She puts onion and garlic that somebody else chopped up off camera into the pan, then the chicken goes in, then we are treated to a close-up and detailed segment on Ree washing her hands.
She peels a Granny Smith apple and tells some lame story about how getting the peel off in one strip makes her the coolest person in the world, then she can’t get the peel off in one strip, so I guess we have our answer about that. She cuts the apple into huge chunks and wastes a lot of it because she doesn’t cut very close to the core, then she talks about cutting the apple into fine dice. Apparently, she thinks “fine dice” means “huge chunks” but she talks a little about Hy and how she also has four children and they never get to eat Indian food, then she puts some flour into the onions in the pan. She also puts in curry powder, which she measures as a heaping tablespoon. Isn’t the point of measuring ingredients to use standardized measures? Why use a heaping tablespoon? That’s not accurate! In goes a large container of chicken broth, which is proclaimed marvelous and glorious, then two cups of half-and-half and another heaping tablespoon of brown sugar, then she adds the apples and says to simmer them a couple of minutes.
Ree goes to the freezer and pulls out a previously opened package of naan which is now inside a Ziploc freezer bag and says she is going to take it to Hyacinth to eat with her soup. Because nothing says you care like giving someone a leftover partial package of bread that’s been lingering in your freezer. As Ree is moving around between the refrigerator and the stove, I can see that the shirtain she’s wearing is knee length and she has jeans underneath. Someone needs to tell her that is not a good look for her! She puts the soup into a couple of plastic storage containers, which she calls “quart pots”. The containers are not insulated, so they won’t keep the soup warm, but she says the soup will continue cooking as she transports it to Hy’s house. Supposedly the soup will taste better the next day, which Ree proclaims the sign of a good recipe. Well, food safety be damned, Ree is going to take Hy’s soup to her in that uninsulated container, sitting on the truck seat with the plastic bag of leftover naan. The filthy truck drives away, Ree enters Pawhuska, and she drives up to Hy’s house. This time, I notice the house next door, which is a completely normal sized brick ranch-style house. Hy’s mansion with the huge columns and the Juliet balcony looks all kinds of out-of-proportion next to it. Ree drives up, Hy comes out wearing a black shirtain, there is some awkward banter, then Ree and Alex drive off in the truck. There is a tease of the upcoming Thai beef and chicken piccata recipes, complete with loud scraping noises from the metal utensils on the cast iron pan, and we’re out to commercial.
Back to Ree in the pantry wearing a blue flowy blouse, gathering sort-of Asian ingredients. She says the Thai beef recipe she’s going to make is “rully, rully” fast and easy. First she makes a marinade that she says doesn’t need a whole lot of ginger. She kind of waves the ginger root above the rasp, so yeah, there’s not a lot of ginger going into the recipe. She says the marinade is marvelous, then starts cutting up the flank steak with that square vegetable knife that she uses for everything. She talks about how having the right knife is so important and it’s the most important kitchen tool – she must have heard someone say that and not really understood, since I have never seen her use the right knife for any job, but that doesn’t stop her from parroting the advice.
The meat goes into a bowl and she only pours on a quarter of the marinade she made. She opens what she calls a package of “pad thai rice noodles” which she puts in boiling water, we get to hear her scrape some onion around in the cast iron skillet with a fish turner, then she hacks up a jalapeño. She says you can use any vegetables you want (so what is the point of a recipe?) then puts a huge clump of beef strips into the cast iron skillet. The microphone must be right next to the pan, because the frying noise is deafening and she is yelling over it. The meat is cooked, the vegetables go back in, then she pours in the reserved marinade. Did somebody finally get through to her that you can’t use the marinade you had the raw meat in for the finished dish? She actually used some for the meat and held the rest back for the end. Yeah, someone got through to somebody on that one.
She scrapes the meat around in the pan with the tongs, then takes the noodles out of the water and slops them into the meat pan. She scrapes it all around with the fish turner, squeezes in some lime juice, adds a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes, calls it glorious and marvelous, then tears some leaves of cilantro and basil into huge hunks and drops them on top. There is a tease for chicken piccata and noodles that are coming up later, complete with amplified scraping noises, she’s says she’s having a dinner meeting with Ladd’s mother Nan (what???) and we cut to a commercial break.
Ree enters the kitchen wearing a purple tent top and says Nan is coming for a working dinner. What? Neither of these people have jobs, so working at what? Ree makes chicken piccata just like everybody who has ever made chicken piccata – floured and fried chicken cutlets – and we learn that she and Nan will be talking about The Building. It’s the same song-and-dance about how they bought it with no plans, they are making offices and a deli, blah, blah, blah. So that is their version of work? OK. While Ree washes her hands, we see the same footage we’ve seen before, then shots of Nan talking to the builders and pointing out where desks will go in the offices. Cut back to Ree adding garlic, white wine, chicken broth and lemon juice to the pan where she fried the chicken, along with more loud scraping. There is a tease for the end result of the chicken and some noodles, then out to commercial.
Back to Ree, the noodles are cooked, then the noodles go into a skillet with some butter while the whacky carnival music plays. She adds lemon juice and parsley to the noodles, which should make them taste just the same as the chicken, and she scrapes the pan some more. She uses a rasp the right way to get some lemon zest, then she adds heavy cream to the piccata sauce. This is where she loses me, because piccata is not a cream sauce, but I guess there is no sauce that Ree wouldn’t think was improved by making it greasier. The capers go in, Nan arrives, they babble about some rolled up architectural plans she’s carrying, the chicken and noodles go onto the plate with a huge mound of undressed arugula, topped with huge slices of Parmesan cheese for no obvious reason.
Ree and Nan talk and giggle about The Building, wine is poured and they clink glasses, then Ree asks when The Building will be finished. Nan says “the fall”, Ree says “of 2047”, they laugh, and we are out.