Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sandra Lee: Holiday Cocktail Party

Semi Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee: Holiday Cocktail Party

A point by point analysis.

1) Whoops. I stopped paying attention already- let me rewind.

2) Sandy is walking through the falling snow in a pine forest with echo-y audio waxing nostalgic about the holiday season being where tradition meets modern--- especially when it's 'Semi Homemade.'

3) Less than a minute in and she's already telling us about the booze. She knows where my priorities are. Thank you Ms. Lee.

4) Hmm. I don't know how I feel about the frozen blue martini. There are three drinks though-- no one can call Sandra Lee a slacker.

5) A hint of what's to come: there's a nutcracker tablescape.

6) It also appears that she's recycling old ideas- she made a "cocktail tree" last year, didn't she? I didn't mention it in my recap, so I don't know if I'm imagining cocktail trees or if I'm just a lazy blogger.

7) Her intro is way more polished than it's been in the past. She must have a bigger budget. She explains the 70% 30% breakdown during a montage of her being all blonde and smiling.

As a side note, I was making christmas cookies this year, and there is a Sandra Lee recipe on the side of my Domino's Sugar. After initially being freaked out, I'm now just comforted that this additional income is being put to good use.

8) Clothes: What should be a white knit turtleneck, biased cut with an asymmetrical hem, jeans, and ugg type boots.

9) What is she holding? A plaid treasure chest with nutcrackers at each corner? When will she explain this one? (addendum- she doesn't)

10) 1st recipe: marmalade meatball

-Put pre-made, thawed meatballs in a slow cooker.

-Cover with orange marmalade. She emptied the marmalade into a red bowl, then poured the red bowl in the crock pot. I don't know why she added the red bowl middle-man. I assumed she was going to mix something into the marmalade (vanilla extract? That's a favorite of hers…). but she didn't. Just plop. Into the slow cooker.

-Add whole bottle of Catalina dressing. I used to love that on my salads when I was 12. I would literally drown my iceberg lettuce in that. Damn. This is bringing back good memories. She didn't put that into a bowl first. At least she's not making sure we have too many unnecessary dishes.

-Worcestershire sauce. Nothing interesting about that. Carry on.

-Oooh. Hot red peppers. Getting fancy there Ms. Lee! Half a teaspoon- it really makes the dish.

-Sitr to cover all the meatballs and distribute crushed red pepper. Slow cook on high for 3 hours.

11) 2nd Recipe: Blue cheese date spread

-Open up one of those nifty packages of crushed blue cheese. I'd feel more comfortable teasing her about those if I didn't use them all the freaking' time myself. Stupid easy supermarket-cheese. Then she adds two bricks of cream cheese. That seems like a lot of cream cheese to blue cheese, but I really like blue cheese.

Literally just seconds to do!

-She's going to let that baby firm up now. Wait, she just compared it to gelato. I mean, only the consistency, but that's a little weird, no? Or am I just reaching? 3 hours to set??? Luckily, due to the magic of TV, she has some already made.

(She just called some basil in a red cup a "little christmas tree- how cute is that??" You can practically see the tablescape forming in her head as she suggests putting it on the table at dinner.)

-Wet cheese scooped with an ice cream scoop and then rolled into a ball. Roll into the chopped dates (she said she chopped them herself, though they were pitted) then put on a few leaves of the basil.

12) 3rd Recipe: Rock Shrimp with Spicy Cream Sauce

-She tells where we can find rock shrimp, and it seems totally dubbed and unnatural. The camera is on a bowl of rock shrimp for 11 whole seconds, and all you can see is her fiddling with the bowl and waving her hands above it like a crazy person. It's a little disturbing (especially after the third time you've watched it- these are the sacrifices I make for you, gentle reader).

The cream sauce first

-1/2 cup mayo

-1/4 cup heavy cream (she's trying to kill us all!)

-2 tsp sweshwan style seasoning. That's a "fabulous" spicy asian spice mix. There's cracked red pepper in it. That's how you know it's spicy.

- 2 cups of tempura mix (Sandy goes international!) and 1 1/2 cups of ice cold water. She literally has ice in the measuring cup. She doesn't mention if she adjusted her measurements because of that.

-Deep fryer at 375- I stand by the "she's trying to kill us" statement. Maybe not quickly, but isn't that the worst kind- the lingering, fat with unhealthy foods type of murder?

She then fries the shrimp one at a time, which might be correct, but seems like a pain in the butt- There's 80 shrimp there (enough for 8 people, and I assume that's appetizer size, because 8 rock shrimp wouldn't be enough for me for a main course).

She's blotting them- trying to convince me she's not trying to kill me- before she dumps them into the cream/mayo mixture.

Her garnish are endive leaves. She does way more garnish than I do, though I do like endives. However, I would not usually describe them as "festive."

13) Wow, she just insulted me. Humph. Apparently my lack of attention to details like this is making my guests feel like I don't like them enough to put in the energy and effort to make their holidays extra cheerful. Now you know the truth. If I make you deep fried shrimp without the endives, I don't really care about your holiday.

14) Cocktails next. Thank god. I need some booze. Sadly, the hot chocolate that I'm sipping on doesn't have booze in it. What was I thinking when I turned on Sandra Lee without alcohol???

15) Sandra just walked back into the kitchen with a life sized nutcracker. Seriously, he could take her in a fight, being at least 5 inches taller and broader than her.

However, if his extremely sparkling jacket is any indication, Mr. Nutcracker may be a bit fey and not into that. Maybe he'd just do her hair. I hear she's huge in the gay community. And why not? She's practically a drag queen. Though I must admit, I'm a bit disappointed in her clothes- no cleavage and she only has one outfit though we're 17 minutes in. My fingers are crossed she has a costume change planned for the tablescape reveal.

16) She called the nutcracker her "little buddy" and said he's going to help her in the kitchen. I think she's already tested of a few of those cocktails. She's also blocking her refrigerator with him.

17) She then points out what I somehow didn't notice before- her entire kitchen is filled with nutcrackers. Let's play the counting game. 17 on Screen right now. Nope. Wrong. I didn't see the wreath. 23.

18) She named them all. Simon. Fredrick. Bjorn. Eek.

19) Bib lettuce to garnish the meatballs.

20) Recipe #4-6 3 Cocktails:

1st up: Frosty Cocktail


-1 part vodka

-equal parts blue curaco and orange liquor.

-Rim your martini glass with honey and then coconut before pouring in the drink.

It looks like a slushy and tastes like blue.

2nd: Gingerbread cockail

Equal parts

-vanilla vodka


-Half part of butterscotch schnapps


-She pours it into a snifter and tops it with some dark rum and a splash of ginger beer. The lady does not mess around with her cocktails. I would not play asshole with her. I'm sure she can hold her liquor.

But then she goes and balances a poor gingerbread man onto the rim. Why can't she just leave the rims of glasses alone? What did they ever do to her? (see photo above re: Gingerbread man crotch)

3rd: Candy cane cocktail

Equal parts

-vanilla rum

-peppermint schnapps

-white chocolate liquor

Garnish that with… you guessed it-- A candy cane.

21) Next up: Spend a few hours making cursing at candy while attempting to make a Santa Sleigh favor.

22) Now I see that Sandy is shilling for Wii sports resort. Hmmm… (Though it is totally awesome. Seriously.)

23) Costume change!!!!

Sandy is now wearing a red tank top showing much more d├ęcolletage than before covered with a red, plaid shirt that's unbuttoned, and then I suspect tied together at the bottom, thereby mimicking my favorite outfit from the 11th grade. I wonder if she's also wearing men's jeans that are a few sizes too large. (I had horrible fashion sense in high school)

24) Hold onto your fashionably 90's shirt, she's already started on those sleighs.

Cover graham crackers with red and white royal icing (alternate per cracker.)

On the white cracker, set in 2 candy canes, curled side up and drizzle with some more royal icing and dust some coconut on top.

Sandy looks at the camera very excitedly as she tells us that the coconut will help hold the candy canes in place as they dry. I think she wants to do a little hop there, but she can't because she's on TV.

The red graham cracker goes on top of the candy canes and that sets.

Then she makes a licorice bench and uses some icing to attach it to the sleigh. She implies that she's not even going to show us how to make the licorice bench because it's soooo easy, but I am going to have to assume it's not because it involves a lot of cutting of licorice and outlining with royal icing. It probably has to set for awhile too. And I can't tell how the licorice is being held together. Is the royal icing acting as glue? And if so, how did she get it not to show?

She just pulled out a fruit roll up ladies and gentlemen. Things just got interesting.

She's putting unwrapped starbursts (though she called them fruit candies) in the middle of a circular fruit roll up and wrapping it up like a sack. Then she's tying it up with more licorice, but a single strand this time. Ah, it's the sack of presents for the sleigh. Ooh. No, bad. She is putting little x's of royal icing on more (unwrapped) starbursts to act as presents for the sleigh. Someone is going to die of a sugar coma. Maybe that's her evil plan.

Now she's putting a chocolate Santa (allegedly all over the place this time of year) on the seat. He's leaning all crooked on the licorice bench. Chocolate Santas don't have knees.

25) Into the living room. AHHHH. Her christmas tree is guarded by two of the most awesomely grotesque nutcrackers I've ever seen. I mean 3.

26) She has glasses dangling upside down on her tree. Champagne glasses, martini glasses, wine glasses, brandy glasses…She wired them there with floral wire. I can't imagine this is a very family friendly tree. If one of those glasses goes…. well, you can use your imagination.

27) The nutcracker on top of the tree (did you expect anything else?) has his own cocktail in his hand- I don't think it's a real drink, though it does look scarily like the "Frosty Cocktail." She never says what it is actually made out of though.

28) Her tablescape has even more nutcrackers on it. Each place setting is set off with a charger (I've never understood chargers. An extra plate to wash that you can't even eat off of? Seems like a waste of a plate to me) with either a red- or a green- plate on top of it. She sounds SO excited all of the time. She must be exhausted by the end of this show. Or trashed. Just saying, I can't maintain that level of "OH MY GOSH, HOW CUTE" all of the time.

And that's it. Hope you had a Sandy-Lee worthy holiday!!

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