Category Archives: newlywed

Top Secret: Interview with BIG TV CHEF!

Guess who is going to be video chatting with one of the biggest chefs in America?!!! I cannot tell you who it is yet, but let’s just say that if your watch Food on TV, you will know and love this person! We’ll be releasing a series of short video conversations, so let me know what I should ask?

Think Mediterranean!

Post your questions here or on our Facebook page: facebook.com/cookingfortheclueless

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Filed under clueless, cooking, cooking 101, Cooking for dummies, food, frustrated, frustration, newlywed, recipes for beginners, starting to cook, tips for new cooks

Have a Crab Feast!

It’s a well-known fact that San Francisco is famous for it’s Dungeness Crab. Each year, between mid-November and June, you will find countless amounts of fresh crabs at the Wharf and in the best of restaurants in town. Now, the past couple of years have been really tough, but the 2010/2011 season is looking pretty epic! You can find crabs at local markets for as cheap at $3.99/pound. Awesome! Every year, I get invited over to my friend’s house for a crab feast. It’s tradition and her dad, Nick, has been steaming crabs for a long, long time! Here’s a sneak peek at all the fun we had and check out the full recipe below.

Allow yourself the ability to maximize the crab-eating experience by using all of your senses and making your own crab dinner! Invite a few friends over and follow the delicious and simple recipe below for a night of good conversation, messy eating and the freshest crab around.

Nick’s Famous Steamed Dungeness Crab Recipe

Go to the market (Asian markets are great for crab) and buy 8 live 1-2 pound Dungeness Crabs (serves 4-6 people). It is crucial that the crabs are live and active when you buy them. Add 3-inches of water to a seafood steam pot (16-quart used in this recipe), 6 ounces of vinegar, 10 dried chiles crushed by hand (or Mexican hot sauce), and 4 ounces of Old Bay Spice or Susan’s Seafood Seasoning.

Instructions

1. Bring to a steaming boil and then put half of crabs into the pot. Cover with lid. Do not remove lid for 5 minutes.

2. After 5 minutes of boiling, remove lid and sprinkle 6 more ounces of seasoning on top of each crab

3. Continue steaming for 25 minutes with lid on pot

4. Set the table ‘a la casual’ with newspaper and tons of napkins

5. Roll up your sleeves, pair with a beautiful wine, and enjoy the conversation

Special thanks to Nick Mamczak!

Nick Mamczak is a fantastic cook, classically trained at the Culinary Institute of America. This recipe was inspired by his love of seafood.

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I can’t believe I survived Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving proper, we were invited to a friend’s for lunch and then over to family’s for dinner, so, no cooking my own turkey. Instead, I offered 2 side dishes, plucked from Real Simple magazine. For some reason, I felt like I was cheating. Here I am, Zuzy, from Cooking for the Clueless, preaching to all novice cooks that they can “do it,” they can cook, “it’s easy.” Yet, here I was not even making my own turkey? Ahh, the pressure we put on ourselves! So, I decided to cook my own Thanksgiving tonight, Tuesday, the day after Cyber Monday as they call it. How did it go? Well, I won’t lie, it was stressful! Before I get into the stress, here was my menu:

My Turkey!

The Oyster & Bacon Stuffing was a huge huge hit (I used smoked oysters) and I was happy with the rest of the menu too. But, I have to tell you that the damn turkey almost gave me a heart attack! They only had frozen turkeys when I went to the supermarket late the night before and I was stressed about defrosting it. Then, when roasting, I had a leak in the cheapie pan that I used and the oven started smoking. Next, I was worried about opening and closing the oven too many times while cooking the side dishes. Finally, after about 4 hours, it started to look like a cooked turkey. But like most new cooks, I still stressed over possibly poisoning my family and neighbor with an undercooked bird, so I dug into the drawer for my 2 fancy meat thermometers – all this while I cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, and set the table with fancy things. Our only guest this evening, my lovely neighbor, arrived punctually and after a few minutes of watching me try to put a battery into the fancy meat thermometer, she offered some help. She set the thermometer aside and grabbed a fork. With a couple of pokes, she says, “oh, it’s done!” in her New York Italian accent. She had 79 years of cooking wisdom behind her, so I took her word for it! Thankfully, it turned out pretty good and with good wine and great conversation, I’ll call it a hit!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays!

 

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Filed under clueless, cooking, cooking 101, Cooking for dummies, frustration, homemade food, kitchen, newlywed, recipes for beginners, starting to cook, Thanksgiving, tips for new cooks

Thanksgiving Feast at your Doorstep

I’ve been waiting since last Thanksgiving to tell you about Cook! SF’s amazing Thanksgiving Feast. If you want to host your very own, organically scrumptious, homemade Thanksgiving, but want to take some of the hassle out of the process (or you’re a procrastinator like me, which inevitably brings hassle), have Cook! SF help you. They deliver the goods, you cook by following their easy instructions and pre-measured ingredients. Here’s what you will get delivered to your doorstep:

Serving 8-10 Guests

  • Free-range Organic Turkey
  • Real Turkey Gravy From Home-Made Stock
  • Our Famous Corn Bread Stuffing
  • Creamy Organic Red-Skin Mashed Potatoes
  • Sumptuously Steamed Organic Green Beans
  • Organic Spring Mix Salad with Crumbled Blue Cheese (optional), Pears, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries
  • Zesty Orange and Ginger Cranberry Sauce
  • Gluten-free & Dairy-free pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie so good you won’t believe there’s no gluten or dairy!

Check out their video explaining how it works and their website, but don’t delay – ORDERS MUST BE MADE BY THIS FRIDAY, November 19, 2010.

For more information, please visit: http://www.cooksf.com

Facebook lovers: http://www.facebook.com/CookSF

P.S.

If I was hosting my own this year, I would definitely go Cook! I kinda wish we were in our new place, but the relatives locked us in at their place :0)

 

 

 

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Challah with Irving Greisman!

Thanks again to Irving Greisman of Irving’s Premium Foods. He’s known to make the best Challah bread in the San Francisco Bay Area and it really was amazing. I was asked to co-host a challah-making class with him only to discover that he was so charming and such a great teacher that I wanted to adopt him as my grandpa.  The class was hosted by the Young Adult Division (YAD) of the Jewish Community Federation in benefit of the Chicken Soupers. I braided and baked my challah dough as soon as I got home – mostly so that I wouldn’t forget what I learned. Check out my challah below.

For Irving’s Challah French Toast recipe (with a very unexpected ingredient), click here.

Freshly baked 4-braid Challah bread.

Irving’s challah is available in markets throughout the Bay Area.

 

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Filed under 4-braid challah, baking, bread baking, cooking 101, Cooking for dummies, homemade food, jewish cooking, kitchen, newlywed, Uncategorized

How much food do YOU waste?

I’m always trying to find statistics to help me prove my theory that we NEED MORE HELP in the kitchen – so that I don’t feel like I’m alone, you know? Well, this is a big one.

According to the Department of Agriculture, we (Americans) waste 27% of our food! This means we throw it out, let it go bad or just don’t know what to do with it?

Aside from a big stat, this study links wasted food with wasted energy…something that all of us are thinking about these days.

Check out the article here!

Also, Jonathan Bloom has a great blog on how to waste less food! www.wastedfood.com

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The Oprah Dream: What happened?

As most of you know, I auditioned for Oprah’s contest to have my “OWN” show on her new network, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). It happened on a Friday afternoon in May, when Oprah talked through the TV to ME and said, “Do you think you have what it takes to have your own show? Do people tell you should be on TV?” “Yes, and yes, totally” I said back to her! So, my hubby and I scrambled and filmed a short audition before time slipped away.

Quick segue: When we produced, Cooking for the Clueless, our DVD to help people who are super frustrated in the kitchen, our intention was to sell it in the big stores – you know, Crate & Barrel and Bed Bath & Beyond for all the newlywed shoppers that realize they can’t cook after “I do” and Target for all the 30-something smart shoppers in our “target audience.” What really happened was that C&B and BBB & Tar-jay said, “great concept, but you’re a nobody kid – we can’t carry your DVD!” Ok, so they didn’t use those exact words, but they said if I had a show, it’d be a different story. Thank God for Amazon. They love us. Anyway – just a little reality background for our die-hard fans.

The more I promoted the DVD, the more TV (morning shows) I did and got more comfortable in front of the camera and people would say, “What a great concept for a show!” I always felt it was but started to believe that other people agreed. Oh and the best confidence booster happened at the Tasty Awards – do you remember when we won the Tasty Award for best food DVD? (see acceptance speech here :0). After the show, a big-time producer from TLC (produces Cake Boss) came up to me and said, “call me, I like your energy.” That was awesome – but so far nada. And then there came Oprah, the grande mama of all hopes for almost every woman in America. My audition got 18,364 votes! Out of 465 online cooking entries, I finished in the top 25 or 30, I think. Not bad huh?

Finish the Oprah Story already…

Ok, so the voting closed about 10 days ago and in a delusional state, I thought I may have a chance for a call back, then I read that out of 10,000 people, only 35 were getting called for a second round of personal interviews. That deflated any hopes, especially since the only person calling me was my grandma. ” Oprah didn’t call?” she asked in Spanish. As if it were a given. You gotta love your grandmas!

Thanks to EVERYONE who voted for me on Oprah! It was truly appreciated and I love all of your support! Stay tuned for more local stories on the challenges and perks of moving from clueless to cooking in the kitchen. :0)

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Filed under cooking 101, Cooking for dummies, food, frustrated, newlywed, starting to cook, tips for new cooks