Category Archives: food

Like Vagina Monologues – FOR FOOD?!

San Francisco Premiere @ Rrazz RoomI was also intrigued! When I met Peggy Sweeney McDonald, creator of “Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde…,” she described her show as follows:

“It’s like the Vagina Monologues of FOOD!”

Right away, I thought, “Wow. That’s sounds interesting – in more ways than one.” Then two very exciting things happened. 1) She told me the San Francisco premiere was in March and 2) She asked me if I wanted to join the list of “headliners!” The excitement of telling a childhood story about FOOD pushed out any nervous voices saying, “uh…this is at the Rrazz Room! uh, you’re not an actor or a stand up comic…uh….SHHHHHH!”

I’m doing it! Come see me and others, including comedian, Michael Capozzola…if you dare (or if you just love good stories about food). Mine will be about my 5 moms and coffee!

Details & tix:

Meanwhile, back at Cafe Du Monde…

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 (doors open at 6:30 pm/Show starts at 7:30pm

Rrazz Room

322 Mason Street

 

For more details and tix:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=182051501830677

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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

Challah-making class

I’m getting really excited for next week’s Challah-making class (Oct 21st) with the one and only Irving Greisman of Irving’sPremium Challah. Irving is known as “the” best challah-baker in San Francisco. I was asked to help host the class as Irving’s student, asking all the questions anyone would want to know. Aside from loving good challah and butter and challah french toast, I’m most excited about learning from a great teacher. I met Irving earlier in the week and he reminded me of my grandpa – very welcoming, very intelligent, great teacher.

The class will benefit the JFCS Adults with Disabilities program. For more information, see event invitation HERE.

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Glorious Pumpkins

What is it about these magical vegetables that makes them so awesome? Is it their color, their size, their weird shapes? Maybe its our memories associated them? I could sit and write a poem about pumpkins right now, I’m so in love with them. Then again, I just came from yoga class, so I am definitely in a creative and calm mood :0). Here’s a great recipe from one of our favorite Cooking for the Clueless Facebook Fans, Lynnee Bedard Jimenez of Chica Circle:

Great Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie – Perfect blend of spices & not too sweet

  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

Beat all ingredients together 2 minutes. Bake @ 475 for 15 min and then @ 400 until done (can cover crust edge with foil to stop the burn). That’s it!!

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Filed under cooking 101, Cooking for dummies, food, holiday cookies, homemade food, kitchen, tips for new cooks

Now That’s a Good Meatball!

I am so lucky to have my grandma in town for 2 weeks! She’s 85 (looks 75) and fantastic. I think I’ve mentioned before that she’s an amazing cook? That being said – she’s also partly to blame, for me being clueless in the kitchen. Instead of teaching me how to cook, she opted to “spoil me.” In her eyes, she wanted to cook for me and not have me doing work in the kitchen. Obviously, I appreciate her so much and am learning from her now in my 30’s!

So today, we’re making MEATBALLS! The perfect, protein-packed, easy to eat comfort food for any adult or a 1-year old. The meatballs are really for my son. They are so easy to make. Here’s the quick recipe:

  1. Take 1/2 pound of ground beef (80/20%) and 1/2 pound of ground pork. Grab a bowl and use your hands to mush the ground meat together.
  2. Once mixed, scramble 1 egg in a separate bowl and then mix into your meat. Again, use your clean hands to mix.
  3. Next, slowly add about 1/2 cup of Italian or seasoned breadcrumbs. Mix well.
  4. Start rolling your meatballs in the palm of your hand (about 1-inch thick). Roll them well so the meatball is packed firmly. Then sprinkle more breadcrumbs over the meatball before setting aside.
  5. TO COOK: Add the meatballs to a stewing pot and add enough chicken broth to cover. Add fresh garlic and a pinch of salt.
  6. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat. You’re done.

Side dish: Simmered Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes. Slice your sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch thick circles, simmer in 1/2-cup of water. Add 1/4-cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Simmer until tender.

Fancy Serve: Place 1 meatball atop of each sweet potato slice. Add some greens for color!

Note: 1-pound of meat yields about 2 dozen average size meatballs.

Happy 1st day of FALL 2010!

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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

You CAN eat locally, organically & on a budget!

The title of last night’s sold out food lecture, sponsored by The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, “How to Eat Locally on a Budget” was sure to draw a crowd given that our society is both obsessed with the economy and eating better/more consciously these days. We all know that eating organic and locally is better for the environment, but it’s easier said than done if you’re not used to cooking. There is a sense of elitism in the media surrounding those that can afford to eat like we should be eating. The all-star panel of published experts on the subject told us we had it all wrong and that this negative perception was only just that – a perception. The panel included:

Deborah Madison, Author, What We Eat When We Eat Alone
Leda Meredith, Author, The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Locally on a Budget
Jessica Prentice, Author, Full Moon Feast
Temra Costa, Author, Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat – Moderator

I went to the event curious and somewhat skeptical as to whether or not I would get realistic and doable tips from the experts. Going organic and local is a great goal to strive for, but if you’re not used to cooking and you don’t really understand food, you may have to take a few (fulfilling) steps before it becomes a lifestyle. I’m happy to say that there was so much important and useful information packed into the 1-hour panel discussion. Let me get right to the best advice:

  1. Buy in PEAK Season: it’s good to wait for things to be in-season, but prices are higher at the beginning. If you wait till PEAK, prices drop by as much as 50% and taste is perfect!
  2. Walk the Farmer’s Market: Walk the entire market BEFORE buying. Often prices will differ throughout. Don’t be afraid to ask “why?” Price may be higher because a farm is organic-certified which costs more to run.
  3. Grow things Yourself! Understanding food can start with a little garden that is all yours to nurture and use. Ask for help at your local gardening store or get to researching on the web. Here’s a great article to get you started.
  4. Volunteer for FREE Food: Many CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) – you know where you order a box of veggies and/or meats/dairy from local farms and they get delivered to you or a local spot in your hood…provide a free box of goods in exchange for some volunteer hours from you every week. Many intangible benefits come with this idea (aside from free food).
  5. Eat Beans & Rice: Beans and rice have been a staple food of many native populations for a good reason – good nutrition, low-cost.
  6. Join a Freeze or Canning Party! Canning or freezing foods in bulk will save you time and money in droves. But it’s not very fun to do this by yourself. Join a party or host a day in the kitchen with some friends. Eating organic, local and sustainable is very much about community. Join the fun!
  7. Start a Farm. Urban farming is on the rise. Yes, we’re talking raising farm-yard animals even in the city. Read my Novella Carpenter post for some insight on the first time I ever heard of urban farming: Urban Farming: we’re talking bees, chicks & piggies
  8. Buy the WHOLE Chicken: buying skinless/boneless is more expensive. If you buy it whole, you can roast once day and stew the next.
  9. Go Mutton: Ok, I have to admit, I never heard of mutton until last night! Apparently, it’s the same as lamb, but where lamb is sheep 12 months or younger, mutton is 2 years and older having a stronger taste and less tender – but cheaper!
  10. Don’t Cook like it’s the Holidays Every Night! Sometimes having a filling bowl of soup and a crusty piece of bread is enough for dinner. Why torment yourself with making 3,4,5-course meals every night? Rethink the menu. Get simple and save the holiday-style meals for special occasions or company.

Ok…according to blogging “rules” this post is way to long – but there was so much good information to pass along. I’ll be taking some of my own advice and starting a garden (never thought I would ever) when I get back from Yosemite! Happy 4th of July!


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