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?
Post your questions here or on our Facebook page: facebook.com/cookingfortheclueless
Filed under clueless, cooking, cooking 101, Cooking for dummies, food, frustrated, frustration, newlywed, recipes for beginners, starting to cook, tips for new cooks
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:
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!
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
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:
- 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.
- Once mixed, scramble 1 egg in a separate bowl and then mix into your meat. Again, use your clean hands to mix.
- Next, slowly add about 1/2 cup of Italian or seasoned breadcrumbs. Mix well.
- 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.
- TO COOK: Add the meatballs to a stewing pot and add enough chicken broth to cover. Add fresh garlic and a pinch of salt.
- 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!
Many people have been asking me if I’m still “clueless” in the kitchen. That’s a loaded question! Well, the answer is no, not really or not as much. However, I will say that I have a long way to go until I feel like I can effortlessly rule the kitchen – which is my wish in the kitchen. Is it too romantic to wish a country home upon myself, with a big kitchen filled with the warmth of many home-cooked meals? When you’re coming from a clueless state of mind, learning how to cook takes time, effort and a little bit of sweat – just like getting into shape! Here are a few of the favorite things I’ve learned so far:
- Owning the supermarket! I started taking the advice of experts and shopping 2-3 times, buying fresher and menu planning. It’s been a few months now and we’re cooking more and spending way less. Check out our expert article on shopping for more help.
- Stocking up: Learning how to stock your pantry with necessities is as important as having the right tools in the kitchen. My favorite tools have become 1)timer, 2)meat thermometer 3) sharp chef’s and paring knives 4)timer and 5)hand blender/mixer
- My Fab Five Recipes: Instead of feeling overwhelmed by “hundreds of easy recipes,” I’ve picked a few favorites that keep us happy and cooking. Pan-seared Sea Scallops, Spaghetti al Pomodoro, Oven-Roasted Potatoes, Baked (but tastes as good as fried) Chicken Drumsticks, Stuffed Butternut-Squash, and Fresh Sausage, Root Vegetable & Bean Stew. Some of these recipes are favorites from the DVD and the others I’ve adapted from old recipes or my imagination. Now that I have some confidence, it’s becoming fun to play in the kitchen.
I hope you’re cooking more, loving life and dreaming up your own wishes in the kitchen!
Jenn Flaa, Vettana To Go
Jenn Flaa of Vettana To Go interviewed me to get the scoop on what it’s like behind the scenes at View From the Bay. She had some great questions. I hope they are helpful or at least interesting! The interview is in two parts. But before you go to the video, here are my most important tips:
- Practice, Practice, Practice
- Memorize 2-3 talking points or tips you want to communicate
- Take a deep breath and focus on the interviewer (not the audience or cameras)
- Try being a member of the studio audience before you are on the show so you know what to expect.
Part 2 questions: Click here for video (P.S. I like Part 2 better, thus the reverse order :0)
1. Did you provide them with sample questions ahead of time?
2. Did you do your own makeup or did they have a makeup crew there?
3. Did you bring a couple different outfits along?
4. Did they ask you any questions that you weren’t prepared for?
5. Give us the scoop on the Tasty Award you won for the DVD “Cooking For The Clueless”
Part 1 questions: Click here for video
1. Describe your day on View From The Bay
2. Did they give you any tips about being on camera?
3. Did you get to meet the hosts before you went on the air?
Become a Facebook Fan of Vettana To Go for great Media & PR tips by clicking here. Thanks again Jenn for a great interview!
To watch the actual live cooking segment (Pan-seared Salmon in a Tomato-herb cream reduction), click here now!