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New York is for dreams. LA is for fantasies.

My 2.5 days in Los Angeles for the Tasty Awards were so much fun. You know LA gets a bad wrap and I was staying in the middle of it – Beverly Hills – 2 blocks from Rodeo Drive and 1/2 a block from paparazzi stalkers. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I haven’t spent much time in LA, but I was fully ready to confirm all the negativity. BIG SURPRISE! I had a great time and came to one conclusion:

New York is for dreams and LA is for fantasies.

New York teaches you to dream big. You learn how to go for it and along the way gain great work ethic, drive, and a coffee addiction.

Los Angeles is for fantasies – and I don’t mean that in a negative way. In Beverly Hills, everything was beautiful in a fantastical way…hair, make-up and oh the clothes – all exaggerated and alluring, like a forbidden elixir. I may have had a little sip since I had such a good time :0).

Here are some photos from the 2011 Tasty Awards Red Carpet – where I actually had great conversations with all these “fantastic” foodie celebs: Chefs Fabio Viviani (Top Chef, Top Chef All-Stars), Tanya Holland (Food Network/Brown Sugar Kitchen), Nathan Lyon (Food Network) and also Olympic Medalist, Brian Boitano (What Would Brian Boitano Make?), Bobby Bognar (Food Tech), Leslie Sbrocco (Check Please! Bay Area) and Actress Nickie Jurado.

Fabio Viviani (Top Chef, Top Chef All-Stars), Zuzy Martin Lynch (moi)

Chef Tanya Holland (Food Network & Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland)

Bobby Bognar of Food Tech (middle), his dad (left)

Brian Boitano (Gold Medalist Ice Skater/Cook: What Would Brian Boitano Make?

Chef Nathan Lyon (A Lyon in the Kitchen)

Nickie Jurado, Actress

Leslie Sbrocco, Check Please! Bay Area

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Tasty Award Pre-Party Snaps

It was great mingling with all the Tasty Award presenters & honorees at The Crescent Beverly Hills Hotel for the award show pre-party! Here are a few snaps:

Zuzy (me) with Luciene Salomone (WE Tv)
Jolene Sugarbaker of The Trailer Park Cooking Show
Francesca of Valcooks Aprons
Sara O’Donnell of Average Betty

Matthew Bunn, Cooking.com

Chef Nathan Lyon & Bobby Bognar (Food Tech)

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Red-carpet jitters

In 1 day, I’ll be on a plane to Los Angeles to present an award at the 2011 Tasty Awards at the Egyptian Theatre. I know, I know, it’s not like I’m presenting at the Golden Globes, but I’m still nervous and trying to wish my way into being skinny. Re-watching Julie & Julia was definitely inspiring, not in trying to think skinny, but in remembering how two women embarked on a brave journey to follow their passions – not knowing where it would take them and having the courage to continue despite many obstacles. It’s scary to follow a dream sometimes because until your successful…well let’s just say that it can be daunting. Back to Julia Child…did you know that she only began to learn how to cook at age 37?! Thanks again Julie Powell for helping me learn about Julia. There is hope.

If you missed my original review on the movie, check it out here.

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Planting & Cooking with Fresh Herbs

Now that Thanksgiving is at our doorstep, everyone is cooking! And cooking with fresh herbs is the best, right? Instead of buying fresh herbs every week at the market, I planted my first garden! Why now after all the plants that I’ve killed? Well, I’ve been inspired, by Annie’s Homegrown Root 4 Kids campaign and by my 1-year old son– to do things better, cook more, eat fresher and really understand my food. Starting a garden is a great step in that direction.

We planted Rosemary, Dark Italian Parsley, Oregano, Tri-Color Sage, Thyme, Marjoram & edible Violas. This time, I decided to get some help from the pros at Sunnyside Nursery. Check out our latest episode on planting your own herb garden.

Their best advice:

  • Move your plants into a planter
  • Use good, fresh potting soil (organic works great)
  • Expose to plenty of natural light/shield from too much wind
  • Water, water, water (soil should “slightly damp”, not too wet)
  • Trim and use often in cooking!

Instead of shopping madness this holiday weekend, why not join Root 4 Kids with me and plant your own garden? Sending you gardening success and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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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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Meeting Jacques Pépin

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Jacques Pépin during one of his 75th Birthday Year celebrations!

His birthday isn’t until December, but I like a man who knows how to celebrate. I picked up his memoir and national bestseller, The Apprentice, before heading over there so that I could grab an autograph and I was so glad to have chosen his memoir. If you don’t have a Jacques Pépin book yet, grab some recipes off the internet and invest in the memoir. From the little I’ve read so far, it’s a beautiful and real history of the man behind the legend. I love memoirs because they give some insight behind the celebrity haze.

Here are a couple of great pictures from the event at The Left Bank in Menlo Park. If you’d like to meet him yourself, be sure to check out other events celebrating his 75 years of life. For the KQED fans, I also met Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook. He and Mr. Pépin were both very nice!

What’s next for Jacques Pépin?

Mr. Pépin is currently filming 26 episodes of his new series, The Essential Pépin in San Francisco! The new serieswill air in Fall 2011. I’d love to be as vibrant as him at 75!

Bon Anniversaire Jacques!

..And a BIG THANK YOU to my friend and mentor, Charlene Rouspil of the Dacor Design and Culinary Center for being my date!

Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook

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Exciting Catch-up News (Green Grocer Book, Talk Show, Classes)

This is a little ridiculous, but I have a few fun things to tell you I’m just going to list them since I would lose you if I talk (write) too much! It’s bad enough that I haven’t blogged about my jamming and canning class at the JCC :0). Can I blame it on my sweet little baby boy taking up all of my time? Yes. Definitely. Onto the juicy stuff:

Joe Carcione, Green Grocer

1. Do you remember The Green Grocer, Joe Carcione? I used to LOVE watching his segments on the local news years back. He was so cute (in an older Italian man sort of way) and a man ahead of his time and the “eat green” revolution. His son, Pete Carcione, is releasing The New Green Grocer Cookbook in October! The new edition is written by Joe, the father, and edited by Pete.

What’s more exciting? Cooking for the Clueless (moi) is a contributor to the new edition! I am very honored to be a part of it. Stay posted for more launch details and check out their website here.

2. Have you heard of Studio Gourmet? Hopefully you will very soon! Studio Gourmet, launching this Fall, is a San Francisco-based live talk program focusing on big chefs and on all things food. Events will bring the city’s best chefs to an intimate setting (a la Actor’s Studio) where they will share stories, secrets and food to a live audience.

Even more exciting? Cooking for the Clueless is partnering with Studio Gourmet and all guests will receive a copy of our fantastic DVD along with their ticket price :0). Become a FAN (you know “LIKE”) on Facebook to get launch info.

3. The Jewish Community Center (JCC) has great cooking classes in a beautiful building. Most of them run $50, $55 for non-members. This is where I took my Jamming & Canning class. It was great and SO EASY! Click here to see their upcoming FOOD classes (i.e. Italian Economico, Mouthwatering Burgers, Great Wines for less $20)

4. My CSA update: I just finished my 4th week of receiving amazing and weird veggies from Canvas Ranch (the only CSA that delivers to Marin County…as far as I know). This past weekend, I made brunch for 5 and used my goodies to make Summer Squash, Tomato & Fontina Frittata, Plum, Apple & Blueberry Salad washed in lightly sweetened lemon water with a splash of fresh mint and a Warm Beet & Chevre Salad over greens with a homemade Blackberry vinaigrette. I want to say that I impressed myself, except, I just used what arrived in my CSA bag last week – so I don’t think I can take credit. I do, however, feel much LESS clueless since I’ve started receiving my weekly bag of farm fresh veggies and strive to use everything before the week is up!

P.S. Went to the SF Underground Market a couple weeks ago and will be going to the Homegrown Marin Market in Sausalito this weekend. These are fun. My only comment: If 7×7 is promoting the Underground Market in their weekly eblast, is it really underground?

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