Tag Archives: cooking 101

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

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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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

Springtime wishes in the kitchen

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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!

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Dare to cook this V-Day?

It usually happens around the 3rd date or so – if things are going well! That was my pattern – yes, offering to cook a meal. It never phazed me that I didn’t really know how to cook. You would think that might be an obstacle, right? Well, I would usually search for a good recipe on foodnetwork.com (listed under EASY) and then I’d go to the little gourmet shop down the street – where ingredients would cost me a fortune. With wine, cheese and dessert store-bought, I’d be safe in that arena, so if the meal itself wasn’t stellar, I’d at least get mega points for ambiance and presentation :0).

In our newest expert article, read about one of my 3rd date cooking disasters and get great advice on how to plan for a seductive meal as Terry Dagrosa, founder and publisher of SeductionMeals.com gives us her best tips for Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Click here to view Terry’s seductive tips!

P.S.

Earlier this week, I was on WINK TV making “Cupid’s Clueless Chocolate” – a delicious, quick and gourmet-tasting recipe for homemade chocolate treats that I learned from Chef Michael Munoz over the holidays. Chef Michael is Executive Chef at the City Club in San Francisco and founder of Fit to Be Tied – Gourmet Food and Fitness for Brides and Grooms. His recipes were awesome! If you’re a bride and groom looking to shape up before the big day (together), definitely contact him for help!

P.S.S.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Lactose or Dairy intolerant? Why you should care!

I never really thought about being lactose intolerant especially since I’m one of those people who could live on bread and cheese if it were possible. I love cheese! Yummy  – especially with a baguette, like the French. Anyway, so you can understand ONE reason why I was pretty stumped during my LIVE television appearance on View From the Bay when Janelle Wang (host) asked me for a lactose-free version of my tomato-herb CREAM sauce. LOL. Don’t worry, the segment overall went really well and I seemed to recover from her power question!

I survived, but it got me thinking: “What CAN you do if you’re lactose-intolerant and how do you even know if you’re allergic to lactose?!”

In our newest Cooking for the Clueless expert article, Simla Somturk Wickless, founder of Delicious Health, holistic coach and nutrition expert, breaks it down for us and gives some easy tips for figuring this lactose/dairy-free “situation” out!

Thanks Simla for making me a little less clueless!

You can read Simla’s great article here!

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