Tag Archives: newlywed cooking

Indian/Mexican Fusion? Really?

What happens when you’re trying to get over being clueless in the kitchen and your schedule is crazy, you’re planning a move, your running a business and raising a beautiful 8 month old (among a few other things)? Well, you have at least ONE GOOD EXCUSE why you’re not cooking as much as you should this week. When this happens to you, ask the food gods to guide you in the best direction for take-out or dine-in.

How lucky am I that I decided to google “best family restaurant, Sausalito” while somewhat craving Italian, and here pops up Avatars. “Avatars, what’s this? Indian/Mexican fusion? What’s that?”

Intrigued, we decided to stroll over there with the baby. The owner greeted us with a beautiful warm smile – happy to see the baby (and not annoyed), before we knew it, he told us to close our menus and trust him to bring over something amazing. Oh – and when we asked about the beer menu, “do you like dark, lager, or ale?” Why aren’t more restaurants like this? As for dinner, Rock Shrimp curry, tandoori, chutney flavors all in one, the veggies were a perfect complement with a firm texture and irresistible flavors…I was at a loss for words. The only thing I could think, then and now, was that my mouth was very happy!

So glad this Avatars crossed our path. We’ll be back! Definitely check it out if you’re in the area (or not). It’s worth the trip.

http://www.enjoyavatars.com/ (Read their history section!)


Organic & caters to all diets


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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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Behind the Scenes on Live TV

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!

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Cookie Swap Anyone?

A friend of mine invited me to my 1st holiday cookie swap this weekend. Although I still have a tummy ache from all the sugar, this clueless baker learned a few things and had a great time playing with my food! As I sit here watching Paula Dean’s cookie swap party, I can tell you that cookies don’t come out looking that perfect – I wish mine did. Thank goodness there were other people baking at the party besides me. On that note, let me give you my favorite recipe of the day: English Toffee

English Toffee


  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • saucepan, cookie sheet
  • parchment paper (optional)

Now what?

  1. Cook the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over Medium-low heat to hard crack stage using a candy or sugar thermometer (Tip: it should be stringy and about the color of a brown paper bag.)*
  2. Stir in pecans
  3. Pour batch onto parchment paper (cookie sheet) and sprinkle with chocolate chips. When the chips begin to melt, spread over entire pan with the back of a cold spoon. The chocolate should smoothly layer the batch.
  4. Sprinkle with almonds
  5. Allow to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes, then allow for complete setting in the fridge for at least 30 additional minutes or until hard. Finally, break into pieces by hand or knife

I can see how these cookie swaps have become so popular, giving people a chance to escape from holiday stress while gabbing about sweet nothings. Speaking of sweet, one thing that shocked me (literally) was the vast amounts of sugar, cream, butter, shortening and more sugar involved in making cookies. This is what I get for being clueless in the kitchen – not knowing that “vast amounts of sugar” are usually involved in making cookies!

One last thing, I had no idea what a candy/sugar thermometer was either, so I looked it up. Basically, you should think about getting one of these if you want to make toffee, peanut brittle, peppermint bark or any other sweet hard candy. These candy thermometers are similar to meat thermometers but they can read higher temperatures (including oil for frying). Ok, I have to work out now after talking about all this!

Happy Holidays!!!

P.S. Here’s the cookie that I made. It looked ok, but tasted…um…well, just stick with the toffee recipe and you’ll be ok.


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Tasty Awards Here We Come!

What does Cooking for the Clueless have in common with Anthony Bourdain, Paula Dean, Tyra Banks, Timm Gunn and other food and fashion demi-gods? We were just named official finalists for “Best DVD Series” for the upcoming Tasty Awards, being held in San Francisco at the Kabuki Sundance Theater on January 14, 2010!  AHHHH! That was my first reaction! My 3 month-old son just stared at me. We’re so excited.

Help us win Viewer’s Choice, click to VOTE NOW!! We are listed under question #10.

This is so cool!

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No-Fret Thanksgiving Tips

Are you taking on the Turkey yourself and need a few more tips to help you get through the weekend?

  1. Take a deep breath, start cooking on Wednesday and find some helpers! Remember, you can reduce an enormous amount of stress by starting things early. Almost everything can be made or prepped the day before.
  2. Set your timer & find your thermometer! You should calculate on cooking your turkey according to its weight. Allow 20 minutes per pound for 8-12 pound birds, 15 minutes per pound for 12-16 pounders. Let your turkey “sit” and rest for 10-15 minutes before carving it once it hits an internal temp of 155 degrees. Perfect internal temperature should be at 160-165 degrees. Then, your ready to eat. Get to 180 degrees and you’re overcooked!
  3. Smaller birds cook better: “They” say you should calculate 1.5 lbs of turkey per guest. That means 6-guests=9lb turkey. Since smaller birds tend to cook better, go with 2 smaller birds (12-lb max) as your guest list increases.

Going somewhere “else” for dinner?

  1. Offer to bring a side dish or appetizer. I’m making creamy mashed potatoes AND prosciutto pear bites!
  2. Grab some fresh bread from the local bakery. Pair with real artisan butter and you’ll be loved.
  3. Flowers and vino. You can’t go wrong with wine. For a sweet touch, pair with fresh flowers for the host.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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A little place called Fayes

The entire time we were filming, producing and editing Cooking for the Clueless, I was excited about finishing it IMG_0389so that I could have it in the “Local Directors Only” section at Fayes Video & Espresso Bar. Don’t laugh! This is the local video shop across the street from our tiny apartment in San Francisco. In a neighborhood with Tartine Bakery, Bi-Rite and its Creamery, Delfina and Dolores Park are all within a block, Fayes stands tall as an awesome spot with great indie videos, better coffee than Tartine and the best bench on the block.

Living in the hood almost 7 years now always came with a daydream of being part of the local club of those who have put their passion into producing a film, documentary or short. Now, there’s something for those of you who are clueless in the kitchen. If you can’t buy the video, RENT IT! Available for rent only at Fayes.

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