Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MasterChef Cookbook is now available!

Amazon delivered my copy of the new MasterChef Cookbook today, hot off the presses. It was written by my friend, JoAnn Cianciulli, and features many of the recipes that you have seen the contestants prepare on FOX's new hit show. It is a great book to have in your library, offering tips on stocking a pantry, selecting cookware and suggestions on wine pairings (from judge Joe Bastianich.) There are lots of recipes from the contestants, judges and Cat Cora's halibut dish from last week's episode. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves to cook and especially to fans of the show.

Working on MasterChef was so much fun for me, personally. Even though I have been in "the biz" for close to 20 years and have worked on many shows. This one, in particular, was really special. The people involved from the producers to the production assistants were top notch. We all were passionate about the project and worked very hard, with limited resources and a short amount of time. I have been so proud of how it turned out. As the set decorator, my focus is always the "look" of the show and I think my crew really knocked it out of the park. And it is really fun to see all of this in a cookbook; something I can keep on my shelf, always. The coolest thing is watching the show each week. So much fun!

GREAT job to JoAnn and her outstanding culinary team. I hope that these books sell like hotcakes!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sometimes, plans change

I was supposed to be baking today. But alas, I have been hit hard with a nasty cold/flu bug that has held me hostage for the better part of a week. Thanks to some fabulous antibiotics, I am finally on the mend. But as I am recovering, I am staying home tonight while my husband and his friends are going to the Hollywood Bowl to see a concert. We have a box subscription for the World Music Series. Our box holds 4 people and it is always my favorite part of any summer. Usually, I make a fun dinner (sometimes with a theme) and I always bake a goodie to enjoy for dessert. I had the menu planned for tonight, lots of Italian favorites including prosciutto and melon, panzanella, roasted veggies w/Israeli cous cous and on and on. Dessert was going to include espresso cookies, lemon cupcakes and raspberry pavlova. Yes, for four people. What can I say? I tend to "go to town". And 2 of our friends are turning 40, so I was going to go a little extra crazy. Instead, I have been on strict diet of soup and popsicles. Talk about misery. If you would like to make the pavlova, seen above, here is the recipe. I hope it tastes good!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Entertaining Checklists

Martha Stewart Online has these really fabulous checklists that can help you get organized when having an event.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blog worth checking out...

Just discovered a really cool blog that I wanted to share. It is called Paper & Pigtails, a Kori Clark Designs Blog. It is jam packed with loads of ideas and fantastic visuals for everything from birthday parties to Holiday cards. Definitely worth adding this one to your favorites list. I love bold and colorful graphics and this site has them en mass. Check it out if you get a chance!

BTW, the photography is phenomenal. The layouts, the styling; it is all very inspirational.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tonight on MasterChef: CUPCAKES!

I always tune in, anyway, but tonight there is extra incentive... their making cupcakes!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Martha's Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

People often ask me for my favorite cupcake recipes. Usually they want something that is easy to prepare yet knocks people's socks off. This is a great one and perfect for the summer. It is best with berries; something about the cream cheese frosting mixed with the sweetness/tartness of the fruit really works. I also suggest using the almond extract when making the cake. It takes it to a whole other level. (Just make sure that there are no allergy restrictions!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tune In!

My two shows will be airing on Fox tonight, back to back. It is the season finale for Hell's Kitchen 7 and an all new episode of MasterChef. I was the set decorator on both of these shows and it is fun to have two of my shows airing on the same night. Both have been big ratings winners this summer. It is all very fun to watch. And MasterChef is especially good!

Hell's Kitchen Season 7 Dining Room

MasterChef USA Season 1: Egg Challenge

Cupcake and Wine Pairings

This past weekend I was wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley. We were with several people and one of them happened to mention a winery that does tastings, pairing wines with... cupcakes. Naturally, this got my attention. How fabulous is that? Two of my favorite vices, together! Talk about a buttercream buzz!

Truth be told, I gravitate toward savory foods when I chose foods to accompany my wine selections. And I have never been that into dessert wine. But I am curious about this whole thing. I went online an Googled "Cupcake and Wine Pairing" and got back thousands of suggestions. How did I miss this phenomenon?

We never made it to the winery that was doing the cupcake tastings. But I am thinking about throwing together a little party with some girlfriends and trying this thing out. There is a lot of information out there, online. Here are some wonderful suggestions...

From Snooth

And there is a lot more out there to check out if you are interested. Stay tuned, as I WILL be doing it and will be happy to report on the results.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Is there something in the air?

Cake has always been my favorite. But even when I have a entire cake in my possession, I rarely ever eat more than a piece or two. Today, Venus and Mercury must have aligned. I feel like a starved werewolf who just got a sniff of a meat market. What brought this on? No idea. I am not sad, nor am I hungry. I just am in the mood to eat some fluffy, buttery and sugary creation. Like some who roam the Internet in search of (think of a word that rhymes with corn) I have been spending some time looking for what I desire. And it is KILLING me! Here is what I am craving...

Doughnut Plant, NYC.

Fauchon. Sometimes fancy can be good!

Cafe Lalo. Just seeing this place makes me drool.

Cream Puffs

Lark. Their Mocha Cupcake was created by angels.

Sweet Lady Jane. If I were Superman, this would be my Kryptonite.

Madonna Inn. I had one of these almost every birthday growing up.

And that, my friends is the short list. Thank goodness for the internet and sense memory. If only it were as good as the real thing...