Saturday, August 28, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Earlier this week I got to chat with Melissa and Joey Maggiore, the sibling stars of the new Food Network reality series, Family Style. Premiering tonight, August 26th at 10:30pm ET/PT, this “odd couple” of the restaurant world, share the same goal: to make their new Italian restaurant, Tommy V’s, in Carlsbad, Calif., a success. Melissa, the grounded front of the house, and Joey, the prankster chef, are often at odds, but pull through in the end. I ask the siblings about having to collaborate professionally (something I know a lot about), what are some of the worst pranks Joey's ever pulled, and what they like to serve on Sunday for their family. Enjoy!
What is like collaborating with your sibling? Are there boundaries that aren’t really there because you’re not working just with a professional colleague; do the lines get blurred? What are the challenges?
Melissa: There are no lines. That’s the problem. [laughs]
Joey: Melissa needs to stay out of the restaurant and let me do what’s right, but she doesn’t listen, so that’s the problem. [laughs]
Melissa: Yeah, right; yeah, right.
Joey: But I don’t think there’s a problem. We work very well together, and obviously we have a competitive side – like I said, we’re always trying to one-up each other, but it makes the experience better. I don’t think there are boundaries; I think we work together pretty well.
Melissa: I think that it actually becomes an issue at times, especially when we’re not only working with each other. There are other people around, and obviously when you’re running a business, everyone has to have a job description and do it. And if Joey and I were just business colleagues, there would be a line. He wouldn’t be able to talk to me that way sometimes, or what I said would have more relevance; but because he’s my brother, I’m running the front and if I run to the back, if he’s upset, he’ll just tell me off or he won’t do it – obviously he couldn’t do that if I were just managing the restaurant and not related to him. Sometimes the lines are blurry —
Joey: Sometimes your mouth gets in the way. Is that what you were going to say? [laughs]
Melissa: Yeah, right. Your mouth is always in the way. But I also think that times it makes it interesting or uncomfortable for some of the people who are working with us, because they still have to stay within those realms of professional conduct, and sometimes Joey and I overstep. I’m kind of nervous to see the show and episodes, because I’m sure we’ve overstepped, and we’re going to think, Oh my God, we shouldn’t have acted this way! [laughs]
What is the best or worst prank Joey has ever pulled? Best or worst, depending on what side you’re on.
Melissa: The worst prank Joey’s ever pulled? In my life, and this one’s just downright mean. I was at home one day, and my brother came over, and he had these lottery tickets --
Joey: [hysterical laughter]
Melissa: and he said to me, Oh I got these lottery tickets. So I was like, Why is he giving me a lottery ticket? And he says, You never know Melissa, we might win. Well let me just preface this by saying that I was going through some problems – I just got divorced, picking up pieces of my life, could’ve used the extra money – and I scratched the ticket and I couldn’t believe it! I had to rub my eyes a couple times. It looked like I won $100,00 or something. And I started crying, I was so excited. And I looked at Joey – it was a fake lottery ticket. I’ve never been so mad in my life.
Ooh that’s awful, Joey.
Joey: [still laughing] Yeah, you know, we had a few laughs.
Melissa: And in terms of pranks on the show, take your pick. Joey made me eat raw cow tongue, he made me eat this disgusting crockpot thing, so believe me, every day is like torture.
Joey: No, the funniest one was the funnel trick. You’ve got to tell her about the funnel trick.
Melissa: Oh, the funnel – I’ve tried to forget that.
Joey: So there’s this trick in the restaurant, where I told her, Look, if you can grab a quarter and put it on your head, tilt your head back with a funnel in your pants, if you tilt your head down and get the quarter in the funnel, you win ten bucks. Well while they tilt their head back and shut their eyes, you get a jug of water and pour it down the funnel, so it goes down their pants. We actually got that one on camera so it was pretty funny. [laughs]
Melissa: Yeah, except that I was working that night and I had to go back out there with wet pants, like a wet crotch area. It was terrible.
What is your favorite Italian dish to make at home, for your family or when you guys are hanging out?
Joey: My favorite dish is called sugo, which is basically a Sunday pasta dish – braised short ribs, homemade meatballs, and you cook it all day long. It’s something that the kids grow up on, for me it’s a real tradition in our home.
Melissa: Every Sunday we try to teach our kids a new dish, my daughter and I cook a lot. I love sugo, but my go-to is really simple – aioli. I do it all the time – pasta, olive oil, garlic, a little red pepper. I cook really simple at home, with a lot of seafood. Any pasta with seafood is great for me.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Aarti with the judges, and Susie Fogelman on the far right.
What went through your mind when you were announced the winner? What was the first thing that popped into your head?
Susie: Absolutely, but I think it’s a growing appetite - it’s a pun intended, I should say based on what people are interested in. I think that peoples pallets are you know; what is the number one condiment now? I think it’s salsa. Where it probably used to be ketchup. Don’t hold me on that but I think it’s probably true and I think that Latin flavors, we obviously have Marcella on air that is doing a show about Mexican food and I think that Cooking Channel, our sister network, has a lot of programming on that is more global. So we do think that this is right in line with what Americans are looking for and I think we need to do it in a way that is not intimidating and is approachable and inspiring. I think if we strike the right balance with that we could have a real homerun on our hands, and I think it is definitely answering the call of what people are thinking about today.
When did you see Aarti kind of emerge ahead of the rest of the pack? When was that moment for you?
Susie: Aarti kind of had me at hello, to be honest. She has such a kind spirit and I think it started, but you try not to get too excited in the beginning because I think that certainly for me I wanna make sure that, you are as fair and un-biased as possible; because anybody could become a front runner. Anybody could have a bad week; anybody could have a great week. You know confidence is a really big issue in this job, so I feel like I kind of loved Aarti. There wasn’t any one moment; the first time I met her in all seriousness she had me at hello. Her accent is beautiful, her smile is beautiful, I was so intrigued by her background and how she brought these flavors to American cuisine. She had a lot of check marks in the boxes that mattered to me, but I’ll go back to the confidence thing. You have to confident in this job and if you cannot maintain that and sustain that it’s the kiss of death so I think I worried. There was no one epiphany when I was like, She’s our girl. I really sort of fell for her in the beginning but needed to see that she can go the distance. There were moments that I thought; wasn’t it interesting for those of you who watched the episode about the Iron Chef competition - wasn’t it interesting how Bob and Bobby were really focused on how her calm demeanor and then obviously her lack of commentating looked like she sort of snowballed that whole thing? When in actuality she brought in the most delicious flavors and did a beautiful job presenting them. I think when you’re sort of about to count her out she comes back really strong and she did that enough in order to be impressive.
Be sure to tune in this Sunday and check out the Season Premiere of Aarti's new show on the Food Network, Aarti's Party, at 12pm. On the season opened, Aarti journeys back home with recipes inspired by her family in India. First, she cooks up Sloppy Bombay Joes, an all-American classic updated with warm Indian flavors like garam masala and cumin. As a refreshing starter, she prepares a crisp Massaged Kale Salad with pumpkin seeds and honey. For an indulgent end to this savory meal, Aarti whips up cool Creamy Pistachio Pops. Sounds delicious!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
1 brioche loaf, sliced into one inch slices
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups corn flakes
Beat together the eggs, milk, and spices. Crush the cornflakes with a rolling pin. Dunk the bread in the egg/milk mixture and place it on top of the cornflakes. Pat the bread down, flip, and pat again. Place the coated bread into a well greased pan heated over medium heat and cook until browned on both sides. Plate with butter and syrup and devour.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Ambrosia Agua Fresca
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I have been nose deep in Mark Kurlansky's writing for the past month. "Salt" enthralled me, so I immediately moved on to the equally entertaining "The Basque History of the World," and look forward to tackling "Cod" immediately after. As I've been working my through his history of the Basques, I've been dog earring the pages containing recipes, licking my chops over the Itxassou cherry cake, hare with walnuts and chocolate, and the onomatopoeic pil pil, named for the sound the salt cod makes as it's being stirred into oil. My attention immediately turned to the Pimientos de Guernica for their simple "Basque" loveliness. The perfect tapas dish, it's historically made with Vizcayan choricero peppers, but conveniently made with Spanish padron peppers I found at the farmers' market. Most are nutty and sweet, but every now and then one is packed with some Iberian heat.
2 cups pimientos de padron or pimientos de choricero