Sum recipes, sum changes

I keep thinking, well I USED to be on Food Network.  but, guess I’m still on cause my episode Sum Sum Summertime is on tomorrow.  It’s got some tasty stuff on it.  Chorizo sliders, chorizo slidersfish tacos… rock it!!  All recipes HERE


But, since I NOT filming new shows…right now, something else is cooking.. so to speak.  Me.

If this light was always on my I wouldn't have needed an eye job.  And by "need" I mean want.

If this light was always on my I wouldn’t have needed an eye job. And by “need” I mean want.

I’m laying low.. literally I am finally getting my long awaited eye job!  I’ve been wanting one for a long time and I’m not going to that BS of disappearing for two weeks and everyone says, “did you get bangs?  What’s different?”  I’ve been saving my acorns for this for a while and it’s a big middle-aged present to myself. But, I will not be laying low for long.  Oh, no.  I’m not hiding.  Just resting.

So, I’m feeling all Brian Wilson, on my back, on pain killers while my Chef husband hand feeds me home made pasta Carbonara ( for reals).  I’m feeling like maybe I’ll get my own pet sounds out of this.  Need to shut my eyes and rest, but soon enough I’ll show it all to you Fuchsia bruises and all!

As much as I hate when skinny celebs say “yes, I eat burritos and ice cream”, I’m not going lie about this.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all fish lips, change the planes of my face, just got a little “redundant skin” that has been bugging me  on my lids and a bit of “crepe” under.  I know gravity is not going to make better.   NO cheek implants, no over arched eyebrows.  But let’s say I did go all Mickey Rourke, whose to call it?  You know what, gender reassignment, tattoos, piercing, hair extension where is the limit?  Body as art, body as self-expression?  Or maybe just as simple as mom who recently discovered her own body, her own sexual self and is tossing out the granny gowns and doing something for herself.


To be continued…


Daphne Dishes…no more

Dear everyone who has ever been nice to me.  Last week I found out that Daphne Dishes is NOT getting a 3rd season on Food Network.  I am, of course, super bummed.  The ratings were good, but the daytime programming is very competitive, tight on their schedule.  They have been very kind and say they would like to find another place for me, but it won’t be this show.

Setting up a shot

Setting up a shot

I loved working with everyone on the show.  I can’t say it was a dream come true because I never would have that that 1) Food Network would ask me to do my own show 2) it was my own show 3) I could do it from my OWN home with with my Own kids.  I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

working with my kids was the be

working with my kids was the best

I worked really hard on the recipes and tried to give it my best even though I shot most of the episodes when I was either reeling from my brother’s suicide ( season 1) or done in by C diff ( season 2).  Craig Anderson at Concentric was more than a producer, but a dear family friend.  The whole crew was.

Craig directs the kids

Craig directs the kids

David, food stylist, a sweetie and also works on Pioneer Woman's show.

David, food stylist, a sweetie and also works on Pioneer Woman’s show.


My first priority was making sure my kids were well taken care of and they were.  Even when I was in NYC last year and met with the heads of the network and Harriet Siew who found me ( Thanks Harriet).  Rex and Vivien were with me and they were giving them things to take and play with.  Everyone should feel so welcome with their kids in a workplace!

such pros!

such pros!

I would have loved to tell more funny stories, to make more food,

my pea soup

my pea soup

to impart more things I’ve learned as a home chef with some professional experience and influence, and a very supportive chef husband!

Thank you for watching.


Aint’ nobody here but us chickens!

by @nylaportraits

by @nylaportraits


We have taken the leap!  We are urban chicken farmers.  We have been talking for years about getting chickens. We have a big yard.  Mark has had them before.  He knew what not to do: have a rooster that makes your neighbors mad.

One day our friend Larry the landscaper texted Mark that a family was selling their chickens, coop and all.  An orthodox Jewish family who were moving to Vegas for a lower cost of living.  No use taking the chickens to Nevada when they already have the Chicken Ranch!

Mark came home with 6 chickens which the kids promptly named.  I heard “Steve” and “Dutchess” and then lost track.  Our two story chicken coop is easy to move around the yard so no one part of the yard gets all the fertilizer!

Cody in a friendly mood

Cody in a friendly mood by @nylaportraits

Upside: Eggs!  About 5 eggs a day.  Which challenges Mark and I to keep working on more egg dishes.  Frittatas, quiche and last night a souffle!  (should I get my cholesterol checked?)

if a frittata and a quiche had a baby it would look like this

if a frittata and a quiche had a baby it would look like this

 Here is a recipe for ham and egg fried rice from my Food Network show Daphne Dishes.  Which by the way.. is repeating every Saturday at 8am.  And no, no word on a pick up so I think that’s no, but dunno :(

We have gone to some of our neighbors and gifted them with our fresh eggs.

Hey neighbors, want some eggs?

Hey neighbors, want some eggs?

Our chickens are free range and are on a vegetarian diet so they live better than me.  Well except for sleeping on their excrement.

It’s also been a good lesson in responsibility for my kids.  They have cottoned to the chores associated with the chickens more than they ever did with Cody.  Let them out in the morning, check their water and feed.  Put them in the coop and lock the door so the raccoons don’t get em.

Speaking of Cody.  He is sometimes fascinated by the hens.  But, other times his primal side comes out and he starts chasing them.  He never hurts them, but scares the chickens and causes them to squawk and jump on the fences.  Then we take him up to the house or put him on a leash.

So, if you are in the area, come and get some eggs!


The Bacon effect

First kids can’t run around a car while it’s in motion.  Then a lover can’t greet you when you get right of the plane, now they are taking bacon.  I’m of course referring to the latest report from World Health Organizations (kill joys) that processed meat specifically, and meat in general are a tiny notch above asbestos for causing cancer.  I just enjoyed the heck out of hot dog on the 10th hole the other day at a golf tourney.. who knew it would be my last!

I can’t take it.  Even though I had no make up only my phone I felt compelled to record this moment

Oh and ham!  What next sex?

volunteering at school lunch

So, When Viv was first in Kindergarten I volunteered, but as this video shows it didn’t quite go as I had planned.  I tired a few more times, but it always seemed to be school lunch time just as Rex fell asleep so I’d be looking for parking right outside of the school when he would nod off.  I test the mom in charge, “Sorry, can’t do it, Rex asleep.”  An unreliable volunteer, what are the chances?

So, last year when Rex started Kindergarten I started again.  Daphne Dishes.. up food.  There is a lot of running back and forth so I always get a lot of steps for the day.  I learn a lot, not so much about my kids, but which kid is going to flip out if I make him/her take the required veggie/ fruit.  How anyone below 3rd grade can’t be asked a complex question like, “with cheese, or without?”  Sometimes I’m standing there in my hair net thinking, you know, I host a Food Network show?  But, no one cares.  They just want another glass of milk.

The sweep up at the end of the shift is the worse.  Mashed food on the ground.  invariably piled high in the trash cans big chunks of the fruit and veggies we made the kids take (federal law).


Labor day fun

I hope you got to watch the Season Finale of Daphne Dishes.  Backyard Camping.  Check out recipes here.  It was great to make the 13 episodes for season 2 and I worked with such lovely people.  Everyone was super kind and supportive of my kids which is was my first priority.

crew photo

crew photo


shooting Daphne Dishes

shooting Daphne Dishes


friend and Production assistant takes my kids to school

friend and Production assistant takes my kids to school

My kids are good sports about having a wacky mom who has a camera enter their home at regular intervals.  First for Coolmom and Momversation and now Daphne Dishes.  They are use to people being in our home and are happy to see them when they return.

kitchen crew Daphne Dishes

kitchen crew Daphne Dishes

You can’t do this alone!  Food Producer Tim Macklin, Food stylist David Domedion ( who also works with Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond), Food stylist Sarah Blair.  They make the food look pretty for beauties and help me figure out how to make things look better, taste better from my original idea.  For example: I make something and it’s not quite right to me.  We all stick our spoons in it, “needs more honey, needs a bit of lime juice, no, I think it’s fine, etc”  While the camera folk are standing around waiting for us to make up our mind.  We had a tight schedule for season 2 and Mark was busy with Bombo opening so Sarah and I worked form 10 to 8 every day a for a week before shooting testing recipes.  Some were not finalized till we were on set.  Tim always let Rex play a game on his phone when he asked.  Sarah was very motherly to the kids.  Nice people.

I like to work with people I’ve worked with before.  So our second camera was Chung Ming Huang, who shot some of my best Cool mom Vids and even made a cameo once

Make up  and hair artist Crystal Bernal ( oh I wish I could the braids she can do) and Brittany Merideth, stylist Lauren Francis.  I worked with them all at TV Guide Channel.  Lauren has dressed me, skinny, fat, pregnant, not pregnant, crying after my dad’s death, inbetween nursing.  She is unflappable and always sees me prettier than I see myself.  Which is nice when you are getting naked in front of people! Lauren always let Vivien be her assistant when she came home from school.  Viv has an eye!  Vivien hates getting her hair cut, but one day she allowed Crystal to give her a trim.

with stylist Lauren Francis

with stylist Lauren Francis..I’m doing my mean look




producer of daphne dishes


Our super sweet producer Craig Anderson of Concentric.  He took us out to dinner the day we shot our last shot for Season 2.  Food Network had me meet a few producers when we were figuring out this show and I picked Craig.  He has a very warm vibe, he is a dad and was gentle with all of us as he helped me loosen up and be myself doing the hardest hosting I’ve ever done.  Cooking and talk to camera is more difficult than it looks!

typical exchange when we worked on the pilot

“what are you doing?”



“so it blends, so it doesn’t burn”

“Say that to camera”


“smile when you talk”


“does this make you think of something.”

“um.. um “

“did your mom make you this?”

“Oh, no she never made she would make..”

“Okay, tell us that story.”



I do my thing

Craig, “That was great!”

Me: “it was?”


impossible to get a screen grab where I don't look crazy. Hazards of an expressive nature

impossible to get a screen grab where I don’t look crazy. Hazards of an expressive nature

So, obviously I hope we are back for more.  I have lot’s of recipes riffing off stuff I tasted in Europe and just fooling around as I slowly got my colon back in order.  Thanks to all the folks who watch and gave us nice tweets and such.  Keep going back and look up recipes.  I know I do!   If you missed any the shows are on itunes.

For those of you who are just finding my site through the show here is one of my more successful and madcap videos.  It’s sort of  food.. muffin.. except, not.  Happy cooking.

Home Ec

One of the funnest parts of shooting my show is getting friends and family in on the action.  Today my first cousin, once removed Kelsie joined me.kelsie piini

testing out my tofu before we shot

testing out my tofu before we shot

The subject was cooking healthy, cheap and easy for college, but then it became cheap, healthy, easy for anyone.

Kelsie is a theater arts major in Riverside so I thought she would be game.  Her singing here.  I really want to help people get over there fear of the kitchen. She is already ahead of me in college, She has pretty hair.  I went through a mullet phase.

Sal Marino, a great chef and friend helped me figure out how to do a version of his AMAZING pea soup.

testing my pea soup

testing my pea soup

No pea soup is better than his.  If you come to LA go  to Il Grano and have it.  My version is made with frozen peas and is very good, if you’ve never had his you would think it ‘s the best, so maybe don’t have his, because then mine is for sure 2nd best.


Before we tape the show I spend a lot of time testing recipes.  I have an idea in my head and sometimes it takes several tries to get it right, or I have to scrap it and do something else.  Sometimes it’s good right away.   An hour with Sal and this pea soup was perfect.


Next week I riff off the foods of Bombo for Steam Power.  If I seem low energy my as yet undiagnosed C – diff was kicking my ass .. literally.  But, I always have the sweetest people around me helping through!

with director of photography Chris Bierlein

with director of photography Chris Bierlein.  Hang on Chris, I have to run to the bathroom…again.

taking a break in filming

taking a break in filming

green tea

Jerry, our PA, goes to get afternoon fuel

More Green Tea please, thanks

white flour fantasy

So, I’m trying to lose my grief weight and it’s not easy when the deeper I get into my 40’s my metabolism seems to slow at a logarithmic rate.   Give up wine.. no.  Give up white sugar, mostly I can do that, fine. Exercise, fine, helps stop the voices in my head.  So, I needed another restriction.  I chose no white flour.  No pasta, pizza, that’s tough.  But, I’m really missing it in the morning.  Bread products are the only things that settle my tummy in the morning and they are quick.

I can have very vivid romantic dreams.  It’s the safe way to cheat when you are married.  Well, two night ago I had a very explicit dream…about a buttered bagel.   It was warm, shiny, I couldn’t wait to eat it. I woke up and it was like I had been with Idris Elba or Scott Foley.  Oh, I just want to get thin enough to eat it for real!



Hot and Brit

Hot and Brit

way hotter than that dopey president

way hotter than that dopey president

My body might be getting adjusted to it’s new simple carb deprived body.  I had a fantastic dream with George Clooney.  We were in that new dating, flirting mode that I can distantly recall.  I ran my hand up under his shirt.  He was smiling.  It was on.  Next thing I knew I was trying hang gliding and Mark was telling me to get up.  “it’s 7:30!”  My alarm went off at 6:50.

“Leave me alone”  I wanted to savior the last few minutes I squeeze out of my dream brain.

In the kitchen I sleepily made some unsweetened oatmeal.  Thinking of the man of my dreams and the bread product of my dreams.



he was dressed more casually for me last night

he was dressed more casually for me last night..but he didn’t have a bagel

Stealing Ingredients

Here is Daphne Dishes, without the production value. No lighting, no make up and clothes.. I have a cold.   I did this a while ago, but thought it would really fit with my Food Network show running.

One of the yards I take from belongs to the best couple of people you could ever hope to live next door too.  They were at Mark’s pop up last night.  They leave the side gate open so the kids can play in their yard if they like.  They are the borrow sugar kind of folk.  Although, I think it’s usually been olive oil.  Plus, they let me raid their citrus tree. I think the hip name is “forage”.

Who can you steal from?