The Best Scrambled Eggs

People say ALL the time, “You must eat so well being a chef’s wife.” Last night my dinner was the other half of a sandwich I had for lunch. My husband works most nights. So our “date” time is breakfast. My husband makes the best eggs. I mentioned this before when he did that bit for Julie and Julia. Well, the king of scrambled eggs is at it again. Here on Good Bite he shows you how to make the most delicious scrambled eggs.

Honestly, I still haven’t perfected them myself, but I canNOT order them out now. I am always disappointed by the yellow rubber on my plate.

My husband, he knows eggs.

My Husband’s Tuna Noodle Casserole

For anyone who has missed it, my hubby Mark Peel has a cooking video on goodbite.com. It’s taken from his cookbook New Classic Family Dinners. It’s only two minutes long so check it out. Now, does he cook up vittles like this for us all the time? We’ve had it maybe twice ever (the guy works a lot).  But it’s DELISH and it’s great for leftovers. I made meals out of it for days. On it’s own, with a salad, with steamed broccoli, etc.

Oh, and it was just announced that Mark is on the coming season of Top Chef: Masters. Stay Tuned.

Here is the chef with his son.  Rex sleeping, Mark needing sleep.

May I Take Your Order?

Mark went to Vivien’s school and made grilled cheese sandwiches for her class. He was proud that she was more adventurous with the ingredients than the other kids. Campanile is known for their Thursday Grilled Cheese Nights. They are not normal grilled cheese sandwiches. Things like open face faced Burrata mozzarella, toasted garlic, cherry tomatoes, along with a basic grilled cheese. All delish. Vivien loves the walkie talkies dad uses at the farmer’s market and when he puts her car seat in the van.

If she worked with him now it might violate some child labor laws. But maybe one day…

Cookbooks for a Cook?

Home cooks and foodies ask me what cook books Mark has. He has so many I made him throw lots out before our last move, and he still has boxes of them. But here are two that my sister Carole gave him for his birthday. One about old-school cocktails, natch. And somehow she got her hands on Pearl Bailey’s cook book.

Raise your hand if you remember Pearl Bailey. It’s great because it is written exactly how she use to speak. The recipes are not written out like a cookbook normally is. She just tells you how Pearl does it.

The Book Signing

Monday night was the first book signing for Mark’s cookbook. It was for food press and some key ringers. My family, the doctor who delivered my babies, you know, the usual. I asked for a mic to be there, and I introduced Mark and he introduced his co-writer Martha Rose Shulman.

It was a lot of work for about two years, so it was nice to have a cocktail and celebrate. Or three. But they were tiny cocktails. It was very fun, and I wore one of my new dresses from my previously written about $500 shopping spree at the Trina Turk sale (‘Cause I was tired of wearing maternity).  My daughter also wore pink. And here she is wisely eating the yummy apps that were straight out of the cookbook.

Note the savory tart on the table. I don’t know if I have mentioned it, but

I’M OBSESSED WITH SAVORY TARTS. They are my favorite food.

They don’t serve them at Campanile, but pretty sure they will at the bar Mark is working on, or there will be marriage counseling in our future. There is a recipe for the one here, and it was GOOD. Slices of potato, carmelized onions, bacon. Nuff said.

People were very kind, and many people bought 2 to 5 books planning ahead for Christmas.

I was a little fried the next day since Rex woke us up quite a bit, but there was some nice press and none better than this.  It’s like I wrote it.

Mark has a couple more book signings scheduled in LA. October 20th at Borders in Century City and the 26th at Campanile. If he travels out of town, it’s on our dime, so not sure about other places. If it does well, we might go somewhere where we have friends so it makes sense, like the Bay Area.

The night and the Grubstreet article were amazing considering when we were in the dark days of late December ’08 I said to Mark, “2009 will be your year.” He had to buck me up more than I him. But being human, having millions stolen and having to sell your home can take a little spring out of your step. Even the sunniest of people can need a pep talk. I said, I can feel it, it’s going to come together for you. The book will come out, the restaurant will endure, the bar you are working on will come together, and I’m getting you on Top Chef!  I might have said:

“As god as my witness!”

So, maybe the lesson is, in dark moments hide the hard drugs and visualize the good stuff, work towards your goals, and they just might kick in. I hope.

Festival of Leftovers

As the wife of a chef I often have people say to me, “Wow, you must eat great!”

“Why are you eating that slice of cheese on a grocery store roll; you are married to a chef.”

Etc.

Well, I do eat well, IF I go into his restaurant. But 5 to 6 days of the week we are on our own. And when dinner is Mark’s job, he is kind of pooped so his fare is simple–but good– grilled steaks, sauteed vegetables.

One thing he is good at doing is making something out of nothing.

When we were dating he would drive over to my apartment when he was done. Seems crazy to remember that he could show up at midnight, and I was awake and happy to see him. As opposed to now when I fall asleep at 10:30 and growl if he wakes me up at midnight. Poor guy, bait and switch.

So, one night I said, “Please bring me something to eat.” I waited in my little pad thinking of all the yummy food he would be bringing me. But he had spaced.

He brought nothing.

I said, “But I have NOTHING TO EAT, and I’m hungry. I’ve been waiting for your fine food.”

He said, “I will fix something.”

“No, no there is nothing Mark, nothing!”

Well, like in some reality show challenge, he made me a great tomato salad and something else good I can’t remember.

In our current life when we are both too pooped to shop and cook, Mark has birthed FESTIVAL OF LEFTOVERS. In this picture, he made a nice salad with cold steak and other ingredients. It was what we had on hand, and it did taste good, but his presentation really sells it.

When he isn’t home we often eat practically standing up. With Mark, it must all be Plated.

And please note Rex’s onesie. My dear friend Heather made this for him. She is a crafty little child-free friend.

Top Chef Judge

Tonight’s the night!  Where Rex’s dad is a judge on Top Chef (Wednesday, September 2nd). His appearance on Top Chef (not the Masters, different show) came at a provident time for us. April 30th we were loading out the last our possessions from the dream home where we had to sell. And May 1st we were being flown to Las Vegas so Mark could do the show. We were put up in a suite on the outskirts of town, but it was sweet to be sure. I left the kids for 22 hours and had such a great time. Here is where we stayed. It was actually prettier in person and wasn’t chock a block with white trash in the pool the way Vegas can be. We drank, had naked time, got massages in the beautiful spa, and saw a show. What parents away will do. The next morning MP filmed his first bit with Padma. I was a good wifeager and asked them to promote his book, which they kindly did. Then I had to get home to see my babies.

I honestly think that trip really helped me from getting the blues.

MP shot there a couple more days and had a great time. So, it will be fun to watch it.

Wow, seems like so long ago.

Top Chef Masters: My Own Watching Party

Okay, I couldn’t watch it live. Even though I knew the outcome, it made me more nervous than I realized. We went over to Mark’s restaurant and ate, and I had a big glass of white wine (I like them dry and minerally). After the bunnies were in bed, and Mark came home from work, I watched it.

It’s funny since I have hosted reality shows, and I know how much of it is set up and made in the editing room, yet I was still drawn in to see my husband compete.

For those that didn’t see it, I think Mark did very well. He looked handsome, and he was genial and articulate. Which is why I think they used a lot of his sound bites. I also thought the New Orleans chef Jeff Besh came off as a very likable guy. I found the other two chefs were mumblers and a tad harder to understand, but nice enough.

Mark had been saying for months (It was shot a while ago) “I could have done better in the Quick Fire.”  Ironic that his flaw was forgetting the olive oil when I have learned so much about cooking with olive oil.

Stefano stava cucinando
Creative Commons License photo credit: BobbyProm

In the challenge, he had to tie one hand behind his back (they all did). I loved that they had him talking about his dad who was born with only one hand. And that they showed the sweet photo of he and his dad when Mark was little. His dad was pretty solid. He was a teacher. Taught special ed and drivers ed and painted houses in the summer to support his family… with one arm!

The shows goes a fast clip, but Mark was AWOL from home for two and half days. He said there was a lot of sitting around. And the judges’ deliberation that takes about 2 minute in the show? That took 3 hours. He and the other chefs did sit around and drink and wait… and wait.

While we watched, I would pause and ask him things like, “Was your fish overcooked?”  He said probably: “They say you are going to go, and then you have to wait.”  Ah the magic of “reality” television.

When it came down to just he and one other after the other two chefs were ordered to get their knifes and get lost, I said, “Do you feel bad when people are eliminated?”

He said with a smile, “No.”

Will I Get on the Oprah Show?

Update:  The show airs Monday, April 6, 2009!

Okay, I’ve got to tell you about how I was almost NOT on the Oprah show. It was days in the making. The producers were planning a show called “Real Moms Confess.” They were having various moms and mom bloggers send in videotaped bits. First, I got a call from a producer asking me questions about motherhood for about 45 minutes. I did a full nursing while we chatted.  I said, “I work in TV. I know this all is distilled down to a 30 sec bit.” She’s like, “Uh, huh.” Then more questions. At this point, it wasn’t for sure they would pick me to be on the show. Later, I got a call that they did want me to be on the show and were sending me a camera to record some of the things I said and instructions on how to upload them. Figuring all that out was another day.

I kept thinking, “Do I get to go to Chicago?” But no, they had other people destined for Chicago, but maybe I would be Skyped in. I waited. Then the call came: Yes, they wanted me to Skype in and was sending the equipment. Got the laptop, mic, cables, etc. and instructions on how to assemble it. Then a call to make a date to test equipment. Check and check; it all worked.  I left it set up in the husband office/playroom since there is a window there and thought the natural light would give me Oprah-like light. I was doing this largely so they would mention Cool Mom. I was told no by the nice producer that they weren’t plugging websites on the show in a sort of “This is the Oprah show; we are not negotiating” way. And what was I going to say? “Well, then I’m going to go on a bigger show!”  American Idol wasn’t going to have me on. The other reason I wanted to go on was just to say, “I was on Oprah!!”

A day or two before, I was told by the show that they needed me to fax my children’s birth certificates and my marriage certificate. Huh? It was required. I made my own assumption that after that author said he had written his memoir and then it turned out it wasn’t true, they weren’t messing around anymore and just taking people’s word for it. I could have invented some family just to get on Oprah. I could have pretended to have 8 kids and put on big fake lips. Oh, wait, someone really did that. So, fax I did.

Next day: do I have my stepson’s birth certificate? No. Is he on my taxes? The fact that I had neither handy made me think, maybe I have made this kid up? Who am I fooling? Then I said, “I have his report cards.” Crickets.  I have a copy of his passport…. Oh, but then I couldn’t find that either. Crap, I did make him up. Then I said to the producers, go to www.campanilerestaurant.com. Look at my husband’s bio.  All of his children are listed there. That sufficed. If the Oprah show says I have stepchildren. then I will believe it too.

The plan was that we would tape at 7 a.m. I had to get up at 6 a.m., turn on the Skype, and then I could go and have my coffee and put on makeup. I am not banking a lot of sleep these day,s so I hired a baby nurse to spend the night with Rex. She’s a doll, and in more prosperous times I would have had her 6 days a week. These are NOT these times, but Oprah needed me (or I needed Oprah), and I needed my rest. I still had to get up to pump, but it’s much easier than nursing and then getting Rex burped and back to sleep. At 5:45, the phone rang: “Get up; this is the Oprah show.” I slurred into the phone something and staggered downstairs in my bathrobe. I took the steps to turn on the Skype like before, and nothing happened. I was on the phone with their engineer who (I appreciated) kept his cool as I slowly started to panic. There was much advice and troubleshooting, and still it wasn’t working. He said, “Call Time Warner.” Oh, great, why don’t I call the DMV while I’m at it? I said, “They will not help.” The engineer said, “Tell them you are trying to get on for the Oprah show; that should speed them up.” I ran and got my husband, who (bless his heart) got up right away. He may be a man, but he knows Oprah is a big deal. I spoke to two people at Time Warner as the clock ticked to 7:00 and every passing minute a smaller chance I would get on Oprah. “I’m trying to get on Oprah”  No reaction. “Yes, ma’am, can you restart your computer?” I thought how bummed I would be when I later saw the show and there were other moms and mom bloggers on there and I wasn’t. Time Warner said that I didn’t have an active modem and asked when would l like to schedule a service appointment. I practically screamed, “I don’t want an appointment; I’m supposed to be on Oprah.” They didn’t care. Then at 6:51a.m., I said to the engineer and producer who were on the line, “My husband’s work is only a mile away; would there be time if I went there?”  Yes, they said.  I was so glad they hadn’t already bumped me. They must have like my anecdotes.

Oliver was eating his morning cereal Mark told him to grab the Skype and throw it in the car. Mark had gotten dressed and drove. I was getting calls from the show every 3 minutes asking, “Are you there yet?” Had I not hired the baby nurse, I would have had to call it quits. Mark could not have left, and I can’t figure out all the keys to get into his office. We went through the service entrance, up the stairs to his small, dingy office that he shares with half his staff. It has god-awful florescent lighting overhead (not Oprah lighting) and chef’s jackets hand about. But zip, zang, the Skype worked here. I had thrown on a bright orange top before we left and a pulled on sweat pants on my unwashed body. I slapped on some makeup as the Oprah staff said things like, “Can your husband get ride of those aprons?”  It was strange, ’cause they could see me, but I couldn’t see them. Another voice from Chicago said, “Can you do something about the light?”  I knew overhead fluorescent would not be a good idea for national TV. I grabbed a small desk lamp that was nearby and tried my best to aim it at my under eye as I had seen professional lighting people do with professional lights. The voice from Cchicago gave me enouragement: “That’s good. Now move the camera.” The camera is a tiny one hooked on the top of the laptop. Amazing that a big show has such primitive technology and amazing it all works!  I was thinking later, hey what to those reporters do who are stationed in Iraq and places like that? They have to wing it all the time.

As I waited, my dream hubby brought up a freshly made espresso from the bar. As I took my first sip I suddenly heard a woman say, “Put that down!”. Then the show came on my laptop. They had started late (apparently waiting for me, I was so honored). I could see the show, but there was no sound. During the second segment Oprah suddenly spoke to me. I was startled. Talking on Skype makes one very insecure because while you are talking you can’t see people’s reactions or hear if people are laughing. So whenever I spoke I thought, Am I making an ass of myself? Is Oprah going to be glowering at me?

Well, I have to leave the cliffhanger there because they asked us not to talk about the body of the show till it airs (made me write in my blood). I will say this, once it got rolling, it went well.  The whole staff was very nice to me even when I was holding up their production, and I now have more respect for Oprah than before. She is at ease and in charge and very good at connecting. It’s one thing to see it but another to experience it.  Also, being a host myself, I know that to have that many elements to interview and probably different producers talking can make a person jittery, but she is cool as can be.  As was I… in my dumpy office!

What a Chef Buys

People always say to me, “Oh, your husband is a chef! Does he cook for you every night?” No, works 5 nights a week. But one cool thing is he has upped my kitchen. This vlog shows you all the subpar crap I was happy to live with and the nice stuff Mark went and splurged on. It’s easier for him to spend money than it is for me… I’m kind of thrifty.