All Posts By Secretary Confidential

A Sandra-Style Thanksgiving

by in View All Posts, November 19th, 2009

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This year the SC is hosting Thanksgiving. One word, people: STRESS. So what could be better than running into the bright-eyed host of Sandra’s Money Saving Meals, Ms. Lee herself, in the elevator here at work? I took the opportunity to ask her for some quick holiday tips. Here’s what she offered:

1. Think smaller. For the turkey, that is – about 10 to 12 pounds. Sandra says, “It’ll eliminate the stress and time it takes to cook a 24 pounder. If you have a larger family, buy two smaller turkeys. Trust me.”

2. Create an edible tablescape. “If you have two smaller turkeys have them book ending your dessert. You could take three premade cheesecakes and put them on top of each other. Spread on a gorgeous cranberry chutney. I like using food as the focal point of my table. Nothing is going to waste.”

3. Try cornbread stuffing. “Cornbread stuffing is a staple in my house every Thanksgiving. I make it the day before. My recipe is so easy! I stuff my bird. I don’t cook the stuffing on the side.”

The cornbread stuffing will be tested in the SC’s personal kitchen tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes. For tips to make your holiday meal delicious, affordable and effortless check out the upcoming Sandra’s Money Saving Meals, Sundays at 12pm/11c and Mondays at 2pm/1c

Eat Well – The SC

Do You Have the Chops? Wii Do.

by in View All Posts, November 2nd, 2009

Most secretaries don’t count testing video games as part of their job responsibilities. But Food Network has high standards and everything gets tested plenty–even our new Wii game, which hits stores tomorrow, Cook or Be Cooked! We Food Networkers all wear many hats, so when I was asked to try out the new game, I got my nunchucks waxed and ready to go. I loved having a sneak peek and I corralled a few colleagues to play with me in one of our television-filled lounges (sorry, those pictures are top secret!).

In seconds, VP of Marketing and The Next Food Network Star judge Susie Fogelson and Food Network Kitchens chef Mory Thomas came to life before us, explaining how to play the game and how we’d be judged. Funny how something that looks so simple and seamless on screen took hours and days and weeks and months of planning! They’d be watching how we cooked, of course, including timing, seasoning, multitasking and temperature of several different dishes. Then, they’d give them a taste. The pressure was on! The idea is to start with simple dishes and cook your way through dozens of culinary treats until you’re master of a Food Network-worthy virtual kitchen. Read more

An Extreme Chat with Secretary Confidential

by in View All Posts, September 17th, 2009

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Yesterday, Extreme Cuisine host Jeff Corwin told Secretary Confidential he had homemade pasta fagioli for dinner — pasta, white beans, red beans, fava beans and broth — along with crusty bread and a glass of red wine. Pretty tame, right? Tonight, tune in and join in on a much different culinary experience as Jeff and crew debut a run of all-new episodes of Extreme Cuisine. We caught up with Jeff to find out where he’s been — like Greece and Morocco — and what’s been on his plate, including one bony dish of fish.
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A Chat with Melissa d’Arabian

by in View All Posts, August 14th, 2009

melissa_resize_for-webMelissa d’Arabian may be a Food Network Star, but let me tell you – she’s as real as they come. Between hosting Ten Dollar Dinners and taking care of her four little girls, she’s always on the move. Even still, she made time to chat with me about her new show, the big move to Seattle, and life after The Next Food Network Star.

Secretary Confidential: Can you give us a little sneak peek into Ten Dollar Dinners?

Melissa d’Arabian: I’m really excited about sharing my braised pork and black beans. That is actually a recipe from what I call “bean night,” which is really “inexpensive protein night.” At least one night a week I’ll make something that incorporates budget ingredients, like pork shoulder and black beans. It’s a great way to cut my grocery bill, but the dish still feels special. I used this recipe for a dinner party for 30 women and it cost me $58.
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Getting My Fix

by in View All Posts, July 23rd, 2009

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Want to know what tempts the SC’s palate? Let her talk for 30 minutes with the lovely Claire Robinson, host of 5 Ingredient Fix, about the awesome recipes coming up on her new episodes, which start this Saturday. Two words: doggie bag!

SECRETARY CONFIDENTIAL: Claire, you’re back with a new season. How exciting! And this time we get even more food fun – thirteen episodes instead of just six. Was shooting them double the work, or was it easier the second time around?

CLAIRE ROBINSON: It was so much fun. This time I felt like I had flexibility to play with different kinds of menus because I had more shows. For example, on one episode I do a no-cook dinner where I don’t turn on the oven or stove for the entire show. I did an all Southern-inspired theme called “Southern Soiree in the City,” which is the first episode–I bring a little country to the Big Apple.

SC: Do you test your recipes on anyone?

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Big Daddy is in the House

by in View All Posts, July 9th, 2009

aaronmccargoI’ve totally been wrapped up in The Next Food Network Star (NFNS) these last few weeks. (Who’s your fave?) While watching this season, I started wondering what was up with last season’s winner, Aaron McCargo Jr. Well, Big Daddy is in the house!

Yesterday I snagged Aaron for some water-cooler chat about his new season of Big Daddy’s House and the current season of NFNS.

*****

SECRETARY CONFIDENTIAL: You’re about to hit your one-year anniversary here at Food Network. Looking back over the past year, is there anything you didn’t expect would be a part of the experience?

AARON: I can’t say there have been any real downs, but I will say that I didn’t understand the flow of everything at first, the demand of my time. I hope to speak to The Next Food Network Star winner at some point, and offer what I’ve learned through all my bumps and bruises, as well as share my high fives. But I can’t call this work–it’s so much fun.

SC: Have you been keeping up with this new season of NFNS?

A: Oh, yes! I’ll be honest with you, it’s kind of tough to watch. It’s so surreal for me. My wife sits there with the kids watching with me, I look over, and I catch her tearing up all over again. I always tell people, it’s night-and-day different from doing NFNS to Big Daddy’s House. On NFNS you don’t have a clue as to what you’re going to do, what the challenge will be, or whether you’re going to be sent home. You can never relax. At Big Daddy’s I can now relax and enjoy it.

SC: So, if you were competing this season, who do you think would be your biggest competition?

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Aunty Sandy Answered Your Questions

by in View All Posts, June 25th, 2009

sandra_lee_3817Fourth of July is upon us, and so Aunt Sandy took some time to talk with me about the holiday and a bit more. From explaining why the fourth is her favorite holiday weekend (her birthday is the 3rd of July, why wouldn’t it be?), to where she learned to grill (a summer job at the Ramada Inn during her college days), and of course Sandra treats us to a yummy fourth menu.

SECRETARY CONFIDENTIAL
: SHOSHAM wrote in with this question: “If you could only splurge on one thing for your own July 4th party, which would it be: Food, Decorations, or Cocktails?”

Um….Hello?

SANDRA LEE: I’m thinking…that has got to be the hardest question anyone could ask me! Oh man, that’s like choosing your favorite child.

SC: So, is the answer D) All of the above?

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If you could ask Ted Allen ANYTHING…

by in View All Posts, June 11th, 2009

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Knock over your television and climb right onto Ted Allen’s set. Fine. Not really to his actual stage spot… BUT, now is your chance to talk to the quirky food personality instead of begging the screen to respond.

tedallenHere’s the deal: I scored an interview with Ted this Monday to chat about hosting the new Chopped episodes premiering next week. So…. Ten, Nine, Eight step away and fire your questions to me for culinary guru Ted Allen, and I’ll pick a few to ask him. If you’re curious as to what top three Chopped secret ingredients Mr. Allen would choose, or what guest judges he’d like to see on the show – now is the time to ask. Send away. You have until this Sunday (6/14) at midnight.

Yours Truly- The SC

Oh, Shoot!

by in View All Posts, June 4th, 2009

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No need to crane your neck, I did that for ya. While walking to work this morning, I spotted the 22’W x 30’H billboard featuring The Next Food Network Star right next to our Food Network offices in Chelsea Market. After initially shaking off the fact that I was not invited to the photo shoot (throat clear), I dug deep and found some (perhaps a bit scandoulous) photos that didn’t make it into the final cut, as well as a few great tid-bits on how the billboard came to be…

To amp up the energy, the photographer split the finalists up into boys only and girls only, with either set egging on the other. They had Beyonce and Lady Gaga blasting in the background, which got all the finalists dancing and playing. Here are some of my favorite cutting room floor shots that didn’t get used:

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Follow My Fork – Recipe Testing

by in View All Posts, May 29th, 2009

Enjoy my third installment of Follow My Fork. If you didn’t see where my fork led me for my first two adventures, you can still catch them here:

Follow My Fork – Into the Kitchens
Follow My Fork – On set

Until next week. Here’s to Eating Well!

Yours Truly,
Secretary Confidential

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