Early Thanksgiving Dinner with Celebrity Chef Todd English

Lots and lots to eat and smile about

Todd and I have been friends for a while, but this was the first time I actually got to work with him.

There are really a number of things i love about Todd…

1. He eats just like me. Fatties unite. From lasagna to sweet potatoes to glazed spoonbread, we tried to finish everything.
2. All my friends fall in love with him. My producers from this shoot, not excluded 😉
3. He always wants a glass of wine, or good sipping tequila. Don Julio 1942, in case you see him in a bar and want to send him a drink.
4. He has like 27 restaurants and yet still has energy to go out. Um, AMAZING.

Trying to look bossy in the kitchen

Anyway, look for my thanksgiving cooking special this weekend! 🙂
AND just as a sneak peak —
his new book, “Cooking in Everyday English” has a recipe for some BOMB miso sweet potatoes…
Just for yall, here it is!

Creamy Miso Sweet Potatoes

“Miso added to sweet potatoes introduces an uncommon depth of flavor that leaves people asking for more!  Use a ricer or food mill to mash the potatoes into a silky puree.  Serve this alongside your Thanksgiving Turkey for a delicious twist on the traditional sweet potato side dish.  Miso is sold in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores.  Also try a tablespoon in your vinaigrette.”

Sweet potatoes, 2 ½ lb. (about 3 medium)
Parchment paper
Unsalted butter, ¼ cup
White miso, 2 Tbsp
Heavy cream, 2 Tbsp
Kosher salt, ¼ tsp.
Freshly ground black pepper, ¼ tsp. 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Scrub potatoes; pat dry, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.  Let stand until cool enough to handle.  Remove skins from potatoes.
  2. Press potatoes through a food mill into a bowl.  Place potato, butter, and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, 8 minutes or until hot.  4 servings

Note: If you don’t have a food mill, process peeled cooked potato, butter and remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a saucepan, and heat as directed in recipe. 

*Miso (Mee-soh) n. Fermented soybean paste that also contains rice or barley and is used as a flavoring in Japanese dishes.  Miso comes in different strengths and flavors; generally, the darker the color, the stronger the taste.

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Beat (and eat) the Ducks!


Photo by Allan L. Courtney

I know this will only strike a loud, melodious chord with 3 types of people — people who love duck confit, people who love Stanford football and people who hate the Oregon ducks.

I have nothing against Oregonians, but I do love Stanford football. And duck confit is one of my favorite dishes to cook/eat. Sometimes I shred it up and top a salad with it so I don’t have to feel so guilty as I enjoy the decadence. As I shred my duck confit this game day, you can bet your butt I’ll be doing it in the face of my Oregon fan friends.

I want to turn my game day into a “football foodieball” as I watch the Cardinal go head-to-head with the University of Oregon Ducks.

Needless to say, I intend to eat duck from beginning to end. Perhaps we will start with toast rounds topped with duck foie gras, then move on to some smoked duck breast with a grainy french mustard… and then the main event: easy duck confit.

The idea of making duck confit is daunting to most everyone. If you don’t like spending more than 30 minutes cooking/prepping for your meal, you may as well stop reading now. But I love to cook, while working smarter, not harder.

Anyway, duck confit can take days and days to make. My recipe takes some prep the day before and then some lazy cook time the day of (meaning all you have to really do is minimal assembling and a lot of waiting).

This recipe is one I’ve adapted from my beautiful chef friend Jacqueline Lombard who currently works at Lavo and you may remember from Top Chef Season 7.

4 Duck Legs (with thighs)
4 tbsp Kosher Salt
3 tbsp Ground Pepper
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 tbsp Garlic Powder
2 tbsp Pimenton or Smoked Paprika
6 sprigs of Thyme, chopped
2 sprigs of Rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp Coriander
1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
4 cups of Duck Fat

Combine all the herbs, spices and garlic in a bowl. Take your fresh duck legs and cover them with the rub, generously. Let your duck cure for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
The next day, wash the legs thoroughly with cold water and pat dry. Preheat your oven to 250F.
Melt enough duck fat to cover duck legs (4 cups is a generous estimate). Arrange the legs in a flat dish (a pyrex baking dish or a lasagna pan will do). Make sure the duck legs are as flat as possible so you can cover them with the fat. Don’t pile the legs atop one another.
Add more herbs and spices, if desired.
Cover the legs with duck fat and place in the oven. Cook for 6-8 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.
Remove from oven and allow legs to cool in the fat for one hour before removing.
Strain the fat and you can save it for use later.

Go Cardinal! And don’t just beat the ducks… EAT the ducks.

Homemade Soy Milk

Soy milk is SOOOO much better when you make it at home.

It tastes sweeter & cleaner, and you know there are no preservatives/chemicals.

Eatingrules posted the following video so you can do it at home too (trust me, you want to)

In case you dont feel like watching the video, heres the way my Korean mom makes her soy milk:

My Mom’s Soy Milk

Take a pound of dry soy beans, rinse them thoroughly, and then soak overnight, for at least 12 hours in the fridge (in my mom’s technique). Some say 8 hours is fine.

Once theyre soaked, drain and rinse the beans.

Put 1 cup of beans and 2 cups of hot water into a blender or foodprocessor and puree them. Pour the pulp into a large bowl and continue until all your beans are done.

Place a muslin cloth in a bowl, put a manageable portion of the soy puree in there, then squeeze the living bejeezus out of it. Continue until all of your puree has been squeezed out.

You can use the pulp that remains to make vegetarian dishes like burgers or stir fry. This is actually super useful, so don’t throw it away if you have a use for it.

Take the liquid that has been squeezed from your beans and put it in a pot. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for 8 minutes.

Remove from heat. Let it cool. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Leather + Gold = Gorgeous Neckcandy

I just fell in love with this necklace.

It’s rocker-y with an edge (the drops are made of leather) and yet so elegant and not cheap looking. Yes I know it’s House of Harlow by Nicole Richie, but I think she’s doing okay lately and not looking super trashy. And this necklace would look awesome with a cocktail dress + leather jacket… or accessorizing something super girly like a frilly pale yellow top. I’m into it.

P.S. it’s only $65 at Bloomys.

Team Coco

You know, call me a curmudgeon but the idea of packing into a theater with a ton of people is not my idea of a good time.
So when I was offered some tickets to see Conan O’Brien tape his show at NYC’s Beacon Theater on November 2nd… I thought.. well maybe I’ll take em, but probably, I’ll give them away.

I had already made plans to see a friend of mine that afternoon, so I asked her if she wanted to go, and duh, of course she did.

I mean who doesn’t want to see that abnormally gigantic and adorably dorky tall ginger comedian do his thing? I’ve always had a crush on Conan. If it werent for my friend, I def woudl have let my avoidance of crowds get to me.

I also would have let my dislike of taking pics get to me. If it weren’t for her gentle nudging, I would have the blurritastic proof that I was at the show.

An awesome time. Glad I went. Crush on Conan renewed.

Jointed Jewels – Gorgeous and Perfect for Spring

So spending my time schlepping to show after show this past fashion week, there was one running theme – REALLY bright colors —
I am loving Alissia Melka-Teichroew’s newest jewelry line –

so geometric and fun and perfect for when winter is gone (can’t come soon enough!)

Also will be using this as inspiration to paint a geometric rug – DIY to come.

and I cant wait to rock this for my rocker black-imbued winter (also big plus w fun accessories – $12! or get the silver one for $220)

Making the McRib into the MichRib

Yes, the McRib is back. My first reaction was, dude, AWESOME! Mainly because everyone keeps saying its awesome, and perhaps I’m just a follower.


Then I thought about it.

Look, I’m all for its $2.99 price tag and seemingly not-too-terrible 500 calories, but it’s not the most amazing sandwich I’ve ever had in my life.

I made a legit rib sandwich, which, yes, took longer than waiting in the 5-minute McRib line at my local McDonalds. But I think investing a couple hours into a real Rib sandwich that has the fixin’s of a McRib is the right way to go.

To rehash so that McRib enthusiasts don’t burn me at the stake, I get that the appeal of the McRib is the ease of picking it up, the delightfully fake pork rib texture and the tangy bottled BBQ sauce… but give this recipe a shot and you can save the McRib for late nights after lots of partying and booze.

There were a couple things I took into account when making my own rib sandwich. Let’s call it the MichRib.


I wanted to have a really delicious BBQ sauce, made from the juices of my pork ribs.

I wanted to get relatively inexpensive pork because I know no one will make this if my ribs are $15.99/lb.

I wanted to make sure to have the elements that actually make a McRib what it is (onion, pickles, soft bread).

The actual McRib, which I ate 2 of just to refresh my memory, has a patty that appears to be ground pork shaped into fake rib form without bones in it. We all know this does not exist in nature.

You have the option of going to the grocery store and finding some ground pork turned into rib shape. My 2 local groceries stores didn’t carry them, but it would certainly cut down on the labor to create your own McRib.

For my tasting notes, the McRib is highly sweet and tangy. The actual patty itself doesn’t soak in the flavor, which means if you want that, you can cut your rib cooking time in half.

For me, I wanted a permeating savory, sweet, tangy flavor. You will be glad to know I asked for extra McD’s BBQ sauce and I topped my meat with it.


Here’s my recipe.

The MichRib

(serves 1)


1/2 lb pork spare ribs

1 tsp salt
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup white wine
1 tbsp apple or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hoisin sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced

potato roll or your bread of choice
1/4 onion, sliced
3 pickle slices

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.

Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl. This your dry rub. Cut your ribs so that they are each an individual piece (i.e. 1 bone per piece). Rub it on all sides of each piece of rib. Make aluminum foil package, shiny side down, and place ribs in, side by side.

At this point, I refrigerate my ribs for an hour or so to let the flavors settle in, but that’s optional.

Meanwhile, mix the white wine, vinegar, Worcestershire, hoisin and garlic in a bowl.

Pour liquid into the foil package and stick into oven for 2 and a half hours.

Lower your oven to 200 degrees and cook for another hour.

Pour out the liquid into a saucepan and reduce to about 1/3 (should be syrupy). Taste the sauce and see if it’s to your liking.

Glaze the ribs with your sauce, then put the ribs under the broiler for a 2-3 minutes.

At this point, I let the ribs cool a bit, then grabbed a fork and knife and just pulled the meat off the bone (it should slide off, after braising for so long).

And then just compile your sandwich.
Bread + meat + pickles and onions, for those of you who have never eaten a sandwich.
I added some McD’s BBQ sauce, you know, just for authenticity sake.

P.S. This was an awesome it’s-snowing-on-Halloween(?!)-so-I’d-rather-watch-college-football activity.

Who the heck wants to don a skimpy costume and head into the cold?

Extrapolate that feeling to the rest of winter. This is definitely the way to spend your cold weekend days.