food tv


Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, the Galloping Gourmet and Martin Yan, those are the chefs I grew up with, the chefs who taught me what I enjoy in a cooking show. Current food television offers a much wider variety than days past, much of which makes me want to run screaming from the room. Kind of the way you’d run from the kitchen of a crazy chef. I’ve worked with chefs who rip phones off walls and throw pots. I don’t want to hang out with them in person or through the TV screen. So if you do enjoy that style of food drama, you should probably click away right now.

If you do enjoy a good cooking show, or entertaining romps through neighborhood restaurants, or info about where food comes from, then stick around. Now that it’s raining in California, and I’ve binge-watched all my current dramas through, it’s time to catch up on food. Check out my list…and send me yours too. Hopefully it will rain for a very long time and I’ll binge-watch my entire list while the drops are still falling, then move on to yours!

restaurant shows

I’ll Have What Phil’s Having: Phil Rosenthal is funny. He’s a writer, an actor (well, he was), a producer and the creator of the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond. And he apparently loves food. So he travels the world with his friends (some of whom you’ll know) and he eats food. He’s done shows in Tokyo, Italy, Paris, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Los Angeles. He will take you to amazing places to eat good food. And you’ll even learn a bit about cooking.

Check, Please! Bay Area: 3 regular joes and a host anonymously visit 3 of their favorite restaurants then discuss their experiences. Very homey and a great way to stay in touch with the Bay Area food scene.

cooking shows

The Mind of a Chef: How do great chefs think? And what do they cook? Crawl right into their creative brains and learn what real chef-ing is about (and no one in this series will refer to themselves as a ‘celebrity chef’, but they are all the best of the best). David Chang, Sean Brock, April Bloomfield, Magnus Nilsson, Ed Lee, Gabrielle Hamilton and David Kinch. Brilliance in the kitchen.

Julia Child: PBS release has released a selection of episodes from various Julia Child’s series. It’s a potpourri of Julia and a lovely way to spend an afternoon! Learn, cook, then see if you can do the voice. ‘Chello….Ihhhhh’m Jhooolia Chaaaiild….’

Good Eats: cooking with Alton Brown, well kind of. Alton Brown isn’t a chef. He’s kind of a geekyscientist who applies his mad science to food. And teaches us how to cook things in a really nerdy but effective way.

more food

Food Forward: Food rebels in the 21st century and beyond. I can’t possibly say it better than they do…‘Food Forward goes way beyond celebrity chefs, cooking competitions, and recipes to reveal the compelling stories and inspired solutions envisioned by food rebels across America who are striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to what we eat and how we produce it. Created by a veteran documentary film making team led by Greg Roden, Food Forward explores new ideas of food in America as told by the people who are living them. Each episode will focus on a different theme–school lunch reform, urban agriculture, sustainable fishing, grass-fed beef, soil science–and spotlight the real people who are creating viable alternatives to how we grow food and feed ourselves.’

Enjoy our rainy weather and happy watching…

Keep in touch,


Watson wants to be your friend too


Chef Watson  is looking for more friends. S/he and the 300 or so of us that have been cooking together for the last few months have discovered some issues, enjoyed some very odd creativity, and have suggested a few changes. Bon Appetit Magazine and IBM gave chef an upgrade and a facelift and now they want to add to the party. Click that last link if you’re interested. I see we are above 800 people already in our little culinary corner of the world. Join us if you’re interested….not only do you get to cook odd combinations and try to figure out what the heck Watson really wants you to do when s/he suggests putting schmaltz on your sandwich, but you get to be part of our private little facebook group!

This year we are having a very small Thanksgiving gathering which, in my world, just means we’ll have that many more leftovers. So last night I was checking the fridge and freezer for food to get rid of  (by cooking it people….I don’t throw food out!) to make room for the massive amounts of food that will end up there sometime late Thursday night. I found a few pieces of chicken and some raspberries that my son is tired of drinking in his morning smoothie. So Chef and I put on our thinking caps and made dinner.

Watson’s Recipe

My Modifications

The results

Watson always makes me laugh. I wonder what the difference is between chicken chicken and loin chicken? I think if there was no oddity in the recipe s/he gave me I’d probably move on to another recipe. The silliness is really half the fun. This dish was interesting for sure, but the recipe could use a few more tweaks. The sauce was much too sweet for my taste so I’d eliminate the honey all together and cook the rosemary with the raspberries to see how those flavors work together. Remember of course that I’m no chef….don’t judge. Other than too much sweetness though, it was very good and definitely pretty!

This was my first attempt since Watson’s makeover and using the program was much easier. The ingredients I entered were chicken, raspberries and balsamic vinegar and the program gave me styles and dishes that Watson thought were good pairs. Some of the styles are pretty funny…is bastille day really a cooking style? Once Watson had figured out a few recipes on which to base suggestions, I was able to choose which base recipe to start from with Watson substituting ingredients. Then I could move a slider to choose something basic or something more unusual.

Join our little cooking party, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and keep in touch,

my good friend Watson


Chef Watson and I are becoming quite the buddies. We’ve been chatting and have come to an understanding that we speak different languages but manage to communicate in a rather visceral manner where food is concerned. I still don’t know what s/he means by ‘spray pan with nonstick chili pepper’, but we are learning to get along. It reminds me of the time my sis visited me while I was studying in Eastern Canada. She met a lovely man and they were quite smitten but neither could speak the other’s language. They figured it out.

When I returned from the East Coast a couple of weeks ago I was met with my two volunteer cherry tomato plants bursting (literally, the little buggers were splitting) with tomatoes. We’ve now had cherry tomatoes on and in everything so I gave Watson a crack at cherry tomatoes and a beautiful cauliflower that I picked up at the shop. S/he came back with a pretty interesting mix of spices to complement the veggies…things I never would have thought of myself. And it was delicious. But if you look closely you will see the kind of, um, peculiarities s/he displays. The recipe is called roasted cauliflower, but the only vegetable ingredient listed is tomatoes. I understand my friend Watson so have made adjustments.

Watson’s Recipe


My Modifications


barbecue roasted tomatoes and cauliflower

The results

It was truly absolutely delicious. The changes I made to the original recipe (aside from adding the cauliflower) were minimal. I doubled the recipe as I had way more veggies than were called for and I used olive oil instead of butter as we aren’t eating butter at my house right now. Other than that, the spice combination was what made this remarkably interesting. Chef Watson still has quite a few bugs to work out, but we’re having fun together. And doesn’t that cauliflower look amazing?



Happy cooking,

hello Watson


So remember a couple of weeks ago I told you about Chef Watson? About 150 of us are now working with CW (I use the term ‘working’ very loosely in my case as this is very entertaining and I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing!), and last night s/he helped me create my first recipe. My veggie box arrived with all kinds of things to choose from, so CW and I had a lot to work with. I had some Cod in the fridge, a bag of roma tomatoes that I had planned to turn into ketchup but never did, the basil on my deck needed trimming and there were some shishito peppers in my box, so that was my start. Although CW didn’t know what a shishito pepper was, so subsituted chipotle pepper and green chiles, which I completely ignored.

Before beginning I plugged in some random ingredients to see what would come back and was extremely amused. CW is a work in progress and outputs things like ‘serve with raw chicken‘ and ‘spray pan with nonstick chili pepper‘. But what is great about this whole thing is the very odd combinations that CW pops out that seem to be working for many of the cooks involved. Someone posted a crostini recipe using strawberries and pepper that looked amazing. And I pulled up a recipe for an orange and mozzarella souffle that I’ll try soon.

But back to my recipe. Below is what CW gave me when I plugged in the ingredients listed above and the method ‘roasted’.


And here are my modifications:

roasted white fish, tomato and pepper


The results

The garlic didn’t cook through, so next time I think I’d roast the garlic first and squeeze it into the slits in the fish to see how that worked, and put the rest of the garlic in the sauce on the stove. The shishito peppers are a bit too tame for this dish, so I’d try hotter peppers next time and perhaps even roast them first. But overall the dish was good if a bit bland, the fish was cooked perfectly and it was sure pretty! I served it with a salad of curly green lettuce and kale that I massaged in mustard and lemon dressing. The salad was awesome. Now as you know I’m just a home cook, no chef by any means, so I’m open to your suggestions and criticism….any thoughts? Don’t be shy.


Happy cooking,