Posts tagged ‘rachael ray’

Shirataki Noodles a Miracle Food?

In Asia they have long enjoyed a type of pasta made from the konjac root.  Big deal, right?  Pasta is pasta.  Not true of this particular pasta.  Shirataki or hiragana noodles have only 3 grams of carbohydrates but 1 gram of lean protein and just 20 calories in a 4 ounce serving.  Most Americans have heard of them thanks to Rocco DiSirito’s recent appearance on the Rachael Ray Show.

Shirataki noodles are mostly water and glucomannan (from the konjac root), a water-soluble dietary fiber.  Though they have little flavor of their own, they easily absorb the flavor of whatever they are served with.  Their are some varieties that include tofu, this slightly increases the protein.  More importantly it makes the texture more tender.  The tofu-less variety tends to have a rubbery texture that may seem odd to the Western palate.

Cheflebrity Ming Tsai, owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and the host of American Public Television’s Simply Ming recently contributed a recipe using shirataki noodles to Men’s Health Magazine.  Here it is:

Soy Pork Shirataki Stir-Fry

Canola oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup naturally brewed soy sauce (sub in low-sodium soy, if you prefer)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 head bok choy, rinsed, spun dry, and cut into pieces
1/2 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-by-1-inch pieces
1 lb ground pork, browned
2 cups fettuccine-type shirataki noodles, packed, rinsed well (three times), and drained

How to make it:
1. Coat the bottom of a saucepan lightly with canola oil and place it on medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and let the mixture reduce by a third to a syrup consistency, 8 to 10 minutes. To check consistency, pour a line of syrup on a cool dish and hold it vertically. If the line holds with a few drips, it’s ready.

3. Use some oil to lightly coat the bottom of a large, hot wok over high heat. (If you don’t have a wok, you can use a skillet over high heat.) When the oil is shimmering, add the bok choy, scallion whites, and red bell peppers, and stir-fry until they’re slightly softened, about 1 minute. Add the pork, noodles, and garlic-ginger-soy syrup, and stir to coat the noodles with sauce. Check for flavor, and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve family-style on a platter, garnished with scallion greens. Serves 4

Per serving: 461 calories, 35 grams (g) protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 25 g fat, 7 g fiber

The Men’s Health piece features more information and recipes for this amazing pasta.


January 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm 1 comment

NFNS 5: Episode 7

One Of You Will Be Going Home Tonight

The gang is still down in South Florida and it’s nitty gritty time.  There are two true contenders, Jeffrey and Melissa and two contestants that should have been booted weeks ago but for some reason the judges have kept protecting them, Jamika and Debbie.

Tonight featured the worst challenges I’ve ever seen.  Deliberately sabotaging the contestants in both rounds was not the least bit interesting.  The only thing that could have made tonight’s episode watchable is if Melissa gave Bob Tuschman a good, firm junk punt.


  • Brett – went home week 2.
  • Teddy – went home week 4.
  • Katie – went home week 5.
  • Michael– went home week 6 despite easily beating out Jamika & Debbie.
  • Debbie – did supiciously well.
  • Eddie – went home week 3.
  • Jamika – fell apart again.
  • Jeffrey – was the best contestant from day 1 and nothing has changed.
  • Melissa – still the only other true contender – she fills a nitch.
  • Jen – went home week 1.

In the first challenge each contestant had to do a four-minute live cooking demo.  What they didn’t know was that their segments were going to be sabotaged.  The person who came up with this idea should be clubbed.  Debbie did well, too well.  It was almost as if she knew what was coming.  Also the degree to which she was sabotaged was considerably less than the others.  Guess what? Debbie won the first challenge.  Hmm.

The second challenge was another sell-out to one of those corporate restaurants that puts profit above the health of their consumers, Red Lobster.  Ask any US fisherman or shrimper what they think of Red Lobster and they’ll tell you that old RL hasn’t used domestic seafood since 1971.  And we all know (or at least should) that foreign seafood is killing us.  If you want to know more about this issue read HERE.

Each contestant was lead to an outdoor kitchen where they were asked to prepare a seafood dish for the Red Lobster menu “in their style.”  Halfway through the challenge Bobby Flay and guest Michael Symon took away all of the elements that defined their style and gave them flavors from outside their comfort zone.  Well, all except Debbie who had her Southeast Asian ingredients replaced with Middle Eastern ingredients, ones you would still see in Southeast Asia – capers, anchovies and olives.

Despite lobbing Debbie an underhanded pitch she forgot to use the capers.  First she said they were in the her dressing, then she said she wasn’t given capers at all.  Then the tears started to flow.  If she wins her show should be called “Lyin’ and Cryin’ with Debbie Lee – Adventures in Korean cuisine with a Korean flair in a Korean kitchen – you know, cuz I’m Korean.”

Jamika fell apart on this challenge just like she did on the last eight or nine.  Too bad, she seems like a doll but the pressure of this competition really got to her.  She really should have gone home weeks ago – she did not deserve what they put her through.  Melissa did quite well and Jeffrey blew the judges away.

As of Last Week – Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Jeffrey or Melissa (and it really isn’t debatable.)

After This Week – Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Jeffrey or Melissa (and it still isn’t debatable.)

As of Last Week – Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Jamika or Debbie.

After This Week – Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Debbie.

Winner(s) this week:  – 1st Challenge – Debbie.  2nd Challenge – Jeffery.

The finalist who will be going home is . . .



July 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm

NFNS 5: Episode 6

One Of You Will Be Going Home Tonight

 SoBe, baby.


  • Brett – went home week 2.
  • Teddy – went home week 4.
  • Katie – went home week 5.
  • Michael – Slow start on food and presentation – better finish though not great.
  • Debbie – bombed 1st challenge – was despicable in the 2nd.
  • Eddie – went home week 3.
  • Jamika – 1st challenge was weak 2nd a little better.
  • Jeffrey – continues to distance himself.
  • Melissa – only other true contender at this point.
  • Jen – went home week 1.

In the first challenge, the contestants were taken to five airport restaurants and had to create a dish for the menu of their assigned restaurant.  The winner’s dish actually makes it to the menu of their restaurant.  Jeffrey rocked the first challenge and Melissa did well, too.  Michael did fair.  Jamika was below average and Debbie just flat out sucked.

The second challenge was to cater a fabulous South Beach cocktail party and Jeffery (by virtue of his 1st challenge win) was named team leader and he decided to let everyone choose what they will prepare for the party.   Brilliant strategy – let everyone sink or swim on their own merrits.  But will it bite him in the butt?

Michael rocked the bar, Jeffrey was the ideal host, Melissa ran the kitchen (even though it was Debbie’s responsability – you’ll why in a second)  while Jamikastruggled keeping up but did a good job considering.  Debbie helped no one but herself.  Because Debbie sat on her island, Melissa then had to make five dishes in stead of three.  Food wasn’t coming out fast enough so Bobby Flay went to check the back of the house.  Before long Michael had to abandon the bar to go prepare his own recipes because Debbie wasn’t doing her assignment.  As a result, though, Debbie’s dishes were the best received.  Interesting strategy she had as well, sabotage everyone else.  Same old Debbie.  If she wins, I am done with this show.

The judges have been propping up Jamika and Debbie for weeks now.  If it happens again tonight that means that Jeffrey, Melissa or Michael go home after a week where they were far better than the other two.  Jeffrey’s food (and cocktail) underwhelmed, Michael’s as well (the one’s Debbie was supposed to help with but didn’t), Jamika’swere hit or miss, Melissa’s food was okay but she had to do five dishes.  Jamika had to do four while Debbie just focused on her two.  That information did not go over well with the judges after Debbie claimed she did everything single-handily.  Melissa called her out and the judges finally saw the real Debbie.

The judges did prop up Jamika a great deal, her food was fair & her presentation was below average, but she is very likable.  Melissa went over well with the judges with good food and great personality as did Jeffrey for the same reasons.  The judges keep harping on Michael’s dislike of the camera (the same judges that picked Aaron “mumble, mumble, back to the camera” McCargo Jr.) but admitted he was far and away the best personality of the group – his food was okay (the food Debbie was supposed to help with).  They also addressed Debbie’s lack of anything resembling character – man they must really want to fill that demographic.

I see that Food Network carefullyhidden their fan poll this year on their web site.  Not only that but they have made voting a 20 minute process by requiring loads of personal information.  And this poll does not show who thefans want to see but who they think should be eliminated.  I wonder if this has anything to do with Kelsey Nixon running away with the voting last year and eventual winner Aaron McCargo Jr. spending most of the voting period (appropriately) in the middle of the pack.


As of Last Week – Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Jeffrey, Michael or Melissa

After This Week – Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Jeffrey or Melissa (and it really isn’t debatable.)

As of Last Week – Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Jamika or Debbie.

After This Week – Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Jamika or Debbie.

Winner(s) this week:  – 1st Challenge – Jeffrey.  2nd Challenge – I’m not sure how, but Jamika.

The finalist who will be going home is . . .



July 12, 2009 at 9:13 pm 1 comment

NFNS 5: Episode 5

One Of You Will Be Going Home Tonight

 The annual visit to the Rachael Ray Show.


  • Brett – went home week 2.
  • Teddy – went home week 4.
  • Katie – rocked 1st challenge was solid on the 2nd.
  • Michael – started strong on 1st challenge then nose-dived.  Great in the 2nd challenge.
  • Debbie – do judges truly love her or is it demographics?
  • Eddie – went home week 3.
  • Jamika – forgot to cook on the 1st challenge – barely cooked on the 2nd.
  • Jeffery – back on winning track on the 1st challenge.
  • Melissa – gets better each week.
  • Jen – went home week 1.

First challenge was to take healthy food and make it kid-friendly.  Jefferey and Michael’s food was best.  Katie was best all around and Jamika spent her time talking and not cooking.

For the second challenge they have to do a live demo on the Rachael Ray Show.  I was actually able to catch this episode of Rachael Ray when it aired so I had the benefit of seeing each presentation before seeing the behind-the-scenes aspect on NFNS.  The contestants were paired off and tasked to make favorite kid’s meal adult-worthy.

Based on the viewing on RR it would be hard to choose which team did better, but not impossible.  I would have to give the team of Melissa and Michael the win in this challenge – they worked well together and their food (grilled cheese on a stick and tomato-basil soup) was terrific.  Debbie and Katie were really good together as well.  Katie especially shined, but there was a moment (when Katie first took over the presentation) that Debbie rolled her (snake) eyes.  Their assignment was to class up chicken tenders and mac & cheese.  Other than that little bit of nastiness they were very good.  The two favorites were paired as Jeffery and Jamika snazzed up beans and franks.  Their food was amazing and actually reflected both of their “culinary points of view” really well.  Their presentation, though not bad, seemed a little manic.  Jeffery kind of dominated with a lot of narrative and they had to rush Jamika’s part of the dish to get it done inside of 5 minutes. 

After watching the full episode I observed that Jamika had some serious confidence issues which is a shame because she has been a strong contender and has apparently had the judges on her side since day one.  The judges have appeared to have turn on her as well by their comments.  Two bad weeks in a row – will they invoke the Aaron McCargo rule?  Yes.

Also, we got to see Debbie’s negative comments about having to let Katie cook half of the menu.  Can you say control freak?  And how many times can Debbie mention she’s Korean?  Tushcman just foamed at the mouth over Debbie’s presentation and slammed Katie’s.  Odd since everyone else seemed to like Katie much more.  Tuschman’s love for Debbie brings back memories of Nipa from last year one was kept weeks past her ability because Tuschman thought FN needed an Asian chef.  He always seems to be more worried about demographics than finding the Next Food Network Star.  Both Bob and Susie scolded Katie for looking down and not making eye contact – Bobby did not share their opinion.  Debbie was just as bad but they seemed to miss that.  Hmm.

The judges didn’t care for Melissa or Michael very much.  Huh?  They were great.  What gives?  Sure they were mediocre on the first challenge but they killed in the second – no question.  This sheds light on the growing chasm between FN and their core viewers.

As of Last Week – Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Jeffery, Michael or Melissa

After This Week – Who should win based on what we’ve seen so far: Jeffery, Michael or Melissa

As of Last Week – Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Melissa, Michael or Jamika.

After This Week – Who will win based on what we’ve seen in the past: Jamika or Debbie.

Winner(s) this week:  – 1st Challenge – they didn’t really name one.  2nd Challenge – same here.

The finalist who will be going home is . . .



July 5, 2009 at 10:12 am

Jamika Pessoa of The Next Food Network Star

From The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes:

As television’s most challenging food fight, The Next Food Network Star provides 10 hopeful TV chefs the chance to compete for the ultimate dream job: his or her own Food Network show. Watch Jamika compete when the series kicks off on Sunday, June 7th at 9p | 8c with guest appearances by Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, and many more!

Jamika Pessoa, a certified personal chef and businesswoman, loves exploring international cuisines in the kitchen. Family, friends, and clients rave about her bold twists on traditional dishes, especially those of her Caribbean heritage. Innovative style, sassy personality, and inspiring tenacity are Jamika’s key ingredients to the magic she produces in the kitchen.

Jamika is a graduate of the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta.

To learn what persuaded Jamika to dive into the world of Culinary Arts, click here.

June 8, 2009 at 6:59 am 6 comments

Rachael’s Summer Entertainment All-stars

This morning on the Rachael Ray Show, RaRay was joined by a “veritable pantheon” of grilling gurus. Ray was kicking off the summer grilling season with a one hour show dedicated to flesh-meets-flame. The guest panel consisted of Rocco DiSpirito (Boiling Pot, The Restaurant), Sunny Anderson (Cooking For Real), Bobby Flay (Boy Meets Grill, Iron Chef: America), and Adam Perry Lang (owner of award winning Daisy Mae’s BBQ in New York City).

Rachael’s “summer entertainment all-stars” fielded questions from the audience, shared recipes, gave tips for successful summer entertaining and divulged their essential summer items. The responses on that last topic were pretty diverse; see for yourself.

The recipes, too, were varied with Flay churning out chimichurri, an Argentinean sauce commonly used on grilled meats; he then grilled some meat. Adam Perry Lang gave a quick class on his Universal Italian Dressing Marinade which he uses on everything. Anderson and DiSpirito took aim at leftovers by providing uses for extra burgers. Sunny used the burgers and some grilled corn to make her Second-Chance Taco Salad and Rocco crumbled his dead cow to make Sloppy Joe’s. Seriously, the Sloppy Joe’s thing is brilliant. You can get the recipe for them and the others recipe from this episode by clicking HERE.

May 20, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Viva Daisy Returns

Season Two Premieres: July 2009

In season two of Viva Daisy!, popular TV personality Daisy Martinez takes viewers home as she shares her tips and tricks for creating quick, simple, mouth-watering meals inspired by her love of Latin cuisines. Daisy dishes for friends and family with recipes like savory Breaded Pork Chops with Spicy Pineapple Vinegar; spicy and sweet Chocolate-Chile Cake; and favorites like Tortilla with Artichokes, Piquillo Peppers and Tetilla Cheese; and Jicama, Black Bean, and Mango Salad.

May 12, 2009 at 7:59 am

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."



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