Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Food Network Auditions, Utube Videos and Italian Southern Fried Chicken

A few weeks ago I was contacted by casting producers to make an audition tape for a show on The FoodNetwork called Home Cooks. They were back for season 2 and somehow my information landed on one of the casting producers desks. I probably submitted an email last year and completely forgot all about it, no matter, it was very exciting to be contacted asking me  to audition.

 My husband and I were traveling at the time. When we came back, making the tape was on my mind. I knew I had limited time to get my audition tape in. What could I make? Looking in an empty refrigerator I'm thinking, Carbonara, because all I have is an egg , a piece of cheese, bacon and an onion. (There's always spaghetti in an Italian household!)
I contacted the producers with some questions and was told to please not submit a pasta dish. Oh great, there went my Carbonara.  If you haven't tried my recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara you really should.

I had to rethink everything, was tired, did not want to go shopping and became very flustered knowing that I only had the one day to get my tape into producers if I wanted to be considered for casting for this show.

I knew I had to make some magic happen. I decided to make Aunt Roses' Italian Southern Fried Chicken.  I could make it with ease and more importantly I had all the ingredients to get it going. There's always some chicken parts in the freezer!

This is nothing like Perini Fried Chicken (a little shout out to all my Texas friends, Hi Y'All!) Perini Fried Chicken is in a league of it's own, however so is Aunt Roses' Italian Southern Fried Lemon Chicken.
The link below is my unlisted UTUBE Audition. It is the link I sent to the producers. Watch it and you can see me in action. If you hit the links above you can get the list of ingredients to make the dish. It is finger licking good. Try it with some crusty bread dunked into the lemon and garlic sauce. It is amazing.

A few days later I was asked to come in with a dish for an in person tasting interview.
This was the dish I brought with me. It is one of my specialties. I also like to make it as a Veal Chop.
This was a double cut pork chop stuffed with spinach, asiago cheese, and prosciutto, served with a cheesy polenta cake and  roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and red onions. The sauce spooned over the pork chop was a red wine and shiitake mushroom sauce.  I had the best dish in the room. I knew it, and the people around me knew it.  I felt confident, and was proud of what I put on my dish.

I really felt good about my in person audition. In the past I have been very intimidated by producers,  their questions and become a stammering idiot. It also happens while I'm on tape. I loose my words and my mind, and forget what I'm talking about. I forget to breath. LOL!  Being filmed does not come natural to me! However, cooking, creating and being in the kitchen is very natural to me,  it's  part of my soul and who I am and why I am who I am and if they had given me the opportunity I know I would have overcome my camera shyness.
I didn't get the call that they said might come. I walked out of that audition with my head held high knowing I gave them the best of me! 
I'm just wondering if the Dave Matthews look alike who made the Deviled Eggs got the call. I mean, really! Who brings Deviled Eggs to a Food Network Audition? Just asking...
We'll see when the show airs!

Love you all!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Just in time for Thanksgiving. 
This recipe for stuffing is a favorite for many. 
When my children were younger and in elementary school I used to make Turkeys for each of their classes, stuffing and all. I got a reputation as the Turkey Lady, and I must admit I rather enjoyed it, reputation and all.

Sausage stuffing 

2 large yellow onions - chopped (diced)
2-3 stalks of celery - cleaned and then cut into strips and then chopped (diced)
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped fine
1-2 pounds Italian sweet sausage 
2-3 bay leaf
Rosemary leaves (fresh or dried)
1 stick of butter
Chicken stock (2-3 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bag seasoned bread cubes (pepperidge farms makes a good one)

Take the sausage out of the casing, crumble it so it is in small pieces and cook in a frying pan until cooked through. Because sausage has fat you usually will not have to add any fat to the pan before cooking. If you feel like it needs it,  add a little bit of olive oil if you have it. 
When the sausage is browned and cooked through set it aside. 
In a stock pan melt the stick of butter on low  heat. Add onions, celery, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Cook until the onions become translucent. Do not brown the onions. Add half of the chicken stock, the Rosemary (if using fresh, use a nice sprig of it, if using dried use a tablespoon.)
Let it simmer on low for 1/2 hour.
In a large bowl, or in the baking dish your making the stuffing, mix the cooked sausage, bread cubes and the onion, celery mixture. Add the rest of the chicken stock, it should be moist, not too wet. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree preheated  oven until heated through, approx 45 minutes.  If you like a crunchy top take off the aluminum foil for last 15-20 minutes of baking time. 
If you enjoy mushrooms you may add them. I would add them while cooking the sausage. Personally, I think this "dressing" has so much flavor that the mushrooms get a little drowned out. However, if you'd like to sweeten it up a little, add a small chopped apple to the stuffing right before baking. 

I will look for some pictures to add to this post later. 
Don't forget, you can always email me if you have any questions!