Get excited: at long last, Top Chef: New Orleans premieres on Bravo tonight. As you count down the hours, get in the season 11 spirit by finding out what advice your favorite Top Chef contestants have for the incoming class. See what projects are keeping the likes of Fabio Viviani, Kristen Kish, and Richard Blais busy — and their tips for those cheftestants competing in New Orleans.
We fell for laid-back single mom and chef Antonia Lofaso on Top Chef, but we're doubly in love after the release of her first book, The Busy Mom's Cookbook, this month. Pick up a copy to score 100 practical, delicious recipes and tons of tips to get your kids excited about new foods. "Having my daughter in the kitchen has made her a more adventurous eater, but it's also been about getting her to the supermarket and letting her pick out her own fruits and vegetables," Antonia told us. "Let your kids explore — even if they pick up a pile of beets and don't know what they are. Before you know it, you'll have a kid who loves to eat beets and brussels sprouts!"
Antonia shared a few of her favorite recipes with us (check out her best blueberry muffins recipe and caramel-almond popcorn recipe), but we're most excited about her go-to Sicilian broccoli pasta, which you can whip up in a mere 20 minutes!
"My grandma made me for me all the time, and I loved it," Antonio says. "I know it sounds crazy that a kid could actually love broccoli, but I did! It's all about using roasted broccoli, which you can make the night before. Roasting gives the broccoli this great color and caramelization; it has a nutty, warming quality to it, and even picky kids love it!" And the best part: because the broccoli can be made in advance, you can get this filling, healthful dish on the table in no time flat!
Antonia's cookbook, which is divided into categories like "The Better Brown Bag," "Sunday Dinner," and "Kids in the Kitchen," is filled with practical, yummy recipes that your kids will actually eat, with sidebars featuring handy pointers. Here, check out Antonia's 7 Rules For the Busy Mom's Kitchen:
- Start off small. If you cook only on Thanksgiving and Christmas and your culinary contribution usually consists of opening a can of biscuits, then don't wake up the day after you get The Busy Mom's Cookbook and try to commit to a month of homemade meals. After a week or so of trying a new dish each day, you'd be ready to practice everything you learned in your kickboxing class on the next person who asked you what you're making for dinner. Start off with one extra home-cooked meal the first week. Next week, plan for two more than you'd usually make, and build from there. It gets easier with practice. Seriously.
- Speaking of planning . . . Plan your menu a week or two ahead of time. If you waited until the day of your daughter's soccer game to figure out how she'd get there, then you'd probably end up with an unhappy kid on your hands, plus more chaos than necessary. Planning your schedule in advance makes life easier, gives kids a sense of stability, and preserves your sanity. So does planning meals. The Busy Mom's Cookbook will give you some ideas to make it easier to step back, take a deep breath, and plan it all out.
- Expect plans to change. Kids get sick. Bosses ask us to stay at work an extra hour. Babysitters cancel at the last minute. It happens to the best of us. Be flexible, and roll with it.
- Spring's arrived with a purple pesto and warm wheat berry salad.
- Spring's arrived with a purple pesto and warm wheat berry salad. — The Yellow House
- Frito-Lay is getting an all-natural
makeovermakeunder. — Wall Street Journal
- Did a server snafu compromise voting for this year's James Beard finalists? — Eater
- The 10 strangest menu offerings from McDonald's. — TripHunter
- Antonia Lofaso: where I eat on my day off. — The Feast SF
- Japan hoards bottled water after learning what's on tap is unsafe for infants. — Eatocracy
- How to (subtly) let servers know that you're kind of a big deal. — Grub Street Boston
- All about coriander's distinctive flavor, and how to use it. — Serious Eats
On this week's Top Chef, we saw final-four contestant Antonia Lofaso leave Puerto Rico. When I spoke to her yesterday, she was in New York lunching with fellow finalist Stephanie. The two chefs were in town for Bravo's A-List Awards, and Antonia was nice enough to take a break from her meal of gnocchi and sweetbreads to chat about her time on the show.
Antonia isn't just a Top Chef contestant; she's also a fan who has watched the series since the first season. To hear how her experience compared to what she'd seen on TV and find out what her 8-year-old daughter thought of it all, read more