Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Still on the Roller Coaster

Well, we're at 103+ hours past the time that the mail carrier guaranteed to deliver my DVD to Bravo TV for the proposed Personal Chef program. In case you're wondering, yes, I did have to pull out the calculator. And, yes, when it absolutely positively has to be there overnight you know who NOT to use. And, no, they haven't even tried to deliver a second time!

So today I was checking the FedEx website every few minutes (OK maybe it was a touch obsessive). When I wasn't close to a computer I had the 800 number on speed dial ~ yeah, now I know it's obsessive but I had to know where that DVD was every second of the day.

WhooHooo they finally received the DVD today at 12:30!

Tonight after a long, hot cook day I was sitting at the computer, furiously creating and typing recipes. Sweet husband, Tim, offered to take me out to dinner. Being the grumpy so~n~so that I was, I (of course) said no. The phone rings interrupting the dessert creation in my mind.

Hi, this is Debbie.

Hi, this is Lisa from Bravo TV. We received your DVD today, we've looked at it and I have just a couple of questions.

Jumping up and down motions! Deep breath.

Hi Lisa. What can I do for you?

Lisa proceeds to ask about Mr. and Mrs. Client, their offspring, stresses of working for them, yada yada yada. She then asks about sweet husband, Tim. Well, that one's easy ~ if you are lucky enough to know him, you'll realize that he has more personality than 99.9% of the people you'll ever know.

Well, we'll be submitting your tape to the Bravo TV producers. We will be working fairly quickly on this one, so you should hear something from us within 3 weeks.

Three weeks! Am I riding downhill or uphill on this one?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Adam Squared

It's been a wild roller~coaster ride since I received the first phone call from Bravo TV.

If you listened live or streaming on the web to my radio segment on WGRR 103.5FM on Wednesday 8/24/07 and again on Friday 8/26/07, then you heard Janeen ask about the "hottie" who was running the video camera. Several of you sent e~mails asking about "the hottie" so here's Adam the hottie with Adam the client.

I want to reiterate here and now that I am a Personal Chef in Cincinnati and not a matchmaking service. Yes, I know his telephone number and no, I will not share it with you.

That bottle of wine is WHAT vintage? Well, what are seven little numbers among friends?

Back to the roller~coaster ride, I frantically searched to find somebody who could follow me for several hours on Wednesday so that I could edit and send the DVD to Bravo on Thursday. We went to Luigi's Olde World Market, WGRR and to visit one of my favorite clients ~ who also happens to be named Adam.

I worked frantically overnight Wednesday into the early hours of Thursday morning editing several hours of tape down to about 18 minutes. I burned extra DVDs, filled out the application with care and humor and was standing in the post office line on Thursday afternoon in order to get this in the overnight mail to California.

I was attending an event on Thursday evening and when I got back into the Yummy~mobile, there was a voice mail on my cell phone.

Hi, this is Lynelle from Bravo TV. I'm just calling to see if you've had the time to do a quick video for us and if you did, is it in the mail?

Wow! Thanking Bacchus that there's a 3~hour time difference between the Queen City and the City of Angles.

Hi Lynelle. I sent the video today by overnight mail. You will have it tomorrow in your regular mail delivery.

Little did I know that neither rain, nor snow nor whatever their motto is doesn't apply when there's the YIKES! factor involved.

Fast forward to the crest of the tallest hill of the roller~coaster. You're just about to scream because you know what's going to happen in the next few seconds as the ride plummets downhill and your stomach is still at the top.

Yep, it's Monday 9:23 p.m. a full 81 hours after the video was due in LA and it's still not there. Not delivered. Nowhere to be found. Zip. Zero. Nada. Bye~bye. Not to mention the $18 that I spent to guarantee it would be delivered Friday morning.

Hi Brandon. This is Debbie Spangler in Cincinnati. Remember when I said that you'd have the DVD on Friday? Well, it seems the post office had other ideas.

Did you send it for Saturday delivery? Because if you did, we're not in the office on Saturday.

Nope. It was mailed Thursday afternoon for Friday morning delivery. May I send one overnight by FedEx or is it too late?

Sure, go ahead. I'll walk it over to the producers myself.

You guys can have Adam the hottie. I'm in love with Brandon.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thank Bacchus!

Oh you HAD to be here! The wine had breathed the proper amount of time ~ which in my life, means it's been opened and poured into a wineglass.

I was working at my computer after an extremely long and difficult cook day. Mr. Client loves lots of spices, onions, garlic, jalapenos etc. ~ you get the idea ~ while Mrs. Client is a no salt, no fat, no cheese, no dairy, no meat, no spice, no onion, no, no, no, no, person. Needless to say, these cook days, while fun since they are my favorite clients, are sometimes (OK most times) quite challenging.

By the way it's Friday. It's the third day in a row of 100+ degrees and I've had to schlep my equipment in and out of homes too many times this week.

And don't even ask me about the hot flashes!

So my sweet husband, Tim, interrupts the work in progress ...

Be really glad that you weren't asked to submit a videotape for Bravo TV last year!


And he begins to read to me ~ from the Time Warner Channel Guide, September 2007 ~ which has never been high on my reading list, but, thank Bacchus he's always around to read it to me:

Bravo TV New Show: Better Half
Premiers: October 2007
What's it About:

(You gotta love this)

Hosted by Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and produced by the folks who brought you Battle of the Network Reality Stars, this six~hour reality competition pits the spouses of trained creative professionals (chefs, hairdressers, etc.) against each other. The professionals will have two days to train their spouses in their craft, and then the results will be assessed by the judges. As anyone who's ever tried to train their spouse in anything will tell you, it's a huge pain in the ... I mean it's funny, honey! It's fun!

It's taken me 22 years to train him to find the dishwasher. Teaching Knife Skills would be equal to earning a Master's Degree in two days!

Thank Bacchus I was on my second (or was it fifth) glass of wine. God I love Bacchus!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Probably the Last of Summer

Zucchini Blossoms
Originally uploaded by yummyissimo

I found these beautiful zucchini blossoms at Findlay Market Sunday morning. As owner of Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service in Cincinnati, I'm always looking for edible blossoms to add to my client's salads and meals.

If you find these edible beauties and aren't quite ready to use them, just gently place them in a clamshell and place in the refrigerator. They'll keep 3~4 days. I love leaving the baby zucchini on and serving both on a salad or as a interesting side dish.

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

2/3c all~purpose flour

3/4c beer (I use Heinekin or Corona)

canola oil, for frying

Kosher salt, or grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

12 zucchini blossoms

Whisk flour and beer together until no lumps remain. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Dip blossoms into batter and place in hot oil. Fry and turn after blossom turns golden brown on one side. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to drain. Immediately sprinkle with kosher salt or Parmesan cheese.

I've been to restaurants where they serve zucchini blossoms as an appetizer ~ and they run about $8 for 2~3 blossoms!

If you feel really wild and crazy, you can stuff each blossom with 1t of ricotta or mozzarella cheese before you batter and fry it.

You can also use this recipe with squash, watermellon and pumpkin blossoms.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chef on her Knees

A few months ago I was asked to be a guest chef for "The Key Event" which is a large fundraiser for the Community Foundation in Butler County, Ohio, being held on Saturday, September 15, 2007. As a Personal Chef and owner of Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service this is a huge honor. The Key Event is a major fundraiser where people pay lots of $$$ to have a celebrity chef prepare a gourmet meal for them. Guess they've seriously loosened the definition of "celebrity chef."

As a part of the publicity leading up to the event, they sent a photographer out to snap some shots. Now, let's face it, I'm not the most photographic chef to ever carve a turkey. Scott, the photographer, was not only on time, but he was early. He took lots of photos, some of me in my brand new kitchen (which I'll talk about in future posts as it deserves to be talked about and admired by itself), but also in the living room and dining room. He also took some great snaps of my wonderful Sheltie, Rusty.

"What am I cooking for The Key Event?" asks the curious food blogger. Well, let's talk about that. On the day of The Event, I walk into a kitchen I've never cooked in before. I won't know how many guests will be attending until I see the menu portions. Each chef in The Event is given 4oz beef tenderloin per person and a chicken breast per person. We are to serve salad, beef, chicken, starch, other sides and a dessert ~ all of which need to be beautifully presented, melt~in~the~mouth amazing and cooked to perfection.

YIKES! No pressure there!

Keep checking back as I try new menu items on my sweet husband, Tim. It's a dirty job, but he's more than up to the task.

Oh, by the way, the almost 50~year~old knees were cracking quite a bit as I attempted to get up from that position!

Friday, August 17, 2007


I was sitting at my computer today furiously creating new recipes and minding my own business when my cell phone rings. Now on a Friday afternoon at 3:30 after a long cook day, chances are it's a friend asking me to share a couple (OK quite a few) libations.

"Hi, this is Debbie"

"Hi, this is Brandon from Bravo TV"

Yeah right, I think to myself. It's one of my many friends who think their funny. And most of the time they're not!

"Hi Brandon. What can I do for you?"

"We're discussing a show about personal/private chefs and the trials and tribulations of cooking every day, all day, dealing with clients and their food quarks, etc.. Can we talk a minute?"

I'm jumping up and down so fast my teeth start rattling.

"Of course" the calm marketer in me said.

He explained what he's looking for and what he hopes I can provide for him. Needless to say, I agreed that, of course, what he wants is absolutely no problem. I only have a full cook week with several evening commitments. Who needs sleep as long as there are libations?

YIKES! Now in addition to my normal (crazy) cook week, I have to find somebody to help me film a video in a very short timeframe (as in let's film this bad boy on Tuesday and Wednesday), edit on Thursday and have it in overnight delivery for Friday. No problem.

Double YIKES! Thank Bacchus I have a good bottle of red at my fingertips.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

So Much To Write About, So Little Time

Well, this is the first of what I anticipate will be a long history of blogging. If you're interested in food, adult spirits (my personal favorite), recipes or vacations that include any of those three, then you've found the right place.

As the owner of Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service in Cincinnati, I just returned from the 2007 USPCA National Conference in Philadelphia. Now you haven't properly "done" Philadelphia until you've spent five days with 200 personal chefs eating and drinking 24/7. Additionally, I'm very pleased and honored to say that I was given an Excellence in Business Award as the 2007 Marketer of the Year!

I had never planned to write a blog ~ let's face it, there's enough to do on any given day without trying to take photos, think up something clever to say and then sit down and format the photos and text. But thanks to Mark Tafoya, the extremely talented Executive Chef of The Guilded Fork and his fascinating workshop at the National Conference, I'm hooked!

Every Friday morning (at 7:40 am streaming live on your computer) I have a radio segment on WGRR 103.5 FM where I talk with the morning team of Chris and Janeen. We talk about recipes, cooking techniques and whatever else comes to mind and I try to come up with some clever recipe names that tie into something going on in Cincinnati or what's been going on in our lives. Gotta tell you, there are times that coming up with clever names is by far the hardest part! But this week it's easy as I'm talking about Philadelphia~inspired recipes. Check out Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service and click on the WGRR Recipes link and you'll go directly to that week's recipes.

I hope you enjoy this blog. Keep checking back ~ I'll post recipes, cooking successes (and failures) and funny client stories.