Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Magic of the Arclight's Caramel Popcorn

Hot damn, I love me a good movie time snack!

One of my favorite parties of the year is when my buddy Molnar celebrates his birthday with a backyard movie night, complete with acres of concession stand treats for you to double fist...

That's why, a few months ago, when the Arclight, aka: The Best Movie Theater Ever, asked their patrons to submit fill-in-the-blank quotes that began "The Arclight is their theater of choice..." that said why they're the bomb dot com, I wrote: "The Arclight is my theater of choice because when you mix their caramel corn with a handful of Junior Mints, it tastes exactly like a candy cane. It's Christmas year round, baby."

If selected, you had a portrait taken to grace the walls of their new Bay Cities location, along with your quote and a tag of your favorite film.

And they choose me! Check out my portrait...

Nothing is better than fresh, hot caramel corn, except eating it while you watch a great movie, like my personal favorite (as noted in the corner of the shot), Dirty Dancing.

Since not everyone has an Arclight to pillage, here's how to make your own awesome caramel corn at home...

Caramel Corn

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 quarts popped popcorn

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and grease several baking sheets.

Place popcorn in several large bowls.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until it reaches a light amber color (about 3-5 minutes).

Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla.

Pour over popcorn, stirring to coat.

Pour popcorn onto baking sheets and bake, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Serve with Junior Mints and a bucket sized, super icy half-Diet Coke, half-Dr. Pepper and you've got my favorite movietime treat.

True Blood Star Tackles Charles Manson Bio-Pic

I don't consider myself much of a scoop-ster, but I broke this story for NBC's Popcorn Biz on Tuesday.

Jason Stackhouse is going helter skelter.

At the press day for his new film, "Red Hill," a nouveau spaghetti western set in the Australian high country (which perhaps makes it a boomerang western), "True Blood" star Ryan Kwanten told us that he's moving into a new phase in his career, one that allows him a bit more creative control over some of his future projects, which include next year's satirical self-help book (not the sex guide it's been erroneously hyped to be) "The G Strategy," a handful of acting jobs and upcoming hyphenate turns as actor-producer of the Australian film, "The Twenty-Something Survival Guide" and "The Family," as in the Manson Family, with Kwanten both producing and starring in the role of Charles Manson.

Though still in the early stages of development, Ryan also told us Brad Anderson, who previously directed one of Christian Bale's finest performances in the brilliantly chilling 2004 film "The Machinist," is attached to the film which would delve into Manson and the murders his followers committed.

What's truly unsettling to us is how appealing that sounds.

Kwanten would bring a whole new dimension to Manson, one of the most disturbing and loathsome human beings ever to walk the face of the earth. When looking at the atrocities Manson convinced people to commit, its nearly impossible for people to imagine him as anything but a monster (which he is). But there had to be a reason his followers were swayed and we're fascinated by the idea of watching Kwanten illuminate the magnetic, charismatic, alluring side the cult leader must have possessed.

Best known for his shirtless antics as Jason Stackhouse, one of Bon Temps stupidest and most oversexed residents, shunning the easy eye candy parts Kwanten is undoubtedly offered in favor of demanding, complicated work confirms our theory that the young Aussie might be one of the most promising actors on television. Incredibly serious about his craft, thoughtful and intelligent, we fear he suffers from the Heath Ledger-Brad Pitt Syndrome; men better recognized for their beauty and body than formidable talents.

And that isn't a euphemism.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"TRON: Legacy" Preview and "Derezzed" Soup Recipe

Over the summer, I was in San Diego for the third annual appearance of the "TRON: Legacy" posse at Comic-Con and was less than enthused.

The reboot of the 1982 sci-fi flick has been like peas and carrots with the yearly geek-a-thon since it was first announced; turning up a record three times to hype the film, beginning before even a single frame of footage had been captured.

Seeing the cast there, yet again, I had to fight the urge to shout, "Norm!"

Starring Michael Sheen, Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund and, of course, Jeff Bridges, digitally enhanced to look like he's been visiting Jennifer Aniston's dermatologist, back in January I wrote a post for NBC that read, "every time we see ["TRON"s] weird, dark "Speed Racer" looking trailer, we get a bad feeling in the pit of our stomach. Is it just us or is the suck potential of that movie super high?"

While I can't speak to the film's final product--it has yet to be completed and screened--as far as potential goes, I now have nothing but the highest hopes and greatest praise thanks to nine incredible minutes I recently saw.

Hey, when I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.

This weekend, I found myself at Disneyland's new attraction/interactive marketing campaign, ElecTRONica.

Part of California Adventure, it features a techno dance party, old school games like Centipede and Pac-Man in Flynn's arcade...

...(no secret passage ways, we checked) and an exclusive preview of the film that they tout as being 3D but, thanks to timed lights and blasts of wind, felt more like 4D.

Walking out of that mini preview, I was giddier than a schoolgirl at a Justin Bieber hair-flipping contest.

Follow up films are tricky, especially when they come almost twenty years after the original, but "Legacy" seems to take everything that made the original great and amp it to eleven. Unlike the Lucas effect, where too much technology ruins a good thing ("Episode One," anyone?), "TRON: Legacy" needed to be made in the 21st Century, with all that CGI and 3D have to offer, in order to do visual justice to a story that started in the BetaMax Era.

If the film's two hour running time can hold up to or surpass what they offer in those nine minutes, "Legacy" might just land in the pantheon of great new sci-fi action flicks, alongside J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" and Neill Blomkamp's "District 9."

December 17 can't come soon enough.

In honor of "TRON: Legacy," why not whip up some "Derezzed Soup"?

A play on the Mexican beef soup, Caldo De Rez, this bad boy has a million particles of flavor, but is healthy enough that you can still rock a skin tight, neon-rimmed bodysuit and look good doing it.

TRON: Legacy Derezzed Soup

serves 8-10

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
2 large potatoes, cubed with skins on
2 ears corn, husked and kernels removed from cob
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
2 zucchinis, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
about 6 cups water
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 limes, zested and juiced
4-6 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Tapatio or Cholula
½ cup cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, sauté onions in oil until tender and opaque, about five minutes. Add garlic, squash and potatoes and sauté another five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add corn kernels, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Cover with water, season with salt and cumin and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, skimming off any foam that rises, until vegetables are tender, about 25-30 minutes.

Add lime zest and juice, hot sauce, cilantro and check for salt.

Now dig into that business like you're Pac-Man (or Miss Pac-Man, whatever the case may be).

Chef Sasha's Carrot Cake Recipe and PCOBH Party Pics

I posted this recipe back in September, but after last night's episode of Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, (which we watched as a cast and crew, hence the photos below) I've been getting tons of requests for it, so here it is, once again, my unbeatable Carrot Cake, first published by Welcome Books:

The best part about this cake is it's basically a two-bowl recipe that involves little more than dumping and mixing ingredients but delivers a moist, dense and amazingly delicious final product.

Carrot Cake
Makes 1 three-layer cake or 24 cupcakes

3 cups flour, sifted
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups freshly shredded carrots (about 6 carrots)
8 oz. chopped walnuts
1 20 oz. can chopped pineapple
1 cup raisins, plumped in water for 10 minutes
zest and juice of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans or 24 muffin tins.
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir well to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 40-45 minutes for cake, 18-24 minutes for cupcakes.

Cool completely and frost with...

World's Easiest Cream Cheese Frosting
24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
16 oz. powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
zest and juice of 1 orange (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and well blended.

Behold, half that cast of PCoBH, Chef Brian, Chef Stuart and Chef Me, with our fantastic EPs, Bryan and Christie...

My big mug makin' crazy googly eyes on the bar's jumbotron...

Team Awesome (me and Chef Brian), taking a photo with some fans of the show. I didn't realize we had any of those.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chef Sasha's New York Cheesecake with Rose Petal Syrup

This is what happens when you don't plan ahead!

When we were shooting this season of Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, I took very few pictures, especially of the food. So tonight, following the airing of our episode with Skylar, as I'm getting emails for my New York Cheesecake with Rose Petal Syrup recipe, I have no photos to accompany the post.

Go with me, I'm improvising here: These are photos of me getting my hair and makeup done; the closest I ever get to feeling like a cheesecake pin up. Kind of punny, but I'm workin' with what I've got, ya'll.

Next time I'll be more on it, promise. In the meantime, here's my recipe for New York-style cheesecake, which I will proudly tout as the best you'll ever eat, and rose petal syrup which I came up with years ago when working on recipes for Welcome Books' "Little Big Book of Roses."

It may seem odd, but the floral sweetness is surprisingly delicious and sensual.

New York Cheesecake with Rose Petal Syrup
Makes 8-12 servings

New York Cheesecake:
Graham Cracker Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted

32 oz cream cheese
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
6 eggs
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ pint sour cream
½ pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour

1 cup sour cream
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Rose Petal Syrup:
2 cups highly scented edible, organic rose petals, thoroughly washed, with buds snipped from bitter white base
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Rose Water
2 teaspoons lemon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, boil together rose petals, sugar, rose water and lemon juice until a thick pink syrup forms, about 10 minutes. Chill until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

In a large bowl, add all graham cracker crust ingredients together and press into the bottom and one inch up the sides of a springform pan. Chill at least 15 minutes while making cheesecake filling.

Beat all filling ingredients together and pour over graham cracker crust.

Bake cheesecake at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Leaving oven door closed the entire time, turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven for 1 additional hour.

Remove from oven and chill thoroughly.

Before serving, beat together sour cream, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. Smooth over top of cheesecake. Cut into slices and garnish each with rose petal syrup.

"Skinny Chimis"--My Favorite Healthy Chimichanga Recipe

For tonight's episode of "Private Chefs of Beverly Hills," Brian and I were dispatched to cook a dinner in honor of Skylar and her imminent departure for college.

Inspired by my own years at USC, where the grand pubaba of LA Mexican food, El Cholo, got a ton of our business, not to mention La Barca, La Salsa and, ol' faithful, Taco Bell, where I've been issuing the same order since high school: Seven-Layer, no cheese or sour cream, with five hot sauces and a Dr. Pepper, thankyouverymuch, I decided to do a new spin on something that would be considered pretty classic college food fare.

Just before our senior year of college, my dear friend Ana and I drove cross country, from Miami to LA, in what was one of the best weeks of my life. We got to Tuscon on the last leg of our trip, starved and desperate for lunch, but without a plan. Pulling off the interstate, we rolled down our windows and started shouting at passing cars, "Hey! We're in town for 1 hour; where should we eat?"

Everyone offered the same response: "El Charro."

So off we went, for some truly epic Mexican food, at a place where, legend has it, the chimichanga was invented.

Respect had to be paid.

In honor of El Charro, El Cholo and El Familia de USC, I invented "Skinny Chimis," a baked low-carb, low-fat version of the traditionally fried, lardy offering. Enjoy!

Skinny Chimichangas
Makes 10 chimichangas

There’s an easy version to this recipe (the one below) and a more complex version that requires roasting a chicken that’s been heavily seasoned with garlic and lime and making your own salsa verde. If you want that recipe, feel free to email me and I’ll send it your way, but this low impact take turns out almost just as well, in a quarter of the time, with a tenth of the effort.

Easy Version:
1 package (10) 8’’ Mission “Carb Balance” flour tortillas
1 rotisserie chicken or 2 cups leftover chicken
1 jar salsa verde, Trader Joe’s makes a great one
1 cup low fat “Mexican” mixture shredded cheese
½ cup cilantro, chopped
2 ears corn, preferably white, husked and kernels cut off cob
1 lime, zested and juiced
nonstick cooking spray, preferably butter flavored

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by removing skin and meat from chicken. Discard the skin and shred chicken meat, placing it in a large bowl.

Add salsa verde, cheese, cilantro, corn and lime. Combine well.

Place about a half a cup to two-thirds of a cup of filling at the center of each tortilla, folding over the side ends of the tortilla and rolling in the other edges to completely contain the filling.

Place each “Skinny Chimi” on a lined baking sheet lightly sprayed with non-stick spray and spray the tops again with additional spray.

Bake at 350 until golden, crunchy and slightly puffed, about 20 minutes.

Serve with low fat sour cream, avocado smashed with lime, salt and cilantro, and additional salsa verde.

La Familia de USC now that we're a little older, a lot wiser and way, way sexier!

Me and Miss Ana...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Screaming, Dripping and "TRON"ing at Disneyland

Because I'm the white girl equivalent of the Jamaican family from "Hey, Mon!" (I've got eight jobs, mon--no joke), I spent the weekend in Anaheim covering Disney's new film, Tangled, for three different outlets.

One of the journalist perks bestowed on us, besides the rad souvenir photo above (taken by Todd, who a huge fan of Private Chefs and was so excited to see me, I thought Mandy Moore or Zachary Levi were standing behind me as he bellowed, "Huge fun! I'm starstruck!"), were two Disneyland Park Hopper passes which Rachel drove down to enjoy with me, marking her first trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, commemorated by this rad button...

We ran from one side of Disneyland to the other, impervious to the mist that turned into serious rain somewhere between or time at ElecTRONica and our visit to the Haunted Mansion, all tricked out with Nightmare Before Christmas wares, but here are a few of the greatest photo hits from our visit, starting with our time on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...

Nerding out before getting on the Monsters Inc. ride. "Kitty!"

Speaking of nerding out...They showed us nine minutes of 4D footage (enhanced by lights flickering and wind blowing) that now has me counting the days until TRON: Legacy hits theaters on December 17th (more on that soon).

Flynn Lives!

Moonwalking with MJ...

Sheer, unmitigated terror (mine) and pure delight (Rachel's) as we went over the edge of Splash Mountain. PS: We weren't wet from the ride, we were wet from the rain.

By the time we made it back to the Grand Californian to pick up our cars and head home, it was almost midnight and we were soaked to the core, but just as happy. You simply can't deny the magic of Disneyland.

The only tragedy of our visit was we were both jonseing for a churro by the end of the night and all the stands had closed up shop, so here's my favorite churro recipe for the next time the fever strikes.

Churros with Warm Spicy Mexican Chocolate Sauce
Serves four

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Lemon, zested
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil

Begin by heating 1 inch of oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan (or deep fat fryer) to 350 degrees.

Heat water, butter, salt and lemon zest to a rolling boil in a large saucepan. Over low heat, stir in flour until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Beat in eggs. Continue beating until smooth.

In a large shallow container, mix sugar and cinnamon.

Spoon churro batter into a cake decorators' tube or bag fitted with a large star tip. Using equal pressure, carefully squeeze 4-inch strips of dough into the hot oil.

Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time until golden brown, turning as needed to maintain even cooking and color. Drain on paper towels slightly before rolling in cinnamon sugar.

If fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar isn’t enough, whip up this spiced chocolate dipping sauce to accompany the churros. Hey, if you’re gonna go, go big!

Warm Spicy Mexican Chocolate Sauce
4oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powdered

In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. You do not want to boil the milk, just raise the temperature to a simmer. Reduce heat to low.

Place one cup of the warmed milk in a small bowl. Add cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon, stirring until they dissolve.

Add chopped chocolate to remaining milk in saucepan and whisk until smooth.

Add milk-cornstarch mixture to the chocolate and whisk until smooth and thick, about 5 minutes. Serve warm alongside Churros

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How to Be Your Own Private Chef: Five Ingredients That Make Your Food Look and Taste Like a Million Bucks

As a private chef for the last 16 years, I’ve developed all kinds of little tricks to make my food appear more dynamic, high-end or effortful. Here are five easy additions to any recipe that will make you look like a pro.

#1. Truffle Oil

I like to call this stuff “Liquid Gold.” It’s pricey, about $20 bucks for 4-6 ounces, but it’s well worth it and way cheaper than an actual truffle. Besides, a few drops goes a long way so that tiny bottle will last you months.

Made by infusing olive oil with either black or white truffles, black truffle oil, which is slightly less expensive, tends to be lighter and spicier than the deeper, muskier overtones of white truffle oil.
The two most important things to remember about truffle oil is you don’t want to store it in the refrigerator, just in a cool, dry place like the pantry, and you never ever want to heat it or cook with it; that burns off the flavor. When your dish is done cooking, the idea is to drizzle truffle oil over the top, allowing it to release its rich earthiness, just before you serve. Think of it like spritzing perfume on your neck just before you walk out the door.

Use it to top pasta, eggs, meat or, my new favorite, mixed with stone ground mustard and lemon juice to make an amazing vinaigrette.

#2. Sriracha

When I was a kid, I traveled around Southeast Asia quite a bit with my family. When we returned to the United States, I was so disappointed to find that my favorite table staple, a thick hot sauce paste made from chili peppers, garlic, sugar, vinegar and salt, was nowhere to be found, replaced by boring ol’ Heinz. Luckily, in recent years, Sriracha, or “rooster sauce,” has started to infiltrate more restaurants and recipes. It even got a shout out during Top Chef’s ice cream Quickfire Challenge in season three.

Adding heat, tons of pungent garlic flavor and just the right amount of acid, Sriracha brings new dimension to everything from soup to chicken. But use it with caution if you’re not much of a chili-head. #3. Zest-- the rind of citrus, not the soap

I used to have a client who was good friends with Bill Clinton. I never had the chance to meet our former president but I did get to use a gift Bill bestowed on them; the raddest microplane ever. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was a Clinton-approved zester or simply the ease of use, but it got me obsessed with adding zest to dishes, especially when I discovered how it brightened them up, both in terms of flavor and presentation.

Zest, the outer rind of citrus like oranges, lemons and limes, is where all the good citrus flavor lives, thanks to oils in the fruit. It’s also beautiful and colorful, lending a little visual pop to your dish. Bonus Jonas: a good microplane or zester only costs about $10 bucks.

Try lime zest in Mexican dishes, orange zest in pancake or muffin batter and lemon zest with seafood or vegetables.

#4. Flat leaf (aka: Italian) Parsley

I’m a garnish eater. When I was younger and would go to Denny’s with friends, I would always steal the wilted curly parsley from their plates and pop it in my mouth. Because of its clean flavor and vibrant green color, parsley is the perfect addition to any dish that needs a little freshening up. Chopped, left whole, added to sauces, used to make Gremolata or Chimichurri, parsley is the bomb. But stay away from the Denny’s-style curly stuff and go for the flat-leaf variety. It’s got way more flavor and none of the diner food connotations.

#5. Kosher Salt

There are all kinds of scientific reasons for why chefs prefer kosher salt but basically it comes down to basics. Less flaky and overwhelming than flake salt, less cumbersome than sea salt, more flavorful than table (or iodized) salt; kosher salt has the perfect texture to pinch and sprinkle over dishes, the slightest crystallized crunch and a delightful briney flavor. Plus, it’s the salt of my people. I gotta rep The Tribe.

By adding any of these five things to your repertoire, you can make everyday dishes, from eggs to salads to dessert, taste infinitely better.

Originally posted to CafeMom

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Very Brady Beet Salad

"Hey guys, you know what we should do? Give Alice the night off and make something great for mom and dad."

Great idea, Peter. Let's do it!

I've already passed along my recipe for Beer Sorbet and Bar Stool Brittle, aka: Bad Girl on a Bar Stool, from this week's episode of Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, but here's another of my favorite recipes from our Very Brady Birthday episode: Golden Beet Salad with Gorganzola Flan and Candied Pecans.

The flan, which is savory, starts with fresh chives and parsley...

Then some eggs, cream and half and half...
And it's baked until it's silky and rich, the perfect counterpoint to the sweet earthiness of golden beets and shaved fennel.
Private Chefs of Beverly Hills airs tonight at 9pm on Food Network

Golden Beet and Fennel Salad with Gorgonzola Flan and Candied Pecans
Makes 6 servings

Beet Salad:
2 bunches (about 10) mini golden beets
1 bulb fennel, as thinly sliced as possible, plus 1 tablespoon green fennel fronds, chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Italian parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Gorgonzola Flan:
5 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup half-and-half
5 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chives, snipped
3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Candied Pecans:
1 ½ cups pecans
3 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and trim beets. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast until tender (time will vary depending on size of beets). Remove from the oven. When beets are cool enough to handle, remove skins, quarter and toss with fennel, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, oil, salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Toss pecans in corn syrup, sugar, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. Bake five minutes, stir and cook 10 more minutes. Remove candied pecans from oven and separate with a fork.

Reduce oven to 275 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale yellow. Heat cream and half-and-half in a small saucepan and add slowly to the eggs. Add Gorgonzola, chives, parsley, salt and pepper. Place six ramekins in a baking pan and fill pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins with boiling water. Divide flan mixture evenly between dishes. Cover baking pan with aluminum foil and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the center of each custard is firm. Remove from oven and place on serving plates alongside golden beet salad and candied pecans.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Afterschool Special Recipe: "Bad Girl on a Bar Stool," Beer Sorbet and Bar Stool Brittle

"Here’s the story/Of a lucky lady/Who was cooking up some really yummy food.

It was for the cast of My Fair Brady/So I tried not to come unglued."

Okay, okay, my rhyming skills need some work, but I’m trying to keep it classy here, which means lewd, stewed or poohed are out.

When I was in high school, I had the following obsessions; anything 1970s, anything on Food Network and a guy named Greg who looked exactly like Greg Brady but had Ben Affleck's teeth pre the veneers he was given for Armageddon.

To find myself in the kitchen, preparing a meal for Christopher Knight, aka: Peter Brady, and his wife Adrienne Curry (of America's Next Top Model fame--love that show!), took a teenage dream, rolled it in rad dust, dipped it in awesome sauce and served it up on a silver platter. The only thing that might have made it better is if my unrequited Barry Williams look-a-like love had walked through the door and asked me to prom.

For the Very Brady Birthday episode, airing next week on Food Network, I created a dessert I like to call "Bad Girl on a Bar Stool," a combination of beer sorbet and "Bar Stool" brittle, a toffee that incorporates all the snacks you'd find along the rail of a dive where your feet stick to the ground and peanut shells are the carpeting.

Beer sorbet is going to sweep the nation! Mark my words. It's flavor is close to lemon sorbet and the texture is between sorbet and a slushie (because of the alcohol in the beer, it melts very easily). Add in this ridiculous brittle and you have every great flavor dessert needs: sweet, salty and boozy.

The first thing you need is the juice and zest of two lemons, then you add one can of lemonade concentrate...

Add three bottles of lite beer...

Stir all the ingredients together and process the sorbet base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions...

This is what it looks like when it's done. Cover and freeze until ready to serve.

Next, prepare the brittle using these ingredients...

In a greased sheet pan, layer crumbled potato chips and pretzels...

Heat sugar, water, salt and corn syrup in a heavy bottom pan until it dissolves...

And turns a light amber color...

Immediately remove the sugar from heat and stir in baking soda and butter. The brittle changes instantly and starts to look like this...

Pour the hot brittle over potato chips and pretzels and top with Munch 'n' Crunch, peanuts, chocolate covered pretzels or any other treats you might want to use.

This is what it looks like when finished (and after your friends have started to dig in)...
"Bad Girl on a Bar Stool" Recipe
makes 6-8 servings

Beer Sorbet:
3 12 oz bottles Miller Genuine Draft, Bud Lite Lime or other light beer
1 can lemonade concentrate
Zest and juice of 2 lemons

Mix together all ingredients and process in an ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions for sorbet. Freeze until firm.

Bar Stool Brittle:
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup Munch ‘n’ Crunch or Cracker Jacks
1 cup pretzels
1 cup potato chips, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 oz. semi-sweet choc, melted (optional)
1 cup chocolate covered pretzels (optional)
1/4 cup beer nuts (optional)

Note: The idea for this brittle was to take everything you’d find on a bar and use it in a dessert. If you have a personal favorite to add, go for it!

Grease a large cookie sheet and sprinkle with crushed potato chips and pretzels. In a high-sided skillet over medium-high heat, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Stir and cook until sugar is dissolved and begins to turn a light amber color, about 7-10 minutes or until it reaches 300 degrees (for those of you with a candy thermometer).

Remove pan from heat and quickly stir in butter and baking soda. The brittle will instantly change; bubbling up, becoming caramel and releasing steam. Be very careful and work quickly.

Pour brittle over chips and pretzels on cookie sheet. Drizzle with Munch ‘n’ Crunch and anything you’re using that includes chocolate. Allow brittle to cool and snap into pieces.

Serve with beer sorbet.