Cooking Girl NY

Recipies for those who LOVE to COOK.

Master Chef Tryouts and Megalithic Symphony November 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurenzo @ 6:01 pm

Seems like I haven’t had time to breathe the past few months. So much has been happening at work and home I have lost track (once again) of all my important goals. My diet has been lacking, but my exercise has increased which has me on a nice 2 month plateau. I am working out just enough to maintain my constant intake of any and every carbohydrate I can get my hands on. This is not good and my new goal is to just increase my working out and hope for the best.I have come to the conculsion that my body just does not run unless I eat carbs.

People may say I’m crazy, but I have tried every kind of diet out there over the past 8 months. Yes I have lost weight , but I have been completely miserable. I am no longer taking anyones advice on what I should eat, what new diet I should try, which foods I should stay away from. Don’t get me wrong, I am not eating burgers and fries every night, but I have learned that a slice of toast or a bowl of pasta for dinner will not kill me  or make me gain 5 pounds instantly.

What has really saved my life is Circuit training. This is mainly the only kind of exercise I will do. I take a circuit class 2-3 times per week with the same instructor who keeps me really motivated. His classes are mainly the same but he mixes it up every few rounds and I leave the gym feeling empowered.

A  couple of things that have happened over the past few weeks that were very exciting. One has to do with food and one has to do with just who I am.

If anyone knows me they know I love to cook and I love to listen to music. Music and food can totally change my attitude for the day. I came across one of the best albums I have heard in a long time Awolnation’s “Megalithic Symphony”. This almbum starts and ends my day. Each of the 14 tracks puts me in a better mood than I was a minute before.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, download ASAP and put on repeat- TRUST ME , you won’t be disappointed.

Now not only am I a cooking fanatic but I also watch just about every food show on television. Although I am hearing more and more rumors that Chef Ramsey is full of it, I do watch Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef. MasterChef is by far my fav of the trio since its about real home cooks that have a chance to make their dreams come true. Well of course being a Master Chef is a dream of mine, but who would ever think something like this is possible?

A few months back when the third season was airing, there must have been a commercial one night for the casting of season 4.  Matt , being the sneak that he is went online and set up a profile for me and filled out all the preliminary information.

 About 3 weeks ago NY and NJ were hit with the worst storm in 200 years, SuperStorm Sandy. We had no electricity for 5 days and all we could worry about was how are we going to get to work when there are no gas stations. In the middle of all this hoopla I received a voicemail saying that Master Chef would like me to come down to the open call tryouts. I was speechless! No way did I think this would even be possible. Hundreds of questions filled my head.  The most important question of course was , “what am I cooking? ” . I started praying to get electricity back so I didn’t have to wash this opportunity away. My prayers were answered and that is when the panic set it. Am I really doing this? I asked myself the question at least every 5 minutes. 

After a long and exhaustive 4 days of debating mostly with myself , I decided to return the call and get ready for the tryouts. For some reason I could not decide what to cook, my mind was a complete blank . Of course when in doubt cook what you are comfortable , and for me that is Italian food. So Eggplant and Zucchini parm is what they got. The night before the tryouts I carefully layered up my casserole dish (10 layers total) with thinly sliced eggplant and zucchini , sauce and cheese.

The next morning , hot box in hand we set off to Manhattan. Upstairs I went to a room with a U shaped table. Everyone was given 3 minutes to plate their dishes. When the judge came around she was silent cutting into my little square tower , and after what felt like an eternity said to me ” very nice layers”. Phew , at least one nice comment. After tasting she asked me how I went about making my dish, which I went into full detail. Then that was it, she moved on and being the first one to be judged I had to painfully stand for an hour while everyone else went through the same process. After each dish had been scrutinized a few of our numbers were called, we were told that we succesfully made it through round one and would be called if we made it to round 2, in LA. 6 days later I have not received a call, so I assume that means no, which I am fine with. It was a fun experience and now I know what to expect for next time!

Now I will share with you my recipe for Eggplant & Zucchini Parm.


1 medium eggplant

2 medium zucchini

Plain bread crumbs

flat leaf parsley

peccorino romano cheese – grated

2 cups Mozzarella cheese – grated

2 eggs – beaten

2 cans San Marzano plum tomatoes

1 clove of garlic – smashed

2 tbsp olive oil

vegetable oil for frying

1 cup red wine

salt and white pepper to taste


beat two eggs in a bowl set aside. combine breadcrumbs, chopped parsley , 2 tablespoons of peccorino romano cheese , pepper in a bowl and set aside. peel eggplant and slice thinly on mandolin along with Zucchini and set aside. Begin the breading process of all vegetable while oil for frying is heating up. Fry all vegetables, drain on wire wrack and pat dry with paper towels.

For the sauce, in a food mill , process your tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a pot with the smashed clove of garlic, saute until garlic is infused into the oil . Remove garlic clove, Pour in tomatoes, salt and white pepper. Add 1 cup of red wine of choice. Simmer sauce.

Once all frying is complete and sauce is simmered its time to assemble the Parm. start with a laddle of sace in the bottom of a casserole dish. layer one is eggplant, cheese ( mozz and peccorino) and top with sauce, layor 2 is zucchini , cheese and top with sauce. Repeat the process until all vegetables are used. top layer should be mozz and some peccorino. Bake in the oven 350degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool completey so it can set up nicely. This dish can be eaten right away or is even better the next day.