Wednesday, June 10, 2009
If you have never come across Nadia G, the tour de force behind Bitchin' Lifestyle, a food, decor and lifestyle site including an addictive web tv show, funny blogs and awesome recipes, brace yourself. She's outspoken, she's smart as a whip, and she can even make a fine chocolate soufflé. But what is she like when she's not developing a new show for Food Network Canada or producing one of her searingly funny web-isodes? Recently Head Spy Jessie had a phone interview with her to find out:
CakeSpy: I’m not very cool. What can I do to make my life a little more bitchin’, quickly?
Nadia G: It’s all about attitude. It’s about knowing what you want and going after it, saying what you feel…while having a sense of humor about yourself, so that you’re able to laugh at yourself and not take yourself too seriously. And if you can’t do any of these things, just get yourself some leopard or zebra print.
CS: How did you get started with Bitchin' Lifestyle?
NG: I’ve done sketch comedy on the web since 2002; but I grew up in an Italian family, and of course everyone was super food-obessed, as was I--and so after I spent years doing this comedy online, I realized that there was something missing, and that thing was food. So I made up this concept where I could make fun of my cake and eat it too. It combines the best of both worlds: the comedy and the cooking.
CS: How did Bitchin' Kitchen evolve into Bitchin' Lifestyle?
NG: It all started with Bitchin' Kitchen. Everyone was being pastel-polite, and just regurgitating the same kind of stuff, and nobody really had an attitude about it, so we brought some fierce female attitude into the kitchen, and then we realized we might as well bring that attitude into other aspects of lifestyle like DIY décor, because nobody wants to paint their walls beige or decorate in sushi restaurant styles from 2002…it’s all about having fun with it and not taking things too seriously.
CS: So are you giving Martha Stewart a run for her money?
NG: Yes! I think so. I have a lot of respect for Martha Stewart—she legitimized homemaking for a generation, but when it comes to the next generation, they’re not really looking to fold napkins into swans or color-code their linen closets, so this is where Bitchin' Kitchen comes in—it’s relevant to a new generation of women and men who are interested in lifestyle but don’t want to be put to sleep while getting their information.
CS: You recently came out with a book. How will it change someone’s life if they buy it?
NG: Well, it will give them a great mix of comedy and cooking. There’s lots of Nad-vice—that’s what we call it—on various subjects, everything from breaking up to gold-digging to rehab recipes; it gives my take on all of these subjects...and it’s a funny relief for a lot of people to get this kooky perspective on different types of life situations. When it comes to food, a lot of people think that making a soufflé is the hardest thing in the world, but frankly it’s one of the easiest things. So you learn how to make good food presented in an easy way. We have a great newbie section for someone who has never cooked before--we teach you how to stock a fridge, what equipment you need to get started...so it’s good for the first timer, and also we have a fun glossary including Italian slang we use in the show. So, you learn about life, you learn how to speak Italian, and you also learn how to cook some tasty simple meals.
CS: So basically, you can’t afford not to buy it.
NG: Pretty much. It’s pretty cheap too, and it’s great too for a daughter or a family member going off to college, especially because of that Newbie section.
CS: Your Bag 'Em Tag 'Em French Toast appears to be the perfect dish to entice someone romantically. But how do you get rid of them once you've hooked them?
NG: Then you have to go to Splitsville Salad. I call it the Last Supper, and it ain’t the King James version. It will teach you how to get rid of them once you’ve locked ‘em in.
CS: Cake Versus Pie: Who is going to win this fight?
NG: Pie has got this liquid power and could blind you with the juicy fruit that’s going on inside, but I think that cake is the more solid one. But then again, if the cake gets too soggy because of the pie juice…then the cake’s going to fall apart and can’t fight anymore. Actually, I take it back, maybe the pie’s going to win.
CS: You have a new show that's going to be on the Food Network! Tell me more!
NG: We’re so excited to go from net to network., The TV show is 22 minutes (a half hour show minus commercials). It’s going to be on Food Network Canada; we’re launching spring 2010. I start writing this summer and we have post production this fall, and it’s going to be the same deal and themes: lifestyle, great recipes, and we’ll be able to focus a little more on the food, and also add some new elements like the sketch comedy I used to do.
CS: Every one of the contributors on your site appears to be very attractive. So--is everyone who works with you a serious hottie?
NG: Yes, you know, they really are! We’re pretty much an almost all female crew, and it’s really fun. Maybe that is part of the interview process—you have to really be bitchin’.
CS: What are your favorite desserts?
NG: The chocolate soufflé (shown top) is definitely a favorite, warm and gooey inside, another great one is a raspberry-chili parfait, raspberry coulis mixed with fresh chili peppers, whipped cream and salted nuts; and millefeuilles, sfogliatelle and zeppole San Giuseppe. I love dessert. Even after breakfast, I eat dessert. So much dessert. Dessert for the dessert.
Bonus! Nadia also shared her chocolate souffle recipe! Here it is:
Spicy Chocolate Soufflé with Fleur de Sel
- 8 ounces Fine dark chocolate
- 6 Eggs
- 1/4 ounces Brown sugar
- 1/8 Cayenne pepper
- 1/8 Cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoons Butter (Unsalted)
- 1/8 teaspoons Granulated sugar
- 1/8 Fleur de sel
Melt chopped, dark chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. (If you don’t have a double boiler: add 1 inch of water to the bottom of a saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat. Place a thick plastic bowl over the top and dump the chocolate into the bowl.) Once all the chocolate has been melted, set aside and cool for 10 minutes.
Egg Yolk Mixture
In a small bowl add 3 egg yolks at room temperature (reserve the whites), brown sugar, and a big pinch of cayenne pepper. Whisk thoroughly.
Pour 6 egg whites into a big mixing bowl. Add a small pinch of cream of tartar (if you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use a few drops of white vinegar). Whop with a mixer until stiff peaks form. You’ve now made the meringue, set aside.
Putting it Together
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Transfer the yolk mixture to a large mixing owl. Add 1 tablespoon of the melted chocolate and stir. Repeat this process for the rest of the chocolate. (If you dump in all the melted chocolate at once, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.) Slowly fold in the meringue, being careful not to over mix. Fold about ten times (the texture of the mixture should look a little scary and spotted with meringue bits, this is what makes the soufflé light). Butter 3 ramekins, dust with sugar, and tap off the excess. Pour the chocolate mix into the ramekins, leaving a ¼ inch at the top of each ramekin. Bake for 16 minutes, not a minute more.
Skiaffing it Together
Sprinkle the soufflés with fleur de sel and serve immediately. Soufflés fall fast.