peanut oil: the key to fried turkey

IT’S THANKSGIVING WEEK! I’m that excited that I have to type it in all caps. I’ve said it many times before: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Most get four days off, the weather is lovely, there is no pressure and stress of gift-giving, and all you do is watch/play football and stuff your faces with comfort foods.
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sous vide new york strip steak

I’m bringing food back! It’s been quite a long while since I posted a recipe. But I recently got a brand new PolyScience immersion circulator, something I’ve been eyeing for quite some time, and now our kitchen has become a 24-hour sous vide factory.

I’m still learning the ins and outs of this beautiful machine, but I thought I’d write about the first food item we cooked in the immersion circulator: New York strip steaks. Now, the strip is not my favorite cut because it’s rather lean when compared to the more marbleized (and, thus, fatty) ribeye. But that’s what we had on hand (because I like variety, and I always get ribeye), and I was anxious to try out the Creative series immersion circulator. The first two strip steaks were cooked at 138°F for 2 hours, and they came out to a medium well. They were good, but not the medium rare I love.

So the second time around, the strip steaks went in for 90 minutes at 130°F. And these were quite possibly the most tender strip steaks I’ve had outside a five-star steakhouse.

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guthy jackson nmo patient day 2013 on nov. 6

In the midst of my NMO journey, I found the Guthy Jackson Foundation and attended my first NMO Patient Day in 2010. That was where I met Erin and Jenna, my two NMO partners in crime, and we started NMO Diaries shortly thereafter, an empowering resource for those living with NMO.

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how to handle stress

It’s the beginning of November, and that means the holidays are right around the corner. And that means draining your bank account to buy unappreciated gifts for your significant other, your children, your great uncle, your neighbor, your coworker, your boss, your pets…Then there’s the long hours (days?) of holiday cooking only to result in a dry turkey that nobody touches. And then there’s the stress of feeling your gut oozing out over your waistline and then the dilemma of trying to finish that dry turkey yourself since you hate wasting food, which leads back to the muffin-top issues. Sigh. The insanity. The stress.
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thoughts on the passing of josh marks

As many of you may have heard, my friend and co-finalist for “MasterChef” season 3, Josh Marks, recently passed away from an apparent suicide. Josh was one of my closest friends from the show, and it greatly bereaves me to have learned of this news. As if this wasn’t enough, I see that someone who doesn’t know either one of us personally has been making judgments online. Today someone posted on my Facebook page (and I paraphrase) that “nobody cares about Josh, that none of us helped him before it was too late.”

I am sorry, but I have to express my disappointment in reading this statement. This comes from a person who admits he/she does not know Josh nor I nor any of his family and friends personally, and to make that sort of a judgment is completely uncalled for and wrong. To think that nobody tried to help him dismisses the great lengths his mother went through to try to help her son. To say this is to believe her efforts were nonexistent.

I am the kind of person that does not like to focus on the negative, but rather the positive, of a situation or person. I am also the kind of person that believes in respecting people’s privacy. This is why I choose not to post or write about Josh’s circumstances on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Josh’s loved ones are going through enough grief; they don’t need the additional stress of any unwanted media on them. But after reading this person’s allegations that nobody cared about Josh, I had to say something.

Is it not enough for us to be going through this grief, now we have to answer to people’s accusations, too? I am deeply saddened by Josh’s passing, but I prefer not to air it out online. My bereavement is personal and between me and those who knew Josh. It is not between me and the rest of the world. It is not my responsibility to report publicly what my relationship with Josh was like, how many times we’ve talked or emailed, what we talked or emailed about, how he felt, how I’m feeling, what transpired between us, what I have or have not done, and so on. And I think anyone who questions what any of us are going through or are thinking or have or have not done should really mind their own business. It greatly upsets me to know that people would think just because we have been on TV means 100% of our lives belong to the public. This is simply not true. And it upsets me to know that some people confuse our choice of keeping some things private with not caring. These are not equivalent.

With all this being said, there has only been one person who had anything negative to say. Everyone else has sent their sympathies, and these are very much appreciated. On behalf of Josh’s family, friends, colleagues, and his fellow MasterChef family, thank you for your sincere condolences. Please continue to keep Josh and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.

blind life episode 1: pop-up episoe 1 recap


Here it is, as promised: the “pilot” of my grassroots “Blind Life” YouTube series. A while back, I mentioned on my Facebook fan page that, per the request of fans, I would be starting a YouTube series called “Blind Life” to showcase what my daily life is like as a visually impaired individual. Since the show, much interest has been brewing about the Christine beyond the MC3Christine: what do I cook at home regularly, how do I get around my house, how do I navigate Facebook/Twitter/my blog? Well, ask no further. Here is the beginning of all the answers to your questions.

I cheated a little with my first episode, only because it’s the hubster and me making up the entire whole of the crew. He directs and edits while I write and act. So while we get the hang of things, we decided to make a large act of this episode the video montage by Dave Franklin who was asked by MKT BAR and Phoenicia Specialty Foods to commemorate the whole pop-up experience. It was the first pop-up service for both myself and MKT BAR, and neither of us could have been happier with the results.

So for those of you who live far away from Houston and couldn’t fly here for the event, or who came at 4 PM only to find out we were sold out of all 240+ covers, or those of you who got to enjoy the food but are wondering what went on back of house, here you go. Don’t forget to leave a comment letting me know what you think of episode 1 and what you’d like to see in future episodes. Also, if you have a question you’d like me to answer, let me know that, too. Make sure to subscribe so you’ll know when the next video is up. Happy watching!

yahoo! japan 3d printer helps blind children surf the web

Ever on top of the tech news, the hubster sent me a link to this article about the 3D printer from Yahoo! Japan that helps the blind navigate the web. I’ve only recently learned of the 3D printer concept (thanks to the geeky hubs), and because I can’t see to watch a video demo of it online, I’m still unclear on the concept of a 3D printer. For some reason, I keep picturing paper scrolling out of a regular-looking printer but then suddenly popping into 3D shapes much like a pop-up book—you know, the kind that we used to read when we were little with the cardboard pop-ups on each page?

Regardless, it’s news like this that makes me happy to know the world is advancing in ways that help level the playing field for the visually impaired. What do you think of this concept? In what ways can you imagine this helping not just the blind world, but the world in general? The imagination is endless. I love it.

accessible app: our groceries helps the blind (and the sighted) make shopping lists easily and efficiently

Whew. Talk about a long-winded headline. But lately, I’ve had lots of energy. Not only did Pop-up Episode 1 at MKT BAR go off without a hitch (more on that soon—I’ll have a surprise for you in that regard), I’ve been [sort of] relaxing lately with some down time before the culinary adventures begin again.

I’ve been sleeping better than I have in years, trying to eat a little healthier, and working out a little more than usual (which, sadly enough, isn’t much). But I’m feeling good. I have a few weeks to shed the apron for the pen; with a personal essay and short story on my revision desk, not to mention that pesky memoir I haven’t touched since my thesis defense, I’m welcoming a change of pace in my daily routine. But what I’m looking forward to the most is being able to wear pajamas, no make-up, and bed-head every day.

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pop-up episode 1 at mkt bar houston sep. 14th 3 to 6 pm

For the past twelve months, one of the questions I get most frequently is, “Christine, when will you be opening your own restaurant?” Or, “Christine, how can we try some of your food?” But for the past eighteen months, my life has been a whirlwind, as you can imagine. First, it was filming the show. Then it was doing press for the show. Then it was speaking at this conference and cooking on that TV show and attending this benefit and that event. Oh, and let’s not forget I had to write a thesis, defend it, and graduate somewhere in there, too. Life’s been quite full, I should say.

While I’ve looked extensively into opening my dream gastropub in Houston, there have just been so many other opportunities still falling into my lap that I couldn’t bear to pass up. I’m the kind of person that, when I start a project, gives it my 110%. So I know that opening an establishment would require my full attention for at least a year or two before it can steadily run on its own. Because I don’t want to miss certain opportunities, I’ve decided to put the gastropub plans on the back burner until everything falls into place.

But I was still very much aware of the fact that everyone’s still asking to try my cooking. And that’s why I’m finally doing my first ever pop-up in my hometown of Houston. I’ve finally gotten a month where I’ll be in town to plan the menu, logistics, and prep for the pop-up. I’m proud to announce in conjunction with MKT BAR (co-owned by a dear friend of mine since middle school, Haig Tcholakian), I will be hosting Pop-up Episode 1: a tribute/farewell to summer. It will be held at MKT BAR in downtown Houston this Saturday, Sep. 14th, from 3 to 6 PM. Please note that it’s on a first come, first serve basis. Alvin Schultz from ”MasterChef” season 2 will be cooking alongside me in the kitchen.

For some more information about the event, you can read the Houston Chronicle story, the interview I did with CultureMap, or visit the pop-up Facebook event. We look forward to feeding you.

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