On saving space:
Gabriele Corcos: Clean as you cook. Always.
Debi Mazar: Go through your pantry routinely and give whatever you aren’t using to someone who will use it. We all have spices that we bought because we liked the jar or some that we’re never going to use again, so check the expiry date and give it away if you are never going to make that weird dish you needed it for again. It’s important to share the stuff you don’t need.
Go-to kitchen tools:
DM: I think our hand immersion blender is a very useful tool, but we don’t use a lot of stuff in the kitchen. Even for a pesto, I just really use my blender. For the final three episodes of Extra Virgin in Tuscany, we borrowed a very large old marble mortar and pestle to make our pesto. We really actually hand-ground the basil and what is really amazing is how all the oils in the essence of the leaves really pour out, you see the green and you really see the texture. It’s much more time-consuming to make, but the flavor with the mortar and pestle was amazing.
Favorite Tuscan flavors:
GC: In terms of the herbs, I grow my own – with the exception of basil, which I can only grow during the warm season. Basically, bay leaves, sage, rosemary, and parsley, and that’s pretty much it.
On eating Italian in California:
GC: Funny enough, in the past 10 years on the West Coast, a lot of products from Italy have become available here; I can basically feed myself the same way I do in Italy. The exception is that the shopping experience in Italy is much more fun. In Italy, you hit the cheese store, the fruit stand and the bakery. Here I take a trip to one of my 24/7 grocery stores and I can pretty much load up the whole house, but it takes away the excitement.
Tips for parents who want to get their children to eat healthier, cleaner fare:
GC: Until yesterday, our oldest just wouldn’t come and help in the kitchen. She would either be doing homework or writing emails to her grandmother in Italy. But all of a sudden, she realized that if she comes into the kitchen while I’m cooking, her voice is going to be heard. When I’m cooking, I’m calling the shots so if you don’t tell me what you would like to eat, I’m sorry, but there’s not much I can do.
DM: It’s a bit of tough love, but we do the best that we can. It’s really important that children give an answer, because unless they share their opinion, they can’t turn down what has been prepared.
My kids have a palate that’s very discerning. They don’t like dishes that have too much salt or are too sweet. They’ve identified the taste of real fruit and foods that are not overly sweet. They get disgusted by the six inches of icing that are put on a cupcake.
Last night, my daughter didn’t want to do her homework. She wanted to stall and asked, “Can I help you chop that zucchini?” I said, “Normally I would say yes, but I really need you to finish your homework.” So I think there’s also some bartering and some bribery that goes on, and we have no problem with that.