Update, 3:35 p.m. Friday: “Ten Dollar Dinners” was listed among the New York Times best sellers Friday, hitting number 8 on the well regarded list. “So grateful for your support,” d'Arabian tweeted in announcing the news. “THANK YOU!”
If you've been following Coronadan Melissa d'Arabian on Twitter you know she's been bouncing about the country promoting her first book, “Ten Dollar Dinners,” a collection of recipes from her popular Food Network show.
From Boston to Wichita, and Houston to Seattle, she's offered up photos from each outpost, leading up to her return to California Wednesday and her stops in San Diego Saturday: 11 a.m. at Costco, near Rancho Bernardo, and 2 p.m. at Williams Sonoma, at the Fashion Valley center in Mission Valley.
The concept of her book, which aside from recipes, includes her 10 commandments for budget cooking, is one she holds dear, and calls a philosophy – “living with purpose and spending with purpose.”
The new author took time out while commuting to her Orange County stops Thursday to talk about the book, shaping her most challenging recipe, her fave Coronado eats and the Food Network colleague she looks up to.
On why she chose to specialize in preparing budget meals:
“I grew up on a very limited budget. My mom was a single mom, putting herself through college and medical school, so I grew up eating simple humble ingredients. It just never leaves you.”
On when shoppers should hit the produce aisle:
“I shop a lot in the produce aisle, that's where I go to first, to follow what's in season. What's in season is cheapest and usually what is best. The produce aisle is one of the few places in the world where the cheapest stuff is usually the best. The caveat to that is that peaches in January are going to be very expensive. So go there first, fill up your cart, and you're less apt to fill up with stuff from the center aisles where you're going to get processed food.”
On who she most admires among her Food Network colleagues:
”I love Bobby Flay. He was a big part of my getting my job. He really works hard, doesn't ever phone it in – even he's when shooting all day at the studio, he's at the restaurant that day cooking ... I love that about him, he never sits on his laurels. He's a great chef, I love his cookbooks and he's very generous with his time and his energy. He's a smart businessman and a good friend.”
On her toughest recipe in the book:
”Is there a recipe that was just driving me nuts? French onion soup! I put on Facebook, ‘oh my gosh, I've got onions everywhere, 25 pounds of onions!’ I'm a bit of a French onion soup crazy lady. When I walk away from a recipe I really want to feel that's exactly how I wanted it.”
Some of her Coronado favorites:
“We hop on bikes and go out to eat. My husband and I like Burger Lounge. The salads are really good, with organic veggies and vinaigrettes. I like the lunch special at Saiko Sushi and the chocolate bread pudding at Tartine! Decadent treat.
D'Arabian will sign her book at Costco, 12350 Carmel Mountain Rd., San Diego, at 11 a.m. Saturday, and follow that up at Williams Sonoma at the Fashion Valley Shopping Center, 7007 Friars Road, San Diego, at 2 p.m. She is still working with Bay Books on an event, which likely will take place in the fall.