How Ayesha Curry Uses Food to Make You Feel Part of the Family

Image Source: Nisha Gulati / Latitude 38

I’m escorted to the inside of an Airstream, where Ayesha Curry sits in a red linoleum booth with her husband, Stephen. They have just come off of the BottleRock Culinary Stage with E-40, where Ayesha made a beer-battered fried chicken for the crowd. It’s a scorching afternoon in Napa, yet Ayesha looks flawless and relaxed in her jean bodysuit, sipping on a Pistachio Fizz cocktail. We talk about the big food ventures she’s working on – a cooking show, a new restaurant, a meal delivery service – and why you’ll want to make an effort to cook and eat all of the above.

POPSUGAR: I’m always messing up fried chicken! How do you perfect it?

Ayesha Curry: You need to make sure the oil is at the right temperature. I think that’s the hardest part of it all. Williams Sonoma [has] these fryers . . . I’m not plugging I swear . . . but you can regulate the temperature. Don’t be afraid of seasoning. Make sure you’re throwing in seasoning and salt into your flour dredge. I didn’t do it today, but I think a good Southern key to get juicy, flavorful meat – it’s a Chik-fil-A secret – soak the chicken in pickle juice . . . a little bread and butter pickle juice.

PS: International Smoke, your new restaurant in San Francisco, has created quite the buzz. Can you share more details?

AC: We hope to open at the very end of Summer. If we run into some hurdles with the construction, September at the latest. It’s the lighter, fresher side of barbecue, and nothing’s more family than a barbecue, right? I feel like it was my opportunity to channel that sexy, feminine side. This is a place where people can come and eat and enjoy each other’s company. I want people to go on dates there; I want people to celebrate there. It’s kind of the sexier side of barbecue.

PS: What is your signature dish?

AC: I’d say the signature dish is going to be the black miso sea bass. All of our main dishes we have this beautiful tableside element where the diners are involved. When the sea bass comes to your table, it’s in this cast-iron black cauldron. It’s smoking; it’s flaming. You see it. Stuff’s going everywhere. You smell that smoke. When it gets to the table, the smoke disperses. You’re left with these pieces on a stick that look purple, but it’s black squid ink sea bass. You bite into it. It’s so white, milky, and flaky. It’s amazing. Whether it’s the element of surprise or the element of involvement, I want everybody to be excited about the meal, so it’s not just somebody throwing you a platter of ribs. We’re very passionate about everything, very serious about it, but also we have a great, great cocktail program. We kind of have our own take on the punch bowl.

A post shared by HOMEMADE (@cookhomemademeals) on May 7, 2017 at 1:30pm PDT

PS: You have another exciting new food venture, Homemade. What separates it from other meal delivery services on the market?

AC: It’s family-inspired meals by me, so our focus is really family. But we don’t exclude anybody; we have couples’ meals. There’s nothing on the market nationally that’s focused on the entire family. I’m a family girl, so I involved my brother Jaz. He’s created these amazing coloring books, and I’ve created characters [based] off my daughters. We have a new story [for each box] that relates back to the food. We’re teaching kids about their bodies and why they need to eat a certain way but also make it fun and give parents time to prepare the meals.

This week we had short ribs on the menu. The short ribs go into the oven for 10 minutes, and they’re done. Short ribs normally take hours. These short ribs were fast, snappy, and easy. The feedback I’ve been seeing on social is that these meals are incredibly easy, full of flavor, and nobody is left hungry. A lot of the other companies out there, they have so many steps. It’s not necessarily for the novice cook. And ours is for whether you’ve cooked your whole life or you’ve never cooked a day in your life, you can prepare this meal and it’s going to be memorable. That is the whole foundation.

PS: What are some standout recipes from this season of Ayesha’s Home Kitchen, your Food Network show?

AC: The food this season was so much more elevated than last season. I had much more of a hand in picking and choosing, so that was a great thing for me. We have an amazing chicken taco recipe, and it’s such a hack. It’s so incredibly easy, and it will 100 percent impress your guests. Cilantro lime rice that has pepitas (pumpkin seeds). It’s so different. And then this week actually, we’re doing a Southern spread: we’re doing a scratch-made hush puppies, red velvet deep-fried sandwich cookies, and an amazing 30-minute pulled pork sandwich recipe from start to finish, and a moonshine cocktail.

Travel and expenses for the author were provided by Alaska Airlines, sponsors of the BottleRock Skydeck, for the purpose of writing this story.

What California Pizza Kitchen Serves in Japan, Plus More Surprising Facts

You might feel as though you know everything about California Pizza Kitchen if it’s one of your favorite restaurants, but we guarantee these insider facts will surprise you in a good way. I spoke to a California Pizza Kitchen representative who has the scoop on everything you’ll want to know, like where to find unexpected pizza toppings, how to save money, and the story behind the famous BBQ Chicken Pizza, which is so popular that it’s one of the company’s store-bought frozen pizzas that you can make at home.

California Pizza Kitchen has been around since 1985.

“CPK was started in 1985 with our first location in Beverly Hills, CA. That store is still around today, but we now have almost 300 restaurants in 16 countries around the world.”

The pizza dough is made by hand.

“We make all of our pizzas by hand. Our pizza chefs go through a rigorous certification process to learn how to hand-toss dough ‘the CPK way.’ Hand-tossing creates a rustic, artisan-style pizza that cooks up perfectly in our hearth ovens.”

CPK invented barbecue chicken pizza.

“CPK invented the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza in 1985, the year our first restaurant opened in Beverly Hills. The popular pizza cemented CPK’s reputation for innovative and unique menu items and has inspired many other restaurants and chains to develop BBQ chicken pizzas of their own.” The chain’s iconic pizza has BBQ sauce, smoked Gouda cheese, red onions, and fresh cilantro.

And it still remains the most popular menu item.

“The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza is still our top seller, and our famous Butter Cake is the most popular dessert.” The description of the butter cake on the menu really works: it reads, “Trust us. Just try it. Served warm with housemade whipped cream.”

The international locations have some seriously awesome pizza toppings.

Not only does CPK have several international restaurant locations, but each location offers some of the most unexpected (and amazing) pizza toppings. “One of the great things about CPK is that we never stop experimenting with new ingredients. Our international stores also have some freedom to experiment with local flavors, so you can find anything from unagi on pizza in Japan to pork belly on pizza in China.”

California Pizza Kitchen’s Carne Asada Pizza

The pizza ovens are REALLY hot.

The pizzas are cooked in 550-degree ovens.

There are easy ways to save money on your next meal.

“CPK’s Pizza Dough Rewards loyalty program offers guests numerous opportunities to save both money and time. Guests receive a free Small Plate just for signing up, earn $5 in Pizza Dough Rewards for every $100 spent, get a free birthday dessert any day during the month of their birthday, and have access to exclusive discounts throughout the year. The recently updated mobile app also offers online takeout ordering and mobile pay.”

You can order a gluten-free crust on any pizza.

You might not know that there are plenty of gluten-free-eater-approved pizza options at CPK. “CPK was one of the first national restaurant chains to create a certified gluten-free pizza menu. We currently have four gluten-free pizzas, certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group. We can also make any pizza on the menu with a gluten-free crust.”

Pizza isn’t the only thing cooked in the pizza ovens.

Your meal might have been cooked in the pizza oven even if you didn’t order pizza. “A lot of the ingredients on the menu are actually cooked in the pizza oven. For example, we roast veggies in there, toast bread, and even cook our Hearth-Roasted Halibut and Cedar-Plank Salmon.”

Final Update: Pick Up These New Products at Trader Joe’s This Month

Trader Joe’s might have outdone itself this month in terms of new products. Though the website isn’t 100 percent up-to-date, you can rest assured that we’re constantly asking the staff at our store to inform us of the latest items to hit shelves. We’ve already discovered over 30 incredible recently released foods this year, and the list will grow with this latest batch.

30 Egg Breakfasts That May Turn You Instantly Into a Morning Person

Maybe you know how to scramble eggs, but if you’re looking to freshen up your breakfast routine, allow these 30 takes to do the trick. Most of these recipes can be prepared for one and at the snap of a finger, so you actually have time to savor the most important meal of the day.

Macadamia Nuts and Cashews Are Being Recalled, So Check Your Packages ASAP

Another day, another scary food recall. According to the Food and Drug Administration, cashews and macadamia nuts are being recalled and pulled from store shelves due to possible listeria contamination. The Simple Truth Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts being recalled come in a 12-ounce, clear package with an expiration date of May 2, 2018 and were sold at Kroger, Bakers, Gerbes, and Dillons stores in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. The UPC number is 11110-02478.

Although there have been no reported illnesses from the macadamia nuts thus far, Kroger has removed the containers from shelves and has warned customers to check the labels of their nut containers. If you’ve recently purchased macadamia nuts from any of the above grocery stores, the FDA warns customers should NOT eat the nuts and return the package to stores for a full refund.

In addition to the macadamias, Ava’s Brand 8 oz. Organic Roasted Salted Cashews have also been voluntarily recalled due to possible listeria contamination. While the packages tested negative for listeria bacteria, Hampton Farms, the company that owns Ava’s, has decided to pull the items out of caution. Less than 225 units have been possibly contaminated, but distributors of the product have been notified to remove from stores. The packages have the UPC number 8-10111-01035-1, and the best by date of April 28, 2018 and Lot 11817-L2.

“We deeply regret this situation and have employed our established recall plan to immediately remove the product from distribution,” Dallas Barnes, president of Hampton Farms, said in a statement. “Nothing is more important than providing safe and wholesome, quality products.”

Check your packages to see if any of your nut purchases are included in this recall.

Tequila-Infused Gummies Have Arrived, and You Need to Find Them ASAP!

Is it 5 o’clock yet? There’s a new line of tequila-infused candy from Sugarfina, and we have a feeling you’re not going to want to wait until happy hour to dig into it. Sugarfina, the always-trendy, California-based candy boutique that introduced Rosé gummy bears last year – never forget the 12,000-person wait list – has teamed up with Casamigos Tequila, which you might recognize as George Clooney’s tequila brand. Available now in Sugarfina stores and online, the Casamigos collection includes three different kinds of alcohol-infused candy (both gummies and chocolate) that will satisfy your sweet tooth and just might get you buzzed. And yes, there really is tequila in every bite (it’s in the ingredient list!).

Keep reading to get a closer look at each Casamigos Sugarfina candy, and don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly craving a margarita.

Hangover Helper: This Potato Chip Omelet

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

You have a chef’s permission to fold potato chips into your omelet. Allow me to explain: Chef José Andrés pulled out this showstopping hack while at Bottlerock this weekend. After playing air bass with a Jamón ibérico alongside the bassists of Metallica and Green Day, the chef toweled off and turned his attention to the cooking demo. Being the clever guy that he is, he reinvented tortilla española (a Spanish omelet made by tossing boiled potatoes in the eggs before cooking like a crustless quiche) for a modern crowd. Instead of boiled potato, the chef crumbled potato chips into the eggs before cooking! Talk about a hangover helper.

Image Source: Nisha Gulati / Latitude 38

If you’re trying this hack out at home, whisk the eggs until frothy, then add more potato chips than you think is a good idea before proceeding to cook the mixture like an omelet over the stove top. If you have mad flipping skills like José, toss the omelet high in the air and flip it flat on the other side before serving. Otherwise, do as us mere mortals and fold it in half. Before diving in, José sliced an abundant amount of Jamón ibérico on top, but I’m thinking crumbled bacon and some shredded cheese would do just fine.

Travel and expenses for the author were provided by Alaska Airlines, sponsors of the Bottlerock Skydeck, for the purpose of writing this story.

22 Homemade Poke Bowls That Are Way Easier Than Rolling Sushi

Poke bowls, a traditional Hawaiian seafood dish, have recently become mainstream, and it’s easy to see why so many people love them. Not only are the vibrant bowls fun to look at, but they’re also incredibly flavorful, filling, and easy to make (much easier than rolling sushi!). These 22 recipes prove that there’s a poke bowl for everyone, whether you prefer tuna, salmon, tofu, or even vegetable “sushi.” Get inspired to make your own poke bowl at home by bookmarking your favorite recipes ahead.

You Have to See This Spicy Bloody Mary That’s Served in a Pepper

This season, take your brunch game to a whole new level with a spicy Bloody Mary. But not just any Bloody Mary – one that’s made from award-winning vodka, served inside a hollowed-out pepper, and topped with slider and bacon garnishes. Watch the video above to learn how to create the ultimate boozy drink that tastes just as amazing as it looks.

We’ve partnered with Smirnoff No. 21 to bring you the smooth Summer drink you need to taste to believe.

Please drink responsibly. SMIRNOFF No. 21 Vodka. Distilled from Grain. 40% Alc./Vol. The Smirnoff Co., Norwalk, CT.