Tasty & Refreshing; It’s Dish It Out!!!

Happy Birthday, Sheena Metal!!!

Our first guest in HD was the Queen of LA Nightlife, the busiest woman in show business and the biggest heart of an enormous tribe of creatives, the one and only Miss Sheena Metal.

Sheena hosts the thriving ‘Sheena Metal Experience’ on  LA Talk Radio among other shows. She acts, directs and produces. She volunteers, organizes and supports. She’s one in a million and if you click on the picture you can see her prep chili in a kitchen. It’s soo worth it.

We love you Sheena!

It's her show, but it's your Experience

It’s her show, but it’s your Experience

Chili Today! Add the rest of the joke…

Here at the Laboratory Of Love, we don’t need an excuse for a good time. We really groove on eating. We can eat seasonally, sweetly and celebratory if given enough room.

Salmon I

Pot culture

Holidays are eagerly awaited so a day designated for chili makes us smile.  It’s the perfect time of year for a bowl of chili wherever you live. It’s  a warm stop over between winter and spring. Chili rules because it takes one less utensil to eat and fits nicely on your lap. We’ve been called simple before. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a roaring fire and a Snuggie. And if your desire is to put the Snuggie in the roaring fire, that is at your discretion and please demonstrate care. Care is important in chili as your heat index is as important as your protein in the chili. The beef may be tender but if the ghost chili’s are kicking you may send Auntie to ICU. And nothing ruins a family meal like a trip to the clinic. On the other side of the spoon a chili with no heat’s like a kiss without a hug. The two are tastily tied together.

Today being National Chili Day we take the time to count some beans. Maybe while doing your taxes you can simmer a pot. Counting beans, doing taxes? Our humor at Dish! is as layered as our flavors. Or as complex as Milk & Pepsi. That recipe is for the nostalgia readers today. In our quest for a great chili we’ve gone vegetarian, beans/no beans, red, green, yellow, white, duck, moose, squirrel, bacon, beef, pork, venison and chocolate. We have experimented and found our Salmon Chili to be a great dish (bowl) Please try this fantastic recipe while enjoying the wonderful (read more here)  Sheena Metal  guest sous chef. Sheena makes everything spicy, comfortable and clever. And what she can do with a cleaver, oy.





Have yourselves a merry little chili-mas now. And tune in again for more.

DIO! Creative Team on The Sheena Metal Experience Tomorrow !!!

That’s right one and all, night listeners, informants and thieves DIO!  will rock the airwaves tomorrow 6pm PST!  Director Chris Gregson, Assistant/Script Supervisor Marie Pettit, and yours truly The Spatman are invited guests to the Sheena Metal Experience on LATalkRadio.com. In accordance with the prophecy, I mean, we’re very excited to welcome the arrival of Episode 6 “Chili’n With Sheena Metal”. The nice folks at LA Talk Radio hope you all will tune in for a fun hour of frolic, fennel and filming. Topics will run the gamut from Gregsonfilms to granola, petit filet to Pettit’s filly. Call hungry and Dish with us. You know you want to.

The Sheena Metal Experience

The Sheena Metal Experience

on the air, with some flair.

Tuesday 2/28

6pm PST LA Talk Radio




Unfortunately Producer Michael Vinton will be out on assignment and unable to lend his talents to tomorrow’s interview. And by assignment I mean, waxing nostalgic. And by nostalgic I mean his eyebrows. He’s busy, leave it as that.

Some Pic’s from the Episode 6 shoot;

as fun to guest as it is to host with Sheena!

Marie checking on the new 'baby' in the family


despot tyrant and crank, Chris

New camera, Happy director.

Sheena Metal, Casting and Cast Iron.

I was lucky enough to go to the Laugh Factory back in 2005 and watch the host of “The Girrls Lockeroom” own the stage. An all female comedy show it was a menagerie of broads with great skill sets, but the emcee was killer. Her humor was raunchy and raucous, her composure inspired. I must know her I committed to myself. I must have some DNA. Who was this Sheena Metal and how do I get to meet her? An ace in my pocket, an actor friend mentions on our way out he could introduce us. What? Onward man, I will go to this Sheena. Now, I was doing some improv at the time, making the rounds on a bunch of non-union auditions slinging a headshot to any casting assistant that’d take one. Litho? Where for art thou, Litho? Sheena, Tony. Tony, Sheena. After a pretty good gush about how great she was and the show we exchanged information. She had this disarming charm that had me wanting more ore. (Get it? metal joke) If I was to do any shows she offered to come, and vice versa. Sheena also hosted The Music Highway, The Sheena Metal Experience on the LA Talk Radio as well as live music shows all thru OC and LARight, another contact-high in Hollywood.

Warrior Princess

The Queen of Los Angeles Nightlife

Two days later I get an email from The Sheena Metal!! Follow through? Who knew? Husker Du? (I can’t help myself sometimes) And thus began the email portion of our show, back and forth blasts every week or so of updates in our careers. Time passes and Sheena comes into the restaurant I was working at! Hoo-aah! I get my wish to spend more time with her and share some big laughs. As visits accumulate, she invites me to come do her radio show The Experience. My father always told me I had the face for radio, I needed to do this. She was assembling her cast of characters, her regular panel guests. She had a movie-guy, an actress, a psychic, a dominatrix,  I was to be her wacky-waiter. Please don’t spit coffee on your keyboard, it’s shocking. I know. Typecast when I could talk about any sundry of issues. Such a rush! I quickly called my father to let him know his prophecy had rung true. Several broadcasts later, I was a devotee. We would chew the fat on etiquette, trends, food, CT (we’re both Nutmegers), growing up Catholic. We’d trash food snobs, unattended children and valets who fart. Snark and beans. As she says, “It’s her show, but it’s your experience”. Great times were had by both.

Fast forward to the first season of DIO & assembling the guest list of co hosts. Sheena Metal was right there on the list before NPH and just after my Mom. As the season is wrapping soon, my Mom regrets not being able to make the trip at this time  and we’re still

…wanting Neil Patrick Harris to come and grace our studio-kitchen Neil, how can we make this happen……… ?

I knew Sheena would be a smash on screen. This is where the problem portion of our show comes around, the woman is crazy busy with now four radio shows, live music show promotions, TV projects and a return to the stage. How were we going to get her to our little kitchen? Back and forth we went. Email to text, carrier pigeon to greeting card. This would happen, to not return her generous hospitality would be, un-Connecticut. Boom. We got a date. We booked her well out, time for all involved. She came, she sous’d,  she killed for Episode 6!! Superior casting if we do say so ourselves. Wait for it…….Well then Episode 6 killed itself in an awkward technical sadness. We mourned. We ate a lot. Back to the keyboards. We rebooked the busiest woman in Hollywood.

Gracious and gushing, Sheena returned to our set last month and we made us some chili. And we made us some chili in HD!!!!! As a little rain may fall, a flower will grow. Or a garlic bulb, I digress. Director Chris Gregson, Assistant/Script Supervisor Marie Pettit and Producer Michael Vinton are proud to show off our swanky new show shot in High Def. Our episode is entitled “Chili’n With Sheena Metal”. It’s got Sheena, Garlic, Chili, Salmon and whenever I’m involved, ham. Come hungry, we plan to release it by this coming Friday! And that’s all for now, look for The DIO Creative Team to be interviewed on The Sheena Metal Experience next week, times to follow. Please feel free to call in and say “Howdy” or “We love garlic”. Either makes us happy. Oh, and you’ll notice we like to cook in cast iron.




Rabbit, rabbit.

Now that has your attention, doesn’t it? A cooking blog raising your hare with a suspicious title. Can you say ‘pandering’? Can you say ‘pandemonium’? Can you spell hors d’oeuvres? Well if you can see and spell, I’m sure your power of speech is not far behind. So bring those lips over here and catch this little superstition, waking up on the first day of the month makes you say “Rabbit, Rabbit” to bring you good luck.

say it say it

a recipe for luck

I’ve long since done it. I’ve blogged on it. I’ve written on walls of hallowed halls. Not hallowed really, just a sawdust on the floor kind of place in Bermuda, but I digress. It’s an old New England superstition with tenets in Britain, I know that’s a shocker. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_rabbit) Today I awoke and spoke the famous incantation with a croaking chest cold kind of voice. It was more “ribbit ribbit”, pun’s intended. . I later found out the producer of our show, Michael Vinton wasn’t much better. He had croaked out a “Monkey monkey, rabbit rabbit”, he confuses my blarney and blessings all the time. Heck, I do that myself as well. I wish you all luck for the month and the year to come and Happy Chinese New Year as well. The year of the Dragon will bring courage and blessings!

Exciting news around DIO. Our next episode, “Chillin’ With Sheena Metal”  is due to be up any day now. You’ll be able to read more of her in an upcoming post describing the filming and the history behind the great Salmon Chili recipe. With four more episodes to shoot in the season we’re very excited at the attention everyone has been giving the show. THANK YOU for all the kind words and great comments that everyone leaves here, on Facebook, Twitter and on the YouTube channel. It’s pretty damn great to read what recipes people have made and how they’ll come hungry next time. Remember “You Can Do This!” when making our food. Our stuff is easy, usually good for you and tasty tasty. Stuff yourself, please.

More good news, our show can be found on IMDB, we’re too legit too quit. Our little series is in the same company of Julia Childs, Ina Garten and Charo. I say this with love, I love me some Charo. ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2180911/) This is the go-to data base for all tv/film related searches. It’s a pretty great thing, THANKS to our producers and relentless talent involved in every aspect of making DIO.

So with a mouthful of chicken soup to clean out this chest cold, and love in my heart, I say Rabbit Rabbit to you for your new month and look forward to making you smile, inside and out with our little show here.

Holiday Dinner.

There never seems to be time enough to get together with important people in your life. You have to insist upon it when the holiday blur commences, even put your foot down to secure the date, time and guest. The promise of “we’ll get together soon” falls down on Hollywood like snow in Maine this time of year.  After much running around we insisted on a playdate with our two lovely and busy friends, Sheena and Danielle. The apartment was festooned, I see to that most years. The vibe of the season and twinkle it puts on everything makes me wish we could keep it around longer than just Halloween- to New Years. I love this time of the year and am pushing for a Half Christmas in June. I think I may have enough support to start a petition. If people can ring in a Half Birthday, why the hell not?  Step from Graduation parties into Half Christmas. Seems amazing, I know, but I digress. The girls were coming for dinner.

KISS theory for dinner. Keep It Simple Sweetie.  Menu was simple; fun holiday fare with flare. Make two easy incredible appetizers and a really homey dinner so conversation can linger and time can all but stop for the visit. Time stopped, and the sun almost rose. But I digress. First made was Easy Crab Salad in wonton cups. Real straight forward with good crab, mayo,  mustard,  celery seed, tarragon and a little lemon. I love making these cups, I usually have wonton wrappers in the fridge as they keep nice whenin a  sealed baggie. They make a great sub on fresh pasta recipes, especially good as a ravioli to make your guests think you put so much time into their visit. (and you did) Spray a mini muffin pan with your favorite cooking spray.  Into a 350′ oven for 15-20 minutes, try to shape them in to different looking baskets. Remove and let them cool, set aside for later.

Second made is a quick caponata. Cube a large eggplant, removing skin if preferred. Sautee on medium high heat in oil. Season with salt and pepper. When they start to sizzle add a cup of favorite chicken stock and a drained 20 oz can of seasoned, diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. When liquid’s absorbed add 2 tablespoons drained capers and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. Set caponata aside and toast polenta crackers. Buying pre-made polenta sleeves in the store never dawned on me as helpful until someone suggested this appetizer. Remove polenta from casing, cut in to dials and put onto lined sheet pan. Toast under broiler, keeping an eye on as not to burn. I trust no broiler for toasting and a bit neurotic like this. Flip and do both sides. Cut dials in to quarter pieces and top with caponata.

I plated and garnished and was ready to rock the ladies. Check them out:

bring in the highballs, bring in the holidays.

Crab salad in wontons, Caponata/polenta

I made Grandma Spats’ stuffed artichokes (recipe to follow), they are always to great and a family treasure not to lose to Johnny Depp.

Pork tenderloin was on sale and is such an amenable protein. Alton brown has a clever 2 hour brine (recipe courtesy Yummly) that uses tasty ingredients like brown sugar and apple cider vinegar.

loin (thick, end pork chops can use less or use what ever cut pork)
34 cup kosher salt (regular white table)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp mustard powder (prepared)
2 cups cider vinegar (heated until hot)
1 lb ice (cube)
1 In a large plastic container with a lid, put the salt, peppercorns and mustard powder; add in the HOT vinegar and swirl to dissolve the sugar and salt completely.
2 Let the mixture stand for 20 minutes at room temperature to develop flavor.
3 Add in the ice cubes and shake to melt most of the ice.
4 Add in the pork chops, making certain that the meat is completely covered with the brine.
5 Cover with lid and refrigerate for 2 hours (NO MORE than 2 hours!).
6 Rinse the pork well under cold water before cooking.
7 Cook as desired.
The tenderloins were amazing, served with roasted potatoes and scalloped apples. (I just did these for Hal’s Dinner, maybe feeling homesick?) For a green veggie I plied some blanched green beans with a quick saute with garlic spears, in olive oil. Before serving I added chopped almonds and raisins. Let the nuts toast until fragrant, and the raisins will get nice nice and soft soft.
I can’t bake to save my life, but I can dress a cheesecake like Marc Jacobs can do a model, that came out wrong. Frozen blackberries and raspberries reduced with orange juice, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Before we served in went a chiffonade of fresh basil. I garnished with slice of juicy starfruit and sent dessert down the runway. Yummers.
Time was made to see our friends, time shouldn’t be wasted sweating over dinner. I made the apps in the am, same with blanching the green beans. I brined the pork, prepped the artichokes and went to my company’s christmas party. When I came home I fired the chokes, fired the potatoes and rinsed the pork. Always dry the pork completely and let come to room temperature before roasting. The green beans went into their pan.  I pulled the potatoes and sent the pork in. I readied he apps and served, all in an hour. The sauce for the cheese cake I started as we sat to dinner and shut off as we all couldn’t keep our mouths shut for an instant, this is a very social group.
We were a slew of chatty cathy’s and the night went by too fast. I swear I heard the milkman’s bell as the ladies left, we all had a blast. Make the time to do this in the New Year, and learn as you go. KISS theory, Keep It Simple Sweetie.  I’m glad to do as much a head of time, with as much ease. This gives me so many perks. I get past cooking projects off the ceiling,

“When you cook with passion sometimes even the ceiling gets involved” – Spats

I get to iron the fancy linen (yeah, right, like I own an iron), set the table with some good china. This is how we make a great time here in the Dish Test Kitchen. You will see more of Sheena in our forth coming episode Chilly’in with Sheena Metal. If you want to know more of the ladies,  you can read check out  their sites, address’s are below. Have yourselves a Merry New Year!!! Best Holidays to all and as always; Come Hungry!