Would my speckled blue spongeware bowl be too "busy" to allow the cameras to focus?
Would my romaine lettuce wilt under the spotlight?
Would I remember the list of ingredients when I had to regurgitate them for the talk-show host?
I'm sure veteran TV cooks Racheal Ray and Paula Deen never have such concerns.
But Friday when I had to prepare Tangy Orange-Pecan Salad (I even devised the acronym TOPS to help me remember the name of the dish in case I blanked on live TV) for the Arizona Midday talk show, a thousand concerns such as these ran through my mind before I stepped on the stage with host Destry Jetton.
When my first cookbook, Way Back in the Country, debuted in 2002, I became highly familiar with cooking on live TV. Stations in a numerous places asked me to be a guest and to prepare my "Golden Corn Bread" that was featured in that book's first chapter. I became so accustomed to my corn bread preparation, I could have gone through those motions in my sleep.
But Friday's appearance to help promote my new book, Way Back in the Country Garden, was a first on live TV for me to prepare Tangy Orange-Pecan Salad, which I had chosen specially for this Arizona audience because oranges and other citrus are so plenteous in Arizona citrus groves. TV stations ask you to bring a sample of the finished product as well as the recipe in various stages of preparation (cut up orange sections in a bowl, dressing in a clear-glass container, spices mixed and ready to add.) My brain cells were eight-years older than when I did this previously. Could I remember everything I was supposed to do and say during the brief three-minute time segment?
Thankfully my host, Destry, a seasoned TV personality on this NBC affiliate, made the process comfortable (beforehand we discovered she had been a Texan some years back and even worked in the same city at the same my son was employed there. Small world!) She interviewed me about why I believed home gardening is experiencing a resurgence. She was enthusiastic about my recipe and even asked me why this particular recipe, Tangy Orange-Pecan Salad, was special to me (in the cookbook I write that I first prepared it last January when we were in Phoenix for our grandson's birth at the height of Citrus Season.)
Despite my niggling concerns, my spongeware bowl looked fabulous on camera. I spieled off the recipe ingredients fast and accurately. The crunchy romaine held up great and looked delectable with the orange sections, pecans, parmesan cheese, and cilantro on top. And best of all, the camera focused on the cover of my new book again and again! Great publicity!
Doubt if I'll be edging out Rachael or Paula, but I'm pumped and ready to cook on camera again any time.
Tangy Orange-Pecan Salad
4 navel oranges
1 tablespoon sugar (we use sugar substitute)
1 tablespoon oil, such as olive oil or canola
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (16-ounce bag) romaine, washed, dried and chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 cup broken (not chopped) pecan halves
Peel and section three oranges; remove white membrane; cut orange sections into bite-sized chunks. Set aside. Into small container squeeze the juice of the remaining orange. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the container. Combine sugar, oil, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk into juice. Place chopped romaine into mixing bowl. Add dressing and toss. Onto serving bowl place lettuce that has been tossed with dressing. Sprinkle on orange segments, chopped cilantro, and parmesan cheese. In small nonstick skilled toast broken pecans for about five minutes until they become brown. Sprinkle on top of salad. Makes six servings.