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The Suburbanite
  • Will Work for Food: Going in front of the camera can be exhausting

  • Cooking show hosts make it look easy. Paula seems perpetually peachy, Emeril is the consummate entertainer, and Giada never breaks a sweat.

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  • Cooking show hosts make it look easy. Paula seems perpetually peachy, Emeril is the consummate entertainer, and Giada never breaks a sweat. They effortlessly cook, chit-chat with guests and the audience, and educate and amuse all at the same time. I’ve always wondered how they do it.
    So when Kyle Schwarz asked me to be a guest on her cooking show, “Kyle’s Kitchen” on Time Warner Channel 11 in Alliance,
    I had an idea.
    “How about this,” I proposed. “I get to be the host and you be the guest.”
    I can’t believe I talked her into it.
    When I showed up for the taping at Alliance High School, where Schwarz is the broadcast arts teacher, I inquired about my dressing room and makeup artist.
    Schwarz laughed. “We have a bit different budget than the Food Network.”
    Nonetheless, “Kyle’s Kitchen” is one polished little operation. The “studio” is in the food science classroom, which has a demonstration kitchen complete with overhead mirror. Five of Schwarz’s 15 broadcast arts students comprised the film crew that day, working on high tech equipment valued at thousands of dollars.
    This was no dog and pony show. Or at least it wasn’t until I made myself the host.
    As cameras rolled, Schwarz assembled her recipe for Mexican-glazed meatloaf cupcakes, which are mini meatloaves baked in a muffin tin and then “frosted” with mashed potatoes and topped with a cherry tomato.
    Schwarz cooked, while I attempted to be dynamic and inquisitive and witty. Mostly I got in her way and distracted her. I even made her forget a step and she had to start over. I smiled too much. I looked at the camera too much. I babbled too much.
    Trust me, it’s not easy being a cooking show star. At the end of the end of the 20-minute taping, I was exhausted from all that perkiness.
    I’m pretty sure the production crew cut more film than they aired. Schwarz probably wouldn’t admit it, but I bet she would never rehire me. That’s OK by me. From here on out, I’m leaving cooking show hosting to the professionals.
    MEXICAN-GLAZED MEATLOAF “CUPCAKES”
    Meatloaf:
    2 teaspoons canola oil
    1/2 cup diced onion
    2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, minced*
    3/4 pound ground beef
    1/2 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed
    1 cup baked tortilla chips, finely crushed
    1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
    1 large egg
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    Glaze:
    1/4 cup chili sauce
    2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotles) tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
    Page 2 of 2 - 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin, cinnamon, and dry mustard powder
    Topping:
    Mashed potatoes, heated
    Cherry tomato
    For meatloaf cupcakes: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and chilies and cook 4 minutes; remove from heat and set aside. In a bowl, blend beef, chorizo, tortilla chips, cilantro, yogurt, egg and salt. Add onion mixture and lightly mix with fork. Evenly divide meatloaf mixture into muffin cups. Set timer for 10 minutes.
    Prepare glaze by combining all ingredients. After meatloaves have cooked 10 minutes, remove pan from oven and spoon glaze over loaves. Return to oven for 5 minutes or until loaves are fully cooked. Remove from oven and pop “cupcakes” out of pan onto serving plate. Immediately “frost” cupcakes with heated mashed potatoes, top with a cherry tomato, and serve.
    *Look for cans of these in your supermarket’s ethnic foods section.
    Kyle Schwarz, host of “Kyle’s Kitchen” on Time Warner Channel 11 in Alliance.