Attention kitchen-phobic non-cooks: Haylie Duff feels your pain. The self-described "cooking school dropout" admits to blowing up three microwaves on her culinary quest to learn how to chop, broil, spice, and bake.
"When I started my food blog, it was because I really didn’t know how to cook," says Duff, the patron saint of reformed dinner burners. "I was like, ‘I’m just going to have to learn to cook. I’m going to share as I go.’ And obviously I never in a million years thought it would be a show or a book or any of these wonderful things."
Those "wonderful things" include today's Season 2 premiere of the Cooking Channel's Real Girl's Kitchen where Haylie and her gang of sunny friends are back to invite you to learn how to cook with them. The show, hosted by the self-taught cook, projects a warm and open environment where making mistakes is not only inevitable, it's part of the fun. Duff says the learning process was essential to her growth as a chef: "That’s kind of the beauty of it: you’ll have that moment—that Oprah aha! moment—where you get something right and you’re like, ‘Oh! I got this!’ and you have the confidence to try something a little harder. The more you do it, the better you get at it."
Besides the return of Real Girl's Kitchen Haylie has something else to look forward to: motherhood! "Isn’t that crazy? I hope she arrives the day before [the holiday] so I actually get to be an actual mom on Mother’s Day," she says about her impending bundle of joy. "I guess I’m technically an actual mom already, right? I count it! I’ve been carrying her around for 9 months!"
To celebrate the new season of Real Girl's Kitchen, Haylie shared one of her favorite recipes with us: watermelon gazpacho. According to Haylie, the refreshing treat is the perfect party recipe "because you can make it a day in advance." She adds: "You could also put it in a cute pitcher and bring it to a party."
1 cubed seedless watermelon
2 chopped large heirloom tomatoes
1 clove pressed garlic
½ finely chopped white onion
½ chopped green onion
1 chopped cucumber
Juice of 1 lime
1 handful chopped cilantro
½ deseeded jalapeño
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
Goat cheese to garnish
1. Place all ingredients in a Vitamix or blender.
2. Pulse a few times, but don’t over-blend.
3. Pour into a bowl and garnish with goat cheese.
Make it Like Haylie: “I like my gazpacho chunky, so I set aside half the watermelon, tomato, and cucumber and stir them back in once I’ve blended the rest,” she says.