What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’?

What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’?

Girls love guys who know their way around the kitchen

There is an old saying that men don’t cook at home. Yet it is also said that women always appreciate men who cook.

Only one of these is true. Can you guess which?

I can’t exactly remember when our son Marc’s passion for cooking began, but he certainly loves to cook. He was always in the kitchen watching or helping me, especially for holiday meals. Even at 12 years old, growing up in Topanga Canyon, Marc entered a cake contest and won first prize.

He also became very interested in wine and has his own wine label, GeekZ, made with Napa Valley grapes. His passion and hobby is food, and he belongs to several wine and food groups with “the guys.” Recently, he even gave his buddies a lesson on making fresh ricotta cheese.

But, as it turns out, Marc’s cooking is a hit with “the girls,” too. His wife, Amy, and her friends have been meeting in each other’s homes for years to play a fun game called Bunco. They all love when it’s Amy’s turn to host, because dinner promises to be awesome; when Marc is cooking, the turnout is always 100 percent. 

One year, the event was held on May 5. The theme was Bunco de Mayo and featured Mexican food. Marc made tortillas and set up a taco bar where there was an assortment of ingredients for everyone to make their favorite taco. For dessert, he made an assortment of ice cream sundaes.

Also, Amy and her office co-workers meet every Wednesday for lunch and a talkfest. Recently Marc made a picnic lunch for them, and because it was National Hamburger Day, there was little question about the main course. The side dishes consisted of Brussels sprouts, sautéed mushrooms and roasted rosemary potatoes.

Marc and Amy both cook at their end-of-the-year holiday party. An extensive buffet is set up in their dining room, and there is always a major selection of wines to taste. At the dessert table, they show off their cooking talents, but Amy’s White Chocolate Brownies are always everyone’s favorite.

Before preparing any meal, Marc does his homework, testing each recipe prior to including it on his menu. The following recipes represent the next dinner menu he has planned for the Bunco girls. I have a feeling you’ll like it — and like making it, too.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 24 large (or 48 thin) asparagus  spears, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 eggs

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onion until caramelized. Add asparagus, salt and pepper; sauté for 5 minutes. Add water; cover and steam 1 to 2 minutes, until just tender. Arrange 4 to 6 asparagus spears on each of 6 heated plates; spoon onions on top.

In another skillet, cook eggs over easy or sunny-side up: For over easy eggs, heat additional olive oil and fry eggs on one side until whites are solid, then turn quickly. Using a spatula, arrange an egg on top of each serving of asparagus. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings. 


  • 4 large yellow crookneck squash, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 475 F.

In a large bowl, gently toss together all ingredients.

Brush a foil-lined baking sheet with additional olive oil and arrange the seasoned squash on top. Bake for 25 minutes; toss squash, and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 large stalks broccoli, diced
  • 4 large chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, diced
  • Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Brush an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with a small amount of olive oil; set aside.

In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and sauté onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and garlic. Add carrots and broccoli; sauté another 5 minutes. Add diced chicken and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. Transfer into prepared baking dish.

Prepare Mashed Potatoes and spoon them on top of chicken mixture; spread into a thick, smooth layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Just before serving, put under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until potato topping is lightly browned. Spoon onto individual serving plates.

Makes 6 servings.


  • 3 large Russet potatoes,scrubbed, unpeeled, quartered and boiled until soft
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 ounces unsalted margarine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlicpowder

Place cooked potatoes in a large bowl and mash with olive oil, margarine, salt, pepper and garlic powder until smooth.

Makes about 4 cups.



Amy often doubles this recipe; the brownies freeze well.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted margarine
  • 8 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan; line with foil. Grease foil.

Melt margarine in a small saucepan; remove pan from heat. Add half (4 ounces) of white chocolate chips; do not stir. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs with salt. Gradually add sugar, beating until pale yellow. Add white chocolate mixture, vanilla and salt, beating until combined. Then add flour; mix until just combined.

Stir in dark chocolate chips and remaining 4 ounces white chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until tester inserted in center comes out almost clean. (Cover with foil if browning too quickly.) Cool completely; cut into squares. 

Makes 16 brownies.

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