Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What every kitchen needs - Utensils!

      What are the most important things to have in your kitchen is a very frequent question I am asked by all my friends? I think that this totally depends on the person and the kitchen they are cooking in.  For me different pots and pans, a GOOD SHARP knife, spatulas…. The list goes on and on. Without certain utensils in your house it makes it hard to cook in your own home. 

      A 13x9 pan has many uses; baking chicken, making lasagna, it’s a great substitute for a casserole dish, and making things like bars and brownies.  I use my 13x9 glass pan more than I use any other utensil in the oven.  A big sauté pan can be used not only to sauté things but mock deep frying, stir fry, pan fry, or even making a simple sauce for pasta.  A big soup pot can be used for soup and most importantly boiling pasta in lots of water! A heat resistant spatula can be used to scrape a dish out and stir hot food so you don’t ruin your pots and pans.  I always have measuring cups because generally when baking it is imperative to always use the exact amount.  Cheese graters are important because it is hard to slice cheese super thin.  Dry dish towels are important to be able to grab hot things out of your oven or grabbing anything hot in particular. Keeping your knife sharp keeps you and anyone in your kitchen safer.  A dull knife cuts worse because you are using more force and body weight to cut whatever it is.  Like the chefs would always tell me in school, “your knife should be doing all the work, not you.”

      In “Do It Like Dana,” I show you what is most important to me because throughout the years I have realized what makes it most comfortable to cook in my own kitchen.  There has been multiple times when a friend hasn't had a 13 by 9 pan and I’ve had to go out and buy one.  And that is how I've compiled what I think every kitchen needs, cooking at friends houses and them not having a critical utensil I need!

List of items every kitchen should have:

  • Good Sharp Chef Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Cheese Grater
  • Heat Proof Spatula
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Thermometer
  • Baster
  • Strainer (Colander)
  • 8x11 pan (13x9 or 7x10)
  • Sauce Pan
  • Sauté Pan
  • Hand Towel

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Guacamole is an incredibly easy “dip” to make.  Avocadoes are the main ingredient and one of my altogether favorite vegetables though technically a fruit. Guacamole is incredibly versatile.  When I make mine I like to flavor it with jalapenos, cilantro, red onion, tomato, lime, and a little bit of garlic salt.  Guacamole is completely up to whoever is making it and what they like. 

If you want to make variations to Guacamole you can add hot sauce of your liking to spice it up or sour cream for a smoother, less traditional version.  I love guacamole to have at a party because it never goes to waste.

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  • 4 soft avocadoes*
  • 1 jalapeño minced (chopped really tiny)
  • ¼ cup onion minced (chopped really tiny)
  • 1 tomato minced (chopped really tiny)
  • Garlic Salt to taste
  • 1 to 3 limes use to taste
  • Cilantro optional

*A little hint with working with avocadoes. You always have to put lime or lemon (citrus) on them to keep them from turning brown or leave the big pit that’s in the middle of the avocado in with the mashed up avocadoes.


Take the avocadoes and slice them in half, rotate the two halves so they just pop apart.  Put the avocado in the bowl.  Squeeze one lime into the avocado.  Add jalapeño, onion and 1teaspooon garlic salt. Mash the avocado with a fork or your hands. I prefer using my hands because you can feel the texture of the guacamole so you know whether it is chunky or smooth.  Once it is to the texture you like mix in the minced tomato and cilantro if you choose to use cilantro.  Taste! Add more lime, garlic salt, jalapeño, onion and tomato to your liking!

Please leave your comments and what you would like to learn how to make next!  What do you like to add to your guacamole?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Hello all!

My name is Dana. My whole life I have always loved to cook and watch cooking shows.   I would always watch cooking shows as my sister begged to turn on Saturday and Sunday morning cartoons.  My ultimate goal in life was to be the star of one of these shows because I loved (and still do love) food just as much as all those chefs and when I cooked people always seemed to be impressed.

After high school I attended The Art Institute of California, San Diego. Once I graduated from culinary school, I moved to Italy and worked in the Hotel Milano restaurant as a prep/line chef.  After 9 months of peeling the suction cups off of octopus and peeling potatoes I returned to the U.S. 

Once I moved back here I started running my mouth off to everyone about starting a cooking show, and someone took notice.  Now here I am 8 months later in the process of filming “Do it Like Dana.” I hope to simply teach people how to cook healthy and simple recipes.  As a young adult, expense is the biggest issue, and I want to show people it is possible to eat good quality food without the insanely high price. I want people to realize the reality of “you are what you eat,” and when you eat healthier you feel better.  It is possible!

My show(s) can be found on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=doitlikedana&aq=f

You can reach me here, through this blog.  If there is something you'd like to see me make, or you have a cooking related question, please feel free to ask.

Here's to seeing you in the kitchen!