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Debi Mazar Talks Cooking, Tuscany, Workouts and Madonna!

debi-mazar-585Yesterday we talked tofu tips, and today we’re talking to THE Debi Mazar, host of the Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin along with her adorable husband Gabriele Corcos, and—you know, Shauna on Entourage. Debi opens up about her new show, her desire to be a “Super Tuscan!”—and even her time dancing with Madonna. You know we had to go there!

Interview with Debi Mazar

How did the idea of Extra Virgin come about? We had a blog for seven years called Under the Tuscan Gun that was a project of love and passion—Gabriele and I just sharing good content with people for fun. The blog became very popular and when Cooking Channel was being conceived, we met and decided to make our show the same in concept, just more produced.
What about the title? The title was the one the Cooking Channel Network liked best. I wanted us to be “THE SUPER TUSCANS!!!” and wear capes in the opening credits while flying over our Tuscan property. However, since we have 19,000 olive trees at our home in Tuscany, I figured Extra Virgin would be okay.
How has your love of food changed and expanded over the years? I have always loved food and had a health-conscious mother—I have cooked for myself since I was probably 13! As I have gotten older and became a mother/wife, food wasn’t only about survival but also about love and sharing good food.
How has your husband changed how you cook and how you eat? I eat a lot more (and we now have children), and I actually cook less since Gabriele is a chef! It’s fantastic! Tuscan Cuisine is fresh and not as heavy as Southern Italian. My husband is a big carnivore and that added a whole new dimension to my life as I never prepared meat on a regular basis. I love to consume a lot of vegetables and have gotten him eating more vegetables and salads. I’ve even got him enjoying TOFU!
What’s a normal week like for you in regards to food and exercise? I must have my morning coffee, Bustelo brewed in a Bialetti. Sometimes I eat a light breakfast—toast or cereal with fresh fruit. Lunch is usually formal with my Italian husband; we sit down and typically eat pasta and a salad or a wonderful fresh soup and sandwich. An example would be lentil soup with a pressed sandwich of prosciutto, taleggio cheese and radicchio ciabatta bread.
I’m not a big grazer—dinner is cooked fresh nightly and is always a family sit-down.
My workout is running in the park two to three times a week, stretching at home, walking my dog, running all over the city, climbing multiple subway steps, riding my bike or occasionally hitting a gym and doing light weightlifting. I used to have a personal trainer before I had kids, but now I’ve had to allocate time and finances to where it’s most important—my kids and their classes!
What three ingredients are you obsessed with right now and why?
My olive oil from my farm in Tuscany—it’s Extra Virgin, green and spicy.
My husband’s fresh, homemade Tuscan bread! He’s perfected it—rustic, great crust and no salt.
We cure our own pancetta and guanciale in the house—it’s delicious!!
You’ve appeared in five of Madonna’s music videos. Tell us, do you still dance?! And what was that experience like? I dance in the house all the time or occasionally at a party. I don’t go out to clubs and, since I have young children in this period of my life, would prefer to stay home. Doing Madonna videos at that time was a natural thing for us both. She and I were both staples on the dance scene in New York, and I was studying to become an actor. We both love the camera—it was so much fun!
Best piece of cooking advice you’ve ever received? Not to feel the pressure. Cooking should be fun—an act of love—whether it’s for yourself or others. Don’t give up, keep cooking and stay healthy!
Best piece of cooking advice you can give? Teach your kids to help you! It gives them a foundation to years of good eating habits, cooking skills and survival skills. One can always use help in the kitchen!
Anything else you’d like to add? Our cookbook comes out in the spring of 2014!
Um, how fabulous is Debi? We want her life. And that Tuscan lunch on the regular! Who else feels us on that? —Jenn

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