Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Helen Gurley Brown RIP

Cosmopolitan magazine, the Bible to women of a certain generation…She changed everything!…She said:  “Good girls go to Heaven, bad girls go everywhere…” and we believed her. She said women could be anything that they wanted to be, and she is proof of what she said: She transformed Cosmopolitan magazine and women’s magazines and women’s lives and herself…She showed us all that we could be smart, accomplished, sexy and could live with or without a man… Sex and the Single Girl or was that Sex and the NEW single girl?…Didn’t you just love the monthly horoscope and the yearly horoscope insert?…Oh that word ORGASM!…”Nice girls do have affairs, and they do not necessarily die of them!”…Single is glamorous and not a medical condition…Birth control, yeah!…That Cosmo Girl was always a woman…The Feminization of  The Feminist Movement…RIP Helen Gurley Brown!


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Paul Ryan










This morning Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will announce Paul Ryan as his running mate and in doing so appears to be declaring war against everything that the Democratic Party stands for. With the choice of Paul Ryan, Romney will not only be exacerbating the culture wars, but he appears to have set his sights on two of the great presidents of the Twentieth Century: FDR (The New Deal) and LBJ (The Great Society), indeed, the great shift of the Twentieth Century back to the people. This will be a battle — and perhaps a dangerous one — pitting Conservatives against Liberals, rich against poor, the religious Right against the rest, corporate culture against the unions, The Great Society against the elite. This battle has been a longtime coming, and maybe it is past time to engage. Maybe it will propel this nation forward, when it has been mired in inanity. Maybe it will further divide an already divided nation. Perhaps it will purge us of our differences — what wars often do — that have led to the inability of our leaders to move our country forward in a most necessary way. What Romney’s choice has done, no question, is to take the tired old description of our presidential races that this is the most important election of our lifetime, and make it true.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

I promised you Chef Chitra’s chutney and here is a recipe she was kind enough to give me to post on the website. You get a two for one deal on this one because she also forwarded her recipe for Naan. Enjoy. And be sure to visit Chitra Agrawal at her website The ABCD’s of Cooking.

yield: 8 naan

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
4-5 cups unbleached all purpoase flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon nigella (black onion) seeds

Place the water in a large bowl and add yeast, stirring to dissolve. Add the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all purpose flour and stir well. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes, covered, until it starts to bubble.

Add the salt, then another cup of all purpose flour. Continue to add flour until a dough forms. Knead for about 10 minutes. Let it rest, covered, in a warm place until it doubles in size.

Punch the dough down and place it on a lightly floured surface. Let it rest a few minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a baking stone (I used the back of a cookie sheet) in the middle rack of the oven heated to 500 degrees.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a flat oval (or baguette shape as I did). Let each oval rest for 15-20 minutes. Dimple the surface with wet fingers and sprinkle with nigella seeds.

Sprinkle some flour on the baking stone and place the naan on it. Bake for about 4-5 minutes, until lightly golden. Serve immediately or keep warm by placing them wrapped in a towel.

yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup mint leaves
3/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped (or 1 small green Indian chili)
1 teaspoon ginger juice (or 1 teaspoon of shredded ginger with some water)
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave (or honey)
1 tablespoon lime juice
chaat masala, to taste (optional)

Place mint, cilantro, jalapeno and ginger juice in a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down as necessary (add a few drops of water to help blend). This should be liquid, not too thick. Place contents in a bowl.

Fold in yogurt. Add salt, agave, lime juice and chaat masala, to taste.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Pizza and party, two words that go together, and here are some suggestions from our good friend, Chef Chitra Agrawal to make your party a success. Yesterday, Chitra shared her pizza dough recipe.

Here’s a list of some toppings to go along with her Indian Pizza pie:

goat cheese
tandoori paneer
zucchini /summer squash
fingerling potatoes
chorizo (free range)
lettuce frisee and boston
heirloom tomatoes
one bell pepper
sauteed peppers and onions
mint chutney
And to go along with your pizza, here’s Chitra’s recipe for
Kadai Paneer
FYI:  Kadai means wok in Hindi and this dish is essentially a paneer dry stir fry, curried with tomato paste, onion, ginger and garlic.  You can either buy paneer at the Indian store (Chitra buys it unfried and in blocks) or makes it homemade like this.  She recommends San Marzano tomato paste a lot in cooking because it’s delicious and great in a pinch, but it also provides the perfect consistency for this dish.
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
14 oz cubed paneer, lightly fried
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger piece, shredded
1 teaspoon cumin seed
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste
fresh cilantro
Heat ghee or vegetable oil under medium heat in a wok.  Add in cumin seed and asafetida and shake up in the pan.  When the cumin seed starts to brown, add in the onions.  When they are starting to get translucent, mix in the garlic and ginger and fry for 30 seconds.Add in the tomato paste and stir well.  Mix in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder and salt.  If the pan is starting to get dry, add a touch of water to loosen it up.  You don’t want this to get saucy, more of a coating for the paneer so keep that in mind.  Fry this all up until the spices get fragrant.Mix in the paneer gently, until it is coated with the tomato mixture.   Turn off heat and garnish with cilantro.

Serve with rice, roti or as an appetizer with chutney.

Be sure to visit Chitra on her website where you will find more of her delicious recipes!


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Chitra Agrawal, The ABCD's of Cooking

This week’s show: Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! Trust me, this is going to be one delicious conversation on  Wednesday’s, August 8, 3 pm ET The Halli Casser-Jayne Show. To get you in the mood, all week I’ll be posting my dear friend and fabulous cook, Chitra Agrawal’s recipes for pizza. This morning we start with her pizza dough. But first a little bit about Chitra:

Chitra writes the food blog, The ABCD’s of Cooking (ABCD = “American Born Confused Desi”), where she shares traditional Indian home cooking recipes using local ingredients. She was taught most everything she knows in the kitchen from her South Indian mother and North Indian father. When she’s not teaching cooking classes or recipe blogging, Chitra can be found making cooking videos and serving Indian street foods (sometimes yummy Indian tacos!) at events and artisanal markets in Brooklyn.

Her cooking has appeared in the New York Times Dining Journal and she is a contributor to Gojee, Honest Cooking, The Daily Meal and Brooklyn Based. Chitra has studied nutrition and cooking techniques at the Natural Gourmet Institute.


1 tablespoon active dry yeast
drizzle of honey
1 1/2 cups warm water, warm to your finger not hot
3 1/2 cups flour
pinch salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Add yeast and honey to water. Let it sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until it starts to froth a bit.

If using a mixer, put in the flour and salt and add in the yeast/honey/water mixture and “knead” on low speed with the hook attachment for 5-7 minutes, adding oil as it mixes. When its done, the dough will have mostly twisted onto the hook and be a bit sticky. (Kneading by hand is good too if you don’t have a mixer strong enough for breads.) All ingredients should be evenly distributed and dough should be sticky and smooth.

Oil a bowl, transfer dough to bowl, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Dough will have risen/doubled. Punch down to release air and transfer to a floured surface.
Knead and divide. Depending on how thick you want your pizza, you can divide into 2, 3 or 4 parts.

Knead your divided pieces so that they are circular, and leave in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. Leave space between your divided dough pieces. They will continue to expand. (Pizza doughs can be frozen too for later use)

If you have a baking stone, place it in the oven and preheat oven about 45 minutes before use to 515-550 degrees F. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can use the back of a cookie sheet pan (don’t need to put the pan in the oven like the baking stone though).

Sprinkle your peel or the back of the cookie sheet pan generously with cornmeal. (If using a peel make sure you put enough on there so that the dough slides off easily onto the baking stone.)

Take one section of dough and roll it out so it is just flat and round enough to work with your hands. Flour your hands a little and place the dough across your two fists and stretch it out by moving it around in a circular motion until you get to a diameter of about 10 inches. (Note from me: Another trick is to hold the dough from the top and just hang it and move your hand along the circumference as you continue to hang. This works fast, but there is chance of breakage and not a perfect circle shape.)

Place the stretched out dough on the cornmeal dusted peel or pan. Brush a bit of olive oil on crusts to help brown well and then decorate the pizza (Note from me: good to go easy on the toppings so that the dough cooks through and you don’t have soggy pizza).

Slide the pizza onto the stone (or just leave on the back of the cookie sheet pan) and put in the oven.

Cook pizza for 6 to 10 minutes depending on thickness of crust.

Cool for a few minutes and cut.

Good Tools:
-A bench cutter is handy for cutting the bread dough and cleaning the floured surface later.
-A peel is useful for making multiple pizzas, so you can build the pizza on a peel and then transfer it to the oven/your bread stone.
-A bread stone is good for getting a nice uniformly cooked crust.
-A rolling pin is nice to have while making your pizzas. Dough is pretty elastic and a rolling pin is nice to get the dough flat and round enough to work with your hands.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! Yep, Pizza! is the subject of The Halli Casser-Jayne Show Wednesday, August 8, 3 pm ET and Thursday, August 9, 9 pm ET. Pizza recipes, homemade pizza, pizza recipes gourmet, pizza dough recipes…we’re leaving no pizza stone unturned. We’ve got quite the guest line-up for you as we travel around the country in search of the most delicious, delectable and divine pizzas. We’ll talk to Mike of Mike’s Road Trip dot com; renowned cookbook author Diane Morgan; Food & Wine magazine editor, Tina Ujlaki; Ryan Hays – The “Ultimate” Pizza Fan. We are even going to introduce you to The Big Green Truck Company, a catering service with a fleet of antique trucks fitted with wood-fired brick ovens whose pizza is out-of-this-world. The Halli Casser-Jayne Show is Talk Radio for Fine Minds and palates.


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The divine Linda Evans

I hope that you’ll tune into The Halli Casser-Jayne Show tonight at 9 pm when you can hear my interview with the former star of Dynasty, Linda Evans. (You can listen right here!) As an interviewer, I can tell you that not all interviewees are the same. There are some who come on shows simply to sell their name or their product and don’t give much more than that. There are others who just love to talk about themselves and do so without much thought behind what they say. Sometimes, people have a bad day and they don’t feel much like talking. I can tell you, conducting an interview with someone like that, aargh! I’ve run across many who think they are simply better than everyone else and therefore have a chip on their shoulder and come across as arrogant. I’ll never understand why some people even bother consenting to an interview. Anyway, there are a thousand variations on the theme, but I can tell you that for the most part, doing what I do is a gift, while often it’s a challenge. But then there is that every once in a while when I run across that rare soul who gives the audience what they want…a great deal of their heart and soul and even a bit more. Such a person is Linda Evans who opened herself up for all of us to take a good look in during the recording of  our interview. I won’t tell you why, you’ll have to listen for yourselves, but at one point Linda choked up with tears and was barely able to speak. Linda Evans: beautiful on the outside, and gorgeous on the inside. Let me know what you think.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

At 3 pm today, join me on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds. The topic today: Second Acts. My guests: the delectable Linda Evans of Dynasty fame, the talented four-time Oscar nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner Marsha Mason, and former Los Angeles County District Attorney, Gil Garcetti who oversaw high profile prosecutions such as the Menendez brothers and O.J. Simpson cases. Now Mr. Garcetti is considered one of our nation’s premier photographers. Gil has had numerous solo exhibitions including at the United Nations in New York and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.  Here are two of his images, reprinted with Mr. Garcetti’s permission. What a talent!

Dance in Cuba c Gil Garcetti


Water is Key c Gil Garcetti

LINDA EVANS, A Time for Change

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Linda Evans, Recipes for Life

Along with the delightful Marsha Mason and the unstoppable Gil Garcetti, tomorrow, August 1, 3 pm ET,  I’ll be interviewing the darling Linda Evans on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show. This week’s topic: Second Acts. All three of my guests reached the pinnacle of success in their respective fields. All three of my guests, for different reasons, went onto Second Acts. I’ll be exploring with each what prompted their life change. Below, with Miss Evans’ permission, is an excerpt from her insightful book, Recipes for Life. The book is a great read and I personally recommend it, if for nothing else than the fabulous recipes Linda includes in her book, cooking being her great passion.

A Time for Change

FOR SEVERAL REASONS, I began questioning everything in my life around the end of the 1980s. Dynasty had given me tremendous gifts on every level, and I was grateful for each and every one of them. I had everything you can have thatpeople think will make you happy. But I wasn’t. Something was still missing. There were answers to things I wanted to know, but I couldn’t find them. It was amazing: I had fame, fortune, and the love of people all around the world, and yet, I was unfulfilled.

I remember at the height of the success of Dynasty reflecting on my life as I sat in the back of a limo holding my fifth People’s Choice award. I was accomplishing my goal, which was to have a career and to be self-sufficient. I thought, “Take a moment to bask in the sweetness of it.” That moment was followed by a louder voice in my head. “Is this all there is?”

One of the wonderful things about getting your dream is you can finally let go of it for something new.

By the ninth year of Dynasty, in spite of all its blessings, I longed to be a regular person again. I wanted to take out the trash, go to the supermarket, and walk along the beach without being recognized. I didn’t want to have to live up to people’s expectations of me. I wasn’t one of the ten most beautiful women in the world, like Harper’s Bazaar said year after year. I was just fortunate enough to have a team of talented people assisting me with that image every day.

I made the decision to leave the show. Esther and Richard Shapiro, the creators of Dynasty, and Aaron Spelling gave me their blessings. I was an emotional mess my last day of filming. My makeup man had to use all of his Kleenex and get more. I couldn’t stop crying. I would miss my Dynasty family, but it was time to go.

Hard changes were everywhere. Everyone I knew agreed that Richard was the greatest guy I’d ever known. So why didn’t I want to settle down with him and live happily ever after? Even I thought I was crazy to be thinking about giving him up. I kept trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Then one day I realized I loved Richard with all my heart, but, cliché as it might sound, I wasn’t in love. It was hard to explain why being in love, not just loving, was so important to me. It was an outrageous dilemma. But once I understood it, I couldn’t stay with him.

So one day, Nena and the cats and I moved back home to my old house in Beverly Hills. For a very long time I wondered if I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. But then one day, I opened the door to find true love staring me in the face and God, was I happy to be free to embrace it.

Excerpt from Recipes for Life © 2011 by Linda Evans Published by Vanguard Press A Member of the Perseus Books Group, Reprinted with permission of the author.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

I thought you might like to see the view from my window. Here’s my Maxfield Parrish world. Living on the water is like watching frames of a movie. The scenery is ever-changing, second by second. The joke around here (Central Florida) is if you don’t like the weather, blink your eyes. It’ll change that fast. Mother Nature is a fickle friend. Enjoy the view.

Halli's Maxfield Parrish World


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