WRAP-UP: Celebrating Women's History Month at The California Museum!

By Jamie Romas and Devon Carey Berrier and Laura Braden

As we mentioned earlier in the week, we were THRILLED at the chance to blog (and tweet) from First Lady Maria Shriver’s “Day at the Museum” at The California Museum. Below is our wrap up from the chef demonstrations of Iron Chef Cat Cora and Biba Caggiano (scroll to the bottom for delicious recipes!). You can view pictures here!

Update by Jamie Romas: 11:30amPT

Jamie Romas with Cat Cora

Cat Cora: Cat Cora, the only female Iron Chef on the Food Network, is cooking chicken skewers with avocado tzatziki… There’s quite a crowd gathered around her, which is not surprising due to her distinctive voice and the amazing smells wafting from her cooking station.

For the chicken skewers, she started by marinating 2 chicken breasts in an olive oil-orange-lemon-spice marinade. Apparently you can use any kind of meat – or seafood – but if you’re using seafood, you shouldn’t marinate for more than 10-15 minutes, because the acid in the citrus will actually cook the fish (I guess this is how you make ceviche!). After marinating the chicken for up to 3 hours, you cut the chicken into pieces small enough to thread on skewers, along with slices of orange and lemon (yum!), and grill them for 8-10 minutes.

She’s also making an avocado tzatziki to accompany the chicken skewers… I’m Greek so I LOVE tzatziki, but I’ve never had it with avocado… should be interesting!

Ok, my fellow bloggers Devon and Ashley just explained to me that Cat Cora is GREEK! This is probably not news to anyone reading this blog, but it’s very exciting to me! I guess her style of cooking is Southern comfort food meets Greek cooking…. that explains the avocado-tzatziki!

Ooh! Here comes First Lady Maria Shriver… she wants to sample some of the chicken! She called Cat one of the “jewels of this state” and an “incredible professional”… She also gave Cat a shout-out for following her passion…

Cat is originally from Jackson MI (which explains her accent), but she now lives in Santa Barbara. She did spend some time in the Sacramento area early in her career, so she gave a shout-out to Sactown!

Cat also has a charitable organization called Chefs for Humanity (www.chefsforhumanity.org) — they are running a campaign for Haiti called “one million in one month” (www.1Million1Month.org). Their goal is to raise $1 million for the United Nations World Food Program.

Update by Devon Carey Berrier: 11:45am

Biba Caggiano:  Sacramento’s very own Biba Caggiano puts her delicious Italian cooking skills on display as she creates her “Stuffed Roasted Turkey Breast with Vegetables” for the crowds at the “Day at the Museum.” The aroma in this room right now is absolutely amazing. I am in awe of how petite Biba is in person. Her influence on Sacramento restaurateurs and cooking in general is monumental. I have just decided I am making this recipe tonight!

Update by Jamie Romas:  12:05pm

We are now sitting in a “fishbowl” in the window of the California Museum… in the process of getting set up over here, I missed Biba’s entire presentation. But I did observe a few things: 1) She sounds like your Italian grandmother; 2) Her stuffed roasted turkey breast with vegetables smells AMAZING. I think I’m going to go get some now…. I just snagged some of the stuffed roasted turkey…. turns out it’s stuffed with PROSCIUTTO! Yum! And Biba is now signing copies of her book — Biba’s Italy– I might have to stop by and say hi! And now, they’re now playing Christina Aguilera throughout the Museum…


Biba Caggiano’s Stuffed Roasted Turkey Breast with Vegetables

Biba signing books at the CA Museum!

For the Meat:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds boneless turkey breast, butterflied and pounded thin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 6 slices of prosciutto (about 1/4 a pound)
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

For the Vegetables:

  • 3 carrots, scraped and cut into thin rounds
  • 4-5 small potatoes, cut in half
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 1/2 strips
  • 2 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place turkey breast on a work surface, season inner side with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the meat with parmigiano-reggiano and top with prosciutto or ham slices. Roll the meat tightly and tie securely with string. Season the outside with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole. When the oil is hot, add the roast and cook, turning occasionally until its lightly golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Place the pan in the middle rack of the oven and cook, turning occasionally for about 20 minutes. Add all the vegetables and mix them all around the roast making sure they are coated with the oil in the pan. Cook, stirring, until the turkey’s juices run barely pink when pierced with a thin knife (150 degrees F and an instant-read thermometer), 30-40 minutes. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, cover lightly with foil and let rest about 10 minutes. Slice the roast and serve it with some of the vegetables and pan juices. Serves 4-6

Cat Cora’s Chicken Skewers with Avocado Tzatziki

The Iron Chef!


  • 8 to 10 8-inch wooden skewers, soaked
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips of cubes
  • 2 whole oranges, cut into wedges
  • 3 whole lemons, cut into wedges
  • 6 pita rounds, sliced into two half-moon shapes
  • Iceberg or Romaine lettuce, shredded


  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sale
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Chicken that is marinated overnight in a combination of fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice, and spices is flavorful and succulent with a little bit of a kick. If you don’t have time to do this the night before, try to marinate for at least 3 hours before boiling or grilling (but if you only have 30 minutes to marinate, go for it, you’ll still get a little tangy fruit flavor). Soak skewers in a shallow pan of water for at least one hour. Make the marinade by combining the olive oil, juices, chili flakes, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Thread skewers with 3 or 4 pieces of marinated chicken, alternating with small wedges of lemon and orange. Place skewers on an area of the grill with no direct flame. Continue to brush marinade during grilling, until meat is browned, about 8 to 10 minutes or to desired doneness. Serve immediately in pita pockets topped with shredded salad and tzatziki. Serves 6.

Avocado Tzatziki:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups plan yogurt (or low-fat)
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded, and grated cucumber (about 1 medium cucumber)
  • 1 whole peeled avocado, diced small

Add lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt to the yogurt. Add grated cucumber, diced avocado and mix. Chill for at least one hour. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

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