My Day on a Plate: Debi Mazar

From Goodfellas to good food: The actress, mother, and current Dancing with the Stars hoofer has a new website, Under the Tuscan Gun, where she dishes out her favorite traditional Italian recipes, ingredients, and anecdotes. Here, Mazar defends her twin vices of butter and chocolate, praises her husband’s lunchboxing skills, and tells us everything she ate and drank over a recent 24-hour period.
debi mazar

Basically, I start my morning off with a Bustelo coffee made in a mocha pot—the Bialetti. I warm some milk on the side, on my stove, and I add one teaspoon or half a teaspoon of real sugar. I have two of these every morning. Even when I was pregnant. I said to my doctor, “I don’t want to give up coffee, for Christ’s sake.” He goes, “You don’t have to. Just have one, and maybe put half decaf, half regular.” But I like Bustelo. I have a connection in Miami with the company, so I got the hook-up. And the Bialetti is very important to me because I don’t like American coffee. I’m not a big cappuccino person, either. I like it when it’s done well, but it’s a morning coffee, and unless I have it in the morning, I don’t want it. In the afternoon, I generally have a macchiato.

I used to be a big breakfast person. I used to like cereal, and now I just can’t handle the milk for some reason. So I had toast and eggs. The bread was from La Brea Bakery, which is a wonderful bakery in my neighborhood in Los Angeles. I buy their whole wheat with seed grains in it. I don’t know if it's nine grains or 11 grains or seven grains. It’s multi-grain. I use my grill—it’s a stovetop thing from Italy. Basically, you make the toast super hot and brown on each side, but you don’t flip it; you just sear it so the moisture stays inside and the crunchiness remains outside. Sometimes I vary the bread. I’ll do challah bread—I love challah bread. Sometimes I go for rye—I love rye. But, in general, because my kids like it, I keep the multi-grain in the house. And then I use olive oil, salt, and pepper, or good old butter. I love butter—salted butter. I need it.

With that, I had scrambled eggs with butter and salt and pepper. It’s a good protein and my body craves protein. I have a very high metabolism and I have to constantly eat to keep on going. Now my appetite is super amped up [from Dancing with the Stars]. But I’m not a grazer. I have no interest in food in between breakfast and lunch. I start to graze in the afternoon if I need something; that would probably be almonds. Chocolate I love, too. I’m a chocoholic. I need chocolate every day, like one little piece of Droste. I’m not into milk chocolate. But I don’t like it when its super bitter. I need a sweet factor in there. I go for the 75 percent—that’s good enough for me.

Generally, I’m a person who eats three proper meals a day. We sit down as a family. If the kids are home from school, like on the weekend, we sit down for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The table is set; it’s a family moment. I find it beautiful when we’re in Italy that everybody sits down at the table together. My mother-in-law is like, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the house, who is fighting, who is upset, who has appointments, you sit down at that table at one o’clock.

I finally take a break around 12, and my husband, everyday, makes me a lunchbox. It’s so cute because he makes my kids lunchboxes too. (I’m actually using one of my kids’ lunchboxes because I didn’t go buy my own.) Lunch consists of something a little bit different every day—it could be leftovers, it could be pasta. So I had a sandwich: turkey, a drop of mayonnaise, salt, pepper, fresh basil, and fresh cherry tomatoes sliced thin. It was on regular whole wheat bread (a more white whole wheat than breakfast, more sandwich-y, a little trashier). I like Hellmann’s mayo. I’ve been using that since I’m born. The L.A. version is Best Foods and that’s what I buy. I don’t go for some natural crap—it never appealed to me. Actually, I don’t like mayonnaise all that much period, but I do like it on a sandwich because it gives that creamy consistency that sort of reminds me of my grandma when I was growing up. Go figure.

Then, he made me a side of farro salad with lemon, tomato, parsley, and garlic; it’s sort of like a Mediterranean salad. (I brought a portion of the farro salad for my dance partner, too. Because we’re in such close proximity, I don’t want to be offensive on the breath tip. This way, we can both smell like garlic.) So, I had a little side of that and greens. And then my husband always gives me little things to pick on to drive my energy mid-day. He’ll slice some fresh pecorino and give it to me with a tiny jar full of truffle honey—it’s just orgasmic. (I get my cheese at Whole Foods and I distribute the honey on my website. I’m having a truffle freak-out moment and this particular one has a high percentage of truffle in it, or truffle essence, whatever you want to call it.) As of late, my husband has become obsessed with making this very particular cookie—its weird, they are always in the house—called cantuccini di prato, like a biscotti with almonds. They are his grandma’s recipe and he’s perfected it. So he puts two little biscotti in my lunchbox for some munching, two pieces of chocolate, and usually some cantaloupe as well.

All day, I drink water like a camel. I’m a bottled water person when I’m in L.A., but when I’m in New York, I’ll suck it right out of the tap. People in L.A. just give you water. It could be sparkling or spring, I don’t care, just give it to me, I’m thirsty. In Italy, I drink from the faucet. Because our home is in a field, it comes out of some kind of tank. It’s very fresh, but anything that comes out of a tank reminds me of the fact that I spend the day living in a trailer. Being an actress, they want you to brush your teeth and wash your hands with the water in the trailers and I don’t go for that. I have my limits.

So I have the cantaloupe around five or four o’clock in my car. It’s my on-the-run snack. I shove it in my face to get my energy back and my brain back because right now my body is so broken and I’m working so hard. (Ironically, I haven’t lost any weight. Maybe a pound or two, but with women, that’s usually water weight. But my body is reducing in size. I saw myself on DWTS and I looked so muscular. I prefer myself a little bit fatter. I look like I stepped out of the Olympics or something. And that’s nice if you are an Olympian, but I’m not.)

Anyways, my husband made dinner early because he came to see the show. Then, when the kids went down and I got home, we ate it together. He made chicken cacciatore, roasted potatoes, and broccoli rabe. I have my own way of cooking the broccoli rabe. I boil it for only a few minutes in chicken broth, rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking, squeeze all the water out, and then sauté it in garlic and olive oil—simple. I just love it; it makes me feel like I’m getting vitamins. We also had a little side of leftovers from the night before of zucchini and shrimp risotto. Then, pretty much every night, I have a little chocolate ice cream, Häagen Dazs. I’m sure I could get a little more adventurous and explore, but Häagen Dazs does the job.

And I drank red wine, an Amarone that I got for my birthday. It was pretty good. As much as I like it, white wine tends to give me a headache. I drink it and I’m all fluffy and happy and I can have a great conversation with my girlfriends and then all of a sudden the headache comes in and I wake up at two o’clock in the morning and contemplate life and feel guilty for some reason. I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and feel guilty, and that’s only when I drink white wine, or Champagne. So I drink red wine and I don’t get in trouble.

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