Rachael Ray: Hey, Eva! So you're either cooking for an army every night or you're someplace special today.
Eva Longoria Parker: I'm actually in the humongous walk-in fridge at my new restaurant, Beso, in Las Vegas. It just opened a few months ago, and I can't get enough of the place. There's a location in Hollywood, too, but I wanted to Vegas it up this time. We've even added a nightclub called Eve to the space. Can't get more Vegas than that!
RR: Congrats! I see your name on a lot of the food labels: Eva's tortilla soup and Eva's guacamole. Are these your recipes?
ELP: Yeah, these are some of my family favorites. I've been tinkering with the recipes for years, and now they're perfect. There are many, many more that I wanted to include, but I just couldn't put "Eva" on everything.
RR: What are the must-have items in your fridge at home?
ELP: I always have strawberries and blueberries around. I also leave bowls of almonds and mixed olives on the counter -- I'm a salt person, so I'll grab a handful to snack on as I walk by the kitchen. My husband [NBA star Tony Parker] is a big sugar guy, so I keep the fruit out for him, but he goes straight for his favorite French cookies instead; our cupboard is full of them.
RR: Do you remember the first meal you made for Tony?
ELP: Oh, yeah, he never lets me forget it. When we were dating, I made him arroz con pollo for dinner. Of course, he had no spices in his house, so I improvised on almost every ingredient. And I went heavy on the pepper to make up for the stuff I was missing. Rach, when it was done, it was so insanely spicy that my eyes were watering. Tony wouldn't even take a bite! He just backed away from the table with a scared look on his face. It was a long time before he let me cook for him again.
RR: That's hilarious! I know you're a great cook -- what are some of your favorite dishes now?
ELP: Tony is a creature of habit and eats the same stuff every day. If he likes a dish at a restaurant, I'll ask the chef for the recipe so I can make it at home for him. For me, I'm a guacamole girl. Growing up in a Mexican family, we even served it for breakfast. I also make fresh salsa almost every day.
RR: Are there any foods that you shy away from?
ELP: Flan or anything with gelatin freaks me out. A lot of French restaurants will serve steak with a crazy mushroom gelatin, and I make them take it off my plate. I can't get over the texture.
RR: Okay, last question: If you could have anyone, living or dead, over for supper, who would be at the table and why?
ELP: I just adore Oprah and would love to learn more about her humanitarian and philanthropic work. And she just seems fun. I'd also invite Bill and Hillary Clinton, Cesar Chavez and the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. And, of course, my mom!
Eva's Rules for making the perfect guacamole
1. Use the ripest avocados you can find.
"If there is any stiffness in the fruit, it just screws up the whole thing."
2. Lemons are for guacamole, limes are for salsa.
"In Mexico, we only use lemons with avocados. They really enhance the flavor."
3. Try serrano peppers instead of jalapeños.
"Serranos have a potent kick, but they also have a great taste. It's not just about adding heat."
4. Skip the garlic.
"I had a fight with chef Todd English about not using garlic in our recipe at Beso, but I won in the end. I've seen people add sour cream, garlic salt and mayo. Stop the insanity! Keep the ingredients simple."
5. Save the mixing until the end.
"Guacamole should be chunky, not soupy. If you mix the bowl every time you add another ingredient, you'll break everything down too much."