Fame Bites goes inside the belly of the entertainment beast. We're dishing out where the celebrities are eating, what they're eating and who they're eating with.
Michelle Branch first burst onto the music scene in 2001 at the ripe age of 18. Three hits - "Everywhere," "All You Wanted" and "Goodbye to You" - and a year later, Branch found herself accepting a Grammy Award with Carlos Santana for their single "The Game of Love."
Now at 27, Branch is back in the studio working on an album, which will be released by Warner Brothers Records in 2011 - but music isn't the only thing she's making. She's also making some sweet, sweet pie.
She is part Dutch and Indonesian, so we had really interesting food growing up. I remember being one of the first of our friends to try Indian food and Thai food among my friends."
How are you teaching your daughter to love food?
She is more adventurous than I am! She eats oysters and sea urchin and octopus. She is impressing her friends when she eats weird stuff. We were out at one of our favorite restaurants in Nashville - City House - and a friend was over at the other table and sent us a pig heart since he knew I wouldn’t eat it. I turn around and my daughter is chewing on it saying it's delicious and that it tastes just like steak. I’m hoping that’ll continue.
We have a beautiful vegetable garden in our backyard and pet chickens. We want to teach our daughter where food comes from - and if you can go run out into the garden and pick spinach and make a salad, she enjoys it so much more."
What is your signature dish to make?
I get some fresh clams from Whole Foods and I put it in a roasting pan with pancetta and olive oil and red chili flakes, and you throw it into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes and they open up. Then, you put cherry tomatoes and basil. I was scared at first when she asked me to cook clams because it is daunting, but if you find reliable place to buy seafood, it is much easier."
What is one thing you cannot go a day without eating or drinking?
On the road, I love to have a glass of wine before I go on-stage. It calms the nerves if you have any - and warms up my chords. My favorite is not particularly fancy, which is even better.
There is a Pinot Noir, when I was first of age to drink, that I called my dad and said I’m sending you some wine that I think you’ll like, it's not expensive but it's hard to find. He went to the mail and got it and started laughing and said you are my daughter.
I sent him a Robert Stemmler Pinot Noir. He went on vacation with his friend once and went to the vineyard. He bought a case there and had been trying to find more of it since."
Who is your dream dinner date?
What was the last meal that made you cry?
Pie is so classic and evokes all these different memories of growing up and distinct opinions. It’s a classic America dessert. It will be in Los Angeles. Hopefully, if I’m not too busy on tour, I’ll be baking in the back! I love food as just as much as music and if my career in music didn’t work out, I probably would’ve gone to culinary school to learn all about pastries.
...In my opinion, pie is one of the absolute best things on earth. My new favorite recipe is for a deliciously luscious brown sugar pineapple pie. Pineapple upside-down cake is one of my favorite desserts. It occurred to me recently that nobody makes pineapple pie, so I got the idea to try and marry my two favorites. I especially love the topping (or is it the bottom?) of pineapple upside-down cake.
It's gooey, buttery, brown sugar perfection and that's the flavor I wanted most out of my pie. The first time I made this, my family could barely wait until it cooled because the whole kitchen smelled like butter and brown sugar. It's best to let this pie cool at least and hour before serving. When it's still slightly warm, I recommend putting a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream on top to go along with it. Heaven!"
Brown Sugar Pineapple Pie
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
With an electric or stand mixer, beat eggs until they are light and fluffy. Add both brown and regular sugar and mix.
Add the flour, corn syrup, butter and extracts one by one, stirring to mix in between each addition.
Add the pineapple and stir by hand with a spoon or a spatula.
Pour filling into prepared pie crust. Place in oven for 40 minutes.
At 40 minutes, carefully sprinkle the topping onto the pie and return to oven for 20-30 more minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.
Pastry for 9-inch pie
Pulse first three ingredients in a food processor three or four times or until combined.
Add butter and pulse five or six times or until crumbly. With processor running, gradually add water 1 tablespoon at a time and process until dough forms a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding more water if necessary. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
Roll pastry to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Place in a buttered 9-inch pie plate; trim off excess pastry along edges. Fold edges under and crimp.
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor three or four times or just until crumbly.
Devna Shukla is an Associate Producer for CNN's AC360°.