Cooking Superstar

Away from the Box

Cook along with #CookingSuperstar Sarah from Away from the Box

Seattle, WA
Food Blogger

When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?

I had only a vague interest in cooking growing up, but dove head first when I moved into my very first apartment. I was determined to not live on ramen and frozen pizza! I had many (very many) sub par and burnt meals, but the first recipe I mastered was a broccoli cheddar soup. It's what taught me the basics of making a soup or sauce from scratch. The recipe is up on my blog!

What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?

I live in a small studio apartment, but I've always dreamed of a huge kitchen island with a sink... and I finally have it!

My big secret to staying organized? Mise en place. I have all my ingredients prepped and ready to go before cooking, and I never stay still in the kitchen. While I wait for something to bake or simmer on the stove, I'm cleaning up or preparing the next step of a recipe.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?

Always taste your food! Especially when making a sauce or something that requires lots of seasonings. Stop when your taste buds tell you, even if a recipe says you need more. I always err on the side of less salt because of this.

Keep practicing and learn from failures. Even someone as experienced as me still has to sometimes make the same recipe over and over until it is ready to be published.

And taking the time to learn the science behind cooking (why I highly recommend The Food Lab) will help you understand how ingredients react with each other and why some methods are preferred over others. Once you get the basics down, you can really start getting creative!

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?

I'd like to say I'd invite people like Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Marcella Hazan, Anthony Bourdain or David Chang (wouldn't that be amazing), but having that much talent in a room just sounds daunting. I know I'd set the house on fire.

I just moved from Texas, so instead I think I'd love to have my far away friends and family over to just have some fun and relax. We'd have a big fajita night with beef, chicken and shrimp, roasted peppers and onions, garlic butter, rice, beans, salsa verde, queso and chips.

Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?

I color, knit, crochet and paint, but I'd really love to get into bath bomb, candle and soap making. I love all of the smell-goods!

Which cooking blogs do you love to read?

I don't read a ton of blogs, but I eat with my eyes and love food photography! The Scran Line is SO creative - I love watching their cake & cupcake videos. Pinch of Yum, Smitten Kitchen and Hey Grill Hey are also great!

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What's your favorite...

TV Show
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Big Black Delta, The xx, K. Flay
Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Lost in Translation
Cook Book
The Food Lab is my bible, but I also love Thug Kitchen!
Tex Mex, Thai, Soul Food
I always have butter, olive oil and like 12 mustards on hand at all times.
Kitchen Gadget
My trusty santoku knife & sharpener - the #1 tool in any cook's kitchen