When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
My love of cooking started at a very early age. I received my first cookbook (Look, I Can Cook!) for kids when I was only four years old. I still have it! The first recipe I tried from that book was for semolina cookies. I can still remember how they tasted! My mom taught me how to cook the basics, and I coul make pancakes and marinara sauce without a recipe before I was five. Growing up, we had some hard times financially which really pushed me to learn how to improvise and be creative with very little resources. I think that molded me into the kind of cook I am today - I can make almost anything taste good! Even cauliflower brownies!
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
We had just remodeled, and I finally had my dream kitchen, when we decided to sell our house in Connecticut and move to South Carolina a few years ago. My kitchen now is badly in need of some updating, but it gets the job done. I have big plans for new cabinets and concrete countertops that I hope to realize within the next year. Meanwhile, I use vintage glass jars and ikea containers to store most of my ingredients, which I keep labeled with scrapbooking stickers - simply because it looks pretty and makes me happy. I have several cabinets full of blog props and specialty tools that I am forever reorganizing to maximize my limited space. The most important thing for me when developing and photographing multiple recipes in one day is to multitask and be as efficient as possible. That means cleaning up as I go so the kitchen doesn't look like a bomb went off and I always have available counter space to work in.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
Get lots of practice! Don't be afraid to fail - we've all done it. Find recipes online or in cookbooks that inspire you and go for it. Cook for people you love, it's a great motivator and so satisfying when you can execute a dish well. It makes people feel special and will build your confidence.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
I had to think about this one for a bit! The people I'd want to eat a meal with, I'm not sure I'd want the pressure of cooking for! My dream dinner party would include Anthony Bourdain, Alex Guarnaschelli, Adam Richman (Man vs Food), Michael Ruhlman, Ruth Reichl, and Michael Symon. My husband and I would stoke up our wood-fired oven, prep a ton of high end ingredients, and we'd all hang around the oven creating unique wood fired pizzas and drinking great wine. Fun and casual, lots of laughing, and great food. Perfect!
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
I have dabbled competently in many different crafts over the years - quilting, crocheting, beaded jewelry, painting and drawing, but never stuck with anything long enough to get really great at it. I love making cyanotypes (sun prints) and have always been into photography, which is what led me into blogging. Once I started food blogging, I didn't have a lot of extra time for other crafts. I am a Pinterest addict though and have lots of projects that I'm forever planning to start someday (read: probably never). One thing I am determined to learn to do is sew....someday.