Cooking Superstar

New To The Table

Cook along with Ashley from New To The Table

Swarthmore, PA

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

I have loved baking for a long time and took some community courses years ago at The Restaurant School in Philadelphia. Cooking is newer to me and I'm really falling in love with it. When I first lived on my own I was so proud when I put brown rice, tuna and salsa together and called it dinner. I like to think I've improved since then.

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

I'm operating out of my small apartment kitchen at the moment. My husband and I house sit a lot so I like playing in other people's kitchens and discovering features I like and don't like. I could probably design a pretty killer kitchen at this point. I stay organized by making sure all my ingredients are good to go before I get started. I hate it when I have a small window to add an ingredient and I have to go hunting for it!

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

Start with recipes for dishes you know you already like and don't be afraid to screw up. Screwing up is how brilliant new recipes are made!

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

Shauna Niequist, Mark Bittman, Kelsey Nixon, Jamie Oliver, Lindsay Ostrom, Sunny Anderson, Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos and I would make it a potluck dinner so that I could learn from them! And eat their food. So shameless... I'd bring wine and some delicious cheeses with homemade bread.

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

I've been sewing for almost 20 years and still like making things here and there. In the past year I started learning how to refinish furniture so it looks like the expensive pieces I admire in catalogs. I love taking group fitness classes at the gym and am a regular in the water aerobics class that's mostly made up of little old ladies (who rock, by the way). I'm also in graduate school so that takes up a lot of hobby time.

Which cooking blogs do you love to read?

There are so many good blogs out there! Sally's Baking Addiction, Pinch of Yum, Damn Delicious, Averie Cooks, Cooking Classy... I could look at Baker's Royale all day.

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What's your favorite...

TV Show
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I'm so into Ellie Goulding right now...
Anywhere with lots to see and delicious food to try!
Sense and Sensibility and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Cook Book
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese
White Beans, Onion, Garlic
Kitchen Gadget
My food processor.