I. Love. To. Cook, well actually I love to eat too.

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  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Favorite foods: Slow roasted pork loin and oven roasted veggies, french toast, french fries (double fried of course), al dente pasta and slow cooked vegetarian red sauce, macaroni and cheese, cheese plate with hot crusty bread, scrambled eggs...aww I'm outta room!
  • Last bite on earth: Crispy, salty, hot and delicious french fries...what can I say? I'm a simple girl.

How do you like your hummus?

Hummus is, admittedly, something I've never made from scratch. I'm the lady who makes her own granola and pickles and bread, but I've never bothered with the hummus...I usually pick up the supremely spicy variety which I really like. Sometimes I pick-up plain hummus and throw in roasted garlic or lemon or olives or whatever else I have lying around. I like mine smooth though, no chunks please.

Open Thread: What's The Unsexiest Food of All Time?

That's a long list of unglamorous foods. Might I also say that anything that smells up the house while cooking (in a non yummy sort of way) not sexy. Fish, fried foods, asparagus, kimchi and sauerkraut all come to mind (though I guess cabbage in any form doesn't smell very good). My house stinking doesn't make me feel particularly amorous.

Ask The Food Lab: Can I Make Stock in a Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker?

I tried stock in a crock pot once, that was enough for me. The stock came out muddy tasting and thoroughly inedible.

dishwasher vs. hand-washing dishes?

I. Hate. Washing. Dishes. I DO wash as I go though, b/c I find that makes it much more manageable in the end. Our dishwasher is in the 'eh' end of the spectrum. I let it wash plates, bowls, glasses and silverware but wouldn't dream of dishwashing a knife, pot or large bowl. I am the type of person who will wash the same cutting board, knife, bowl etc...the whole time I'm cooking just so there's only ONE thing to wash and the end of the process.
Thank God for my husband or I'd probably live with a sink of dirty dishes.

Ice cream containers

Check U-line...they have all types of packaging (and I've found hard to source packaging there before) it'll def. be in bulk.

Go-to "impress your date" recipe

I tend to cook a little lighter on 'date night' than my everyday roster. I don't feel like heavy food leaves me feeling *ahem* very *ahem* amorous at the end of the night.
A lightly dressed salad and a bowl of risotto, pan roasted fish, soups, my lemon pepper pasta is always a go to. In truth my husband and I usually throw a steak on the grill, slice it super thin and plate it up with veggies, hummus, pita, sliced fruit, fresh olives etc...then we can munch while we play boccie or corn hole!

Do you Dress it up? Or Leave it Alone?

I am not a fan of original Cheerios. In a pinch I'll eat them with a banana cut up on top. I def. like the more sugary end of the cereal spectrum, but since it's more of a treat than an every day breakfast I feel ok about this choice.

Stove and oven broken

Hahaha klseiverd. My oven died in the middle of baking pumpkin pies. I had to finish baking them (they appeared to have gotten about 12 minutes of heat before it kaput) on my grill. I would never have believed I could bake edible pie on a grill!

Too many heads of garlic: What to make?

Compound butter. I roast it, mash it into butter and store in the freezer. Go crazy with whatever fresh herbs you have, shallots, white wine, thyme, rosemary. I use it mostly on pasta, but you could throw it on top of any protein, toss it on top of veggies for husbands favorite thing to do with it is put a dollop on top of his burger while it's cooking.

Exciting brown bag lunches?

I'm on a pita and hummus kick. If you have gorgeous veggies roast them off and stuff them into a pita smeared with some spicy hummus and roll it up. I like to add cold steak to it sometimes too. Pasta salads hold well, pocket pies would be great and you could fill those with pretty much anything and my husband likes layered dips with pita or tortilla chips for lunch. I recommend investing in a good insulated lunch bag and maybe a thermos before winter. I pack my husbands chili in a nice heavy thermos in winter and it's still warm at lunch.

Pet Peeves When Dining Out

Cold plates, rushing me, checking on me every 2 minutes, letting plates pile up on the table, garnishes that have nothing to do w/the dish, cold I didn't realize how many I had until I started typing.

The next ingredient trend..any predictions?

I think we're on track with the pickling. I've seen preserving in general on the uptick in the last year-18mo. More restaurants are making their own charcuterie, jams, pickles etc... On the whole I've enjoyed what I've gotten (though I did get some very assertive pickled red onions not that long ago that I swear I can still taste).

Your Personal Best

We had our first 'real' grilled meal of the season last night. I marinated some chicken breasts in cajun, thyme and lemon zest and grilled them up. Served them with some leftover mashed sweet potatoes and some broccoli we roasted on the grill.

Why does everything now have to have an egg on it?

I know it's a trend, but it's not something we're seeing here in TN. I don't think I've ever come across a non breakfast dish that had an egg on it in our neck of the woods.
I love eggs but I can't say I eat them much outside of breakfast and the occasional stir fry dish.

Whipped cream frosting and cake decorating

Gelatin based whipped cream frosting will be your best bet for that type of cake. If you will be eating it w/in about 6 hours of frosting and you keep it cold you should be fine w/o a stabilizer. Google it and I'm sure you'll find a recipe.

Where to buy meat

I discovered a great local grocer in my area that has wonderful meat. I'd check out the area and see if there's a hidden gem that you don't know about. I don't have a butcher, but the meat at this place is wonderful and they're always willing to help me. For my big money splurge I like a Porterhouse...mmmmm

What is your favorite shape of pasta or noodle?

I go through phases. Right now I'm in a serious cavatappi moment.

Pricing Cookies

I totally agree with @Double. You'll basically need a batch of each. I don't know where you live but here the ingredient cost for all three would run me...ohh I don't know maybe $15-$18 if I'm purchasing from the grocery store. So if you ask her for even $50 you're going to make about $30 for what 2 hours of work?

What is the most expensive/least used tool in your kitchen?

My husband? I think my least used expensive tool would be the pasta extruder for my KA. I wanted a pasta roller, but ended up with an extruder. However I think it came as part of an attachment deal, so in the end not too expensive. I use the grinder and shredder attachments frequently, so they've made up for it.

Heading to Nashville

Burger Up
Loveless Cafe
Prince's is good, but the wait can be longish.
Fido's is a neat little place to get coffee and there's cute shops to check out while you're there. I love Pangea and always find something that needs to go home.

I would like info on the snap of a hot dog in reviews

Mr.Cookit and I were just talking about this. Knowing what the casing is made of (or if there's a casing at all) is helpful to know. I like a nice crisp snap myself. It's hard to find natural casing any more. I get my sausage once a year from my grandmother. She hauls it down to TN from PA. Though, on a side not, we made the comment that they changed their seasoning and may need to find a new sausage provider.

I turn my back for five seconds..

I turn my back and the hubs has cut a slice of cake, pie, bread etc...and done so at the most bizarre angle thus ensuring that every other piece I cut will look like I was drunk off my a$$. I also step away from the grill and he insists on turning things...leave them to brown! He's a stirrer, flip flopper, turner!

What is the best food in the world?

Wineberries warm off the bush. 20 for me, one for the bucket.

Any tips for grinding turkey sausage?

I've never made these particular recipes but I make turkey sausage a few times a year. When I grind I use 1 breast for every 2 thighs, no skin. I de-bone my bird, dice into 1" pieces and spread the pieces on a cookie sheet. Cookie sheet goes into the freezer for ohhh I don't know 20-30 minutes; until the meat is super cold and on the brink of freezing. I feed all my herbs and spices into the grinder so it requires little mixing once out of the grinder.
Hope that helps some!

Fancy Dinner Recipes

For dessert might I suggest a white chocolate mousse with raspberries or a creme brulee...I made both for my husband when we were dating!

What to Do With A Sodastream

Mr.Ifyoucookit and I got a Sodastream for Christmas. We just cracked it open over Superbowl Weekend and tried some of the flavors...
I can't say I was a huge fan of any of the flavors we tried. I'm a Coke fan and the Coke didn't do it for me. The other flavors we tried were so, so sweet. We are going to try halving the amount of syrup but I'm wondering--What do you do with your Sodastream?
Do you have a favorite ready made mix or you mix yours with fruit juice or other mixers? I don't want this thing to just sit around and go unused (and I love bubbles) so I want to give it a good shot....
Any thoughts SE community?

Peanut Butter Buckeyes

I am looking for some help! I need a buckeye recipe. My husband had these as a kid and requested them for the Xmas season. I have seen several recipes, including the one from this site, but none of them seem like the right ratios to me. If anyone has a tried and true recipe I'd appreciate it.

Deep Fried Turkey Stock?

My FIL always makes fried turkeys for Thanksgiving. The great part is no hot kitchen, no getting up at the crack of dawn and no hogged oven. The down side is no drippings and no stock. Has anyone ever made stock from the bones of a deep fried turkey? I wouldn't use the skin or meat, but I'm wondering if I used the bones if it would make usable stock.
Any input would be appreciated. Happy Turkeying!

Food Magic

I've been baking professionally for 5 years and I baked for friends and family for several years prior to that. That being said no matter how many times I make meringue style buttercreams (and I make them up to 12 times a week) my throat always catches when it curdles and I watch in wonder as it churns back to smooth, silky, delicious buttercream.

Do you have something that makes you throat catch and brings a smile to your face?

(By the way my husband thinks this is very funny..."you know that's going to happen"...)

Soup Buffet

Ok, I know Thanksgiving seems a long way away, but I start planning early (our Thanksgiving gathering are big) so I can take my time shopping, cooking and preparing. We always host a night before dinner and this year I've decided on a soup buffet.
Problem is I don't have enough bowls...I'm doing a few types of soup so I'd like people to be able to get smallish bowls (8-10 oz maybe) of the different soups. I've been looking for decent disposables but have had little luck. I want something sturdy that's not totally horrible and is affordable.
Worst case I can go get some inexpensive bowls from a local warehouse, but I really don't want the work!
Thanks in advance!

Vanilla Bean Sourcing

Need a good source for vanilla beans (via the web)...i have bought lots of food items on the web, but I don't have a good source for beans (other than Penzeys please). Thanks!

Summer is Arriving...What Are You Craving?

I bought some juicy, aromatic fresh Georgia peaches from a roadside guy the other day and eatting them has caused me to Jones for more fresh foods!
Our farmer's markets are slowly heating up (as is my garden) but I'm impatient for tomatoes, zucchini, blue berries...even onions! We eat very seasonally so I am missing my favorite fresh foods...what are you salivating for?

Baking Inspiration

I run a small bakery/catering business. I sell at farmer's market, by order (Sept to Dec is my busy season) and teach cooking and baking in peoples' homes (and starting in August I'll be in a commercial kitchen) or mine if it's more convenient.
Anyway I need some baking inspiration. I've been in a rut of the same old same old and I'm anxious to shake things up. I've been asking my customer's what they'd like, though they're a loyal bunch they're not terribly imaginative. I need suggestions! I don't want anythiing too crazy b/c I don't want to get stuck with it, but I'm going to go crazy selling chocolate chip cookies and banana bread!
Just to give you idea of what I normally produce: oatmeal kitchen sink cookies, rocky road brownies, coconut corn muffins, strawberry cake, snickerdoodles, pies, almond chocolate chunk cookies, french bread, sticky buns etc...
I need items that will hold without refrigeration. Thanks for any inspiration and ideas you can give me!

Mad Men Premiere

Tonight is the Mad Men season premiere. Are you making anything special to enjoy with your dose of glamor and intrigue?
Tonight we're going to be dining on "Shake and Bake" style chicken, macaroni and cheese, ice berg wedge salad, and chocolate mousse with raspberries! I think some friends are bringing a jello type salad and deviled eggs. We'll see what other surprises show up. We love any excuse to make some themed food and chow down as a group!

Dinner Doldrums

I cook big meals on Sundays, usually in my crock pot or dutch oven (though not always) in my crock-pot or dutch oven; something that will give me leftovers and requires little attention. I've hit a brick wall. I have no inspiration! Help!
Our weather her in TN has been shifting, so some of the heavy foods or hearty soups don't seem spring inspired and appropriate.
Here's an idea of what I've made sauce and meatballs, Mediterranean chicken, sausage and lentil soup, chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, pot roast, roast turkey breast, split pea soup....
I need inspiration! Help! Whatever I make needs to reheat well in the microwave for the hubby's lunch.

Cleaning out the Kitchen

It's been such a mild winter here in TN that I've decided to get a jump start on my spring cleaning! I was looking through my cabinets trying to find somewhere to put my new crock pot when I realized how much kitchen stuff I have. I do use most of it, but I was sure there's some things that could find a good home.
So I've put myself to the task of getting rid of 10 kitchen items. So far the pile consists ugly pie plate (it was a gift, but I'll never use this hideous thing), my old crock pot, a very old, beat up and scratched Calphalon sauce pot and my old deep fryer (which i didn't realize was in there hiding deep in the dark corner)...still have to find 6 items though...I can do this!
If you had to make space what would you get rid of?


So I love popcorn; we typically pop ours fresh, but for xmas I'm putting together a box of movie snacks for my sister in-law and her family( they live in chicago and stay in a lot during winter). Theywouldn't pop their own, so I need a great microwave brand. Also as a bonus if anyone has any other movie snack ideas I'd love to heae them.

Pecan Praline Recipe

I have been hunting for a traditional, creamy, smooth pecan praline recipe to no avail. I have found one from paula that looks like it has potential. I'm just hesitant to try out a recipe from just any old blog with such an expensive ingredient. Does anyone have a road tested and well love pecan praline recipe they wpuld be willing to share?

Best Way to "Publish" A Cookbook

So for Christmas this year I would like to create a cookbook to give as gifts. I'm always being asked for recipes and though I'm reluctant to give out some recipes (if you know me you know I'm a caterer) to protect my business and my super secret family recipes, most I'm willing to give out. I thought this would make a great gift, but I'm not having a lot of luck figuring out the best way/place to create said book.
Can you help me! Is there a program, website, service etc...that is user friendly and relatively inexpensive? Oh yes, I would also like to be able to include color photos!

Augusta, GA and Myrtle Beach SC Must Eats

So Mr. Ifyouookit and Baby ifyoucookit and I are joining his family for vacation in Myrtle Beach.
I am looking for food recommendations for our stop over in Augusta (dinner and breakfast please) and Myrtle Beach recommendations. We eat everything and everything! Thanks in advance.

Blender Buying

I know there was a post on blenders in February and it helped to some extent, but I'm going to be slightly specific in my blender requirements.
We had a yard sale today, and my husband sold my blender :(. It's been getting progressively louder for some time now, and apparently he didn't like my smoothie/baby food making at 6AM on Sunday mornings.
So, I'm in the market after almost 10 years. I use my blender DAILY to make baby food and smoothies (without ice though) and to make lots of soups in the winter. I do not want to spend more than $75, and I would like a blender that doesn't sound like an airplane taking off. I prefer a glass pitcher b/c it sits on my counter.
Does anyone have any blender recommendations? I'm looking at a Waring Pro perhaps, but they are almost $100--a little steep for me at the moment.

Preserving Summers Bounty

I am in the middle of my yearly summer stock up. This year is extra crazy because I'm trying to put up enough for my family and for my small catering company!
So far I've put up roasted tomatoes, lots of sliced and diced peppers of several varieties, peach puree, green beans, blueberries, roasted garlic, pickles and pickled peppers. Next week is jam week....oi, jam.
What is everyone else preserving for the winter?! I love hearing about it and getting some new ideas!

Labels and Logos

So, we're re-doing our kitchen (I say re-do and not renovate b/c the bones are the same, we replaced the floor, replaced/added mouldings, repainted cabinets, new backsplash etc) and we're to the point where it is safe, once again, to put things out onto the counter. I don't keep a whole lot out (I'm lucky enough to have a large pantry which I've converted to a butler's's a thing of beauty) and I started noticing all the logos!
I never wear clothing with company's names printed on them. I can't stand advertising for people when I'm buying a product--no purses with logos stamped all over them. Well all my kitchen appliances have it etched right into the front. Kitchen Aid, Kenmore, Cuisinart, Black and Decker etc...I mean I am PAYING for these items. I just finds is ruins the continuity of my carefully crafted vintage design!
Have you ever noticed this...does it bother you too...or is it just me?

October Food Vacation

My husband and I are finally taking our very belated honeymoon in October. We are going to go for one week sometime during the first three weeks in October.
My husband and I love to eat (and I love to bake and cook!) and we would like to go somewhere that we can eat well and have plenty to do. We're not 'lounge on the beach' type people.
We'd like to stay within the US or Canada. We have no preference as to where within these places. If we go somewhere in the South East or North East we will likely drive. If we go anywhere else I would like to be able to utilize public transit so we don't have to rent a car.
Other things we want: great accommodations, great seafood, festivals, museums, street food, specialty shopping and/or spas would all be great pluses. We are also not opposed to making several stops.
Please help us Serious Eats community! We have looked at so many options we are having a hard time choosing--where have you been that has been a great vacation in the fall.
(Just FYI some of the things we have thought about are New England, specifically Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod, Philadelphia, San Fran, DC--but we are open and want great new ideas that have been road tested and approved!)

Condiment Crazy!

So today officially marks the beginning of grill season and I started unloading my possible burger condiments and realized maybe I had a feeww too many, including (but in no way limited to) 6 kinds of mustard mustard, 2 kinds of ketchup, 6 kinds of pickles, a slew of chili type sauces and various other things like roasted peppers, roasted garlic, olive tapanade etc....Some storebought some homemade
How many condiments are in your fridge? Do you buy them or make them? And what's the one you couldn't live without?

Kroger Bag Boy Woes

I went grocery shopping on Saturday and brought with me 8 reusable bags, one of which was a stand up freezer bag. I bought lots of heavy items this week (good sales and needed to stock up on a few things) such as 3 large bottles of juice, a carton of OJ, a jug of lemonade, a bunch of frozen veggies, pita etcc...
When I was checking out the bag boys were arguing about whose turn it was to go on break (why it takes 2 ppl to bag groceries I'm miffed about) so I finally get sick of listening to them and tell them I'll bag my own groceries, though they were pretty much through, I find they put 4 containers of juice in one bag and out of allllll the stuff they had placed ONE bag of frozen peas in my freezer bag and they had TWO empty bags....SERIOUSLY!! I am a small person and I can tell you I would have had a hard time lifting these bags out of the cart so I proceed to start taking things out of the bags to redistribute the weight and the manager had the audasity to come over and tell me I was holding up the line! Well she got an earful and I am now taking my grocery business elsewhere.
I might add this is not the first time this has happened at this Kroger...they seem to like to make the bags as heavy as humanly possible.
Do you have a problem with the bag persons? I have voiced my pref. to bag my own groceries here before....def. still prefer that.

TV Portion Sizes!

So I am a food tv junkie (but I am a despiser of all things Rachel Ray) and I spent last week laid up in bed with a cold and spent much of it watching food TV. I happened to watch a few minutes of a few episodes of RR (what can I say, it was the meds) and OMG her serving sizes for a portion are INSANE. It also got me thinking about some other TV personalities. ina can sometimes make huge servings and I know I've seen others do it as well.
I'm sure it's just for TV, but isn't think just contributing to the gluttony of America? I sometimes find that I get double the number of servings out of a recipe. What do you think...makes for good food TV or just contributing to our obesity as a country?

Recipe Software

I am looking for a way to type and store recipes. I currently just use word, but would love a standardized system. I'd love to spend as little as possible but wouldn't mind shelling out some cash for a good product. A free Internet product would be good too so I could access the information from anywhere. Thanks for the input everyone.

First Time Mom Needs HELP

I am a new, for the time being, stay at home mom with a 3 week old. I have been a dedicated cook for many years; it wouldn't be unusual for me to spend a few hours in the kitchen, when time allowed, preparing a meal. I worked in a restaurant, cooked and baked in much of my free time--and now I find myself without any free time! I am juggling a newborn, a household, a part-time from home job, a husband, 5 animals and my ambitious garden--not to mention finding a few minutes a day for myself.
Soooo...bottom line is I need some help with some healthy, easy prep, meals. Grilling is great, crock pot, dutch oven or steamer meals are wonderful. I don't mind the recipes requiring long cook times or a good ammount of prep--the prep just needs to be left at a moments notice. ie I don't mind a lot of chopping or what not b/c I can put the knife down and go to the baby...I cannot stop in the middle of stirring risotto or deep frying etc...
One last thing I am breast feeding so nothing with too much spice please!
Thanks in advance for all the great serious help!

Labor inducing foods!

I'm getting close to my due date and I have heard tell that certain foods can help encourage labor- anyone eat anything that worked a labor inducing miracle?

The Simpsons: The Food Wife

Did anyone else watch The Simpsons episode tonight titled "The Food Wife?" I was wondering what everyone thought about their dry humor and inclusion of various celebrity chefs. Personally, I thought that it was hilarious. It puts a lot of... More