I love good food and love to cook (especially fresh and local). Schooled in the ways of Cooks Illustrated and Alton Brown, I've traveled the world to study local culture and cuisine. Facebook: and Twitter @agoodcooker

  • Website
  • Location: Whidbey Island, WA
  • Favorite foods: Thai, Japanese, fresh and local
  • Last bite on earth: One more bite of a sweet and spicy squid dish I had at a little place in Volcano, HI...alas, the restaurant is no longer there but the food was so good I had the same thing two nights in a row!

Latest Comments

We Try New Lay's Canada Chips Flavors: Garlic Caesar, Maple Moose, Grilled Cheese, and Perogy

I bought all of these a few weeks ago when I was up in Vancouver so I could taste test with friends. The Grilled Cheese and Ketchup one was the hands-down favorite (and I don't even like potato chips very much), but the Maple Moose had an oddly burnt flavor and was declared "yucky" by everyone.

What are your Essential Kitchen Items?

I would be lost without my kitchen scale. I use it constantly. That and the coffee pot would be my priorities...

You favorite easy dinner

Breakfast for dinner is my go-to easy dinner. Spam or Portuguese sausage, eggs, and rice is our favorite. OR, Mark Bittman's spaghetti and eggs. That one is easy and delicious! (We have our own chickens, so there are always eggs at the ready).

Seasoning Salt on Your Burger

@AcaciaWildwood I also use it on homefries - it's a crave thing, I think.

Are you an onion crier?

Nope...but I can't get the smell off my skin (for days) so I wear rubber gloves. Forget lemon, salt, stainless steel, toothpaste...nothing works.

Seasoning Salt on Your Burger

I happen to like Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning (Spicy, please). But I tend to put little else on my bun other than the well seasoned meat.

Do you have food allergies?

Nuts and peanuts...raw onion and sometimes eggs. I eat nuts very, very rarely and suffer the consequences. Raw onions - I avoid like the plague. I hate getting a surprise one in a dish. As soon as I feel the crunch, I know I am screwed and will be sick for a couple days. Eggs...I do ok with free-range for some reason. Won't eat them in a restaurant - I get egg beaters instead.

Dinner tonight (4/23/2012)? Make anything good?

Beef stew (with local, free range beef) seasoned with red wine, sweet paprika, and sage! Delicious!! Will be even better tomorrow for lunch, I imagine.

"Copout" ingredients...."crutches"

Ahhh, are very punny!

Real Japanese Tempura

My favorite recipe comes from a cookbook I bought in Japan. I made it for my Japanese friend and she said it was perfect and authentic. It uses: 1 egg, 1/2c ice water, 1 3/4 oz flour, 1 oz cornstarch. Combine egg with water. Combine flour with corn starch. Add flour mixture to liquid and mix lightly. lightly coat vegetables, fish, shrimp with additional flour and coat with batter. Fry in 350degree oil.

"Copout" ingredients...."crutches"

My particular crutch, if you will, is bullion cubes...if a dish is lacking I might drop one in.

As far as your question...I hate when a dish is topped with all kinds of sauces - I want to taste the dish maybe enhanced by a sauce - and not taste only sauce. Everything does not have to have a sauce on or under!


@annzee The linked recipe also calls for more flour, more water, but less yeast. (and the same amount of olive oil). I don't know why, because it is the same people. The ratios I wrote (above) are what I have been using...and it works well for me! I've made three batches and never have been disappointed.


Speaking of pizza, I have to add that to my bucket list - learning to throw pizza dough! My pizzas have the weirdest amoeba shapes.


Yep! That's pretty much it - the amounts are a little different in the book but the proportions seem close. I'm not even kidding - this dough it the best - perfect elasticity and the flavor is amazing. (The book uses 2.75c water, 1.5T yeast, 1.5T salt, 1T sugar, .25c olive oil, 6.5 flour) As a matter of fact, EVERYTHING I've made from the book has been perfect - and I'm baking impaired. (haha)


@lux_lisbon Doh! It was a little late when I wrote that. The olive oil dough recipe is from a cookbook...isn't it a copyright violation to put it on here?


I'm not sure where I got the recipe. Cook's Illustrated, maybe? I'll look in the morning. It's quite a long process...involving (along with the aforementioned pump) a wire hanger and an electric fan! I'm glad no one came into my house when the duck was hanging from the middle of the kitchen ceiling overnight dripping on newspapers on the floor.

cleaning a grill pan

@bleu - oh! I just saw your comment. Great minds...

cleaning a grill pan

I love Dawn Power Dissolver Foam. It even gets baked on crud off my cookie sheets. It's supposedly safe for all types of cookware (although I've had a hard time finding it lately)


For @annzee and @lux_lisbon - I've recently been making the pizza dough (and other breads) from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day." The olive oil dough is second to none. In my opinion, it's better than any pizzeria crust and certainly better than anything I ever made before.


I recently had this conversation with my husband! Here are a few from my list in no particular order.

1. Homemade pasta
2. Pozole
3. Jam/jelly
4. I also want to learn to can

(PS - @Maggie Hoffman - I made real Peking duck once - bicycle pump and all - and it was one of the best dishes I have ever had/made!)

Sandwiched: Monte Cristo

Ingredients are on my grocery list...can't wait!

Judging a restaurant by its....?

Cleanliness - without a doubt. I've walked out of more than one place because it was filthy (as was said about, a dirty bathroom = a dirty kitchen)

Poll: How do you like your fries?

Fresh cut, piping hot, malt vinegar and salt - none other.

What to do with a ham bone, no beans or peas please?

I make German green beans (assuming you were strictly talking about dried beans), potatoes, and ham. Delicious and simple. (Make the stock, rescue any ham bits. Simmer 1" chunks of unpeeled russet potatoes and green beans in the stock. Add the ham back in and serve.)