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  • Location: Roanoke, VA
  • Favorite foods: I love the flavor of produce fresh from the farmer, the taste of a perfectly cooked hamburger, the soothing warmth of homemade stew. I love food in all its forms and incarnations and can't imagine picking favorites.
  • Last bite on earth: Sushi. No, wait: chicken parmesan. No, wait: a full southern breakfast, complete with ham, biscuits, and grits. No, wait: navratan korma, garlic naan, and chai. No, wait: cinci-style chili on spaghetti. No, wait: a tomato sandwich in the middle of summer.

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Cooking with Sesame Oil

Rub chicken, pork or seafood with it right before cooking, or use as part of a marinade with a little citrus juice, spices, and salt.

Mix a tablespoon with a 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 tbsp soy sauce (to taste), 1 tbsp honey (again, to taste), and a bit of chili oil or a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve over cooked noodles or with shrimp or chicken.

Replace some of the olive oil in a vinaigrette with sesame oil.

Stir-fry some veggies, meat, and/or leftover rice in sesame oil.

Use as a facial moisturizer (yes, really) or massage oil.

Velveeta, I mean really, what's in it?

It's roughly equivalent to 50/50 mild cheddar and Monterey Jack with emulsifiers and colors. The emulsifiers are what make it melt nicely.

A kitchen appliance you are scared to use

Another one scared of the pressure cooker. My mother exploded one when I was a little kid; since then, I've had a more than healthy respect for the thing. Canning may be my eventual downfall on that issue, as I love to preserve food and covet my mother's pressure canner.

No fear of the mandoline, but I don't use mine much, either.

I also have a healthy respect - I wouldn't call it fear per se - of large serrated knives. I don't know why, but I can't seem to use a bread knife without injuring myself. I own knives of all different shapes and makes, all properly sharpened and honed, and it's always the serrated knife that gets me.

What do you feed your pets?

My cats eat grain-free food (both dry kibble and wet food) from Blue Buffalo Company, as one cat has a bad corn/wheat allergy. Katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and homegrown 'nip count as treats. Occasionally, I'll let them have a taste of human food, but usually only one of the three is interested. Ironically, the cat with the corn allergy LOVES popcorn.

I also have a red eared slider. She eats pretty much the same thing I do: lots of raw and par-cooked veggies, fruit, and bit of lean protein. Her protein comes as mealworms and goldfish, although she appreciates a bit of cooked chicken as a treat.

"Private Chefs of Beverly Hills" Has FN Completely Lost It?

I watched it. It was on ... last Sunday, I think? Perhaps Monday. Not entirely sure, as I was nursing a cold earlier this week, and was just sort of staring at Food Network in a haze.

I concur, it was awful. I don't care much for reality TV (other than a Top Chef addiction, natch), and this is why. Prima donnas and drama drama drama. Spare me the gargantuan egos.

Cook the Book: 'Baking Unplugged'

The first time I tried making pie crust, I used so much water that the waxed paper I was using disintegrated into bits and got mixed in with the dough. The pie was tasty, but we were all picking waxed paper out of our teeth while we were eating it.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes? Really?

It's okay - the basic bread from that book is a little too salty and yeasty for my tastes, but it improves as the dough ages. It really is as easy as the book makes it out to be, though, and the texture is quite nice.

hate to cook, love to eat?

I hate breaking down raw chickens. It always bothers me, having to dislocate joints and crack bones. If it's already broken down or if it's been cooked, no problem - but raw whole chickens creep me right out. Pity whole chickens are cheaper and are more useful than their broken-down counterparts.

Grapefruit: Way or No Way?

Way! Love it, both as juice and as fruit. It used to be one of my favorite snacks as a kid. I like the juice unsweetened and plain, but like to sprinkle a little sugar on the fruit.

Any food you thought you hated until you finally tried it?

Scallops. Tried some on vacation last year, and thought they were the best thing ever.

hot wintertime comfort drinks

Pity "hot buttered rum" doesn't fit. ;)

I like Celestial Seasoning's Mandarin Zinger in a mixture of cranberry and orange juice. It's very tasty.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Breakfast with my grandmother - pancakes and Neese's sausage. Yum!

If you had your own Food Network show, what would it be?

Sadly, AB already beat me to the kind of show I'd love to have. As far as I'm concerned, he and Julia Child have pretty much cornered the market.

I'd settle for being the next Shirley Corriher, though. But a photographer instead of a writer. As long as I could show up on Good Eats. ;)

Anchovies: Way or No Way?

Way, sort of. I don't like them plain, but I enjoy the flavor in Caesar salads, Worcestershire sauce, and other such things.

Just Like Mom Used To Make...

My mom makes the BEST pork chops. I've spent years trying to get close. I used to request them for my birthday dinner when I was a kid (oh, who am I kidding? I still request 'em). She's a pretty good cook all around, and definitely encouraged my early foodie leanings.

I can't remember anything particularly terrible, other than the thing she had for Chef Boyardee pizza kits. I suspect that was mainly because she's not much of a baker and couldn't really afford pizza for us kids any other way. The dough and sauce weren't that bad, but all we had was the included Parmesan to top it with. I haven't seen one in her house since my brother and I both left the nest.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: D'Artagnan Boneless Heritage Ham

A little mayo and mustard, and some provolone. And ham, obviously.


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