Say HELLO to Jessica!
Q. What are your favorite things to cook?
A. This depends upon the season. Right now, in late Autumn, I am loving roasted chicken or pork and winter squash. Anything to do with the oven, really. I get up in the morning and decide what dinner will be so that I can have it slowly roasting all day. By the time dinner rolls around we can hardly wait; the aromas have filled the our noses as we do our chores inside and out. But by the time Winter is set in, I’ll make potpies galore. Probably some pumpkin and mincemeat pies too. Anytime is a good time for pie, but Old Man Winter seems to demand them.
I also love the summer months when I turn the cooking over to my husband to do on the grill. I joke with him and say that only men cook on fire, but really, I just love watching him cook.
Q. How/when did you learn to cook?
A. Learning to cook has been a lifelong pursuit. My mom and grandmother taught me the basics and my friends who cook continue to inspire me to try new dishes and cuisines.
Q. Tell us about some of your cooking triumphs.
A. My first Thanksgiving for my in-laws was a major hit! I was so relieved. I hadn’t really made all of the meal before. Up until then, I ate at family’s house our contributed with friends to a “misfit” Thanksgiving. We had no family around, so we all pitched in and made the meal really spectacular. BUT the first one I made, I made from scratch and was fussing over every little detail. At the end of the day, I felt like I had run a marathon in heels. The food was fantastic, the setting was beautiful and everyone seemed to really enjoy the day. What a relief!
Q. What was your most memorable cooking tragedy?
A. Honestly, I have had several, but can’t specifically pinpoint one that stands out. One of the pieces of advice I hand out (and try to follow) is to move on from the failures as quickly as possible. Make the recipe again, but don’t lament the initial failure.
Q. Describe your kitchen. Do you love it, hate it, and why?
A. It is in remodel hell. We moved into a house earlier this year that had been abandoned. We paid cash for it and have been working on it ever since. So our kitchen in in flux. I have nice cabinets with plywood counter tops. Beautiful light fixtures and an exposed sub-floor. I neither love it or hate it because I really haven’t met it yet.
Q. Is your pantry organized and are your kitchen drawers tidy? We need to know.
A. Both. Parts that I use less frequently are sort of organized. Parts that I use everyday are organized for my liking. Except my utensil drawer. I can’t seem to get the knives to STOP CO-MINGLING with the measuring cups and thermometers. My Microplane grater and garlic press have completely different ideas about where they should reside. Reason and logic do not work with them. I welcome suggestions to bring these two back under control.
Q. Do you have any favorite family cooking traditions?
A. Sitting at the table together for almost every meal.
Q. What is the one gadget (or ten) you couldn’t do without in your kitchen?
A. My stand mixer, the food processor, my eight quart stainless steel bowl, and the rogue Microplane. Oh and my knife. A good knife should be in every kitchen.
Q. If you had to take one food to a deserted island, what would it be?
A. Pie! or potatoes. Potato pie!
Q. What is your go-to comfort food?
A. Definitely Morning Glory Muffins, but also Black Bean Soup, pan fried potatoes (with or without eggs and cheese), oatmeal raisin cookies and pie -any kind, almost.
Find all of Jessica’s recipes here.
Jessica blogs at A Day in Earnest.
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