Where do you live?
How often do you cook or bake?
It’s funny because I never really used to be into baking; cooking was always much more interesting to me, and frankly, baking always seemed so girly. That said, I’ve recently taken up baking, though I don’t do it that often. I definitely cook more, probably four to five times a week, depending on the leftovers situation. I’ll bake when the mood strikes me, or when I’ve got a craving, which is something like twice a month. I definitely bake more around the holidays — everyone gets cookies. I also bake for Keith more than I bake for me. I’m nice that way.
What is your favorite kitchen utensil?
I’m easy, man. It’s my wooden spoon. I wish I had a few more of them. I use it to mix just about anything, and I love the way it feels in my hand. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it a bit, I think I would say my chef’s knife instead. I’ve used some awful knives in my day, the kinds that coerce an onion apart as opposed to chop it, and having a good solid knife makes all the difference. In fact, if you’ve got one good knife — one really good one — you don’t need any more.
Which part of your kitchen do you like best and why?
Having lived in many an apartment without one, I’ve got to say my dishwasher. You know, I used to buy glasses based solely on whether or not I could fit my hand and a sponge down its mouth? Now I can purchase any style that catches my eye, and that feels great. I like glasses.
I also like the area that I call “the in-between” or “the pass-through.” It connects the kitchen to the dining room, and we have it cabinet-ed out. The bottom portion functions as a snack pantry of sorts, as well as storage for platters and my massive stand mixer. Half of the upper cabinetry is devoted to storing Keith’s whisky collection; the other half holds my cooking magazines and cookbooks.
Come to think of it, this is a tricky question for me to answer; we renovated the kitchen to best suit our needs and our aesthetic (on a budget). There are so many aspects of this room that I love, like the countertops that look like oxidized metal, the unusual color of our cabinets, the soffits, the ceiling fan, my knife strip… It would be the equivalent of asking me to pick my favorite dog, if I had lots of dogs. Or any dogs. Or a dog.
What was your biggest kitchen accomplishment?
I would have to say it was the dinner I made for something like sixteen people last spring; at that point, the largest crowd I had ever cooked for was closer to eight, including Keith and myself, so doubling the amount of diners was a vaguely terrifying Big Deal. I had invited my parents not only to the meal but also for the weekend; they drove in with the dog from New York a day early to spend some more time with us. My mother and Keith volunteered to help me chop, sauté, mix, etc. Whenever I asked him to do something, Keith would shout, “Yes, chef!” It caused a lot of giggly delays. Even funnier was when my mother — very polite, proper and petite woman that she is — wasn’t able to open something (what was it? I don’t remember) and so, said very seriously to the object in her hand, “I think you must be retarded.”
In the end, we served the following:
- bocconcini that I had marinated in herbs and olive oil few days prior
- a selection of cured meats that Keith had picked out at Formaggio Kitchen
- lemon quinoa salad
- corn with chèvre and red peppers
- chopped frisée with oranges
- pilaf with pine nuts, pistachios, ground beef and cinnamon
The leftovers lasted for days.