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Not Derby Pie

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Not Derby Pie is food52 user Rivka Friedman’s three-year-old blog, and her relief from a busy job as a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare consultant. Food is, she says, her hobby and her one love. Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay the bills.

Friedman, an accomplished photographer, is also a skilled tinkerer and fearless improviser. She learned to love food and cook at her mother’s side and is as interested in the process of cooking as she is in making dinner by following a recipe. In fact, Friedman makes a good case against recipes: "The idea that we live and die by them is passé,” she says. She will admit that certain recipes, such as those written by baker Alice Medrich, are almost always perfect, but says that most of the time she eyeballs measurements, tastes as she goes and adjusts ingredients until she’s satisfied.

Friedman hopes to pass on this fearlessness to her readers: "I'd rather suffer the occasional bust than feel wedded to what's written. This whole making-stuff-and-eating-it-thing is supposed to be fun." It definitely is, especially with her Cheesy Scones with Ramps, adapted from Karen DeMasco or her garlicky Caesar Salad from The New Best Recipe. Maybe the best example of how delicious improvisation can be? Friedman's tossed together and super-seasonal Simplest Asparagus with Fresh Peas.