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Mariaraynal is a skilled writer -- both professionally, as an executive speechwriter for General Motors near her home in suburban Detroit, and in her spare time, as a freelance food writer and blogger. As a result, her recipes are eloquent and clear and always a pleasure to read and cook from. But hers aren't just good recipes, written well. They're also rife with smart, original ideas. Her Vanilla Cinnamon Pancakes call on vanilla in three ways -- in a compound butter, infused into maple syrup and in the batter itself. Her Antipasto Couscous Cakes meld the flavors of an antipasto platter into crispy little cakes (we love her trick of molding the cakes with a measuring cup). And her winning Roasted Bagna Cauda Broccoli brings revelatory new flavors to a steadfast side. She's also an enthusiastic supporter of our Editors' Pick recipe testing process (she even blogged about it here) and we always look forward to reading her candid, thoughtful reviews. See her profile page and fan her here.

Read mariaraynal's profile Q&A below:

  • What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
    Sea urchin
  • What do you cook when home alone?
    Pasta, usually with olive oil, shallots, garlic, prosciutto, white wine, greens, sliced grape tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Your most treasured kitchen possession:
    My huge orange LeCreuset dutch oven
  • Your ideal meal:
    Pasta, preferably made by an Italian home cook. Ribollita, too - I love rustic soups and stews.
  • Something you'd like a chance to eat or cook:
    I'd like to be more proficient with Asian cuisine.
  • The number of bottles of wine you own:
    about 15
  • The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is:
  • Kitchen pet peeve:
    The mess. Flavorless food. People who consider food "fuel."
  • Your favorite cookbook:
    So many, too many! I adore chefs and food writing.