Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. My mom, generally, wasn't a huge fan of cooking. But every year at Christmas, she made the most amazing cut-out sugar cookies. The dough involved a bit of sour cream, and the nutmeg flavor really shined. It taught me that everybody can find something they enjoy doing in the kitchen.
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What's your least favorite kitchen task? It's a tie between cleaning mushrooms and picking leafy herbs from their stems. And when mushrooms are involved in a recipe, leafy herbs are often also involved -- it's like a double whammy of kitchen torture.
Your favorite kitchen tool? My Microplane, without a doubt. I'm lemon-obsessed, and I can't throw any citrus fruit away without getting every bit of juice and zest out of it. At one point, I owned three Microplanes -- one for home use, one to keep in my locker at culinary school, and a third in case something happened to either of the other two.
What is your idea of comfort food? Tacos, because I grew up eating them with my parents every Saturday night. My husband and I have carried on the tradition, so now we have tacos every Saturday, too. Occasionally, I'll put a little spin on them, too.
What is your greatest kitchen disaster? I was making a big jug of sangria for my annual sangria party. I was using boxed wine, because...it's sangria. I don't use fancy wine. I took the bag of wine out of the box, and was using scissors to cut it open. Except when I did this, the bag wasn't down in the jug quite far enough. Red wine exploded out of the bag, down the side of the jug, onto the counter, onto the floor, onto the wall and cabinets, into the hallway near the kitchen. It looked like a crime scene.