Tuesday, December 15, 2009

FAQ, a Giveaway and Risotto

Because I have absolutely nothing else to write about I'm going to answer all the questions I've been asked over the last few months. Here, for the first time in public is:

Frequently Asked Questions of The Good Cook:

Q: When did you first begin cooking?

A: The first thing I ever cooked was an omelet, I was about 9 years old and was fascinated at how the eggs puffed up as they cooked. I was so intent on watching this phenomenon that I burned it.

Q: How often do you cook now?

A: Everyday. At the minimum I cook 3 full meals a day. More if I am giving lessons or have a catered event.

Q: How often do you go to the market?

A: Everyday. Sometimes I go to several different markets depending on what I need or the season.

Q: What do you like to read?

A: Besides cookbooks and food magazines I read industry journals, food reviews and restaurant reviews.

Q: Where do you get your recipe ideas?

A: I get ideas for recipes from all over - from the market when I see what is local and available, from old recipes that I can put a new spin on, from other cooks and of course there are wonderful "old" family recipes that need no spin or improvement.

Q: Do you ever make something that is inedible?

A: Every good cook has made something that is not that good. But inedible? No.

Q: You must have a fantastic kitchen. What is your favorite piece of kitchen equipment?

A: I have a very large kitchen that is well equipped (I'm a kitchen gadget junky) but my favorite kitchen "gadget" is a wooden spoon. You can use a wooden spoon for just about anything. That, and my very own two hands.

Q: In your opinion, what is the best brand of pot and pans?

A: All-Clad. Hands down. Notice, there are no ads for All-Clad on my blog. I say this freely and clearly. All-Clad.

Q: What is your favorite thing to cook?

A: I like to cook just about everything. I love the smell of something roasting in the oven. I adore making bread. If I had to choose just one thing I would say sauces. I like the technical aspects of putting together an elegant sauce. Bernaise, Hollandaise, Bechamel, Mole, you name it. And of course I live for the look on people's faces when they get that first taste of a perfectly concocted, seasoned sauce.. like they just had a little spoonful of heaven.

Q: Do you have any food traditions during this season?

A: Christmas Eve we will have a late dinner of Prime Rib, Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes, sticky carrots and Champagne. Christmas morning we will have Eggs Benedict and Mimosas for breakfast. This has been our tradition for years. Even when my kidadults were littles, of course they didn't get Champagne - they drank sparkling grape juice out of champagne glasses.

Do you have any questions you are just dying to ask The Good Cook? Pose your question in the comment field by Friday, December 18th. and be entered in a random drawing to win a Good Cook apron - delivered just in time for the holidays! I will answer your questions in a future post - but will announce the apron winner Saturday, December 19th.

If you don't have a question, just leave an "ENTER ME" comment and you will be included in the drawing.

Comments must be posted by 12:00 MIDNIGHT EST (eastern standard time) Friday, December 18th.

Risotto (serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main course)

1 cup arborio rice (risotto)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, very hot (about)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat oil in large, heavy saucepan. Add shallot and rice and cook for about 3 minutes. Rice and shallot will be transparent. Add a ladle of hot broth (about 3/4 cup) and continue to stir and cook until broth is absorbed. Add another ladle and repeat until all the broth is used and rice is Al Dente. Risotto should be "loose" - not too dry or sticky. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, butter and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If rice is too tight (sticky), add a little more hot broth. You want a nice, loose, chewy risotto. Serve immediately.

A Cook's Notes: You can add steamed, chopped asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, or my favorite, shaved Black Truffles to the risotto. Use your imagination. I serve Risotto as a main course with a small mixed green salad on the side. Yum... comfort food!


  1. I loooove risitto although I don't cook it often because it requires my continuous presence. My favorite is to add a little saffron. It gives it such a rich taste and a pretty color:)
    How often do you cook no meat dinners or vegetarian twists on old classics? My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and I'd love to move away from meat at every dinner.

  2. My question: Have you taken cooking classes or attended a cooking school?

    I agree - all-clad - hands down!

  3. I have a question!

    Do you buy your cooking utensils brand new, or is secondhand fine with you (i.e. thrift store shops)?

    I need all the advice I can get. I can't even afford decent pots and pans. Also! No room to put them anywhere!

  4. I love your blog. I get many good ideas from you. I gave you and award. Swing by my blog and pick it up.
    Happy Wednesday.. and Happy Cooking :)

  5. Your All-Clad comment is excellent! I don't have them, but as an engineering/metals guy all my career- they would be my choice(if 1200 bucks fell on my head right now!) My Wusthof knives are my go to weapon of choice! I can stir with a knife- can you cut with a spoon? HeeHeeHee...

  6. The risotto sounds fabulous!!!! Must try it!!! I do so love your blog!! And it was fantastic to read your thoughts and find out more about you...~Janine XO

  7. Is there anything that you would not cook?

  8. Love all these questions and answers! thanks. I enjoy your blog. It's so informative, and I really enjoy your recipes! You are very generous to share so many with us! I would LOVE to get your Yorkshire pudding recipe!
    Oh, and enter me please!

  9. I love to cook but have a terrible problem being able to duplicate a dish I've made in the past. I either can't remember how I did it or can't find the recipe. Do you have this problem?


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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