One of the best things about cooking is that anyone can do it. You don't have to be a celebrity, a trained chef or a stay-at-home mom to understand the time, energy and dedication it takes to make delicious food. Food has recently become a huge part of our pop-culture and with it the emergence of food blogs. One such blogger is Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper, who focuses on recipes that are both simple and seasonal. We caught up with Elizabeth and asked her about her life with food.
What is the name of your blog and how long have you been blogging for?
My blog is Brooklyn Supper. I started the blog with my husband Brian in June of 2008, so we've been at it for over five years.
Who do you cook for at home?
I have two young daughters so my day-to-day cooking is about striking a balance between what they'll like while also keeping with my preferred focus on seasonal vegetables and local foods. Planning dinner parties and cooking for friends is my favorite reason to get into the kitchen, and I try to entertain as often as I can.
What or who inspires your cooking?
I used to spend hours thumbing through cookbooks, but now I usually work in the opposite direction –– by visiting the farmer’s market or the butcher and finding ingredients I really want to work with and then devising a recipe to use them. Or sometimes I’ll have a craving for a certain ingredient and ask “What can I make with horseradish?” and just look around the grocery store until I have something great. All of my best recipes come together as I shop.
What kind of food do you enjoy to cook the most?
I love making food that takes time. There are few things I enjoy more than braising meat on the stovetop all day or having a flavorful stock simmering away. In the summertime, though, I am all about making fresh fruit pies.
What is your biggest cooking disaster?
It's tough to pin down just one! I once worked for weeks to capture wild yeast and then make a wild yeast sourdough bread. I ended up with a sourdough brick (bread baking eludes me to this day). It also took me multiple tries to master homemade caramel. It's actually a cinch to make, but it took a lot of burnt sugar and gloppy messes for me to figure it out.
What is your best tip for other cooks at home?
Know your ingredients. If you start with quality meat, fresh produce, and great ingredients, it's a lot harder to go wrong. Learning about the growing season in your area and getting to know food producers can help you to make the most of what's available.
If there is one dish that is your signature, what would it be?
I look forward to the winter months as a time to challenge myself to come up with fresh, healthy meals combining local storage foods or hoop house crops (such as leafy greens and root vegetables) with fresh California citrus. I enjoy playing with sweet and sour flavors, as well as color. This pretty layered farro salad incorporates blood oranges, kumquats, kale, and caramelized shallots, for a fresh and satisfying midwinter salad.
Click here for Elizabeth's recipe for Farro Salad with kumquat, blood orange and kale that you can make at home.