Ask Me Anything #1

Just a few of my many cookbooks...

It always surprises me that anyone would ask for my advice on cooking. I guess it may be because I am a bit insecure about my skills and therefore have never tried to position myself as a person of authority on the subject.  Nevertheless I inexplicably asked all of you to submit your questions and that I would (try to) answer them here: my first ever “Ask Me Anything” post. 

So here we go in no particular order:

Q - Why do you use other people's recipes?  

A - I’m not really that interested in creating dishes of my own. I actually don’t have that skill set. When we started writing this blog David and I decided that our focus wasn’t going to be on creating new food, but instead sharing with you the food we have enjoyed over the years.  Sometimes that might be an “old family recipe” (usually one of my grandmothers recipes) but more often it will feature recipes that I have come across in cookbooks, magazines, TV shows or from the web, that we have tried, liked and added to the list of things we continue to make.


Q - Why don’t you talk more about the food?

A - So, this really ties into the question above. At the onset we decided to take the blog in a different direction than most blogs.  We didn’t want a blog that told you how in the winter, as the temperature drops, it’s the perfect time for apple pie or how in spring there are so many great fresh vegetables at the farmers market so you should make something out of those.  Don’t get me wrong I try to tie my posts into whatever is in season, and I will tell you a few of those “hey, this is great” or  “it’s hot so let’s make lemonade” type things, but that’s not going to be the main focus.  Our goal here is to give you something a bit different.  You can find loads of blogs that tell you all about the food or the ingredients or how they all go together so well, but wouldn’t you rather hear about how I was viciously chased by a squirrel in Schloss Charlottenburg?


Q - When are you going to post your grandmothers spaghetti sauce recipe?

A - I am waiting for a sign from my grandmother that it’s ok to post… so far the Ouija Board has not moved.


Q – (via Facebook Messenger) – Hi.

A – Um…  *looks for the un-friend button*


Q - You make a lot of desserts don’t you?

A – Life is short.


Q - What’s the best way to make a steak indoors, at home?

A - Good Question. I find that there are so many variables when it comes to cooking a great steak… foremost is what cut of meat you buy, as different cuts will need different methods to produce the best results. You also have to consider whether it has a bone and how thick it is.  I might go so far as to say however, in general, the best way to cook a steak indoors, in the average home kitchen, is by sous vide.  I recommend doing some research on how to sous vide if you might be interested. I know it’s not for everybody but… you’ll never overcook a steak again! For those of you who don’t want to get into that and if you have a cast iron skillet (and why wouldn’t you?) try this from Alton Brown’s very first episode of Good Eats; “Steak your Claim”… I use this method a lot… a whole lot…


  • 1 Rib Eye Steak, 1½-inches thick.

  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

  • Canola, peanut or safflower oil, to coat


Allow the steak to come to room temperature. 

Put a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven and set the temperature at 500°F (if your oven only goes to 450°F, then set it to that).

When the oven gets to its temperature, use heavy oven mitts to remove the pan and place it on a burner set on high heat and continue to heat the pan for about 5 minutes more. While the pan heats, lightly coat the steak with just a little of the oil and then liberally sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides. Put the steak in the pan and cook for 30 seconds without touching it. Flip the steak over with a pair of tongs and cook another 30 seconds then, USING HEAVY OVEN MITTS, put the pan back into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip the steak again and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven (again use those oven mitts!).  An instant read thermometer, inserted into the center of the steak, should read 130°F to 140°F, for medium rare (I usually aim for 135°F). If you prefer a medium to medium well steak, wait three minutes before flipping in the oven and another three minutes before removing the steak and aim for a temperature between 145°F and 150°F. Just remember this… you can always put the pan back in the oven if the steak is underdone but you can’t go the other way!  Take the steak out of the skillet, set it on a wire rack over a plate, cover it loosely with foil and allow it to rest for 2 minutes before serving.


Q - If you mention me in one of your posts are you going to use my real name?

A - Well Mary, I just might.


So, that’s all for now. If you have more questions feel free to send them to me and I’ll do my best to answer.