Hi! My name is Katie. I like to cook. I like to eat.
But maybe you want to know more than that so I asked my sweet husband, Whitney, to “interview” me so I can share more about myself with you! Let me know if there is anything else you want to know!
When did you first start cooking?
I can’t really ever remember not cooking. Like most homes, our kitchen was the center of our house. We did our homework in there, had snacks around the island, and watched Wheel of Fortune on the kitchen TV while dinner was on the stove. So my sister, Jennifer, and I were always standing next to my mom at the stove, peeling onions, chopping herbs or whatever. I remember taking on dishes by myself by the time I was 11 or 12. All through high school, my friends and I would get cravings in the middle of the night and so we’d execute these entire meals at 3 am – like fried chicken or fried rice or macaroni and cheese. My mom said the only way she ever knew was from the leftovers in the fridge – we were good at cleaning up!!
What do you love most about cooking?
It’s inspiring. Sometimes it relaxes me. Sometimes it’s a great distraction after a long day. Sometimes I feel like I have created a masterpiece with my hands. Bottom line: it always makes me feel good to do it.
Do you cook to music? If so, what?
Yes! Right now I’m listening to the Avett Brothers, the Something’s Gotta Give soundtrack, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Jay Z, Ryan Bingham, Norah Jones, DMB, Rhianna, and Mumford & Sons.
Favorite and least favorite thing to cook:
I love when I have a free Saturday and I can spend all day making something complex and time-consuming. Even if it’s terrible and we have to order pizza, its been fun to cook. As far as my favorite dishes to cook, I really like making pies. I like playing with the dough and experimenting with the fillings. I also like to fry things because you know that whatever comes out of the oil is going to be such a treat!
I don’t like pitting a quart of cherries or olives. But I don’t really have anything I dislike cooking. Unless it is the 5th healthy meal I have cooked in a row. Then I hate it and daydream about dulce de leche cupcakes.
Favorite utensil in the kitchen:
This is a hard question because I am a gadget junkie! My mom always says I am a marketer’s dream. If something is placed in my line of vision at Bed, Bath and Beyond or Williams-Sonoma, I am bound to buy it. I’m famous for all of the Christmas presents I gave family members when I was in college that came from QVC – I just can’t resist.
Anyway, my favorite kitchen item is a tie between tongs and a stand mixer. I am just too lazy to imagine mixing things by hand. Something else I couldn’t live without in my kitchen is my pepper grinder and salt pig. I keep them right by the stove for easy access when cooking. We use lots of pepper in our house!
What is your “cooking mountain” that you have yet to tackle?
I’m inspired by the molecular cooking that people are doing at home. I love the Alinea at Home blog and want to try some of those recipes.
Something I have tackled and failed at is smothered chicken. Zadie, our maid when I was growing up, made the best smothered chicken and rice. She taught me how she did it, but I have never been able to make it like hers. I am working on it though and when I get it right, it will be on here!
What is your favorite cookbook? Magazines? Food blog?
My cookbooks are exploding from two bookshelves and even though I put a ban on myself a few years ago from buying more, I just can’t stop. I love Junior League cookbooks – especially the Baton Rouge, Houston, Jackson, Dallas, and Memphis ones. I cook out of Ina Garten’s cookbooks a lot. I always reference The Gourmet Cookbook for basic recipes. I am a big fan of Thomas Keller and think that everything in his cookbook is perfect for the home cook.
I read Louisiana Cookin, Cooks Illustrated, Cooking Light, and Food & Wine every month and always tear a few pages from each one. I love the Canal House quarterly too. The WSJ Off Duty weekend section usually has great recipes. It comes out on Saturdays. By the way, when I tear recipes from a magazine or the paper, I stick them in a binder in the kitchen. If I haven’t made them within 3 months of putting them in there, I throw them away. If I didn’t, Whitney and I would run out of room to live here because the whole house would be covered in scraps.
And I get most of my inspiration from food blogs!! The main ones are listed under the Blog Love menu on the right column of this page.
Who has influenced your cooking the most?
My mom has been my biggest influence. She has taught me most everything I know about being in the kitchen. She showed me how to care for my husband and friends through cooking. She can make most anything without a recipe and always knows what to substitute or add to a dish to make it better. The list of things she makes that I love is too long to list but some of my favorites are her pesto and vegetable pasta, twice-baked potatoes, zuchinni sauté, roasted beef tenderloin, lasagna, grilled Mediterranean lamb chops, and banana pudding.
Both of my grandmothers influenced me too. I remember my mom’s mom, Grandma, most for her beignets and the big breakfasts she made for me when I spent the night with her. She also passed on her killer banana bread recipe to us. Honestly, I have never had a slice of banana bread that comes close.
My dad’s mother, Granny, is a real Southern cook. She makes the best chicken soup and crawfish tortellini. And she passed down her steak teriyaki recipe to us (which we call steak-on-a-stick) which I requested on my birthday for about 9 years in a row.
Also, my best friend Courtney’s mom, Holly Clegg. She has built an empire of cookbooks and she is the spokesperson for lots of fabulous groups. And I basically grew up eating at the island in her kitchen.
And I love to cook with my mother-in-law, Lisa. She is always pulling recipes out of magazines and cookbooks and it is fun to try new things with her. Plus, she makes incredible cookies.
Also, I like to take cooking classes. Here in Houston, I go to Central Market the most, but there are lots of fun places and I always leave learning a new technique or recipe.
I’d love to hear from you!
mears.katie (at) gmail (dot) com