Kitchen Compliments are going out to Ross and Liz from Ready to Yumble this week. This duo blogs at Ready to Yumble. You can find them on Instagram at ReadytoYumble. Make sure you have a full belly before visiting their blog, and be prepared to drool (hello, Nutella stuffed peanut butter blondies). You’ve been warned.
- When did you begin cooking? Who taught you?
Liz: My mom did 99% of the cooking in my house, and I grew up watching her and “helping.” She always cooked without a recipe, and so I did the same. It all felt so natural I didn’t even realize I was learning. (Sneaky.)
Ross: Aside from snitching cookie dough, I’d say I started cooking when I was 11 or 12. My parents made my sister and me each cook a dinner every week during the summer. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but it was good training to learn what it took to make a home cooked meal. I learned mostly from my Mom, although I picked up grilling from my Dad (as well as my favorite Christmas cookie, which is about the only baking he does the whole year).
- What inspires you to cook?
Liz: So many things! It relaxes me, it makes me feel good about what I’m feeding my body, it gives me a fun bond with Ross, and let’s be honest, sometimes I just want to put delicious things in my mouth!
Ross: Good food makes me happy. And I get a sense of accomplishment when I execute a recipe well. Also, I really love the look on Liz’s face when I surprise her with some new sinful baked good.
- What was your worst kitchen disaster?
Liz: The great pecan pie incident of 2014. I was baking a pecan pie for Thanksgiving at my in-laws house, in their beautiful new Wolf oven (naturally). This was a pie I had baked many times before, but this time I happened to use a pie plate my mother-in-law recommended…which happened to be perforated. I assume the idea was air flow and a crispy crust, but my pie crust is heavy on shortening, and it literally leaked through the pan, followed by the liquid sugar filling. The smoke alarms were blood curdling. Not to mention the entire pie was a charred puddle on their oven floor. Luckily they’re good people, so they opened some windows, handed me a bourbon, and encouraged me to try again…once the oven was clean. And with a different pan. (Second time worked out, thank goodness). Attached is a picture of the remnants of my pie crust–all that was left in the pan– to reassure everyone that disasters happen, and life is not Pinterest!
Ross: I’m not sure this qualifies as a disaster, but last year I learned that when measuring how much oil is needed for deep frying, orientation is important. We had planned on deep frying a Turkey for Thanksgiving, but having never done so before, we decided to do a test run with a chicken. However, when I measured out how much oil was needed, I had the bird breast side down in the pot, as opposed to in a vertical orientation (the attached picture should help explain). Ended up only having enough oil to cover about 1/2 of the bird! So we had to pull it off the frying attachment, invert it, and fry it again. But that’s why you practice before the big game/meal!
- What is your favorite meal to cook?
Liz: Probably pizza. There’s so many things you can do with it, and it’s really hard to screw up!
Ross: Do cookies count as a meal? I’m very much a dessert guy. It’s what got me into cooking, so I really enjoy making really over the top cakes or sinfully rich tarts.
- For whom do you most enjoy cooking?
Liz: Ross🙂 I also love having friends over who will help us eat something more decadent or elaborate than we normally cook.
Ross: Family. Whether it’s a regular weeknight with Liz or a big family gathering, I really enjoy providing family with a good, hearty meal.
- Do you meal plan for each week (or month)? If so, what is the advantage for you?
Liz: Yes, we plan by the week. There’s a huge advantage in saving time (if we do it right, one trip to the store!), making sure we’re eating a healthy meal every night, and preventing the inevitable hunger pangs and cries of, “There’s nothing to eat in this house!”
Ross: As Liz mentioned, we plan by the week. We use an app called Pepperplate the we really like. It makes organizing meals and creating a shopping list much easier. Also, what we can, we get from Costco, particularly meats. Every few month, I’ll make a big run, and then spend a couple of hours trimming and portioning the various meat before putting it in the freezer. It’s a pain, but it makes the weekday meals a lot easier.
- If you cook for a family or other housemates, do you sit down as a group for dinner each night? What’s your favorite part of that?
Liz: Yes, we eat together almost every night. It’s a great chance to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.
Ross: Like Liz said, it’s very uncommon for us to eat separately. We make an effort to sit down at the dining table for dinner (although admittedly we end up on the couch a night or two a week) so that we can get some time together.
- A tip for new or seasoned home cooks.
If you’re cooking for one or two, but like to bake, the freezer is your best friend. You can freeze balls of cookie dough and then bake a few at a time straight from the freezer. You can freeze unbaked biscuit dough and later throw it right into the oven. You can also freeze most finished baked goods for weeks or months. I’ve frozen fully-frosted cupcakes and they defrost respectably well.
Another tip if you’re cooking for one or two: try cooking a full meal (main+side) on Monday and Tuesday. Then you can mix the main from one day with the side from the other day to help avoid getting tired of eating the same thing for multiple days.
- Favorite book or movie
Liz: I’m a nerd…I love The Great Gatsby. Ross makes fun of me.
Ross: Hard to choose, but the last book I really enjoyed was “What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions” by Randall Munroe. It’s sort of like if “Mythbusters” started looking into more ridiculous questions.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Ross and Liz. Although the main purpose of this series is to compliment others cooking abilities, my true compliment this week is how much Ross and Liz truly seem to LIKE one another. I will try out some of their recipes, but I believe what is really sticking with me after meeting them is putting forth a little more effort to enjoy my husband’s company. Sometimes you just need little reminders.
Til next week!