We welcome Dena Price to our spotlight. We first met Dena when she submitted her Stuffed Dates with Almonds recipe on our site, we quickly learned that she is in the midst of writing her first cookbook, The Everything Kosher Slow Cooker Cookbook due out in November. We had to learn more about this librarian by day, food blogger by night.
Tell us about your blog and how you got started:
Oh! You Cook! started out in 2007 as a website project for one of my grad school classes. Unlike my other term assignments, this one was actually fun to do! After graduation, I continued with it on and off as the blog Kosher Kuisine. In 2010, I decided to emphasize the recipes as delicious food that just happens to be kosher, so after brainstorming with the Hubby, we (and by we I mean he) came up with the new improved name.
What is your earliest cooking memory?
I recall helping my mother make Passover sponge cake. Even though I was barely tall enough to reach the kitchen table (our ancient Bronx apartment kitchen had no counter space), I learned how to gently wield a spatula through the batter and egg "snow." After the cake went into the oven, my sister and I were then warned to be very quiet so as not to cause the cake to fall. Years later, we realized it was just a ruse by our mother to get a some peace in the house, if just for a little while.
What is your favorite kitchen implement / utensil / gadget?
My dishwasher. I used to joke that it saved our marriage, since both of us hate to clean up after dinner.
What's your favorite kosher dish to cook?
Chicken in Orange-Ginger Sauce. There were many crazy days when I had to cook with a blood-curdling colicky baby on my hip, so dinners that didn't require a knife or measuring used to be the norm. Schmear oil on a pan, plop in the chicken, dump on the spices and shove into the oven. My youngest is a college sophomore, but crazy days go on forever.
Who is your cooking inspiration?
I have two, really. The Galloping Gourmet is the first. I'd practically run home from school to watch his antics. I couldn't make anything he created on the show, but he really made cooking look like fun. Julia Child is the other. I loved when something didn't turn out correctly, she managed to recover, even joking about it. She proved the maxim, "It's not a mistake, it's a new dish!"
Please share a favorite cooking tip or trick with our readers:
There's a french term, mise en place, which means get everything ready before you start. Assemble, peel, slice, chop, measure, then proceed. My tip is to ignore it. You're not on TV. Scan the recipe before you start, and mentally figure out what can be done while something else is cooking (ie, first start up the water, then measure the rice and the other ingredients). Every minute counts on days I get home at 6, start dinner, serve dinner, clean up dinner, then arrive at a Hadassah meeting by 8.
Which recipes are you sharing with us today?
At this moment we are in the midst of a heat-wave, so here are a few easy recipes with little to no cooking:
Bruschetta (a simple diced tomato salad served on thinly sliced Italian or French bread)
Roasted Baby Eggplants, which can be made outside on the grill if placed over indirect heat