Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Conversation with Emily (Bites!) Part 1

If you've never heard of Emily Bites (and even if you have!), you're in for a real treat today. Emily is a recent addition to the food blog circuit whose goal is to create healthy meals without forfeiting flavor. Her recipes (whether adapted or original) are increasingly popular to Weight Watchers fans old and new alike.
I recently took the opportunity to catch up with Emily and learn more about her. I was shocked to learn that she only very recently started workin' it in the kitchen!

What was your experience in the kitchen growing up? Did your family cook a lot?
My mom is an amazing cook, but I had almost no experience with cooking growing up. When I was a kid, my mom (or sometimes my dad) would cook dinner and my brother, sister and I were responsible for setting the table and then washing the pots and cleaning up. 

Consequently, when I graduated college and moved out on my own I didn’t really know how to cook. I spent many years living mostly off frozen entrees, pasta, fast food and other convenience foods. I even did Weight Watchers a few times in the past and never really cooked (I ate a LOT of Lean Cuisines…), but eventually I would always get bored of always eating the same things or I’d try “real food” again and fall of the wagon hard after remembering how good it tasted. Now I’m definitely never bored with my meals! I love food and I am so happy to find I can eat delicious, flavorful meals and fit them into the Weight Watchers plan. 

Best cooking tip for a novice?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Start by planning to cook 1-2 nights a week. Find recipes you’re excited about. The more experience you get cooking, the more comfortable you’ll become and the better of a cook you’ll be!

What's the one kitchen gadget you can't live without? 
I make such a variety of different foods that it’s hard for me to choose just one I can’t live without. I’ll just give you three of my favorites. I love my immersion blender, it makes everything easier. I love my muffin tins! They’ve come in handy lately with all the “main course muffins” I’ve been making, like the Mac & Cheese Muffins, Lasagna Cupcakes, Meatloaf Muffins and Taco Cupcakes. I also love my frosting gun. Just the words “frosting gun” make me happy. Plus, when I make traditional dessert cupcakes it makes me look like a pro, and it’s so easy to use!

Any kitchen disaster stories?
Oh, of course – they just never make it to my blog! A few weeks ago I decided to put together a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Ravioli using wonton wrappers at the request of one of the regular posters on the Weight Watchers message boards. I was super excited about it and mentioned it to a few other posters and they seemed enthusiastic as well. Unfortunately…it was a total disaster. I decided to use ground chicken, which I coated in orange Buffalo wing sauce. I sealed little mounds of it between two wonton wrappers. Everything was going well until I boiled it. The squiggly mounds of orange-colored ground chicken underneath the now-translucent wonton wrappers looked exactly like brains. Talk about unappealing. I tried to make a blue cheese sauce to go with it using blue cheese flavored Laughing Cow and modifying their Alfredo recipe, but the wedges wouldn’t melt and the sauce was too garlicky and ended up lumpy. The whole mess of it didn’t taste too bad, but it wasn’t blog-worthy and it looked hideous.

I cooked it while dog-sitting at my parents’ house and when my dad came home and saw the leftovers in the fridge he actually recoiled and said something to the effect of “ew…what is this?” Needless to say, it was not my best work. I was hoping everyone forgot I ever mentioned making it but I ended up being asked about it several times by readers and having to explain that it just wasn’t blog material. That’s just one example, but cooking is all about experimentation and you can’t be afraid to fail. I learn from every mistake or failure and they all make me better in the kitchen. I already have some ideas to re-tool that recipe and try again!

Stay tuned next week for part 2 of my interview with Emily!

1 comment:

David Hudson said...

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