FLS reporter Katie Thisdell serves up news on local food finds, tales from home cooks and inspiration to help you have fun in your own kitchen.
Home Cooking with Steve Blancard
Home Cooking is a regular feature on The Front Burner that offers a peek at how home cooks around the Fredericksburg area work in their kitchens. If you’d like to answer our questionnaire, download it here and return your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org with a digital photo of yourself, or pass it along to anyone you think would like to participate.
Tell us who you are and why you cook.
I learned to enjoy cooking from my grandmother. She always said there was nothing she liked better than seeing friends and family enjoying her cooking. I’m the same way. I enjoy cooking at home, church, James Monroe High School and my Civil War reenacting unit.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Classic, Southern, satisfying
How did you learn to cook?
I learned some things from my grandmother, like making old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits. I’ve also learned from the TV cooking shows and the Internet. But mostly from trial and error.
I’ve created my own cookbook of my personal favorite recipes. Online, my favorite recipe source is Deep South Dish.
What is one dish on your menu this week that you’re excited about?
Italian Beef Sandwiches. This is a specialty of the Chicago area, where I grew up. It’s a bottom round roast, slow cooked for about 6 to 8 hours, heavily seasoned with Italian herbs and spices. Then sliced paper thin, and served on garlic toasted rolls.
What is one thing that must be in your pantry at all times?
White Lily self-rising flour. It’s the best flour for making buttermilk biscuits.
What one kitchen gadget could you not live without?
A good sharpening stone for my chef’s knives.
It’s 6 p.m., the people in your household are hungry and you just walked in from work and need to get something satisfying on the table as soon as possible. What’s your favorite thing to whip up in this situation?
We call it simply Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Rice. It’s grilled and sliced smoked sausage, mixed with sauteed onions, red and green peppers, served over rice and seasoned with New Orleans style Creole seasoning.
It’s a snowy Sunday, you’ve just done the grocery shopping and have the rest of the day to spend in the kitchen cooking a meal that will bring comfort. What’s for dinner?
Chicken Curry over rice. I make a cream sauce, well seasoned with curry. Then add cooked, shredded chicken and serve over hot rice. We add assorted condiments such as crumbled bacon, raisins, chopped onion, peanuts and hard-boiled eggs. Sounds a little strange, but it is delicious!
What is your favorite dish to make for pot-luck dinners?
Louisiana Red Beans and Rice. Slow cooked red beans with Andouille sausage, onions, sweet peppers, celery, garlic, basil, cayenne. Oh my gosh, it’s a party in every bite!
Do you have a favorite food source in the Fredericksburg region?
The Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market. I love all the fresh produce.