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Home Cooking with Hilary Kanter

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 with a digital photo of yourself, or pass it along to anyone you think would like to participate.

Name: Hilary Kanter

Tell us who you are and why you cook.

I work part-time at The Free Lance-Star, but full-time as a mom to three kids. With one in elementary school, one in middle school and one in high school, the requests and levels of pickiness vary on a daily basis, so I have to be constantly on my culinary toes. I am committed to teaching my kids about nutrition and good taste, and helping them develop their palates.

Describe your cooking style in three words.

Creative. Intuitive. Healthy.

Favorite cookbook?

I swear by You can find, truly, any recipe you want there. I find the users’ reviews incredibly useful. And say you have a bulb of fennel and a pint of cream in your fridge and not a clue what to do with them. You’ll find your answer at

What is one dish on your menu this week that you’re excited about?

I made a Tandoori chicken dish this week, with sides of Basmati rice and a potato-pea curry that would not embarrass me in front of my Indian friends.

What is one thing that must be in your pantry at all times?

I am never without pasta, canned beans and canned tomatoes. With those three things, the possibilities are endless.

What one kitchen gadget could you not live without?

I’d be lost without my food processor and my collection of good, sharp 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?

Spaghetti! Two batches: one with lemon zest, lemon juice and butter; the other with a tomato sauce. The ultimate in quick comfort food.

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?

I’d make a pot of beef stew, chili or a potato/leek soup.

What is your favorite dish to make for pot-luck dinners?

Pot-luck dinners in the spring and summer would most likely be a cold salad of black beans, corn, cilantro and bell peppers, or perhaps a whole-wheat ziti with pesto made fresh from my backyard crop. In the cold months, I’d bring a baked ziti with Italian sausage.

Do you have a favorite food source in the Fredericksburg region?

I am a huge fan of the produce section at Wegmans. They have the best variety of fruit and vegetables I’ve seen in the area. I also just joined the Snead’s Farm CSA, so I’m looking forward to a summer filled with locally grown produce.

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