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 Nancy Shehata
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.
We’ve lived in Spotsylvania County for several years, drifting down from Alexandria as our family grew. I am an American Muslimah married to an Egyptian, and I can make burgers one day and baba ganouj the next. I have a food blog, radicalislamiccuisine.wordpress.com, and I love to cook and bake, though with my youngest being in an “active phase,” I’m doing a few shortcuts nowadays.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Organized, fresh, basic
How did you learn to cook?
I watched my mom and then built on what I learned from her.
“Farm Journal’s Homemade Breads.” Awesome breads, quick breads and more. I’ve made many recipes and loved every one of them.
What is one dish on your menu this week that you’re excited about?
My “famous” spaghetti. It is a pink sauce, a departure from the usual marinara. It starts with a bechamel sauce, which makes it richer and less acidic-tasting.
What is one thing that must be in your pantry at all times?
What one kitchen gadget could you not live without?
My KitchenAid mixer
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?
A simple stir fry. Shrimp can thaw in a few minutes in the sink, I can make some rice in the rice cooker and I can sautee some veggies with some sauce and have everything on the table in about half an hour or so.
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?
Pot roast with a lovely gravy, real mashed potatoes, sauteed carrots and/or green beans. Chicken broth flavored rice with raisins and pine nuts for the hubby, who is Egyptian and not a great fan of mashed spuds.
What is your favorite dish to make for pot-luck dinners?
Kushari. It’s a spicy Egyptian lentil dish served with rice and pasta. Meatless but filling and delicious.
Do you have a favorite food source in the Fredericksburg region?
Our household has three adults and five children. I shop for value, so I go to different stores for different things. Aldi for staples, good old Walmart for most everything else, Giant for meat and fill in wherever there are specials. I’m not so much into specialty items like bread or cakes or cookies because I can make those myself.