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 Rhonda Kuebler
Our Home Cooking series continues today with Fredericksburg Construction Inspector Rhonda Kuebler. I love the mix of influence from her Southern and Cajun roots with a focus on healthier real food. I also love the tip on where to get alligator sausage. This feature is open to anyone willing to share a few tips and tricks from their home kitchen. To participate, just e-mail me.
Name: Rhonda Kuebler
Tell us who you are and why you cook.
I am the Construction Inspector for the City of Fredericksburg and a former Marine. I have found that cooking, along with a nice glass of wine, is a great stress reliever. It relaxes me.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Southern Comfort Healthy (Really…it is possible.)
How did you learn to cook?
Trial and error mostly. I had to learn how to treat veggies with respect after growing up watching my Cajun relatives boil the life out of them.
Favorite cookbook or online food resource?
I love www.realcajunrecipes.com and watching Food Network. My favorite cookbook right now is Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. Its autographed…I was starstruck.
What is one dish on your menu this week that you’re excited about?
Chicken fried cube steak with peppered Country Gravy, mashed potatoes, black eyed peas, collards and cornbread with fresh corn kernels sautéed in bacon grease mixed in. Don’t judge me…its my cheat meal!
What is one thing that must be in your pantry at all times?
Grapeseed oil. It can handle frying yet light enough for dressings.
What one kitchen gadget could you not live without?
My wooden utensils.
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?
Strip steaks on the grill, toasted Marco Polo bread from Wegmans, applesauce and a cucumber, tomato and basil salad. Quicker than it seems!
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?
Oh, ma cheri…it either has to be Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee or Uncle Junior’s Sunday Gravy from the Sopranos. Either one is good because it takes most of the day and James and I make it together.
What is your favorite dish to make for pot-luck dinners?
Funny title but awesome dish. I call it “Junk Rice”. I take all the leftover meats from the week, chop some and shred others for texture, mix it all with Minute Rice, cheddar soup, French onion soup and chicken broth and bake it for an hour. Pot luck or feeding teenagers… its usually gone within half an hour.
Do you have a favorite food source in the Fredericksburg region?
Wegmans for almost everything. I always get my seafood from B&G on Route 3. B&G also carries alligator sausage and boudin which I keep in my freezer at all times.