Continuing with our series about Los Angeles-based food bloggers, Sierra French-Myerson and Stephanie Farrar of FrenchandFarrar.com, we sat down with the two friends to talk about cooking disasters and how they stay cooking with their busy lives.
Cooking Light: Stephanie, I know that you said eggplant is something that you are not comfortable with and want to try and cook with it. Sierra, is there something that you have always wanted to conquer in the kitchen?
Stephanie Farrar: Hate eggplant—going to try an Eggplant Parmesan I saw post on Bon Appetempt.
Sierra French-Myerson: I'm kind of a conquerer when it comes to cooking. Can't say that I always succeed, but I can't think of anything that I'm scared to eat or not willing to try in the kitchen. Though, I would be thrilled to learn how to make authentic Japanese sushi rice.
CL: What was your biggest cooking disaster?
French: The irony of my biggest cooking disaster is that it occurred at our favorite dinner party of all time—our sensational New Year's Eve Party. Dinner was seamless and gorgeous, and then, I bombed dessert. I attempted to make apple tarte tatin, which I had made many times before, but completely burned the caramel. It was terrible and embarrassing. But ultimately, it didn't matter. We were having the time of our lives, and there were plenty of cookies in the cupboard.
Farrar: Hands down, the first time I tried to make Spaghetti Carbonara. I have no idea why I pulled the recipe I pulled, but in it, there was white wine—and boy, did I use way too much. We had like 15 people over for a football game, and even though everyone ate it, I knew it was awful. It was one of my first tries, so at least I can blame my lack of experience, but man, it was gross.
CL: Do you tend to cook things that you are comfortable with or do you try and branch out? And if you do branch out, do you reach out to anyone in particular or do you learn on your own?
Farrar: I tend to learn on my own. I'm like that. I don't go shopping with my girlfriends. I don't need someone to tell me if something looks good or bad on me. I know if it does or doesn't. I tend to do online research before I go forth with a new attempt, or check one of my many cookbooks, making a recipe somehow my own. During the week, when I'm cooking for the family, I tend to stick to things I'm either comfortable with or things I have tried recently for the blog—even trying Sierra's recipes from the blog. The evenings just come and go so quickly that trying something brand new, if it's a disaster, can be a bomb. And I don't have time to clean up a bomb on a weeknight. But I definitely branch out for blog testing on weekends. If I see something on one of my favorite cooking shows, or in one of the several monthly food magazines I buy—like Cooking Light and Food and Wine—I'll try it first.
French: Both. I have my go-to's. You have to have a handful of dishes that you can make without thinking about it. They become a signature of sorts, and that's wonderful. And then, you can expand on them. Similarly, I love trying new things in the kitchen. I read lots of recipes and articles about food and cooking. They inspire me to try new things in the kitchen.
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