What is your favorite thing to cook?
I really enjoy cooking steaks on my outdoor grill. If I had my way I would always use charcoal because I think it gives it a better taste than a gas grill.
How about your least favorite thing to cook?
I guess I don’t like cooking things I don’t like to eat. I’m not a fan of rice, so I really don’t like cooking it.
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
Since starting my blog in September 2010 I have had the pleasure to eat at some of Cleveland’s finest restaurants. It would be very hard to narrow it down to just one so I’ll name a few. The Greenhouse Tavern, Lola, Lolita, AMP150 and Washington Place Bistro and Inn are just a few of the restaurants my fiancée and I have really enjoyed. There are many more reviews listed on my site of amazing Cleveland Restaurants. Two that I’m dying to try are Chinato and Flour.
Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
I’m Italian so Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are two of my favorites for a dinner party.
What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
My Mother’s homemade cavatelli and my Grandmothers homemade ravioli and macaroni! It doesn’t get any better than that!
What are you currently reading?
Between reading educational materials for work, my real job is a school teacher, and reading other fabulous Cleveland blogs I have plenty reading to keep me busy!
What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
I love my little magic bullet blender. It really makes doing small tasks quick and easy.
Do you have a signature go-to dish?
If I had to make a go to dish that is sure to please I would make my spicy mac and cheese!
What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
I love that there are so many great things to do. Sporting events, Metroparks, and of course an amazing culinary scene!
Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
I’ve try to recreate my grandmothers sauce but I have not quiet perfected it to taste like she does it! I’ll keep trying though.
Top 3 Movies of all time?
Wow this is a tough question. Field of Dreams, Rocky 1-4, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
What was your happiest moment in life?
Wow…Seeing my niece be born and meeting my fiancée!
Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Depends…Giant Eagle, Heinen’s, Whole Foods
What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
I love Doritos!
Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of the fact that I make a difference in the world every day by teaching the youth of America!
Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
I plan on taking some cooking classes with my fiancée. I’d like to learn different techniques and how to combine flavors I might not have thought of using together.
And now please share a favorite recipe:
I love the spicy mac and cheese recipe I use. I originally got it from Food Network’s Sunny Anderson. I did change it up a bit by altering some portions and adding some things like bacon, chorizo, or prosciutto. I recommend you make it her way at first and then experience with it to tweak it how you like it. Here is how I have it as of now. (This won 2nd place in our work Mac and Cheese Throwdown!)
Spicy Mac and Cheese
2 cups elbow pasta
16 ounces Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 shredded
16 ounces pepper jack cheese, cubed
¼- ½ lb Bacon, prosciutto, chorizo (really whatever pork or sausage you like and you can add more or less to taste.)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper depending on how much heat you like.
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
2-quart baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook Pasta to ALMOST al dente and crisp pork or sausage until cooked, be sure not to overcook!
In a large bowl, toss together cooked pasta with the cheese cubes and pan crisped pork/sausage, and pour into the baking dish. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg and sour cream, egg, heavy cream and half-and-half. Pour over the pasta and cover with shredded Cheddar. Bake uncovered until top is just golden brown, about 35-45 minutes.