When did you begin baking/ cooking? Can you remember what caused you to start getting in the kitchen?
My very first job was at a small bakery, and it was the most fun I could’ve imagined having as a high schooler. A few years later, after starting a career as a hair stylist, I found myself frequently stressed out and turning to baking for relief. Realizing that I could turn my stress relief and creative outlet into a career eventually led me to pastry school. I love that baking forces me to be present and hyper-focused since it’s such a methodical and scientific process. Cooking, on the other hand, brings me joy since it’s so intuitive and organic; I love cooking with the seasons and making meals that are fresh, vibrant, and healthy.
Where do you live? Where are you from?
About a year and a half ago my husband and I moved from Atlanta, Georgia, to a small town in western North Carolina called Franklin. As much as we loved our life in the middle of the city, just a stone’s throw from the suburbs where we grew up, we were ready for a total change of pace. We now live on multiple acres with a garden, mountain views, and a river running along our road—it's heavenly!
Do you have a favorite meal memory? Where were you? What was the meal?
I tend to choose vacation locales based on cuisine since it’s such a unifying and delicious way to learn about different cultures and create memories, so many of my favorite meal memories are from past travels. The most recent one that comes to mind is from a trip we took to Italy last year; we ate at a restaurant in Florence called Zeb, and we had white truffle pasta, pear and pecorino ravioli, and the largest and most savory polpette I have ever tasted, paired with perfect Italian wines. I still dream about that meal.
Do you have an essential cookbook (or blog, or stack of notecards...) that you always go back to?
I’m partial to recipes from Sarah Britton, Alison Roman, and her highness, Ina Garten. I tend to follow recipes much more loosely when cooking than when baking, but those three women have recipes that I return to often.
If you could time travel anywhere in the world at any time in history- where would you go and what would you eat?
I would spend a day, a week, or really forever in Paris, cooking, eating, and drinking with Julia Child
What is the inspiration behind this recipe?
This recipe was definitely inspired by my love for elote, but I wanted it to feel distinct enough to stand on its own as a dish. It’s like a distant cousin to the street corn—they connect somewhere down the line, but they really only hang out at big family reunions.
Favorite ingredient by season?
Oh, goodness, it’s hard for me to choose. Spring is asparagus and radishes, summer is tomatoes and peaches (and berries, peppers, wild mushrooms, cucumbers, and literally all the summer produce), fall is apples and sweet potatoes, and winter is blood oranges and beets.
This recipe includes a home-made ricotta- any tips for a first time fromager who might be intimidated by the process?
I am so far from a fromager and can assure you that if I can do it, you can do it. If you’re intimidated, my advice is to just not overthink it. And once you’ve made it at home, you’ll never want to go back to the store-bought stuff.
The combination of fennel and cilantro is really fun- is this a Logan original combo or have you had it elsewhere?
Thanks! I am sure other people have used the combo before, but the idea came to me when I was trying to decide what kind of fresh, herbal qualities to bring to the dish. Since cooking the fennel mellows out the anise flavor, I thought cilantro could pair nicely without the two competing too much. I’m pleased with the result!
Tell me a little about your project in Bent Willow Baking in Franklin. How is the reno going?
I joined Bethany, the original mastermind behind Bent Willow, at the end of May to help expand the business. My husband and I started a home-based baking business in December of last year, and Bethany started Bent Willow around the same time. She was focused solely on artisan breads, while we were making just about everything but breads. We shared a vision for what we wanted to bring to the community in western North Carolina, and as both of our businesses grew and she had the opportunity to expand Bent Willow into a full-scale bakery, it was a natural transition for me to join the team and develop the pastry program. It’s been a challenge finding the balance between production for our sales (right now we are open on a limited schedule for takeout only) and renovations, which we are doing ourselves. The buildout is progressing really well, though, and we are excited to open our doors fully soon, especially since we will also have a full coffee and espresso bar, featuring incredible coffee from Portrait Coffee Roasters (check them out—they’re doing great things!) and run by my husband.
Thank's Logan! Looking forward to next month's recipe!