Cook & Tell with Amanda Green Bottoms of Kevin&Amanda

We’re wrapping up an amazing 10 weeks of Anolon’s Cook & Tell Giveaway. Thank you to all of our bloggers for sharing your thoughts about cooking and your love of good food. Here, Amanda Green Bottoms of KevinandAmanda, dishes out tips for finding fresh inspiration in the kitchen, shares her favorite travel-friendly holiday recipe/gift, and describes her excellent cooking experience with the Anolon Nouvelle Copper 12-Inch Skillet. Enter to win this week’s ace skillet in our final Anolon Cook & Tell Giveaway on Facebook.

1. Your recipes wonderfully blend comfort and sensibility with great style and worldliness. How do you overcome the challenge of getting in the common rut of preparing the same dishes over and over again?

I try to incorporate at least 1-2 new dishes into our dinner rotation each week. Instead of writing out our menu for just a week at a time, I try to do something different. I try to jot down dinner ideas for several weeks ahead so I don’t get stuck making the same thing over and over. Here’s a sample menu I created for six weeks of quick and easy dinner ideas: “What’s for Dinner? 6 Weeks of Ideas:”

Chicken Salsa Verde

2. For cooks who are traveling to visit family and friends for the holidays, what travel-friendly dish do you suggest they bring to their host?

I always think Candied Pecans make great hostess gifts for the holidays! Wrap them up in a cellophane bag and tie with a bow and you have a gorgeous, delicious gift to present to gracious hosts. They go with everything and are scrumptious for snacking. I look forward to these all year.

3. What are the 2-3 pots and pans you think are essential for every cook?

Definitely a 12-inch skillet for all-purpose use, a 3-qt covered saucepan for sauces, pastas and rice, and a stockpot for soups, potatoes, and spaghetti.

Chicken Salsa Verde in the making

4. Your husband Kevin must have had enjoyed a great number of delicious dishes over the years. Which one does he love the most?

He loves anything I make with seafood, but he especially loves this Crispy Shrimp Pasta.

5. Tell us what you liked most about cooking with the Anolon Nouvelle Copper 12-inch Skillet?

I definitely appreciate the solid copper base, which holds in heat, the sturdy handle, and deep sloped sides for easy flipping and less spills on the stove.

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Nouvelle Copper 12″ Skillet, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL10 at checkout!

Chicken Salsa Verde cooking in the Anolon Nouvelle Copper 12" Skillet

Cook & Tell with Michael Chu of Cooking for Engineers

Michael Chu of Cooking for Engineers holding the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 3 Qt. Sauté Pan

For a completely fresh outlook on cookware and cooking, meet our Anolon Cook & Tell Blogger of the Week, Michael Chu of Cooking for Engineers. Michael‘s approach to cooking comes from his engineer’s sense of order and experimentation and he incorporates these principles of engineering into his cooking and food blogging. Here, he shares his thoughts and feelings on topics as wide ranging as culinary technique to cooking spray. He gave the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 3 Quart Sauté Pan a rather brutal road test and was thrilled with the results, which you can read about on his blog. Enter to win this week’s featured pan in our Anolon Cook & Tell Giveaway on Facebook.

1. Michael, what was the inspiration for your food blog, and the name, Cooking for Engineers”?

Before starting Cooking For Engineers, I was working as a full-time engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area and would have friends and co-workers over for dinner every couple weeks where I would cook a large meal for everyone to share. When I started the website, I didn’t know what to call it and decided on Cooking For Engineers because it could be read two different ways: (1) a site to provide instructions to engineers on how to cook and (2) a description of what I was doing which was cooking for a group of people who happen to be engineers. The site has evolved since then to really focus on food and cooking for anyone who has an analytical mindset regardless of technical or scientific background.

2. Did you grow up in a food-centric family? Which person in your life, or life experience, most influenced your passion for cooking?

Sautéed Spinach made in the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 3 Qt. Sauté Pan

My parents cooked nearly every meal that I could remember with just a few breaks for pizza once in a long while. Now that I’ve been working full-time for over a dozen years, I realize what a huge accomplishment that was. However, it wasn’t until after college – and I started to learn to cook for those weekly dinner parties – that I got inspired to learn more and more about cooking. These days, I find inspiration when trying to prepare something for my wife or when challenged by friends and readers.

3. What type of kitchen tools or equipment do you find to be over-rated? Which ones are under-appreciated, and should be used more by home cooks?

It’s hard to pick out a tool that is over-rated because people have different cooking styles and what works for one person might not work for another. But, since I’m picking one, I’ll choose the cooking spray (those canned products that spray a mist of oil onto pans). Cooking sprays are nice on paper because they provide such a small amount of oil that it effectively contributes no calories to the food being cooked. Unfortunately, I find cooking sprays to release such a fine mist that a thin layer of oil settles on pretty much anything in the kitchen (and, if you have an open floor plan like I do, the dining area as well) over time. Cooking sprays are also not pure oil and contain one or more emulsifiers along with a propellant. The emulsifier (usually soy lecithin) is difficult to remove through washing and can cause a tacky polymer layer to build up on a pan overtime. This is especially bad in non-stick pans which cannot be scrubbed vigorously or cleaned with a cleaner like Barkeepers Friend.

Sautéed Spinach

It’s been eight years since I wrote Cooking For Engineer’s article on kitchen scales, and I still believe that a scale is the most essential tool that home cooks don’t use enough. Partially at fault is the lack of cookbooks and recipes where weight is provided as part of ingredient measurements, but once a cook develops the habit of using a scale, consistency and repeatability becomes much easier every time a recipe is made (or revised). Without a scale, variability in ingredient amounts can make large enough differences in recipes that it becomes extremely difficult to perfect a recipe over time or even to repeat that “magical” dessert made over a year ago.

4. You’ve moved from Northern California to Austin, Texas. Has the transition changed or otherwise affected what you cook at home?

We cook a lot more these days. It used to be that I cooked to experiment (or “play”) in the kitchen so my home kitchen was more a test kitchen than one that operated for the purpose of serving meals. In the Bay Area, there are so many great places to eat out at all levels of pricing (that are open at all hours) that it’s no big deal to experiment and mess up. In far southwest Austin, where we live, there isn’t as much flexibility and selection when it comes to truly excellent food. We cook more for “sustenance” than for experimentation. Having said that, my kitchen and pantry is much better equipped here in Austin than in my claustrophobic kitchen in California. We have as many ingredients (perhaps more) available with the incredible selection at our local markets and hard to find tools or ingredients can usually be procured online these days (compared to just a few years ago).

Metal-utensil safe interior

5. What cooking technique do you feel is the trickiest for home cooks to master?

That’s hard to say. I’m not the typical home cook, but it does seem that people tend to have trouble with properly cooking a steak. This is one of the easiest techniques to learn, but requires attention and home cooks tend to be distracted by any number of things – cooking other dishes, children, spouses, television, or any of a multitude of other things going on outside the kitchen. Focus and attention to detail is important in a number of different techniques that are often viewed as “tricky” (such as cooking a souffle, pastry making, or roasting a standing rib roast). Mastery of focus and attention to detail is where the real trickiness is.

6. What did you like about cooking with the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saute Pan?

The pan is a great size for preparing meals for two people. I especially like that it doesn’t limit which cooking techniques I use – it heats evenly on the stove and has no issues going into the oven to braise a dish and back out to reduce a sauce. It also cleans up easily with a quick scrub and with a little Barkeepers Friend for “like new” performance every time.

Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 3 Qt. Sauté Pan, now on sale with code TELL09

7. We’d love to hear what you plan to bake or cook for the holidays, and if you’ll be experimenting with any new techniques, equipment or recipes.

By the time this is published, I’ll have prepared a large Frenched center loin pork roast for a holiday potluck at my home (we try to do a dinner every month). I plan on playing with a new recipe I saw in Cook’s Country magazine involving a dessert that is half chocolate cake and half flan!

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 3 Quart Sauté Pan, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL09 at checkout!

Cook & Tell with Lori Falcon of A Cowboy’s Wife

It’s high noon in the kitchen and we’re home on the range with Lori Falcon of A Cowboy’s Wife, this week’s Anolon Cook & Tell featured blogger. Lori shares her tales of cooking up grub, whether to satisfy a whole passel of ranch-hands, or her own houseful of little cowboys and the one big one who pitches in to help. For both family recipes and Tex-Mex favorites, she has a soft spot in her heart for the Anolon Advanced Bronze 5.25 Quart Sauteuse. Enter to win this week’s featured pan, big enough to feed five and perfect for stovetop-to-oven cooking. Be a winner this week in our Anolon Cook & Tell Giveaway on Facebook.

1. What’s it like being married to a cowboy, and raising a family of three additional “cowboys”? Do you find yourself constantly fielding the question, “I’m hungry, what’s for dinner”?

Cowboy families have an amazing bond. We share our love for the animals, the land, our country, and one another. We all work together to make things happen and there’s always an appetite. How can there not be? Them boys are out there riding horses, mending fences, feeding cows, fixin’ windmills, and so on and so on. They ain’t got much choice but to work up an appetite, and as the “official” ranch cook for the Falcon family, I always have something ready to eat.

2. Do your husband, and your three sons, like to stir things up in the kitchen, or do you pretty much hold the reigns when it comes to cooking and baking?

I held the cooking reins from age 16-25, cooking for a ranch in North Texas. I fed as many as 30 cowboys for breakfast and lunch, for weeks at a time. I reckon I got burnt out some ’cause I started to let my fella start to help with some of the cooking more and more. But for the last 7 years or so, I’d say we cook equally. He makes a mean cobbler in the Dutch oven, as well as, Pan de Campo. My boys are spoiled. You know, always had their mama cooking for them and all……

3. What’s your favorite style of cooking? Do you prefer cooking and baking in the winter months, or other seasons?

Chicken Florentine and Farfalle made in the Anolon Advanced Bronze 5.25Qt. Sauteuse

I have a huge appreciation for recipes that have passed through generations. I love how ‘cooking from scratch’ makes me feel and I try to share recipes that reflect that. With that said, we are in a time where we’re running around like chickens with their heads cut off and often don’t have the time to cook from scratch. Because of that, I try to give folks recipes that are quick and easy so they can still get some family table time before a game. And I love baking during the school year. There are no kid distractions and it’s a great time to bake for teachers, family, and friends.

4. Are there any kitchen products you’re hoping to receive as a holiday gift?

Now don’t take pity on me, but I don’t get a lot of gifts. In fact, if it wasn’t for my own mother, I wouldn’t get anything really so I don’t think too much about this sorta thing. Since you asked though, I’d really like a coffee maker that can brew FAST. (Bunn? Cuisinart?) With the cowboys and all, there’s a lot of coffee drinking ’round here and my coffee pot just can’t keep up with them.

5. What’s your most cherished family recipe for the holidays?

My Grandma’s Banana Pudding. It is requested often and once you’ve had it, you’ll never love anyone else’s as much as you love hers. I only wish she was here so we could make it together.

Lori Falcon cooking in the Anolon Advanced Bronze 5.25 Qt. Sauteuse

6. What did you find most useful and enjoyable about cooking with the Anolon Advanced Bronze 5.25 Quart Sauteuse Pan?

What I love most about this pan is the size of it and how evenly it cooks. We love to fry up some rice and some chicken breasts with seasonings and Rotel* and let it simmer until done. I feel like it cooks just the right amount so that we have an appropriate serving size for our family. Seems like most pans are so big that you end up cooking too much and others are too small for a family of 5. Cleanup is a breeze and it still looks as pretty as the day I unpacked it.

7. What tips or advice would you give to home cooks who might feel a bit stressed about hosting Christmas, or other holiday celebrations this time of year?

My advice would be to take it slow. Embrace the get-togethers and create memories that will live through the generations. The food will get done. So what if it’s not at 6pm on the dot. Does that really matter? Supper might have been an hour later, but I’ll never forget my grandma’s grin and helping her make deviled eggs when I was a little girl.

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Advanced Bronze 5.25 Quart Sauteuse, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL08 at checkout!

The Anolon Advanced Bronze 5.25 Qt. Sauteuse now on sale with code TELL08

*Rotel – a canned product made of Tex-Mex diced tomatoes and green chilies.

Cook & Tell with Serena Norr of MomTrends

We get back to the basics and have a whole lot of fun in the process, as Serena Norr of MomTrends, Anolon’s Blogger of the Week, hosts our Cook & Tell Week Seven. Serena discusses how she balances her time between her responsibilities as managing editor at Mom Trends and being the mom of two littles, gives tips for a successful dinner at home on a busy schedule, and talks about how easy it was to cook one of her family’s favorite pasta dishes in the versatile Anolon Advanced Bronze 7Qt. Covered Stockpot & Pasta Insert. Enter to win this multifunctional pan that saves space and packs the punch of two pans in one, as part of this week’s Anolon Cook & Tell Giveaway on Facebook.

1. As the managing editor of MomTrends, what food trends do you see shaping up the way we’ll be eating and cooking in 2013?

Parents are looking to save money and feed their families real food and get away from fast food. Although we are all crunched for time, I see more families preparing meals and learning about food as a way to feed their children the best possible food and understand what their children are eating.

2. Does MomTrends receive lots of questions or requests about cooking and recipes? What are the most frequently asked questions or issues about food and cooking?

Yes – we receive a lot of questions about healthy and quick meal options. Parents are very busy, but they do want to give their children the best possible food.

Serena holding the Anolon Weekly Featured Pan

3. We just celebrated the biggest food holiday of the year. What Thanksgiving dishes did you and your family enjoy the most, and did you make something this year that was not strictly traditional?

We love all the traditional favorites – turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, etc., but this year we also made some different sides like a quinoa and kale salad, and a butternut/cranberry soup.

4. You’re a super busy mom with two small children at home. How do you manage getting dinner on the table each night? What tips or advice can you share with other moms who feel challenged by cooking during the week?

Dinner is always a challenge, but I try to plan out my meals by doing a big grocery shop on Sunday and then make a meal plan. My girls don’t quite have a sophisticated palate (yet), so we tend to eat a variety of pasta, rice/beans, chicken, fish, hummus and lots of veggies.

Vegetable Packed Pasta from Serena Norr

5. We’d love to hear about your experiences cooking with the Anolon Advanced Bronze 7Qt. Covered Stockpot & Pasta Insert. Please tell us what you liked about this stockpot and colander insert.

One of our favorite dishes is the pasta meal that I shared with the community. I loved how this pot made it easy to both boil the pasta and simmer the veggies. It was also wonderful to have one pot to create everything in and have a pot that is non-stick and includes a high-quality grip.

6. How would you describe your personal food or cooking philosophy? Has it changed in recent years, and if so, why?

It has changed since I have had children. Although I have always been about healthy eating, I feel that I am more aware of what goes into food and that now I want to focus more on home cooking. While I love eating out, there is nothing better than preparing it yourself as well as a way to get kids involved and excited about cooking.

7. Do you have a signature holiday dish — savory or sweet — that family and friends inevitably ask you to make each year?

Every year, I always make the soup. As the founder of Seriously Soupy, soup making is my specialty and I love that I get to create something new each year as a way to kick-off our holiday meals.

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Advanced Bronze 7Qt. Covered Stockpot & Pasta Insert, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL07 at checkout!

Anolon Advanced Bronze 7Qt. Covered Stockpot & Insert, now on sale for 25% off with code TELL07

Cook & Tell with Christy Morgan of The Blissful Chef

Discover cooking bliss this week with Christy Morgan of The Blissful Chef, Anolon’s Blogger of the Week, during our Cook & Tell Week Six. Christy shares her discovery of the joys of vegan cooking and healthy eating. She tells us about her culinary journey, her passion for natural vegan fare, and lists the dishes she’s already made in the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized 3 Quart Covered Casserole, including some side dishes perfect for Thanksgiving. Enter to win this gorgeous casserole and add it to your kitchen as part of the Anolon Cook & Tell Giveaway on Facebook.

1. On your blog, you describe yourself as a vegan macrobiotic chef and cooking instructor. When and how did you discover your passion for cooking and teaching this style of healthy eating?

When I went vegan 10 years ago, I started to teach myself how to cook. I never cooked alongside my grandmother growing up and didn’t learn how to cook. (It seems like my generation is lacking in cooking skills, and it’s a tragedy.) So when I drastically changed my diet I had to learn a new way of eating and cooking. I connected with other vegans in my community and started having potlucks. That’s when I discovered I loved to feed people. I was hungry for more knowledge and decided to go to a natural foods cooking school and change career paths to teach others how to make healthful food for themselves and their families.

2. You’ve also written a book, “Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet.” What recipes or tips in your book have been most popular with readers?

My cookbook is full of good-for-you food and whole-food recipes that do not use a lot of processed foods. Each chapter is divided into seasons to encourage people to buy seasonal produce from their farmer’s market and to eat more local. The grocery stores of today have become seasonless, so Blissful Bites puts people back in touch with nature. The most loved recipes are the UnTuna Salad, the Mac n’ Kale, Chewy Trail Mix Bars, Sushi Rice Bowl, and all the salad dressings. Someone recently came to a cooking demo I had and called my tofu scramble her new crack. That was the best compliment haha. :-)

Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet

3. In your experience with your blog and teaching home cooks, what are the key stumbling blocks that people have in preparing vegan, plant-based dishes?

The main stumbling block seems to be making the time to cook meals at home. It’s easy these days to grab prepared food on the go, but that food isn’t necessarily healthy or nourishing. So once people commit to dedicating more time in the kitchen to cooking, then it’s pretty easy to switch to eating more plant foods. You have to have an open mind because you will try new foods you probably haven’t experienced before. Another stumbling block is eating out with friends. You have to learn tricks to ordering off restaurant menus and ask the right questions. I did a video about this actually, which you can view here.

4. Thanksgiving is right around the corner — what are you planning to make for the big feast day?

I always make a sweet potato casserole with a maple pecan topping. My mushroom gravy is mind-blowing (Blissful Bites page 150) with a lentil or nut loaf, fresh cranberry sauce, and mashed root veggies. Something green must make an appearance on the plate and of course there’s dessert to consider.

5. Do you ever crave eating dairy, meat or other animal-based foods? How do you suggest people satisfy a craving?

I personally never crave those things because there is a vegan equivalent to all foods that taste good. It has never been easier to be vegan than it is in today’s world! You can get vegan cheese, vegan milk, ice cream and other dairy type foods. So if you make something similar to the food you were used to, it will satisfy that craving. It’s usually the combination of seasonings and the cooking method that is what we remember “craving”. That’s easy to mimic.

6. What do you think is the most under-appreciated or maligned vegetable?

In the mainstream I would have to say dark leafy greens like kale. The vegan and health community is crazy for it but I think the average person hasn’t tried it. In general, I think fennel is under-appreciated. It is SO versatile, cooked and raw. I love it!

Sweet Potato Casserole from The Blissful Chef

7. What did you love most about cooking with the Anolon Nouvelle Copper 3 Quart Covered Casserole?

I love that it goes straight from the stove to the oven. It’s perfect for making casseroles of any kind and I will most likely use it for my sweet potato casserole that I mentioned above. I’ve also made a gluten-free Tetrazzini and a Mexican casserole with it. I also love doing big veggie stir-fries in it. It’s really versatile.

8. If you were a vegetable, what would you be?

Broccoli or kale.

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Nouvelle Copper 3 Quart Covered Casserole, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL06 at checkout!

The Anolon Nouvelle Copper 3Qt. Covered Casserole, now on sale with the code TELL06 at Anolon.com

Cook & Tell with Maria of Two Peas & Their Pod

Maria and Josh of Two Peas & Their Pod, and baby, Caleb.

This week, it’s a family affair! Maria of Two Peas & Their Pod joins us for Anolon’s Cook & Tell Week Five. Maria and her husband Josh share a love of food and they have turned this joint passion into a blogging experience we can all savor. We asked Maria to tell us about her favorite family recipes, where she finds inspiration for recipe development, and to describe some of her favorite characteristics of the Anolon Advanced Double Burner Griddle. Enter to win your very own griddle as part of the Anolon Cook & Tell Giveaway on Facebook.

1. Do you feel lucky that your husband, the other “pea” in your “pod,” shares your passion for cooking and baking? Are there any downsides to having two cooks (and bakers) in the kitchen?

Yes, being married to a man who cooks and does the dishes is absolutely wonderful. ☺

2. What are your plans for Thanksgiving? What are you looking forward to cooking or baking?

Unfortunately, our families don’t live nearby, so we are just having a small Thanksgiving this year. I always look forward to making my dad’s Potato Rosemary Rolls.

Meet Caleb – the little sweet pea who makes their pod complete.

3. What are the most frequently asked questions, or cooking and baking conundrums from your followers?

Our followers usually ask us what we do with all of our cookies. I love baking cookies and luckily our neighbors, family, and friends love eating them. Don’t worry, we do our fair share of sampling, but we love sharing our baked goods with others.

4. What’s always in your freezer in case guests drop by unexpectedly?

Cookies! Cookies are great to have in the freezer…and I think they taste great frozen too. And we usually have frozen tomato basil soup in case someone is in need of a meal.

Pancakes cooked on the Anolon Advanced Double Burner Griddle

5. Where do you and Josh find your inspiration for developing recipes?

We find inspiration from our travels, cookbooks, magazines, and local farmers market. I dream about recipes. I’ve even woken Josh up in the middle of the night to tell him about a new recipe idea. ☺

6. What’s your favorite quick fix dinner that you, Josh and toddler Caleb really enjoy?

During the winter time, we love making soup. Our Potato Rosemary Soup is one of our favorites. We also love our Black Bean Sweet Potato Tostadas.

7. What did you like best about the Anolon Advanced Double Burner Griddle?

We love that you can make several pancakes or grilled cheese sandwiches at once. You can feed a crowd in minutes. The pan heats evenly and is easy to clean!

The Anolon Advanced Double Burner Griddle, now on sale with the code TELL05 at Anolon.com

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Advanced Double Burner Griddle, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL05 at checkout!

Cook & Tell with Alison J. Bermack of Cooking With Friends Club

This week, featured blogger Alison J. Bermack of Cooking With Friends Club talks with us about the concept behind her blog. In addition to all of its practical aspects, she uses cooking as a way to enrich relationships and through her many “cooking dates” has developed some great techniques for cooking with a partner. She loved using the Anolon Advanced Bronze 6.5 Qt. Chef Pan and shows you why in her video (see link.). Enter to win one as part of the Anolon Facebook Cook & Tell Giveaway.

1. We love your concept for “Cooking With Friends Club,” which encourages people to cook with their friends. Why do you think your site has become such a magnet for people who love to cook?

There’s a movement to connect with our food – where it comes from, how it is made and keeping food healthy – and within this movement there is a trend to cook with other people. People are realizing that food is enriched by the relationships we have with various people. It’s the process of cooking that infuses meaning into what we make and when you add the friendship factor you get a double whammy. Friends are cooking together, children are cooking with their parents and kids are cooking with kids. Because I live and breathe this communal lifestyle, people look to me and Cooking With Friends for guidance, inspiration and recipes that work beautifully for cooking together. Because my recipes are family friendly and healthy, I also get a sizable number of people who don’t necessarily cook with friends, but enjoy my cooking tips and recipes. It’s my hope that they connect with me as their cooking friend. And finally, www.cookingwithfriendsclub.com is the only cooking website dedicated to communal cooking, specifically cooking with friends.

2. What are some tips and tricks you discovered when cooking with others?

Well, it’s much easier to strain a pot of chicken soup when your friend can hold the sieve steady or turn on the water faucet for you when your hands are covered in raw chicken. It’s also more efficient when two friends divide and conquer various cooking tasks. While one friend does the chopping, another friend can man the stove. You can accomplish so much more when two or more friends work together. It’s also quite addictive to cook with conversation. I find the relationship aspect of cooking together makes cooking that much more enjoyable. Plus, the time flies by!

3. What are some of the challenges that have come up, or could pop up, when two or more cooks are in the kitchen?

The biggest challenge is getting into the groove with someone and learning how to cook in a seamless way together. Sometimes this means learning to be less polite. When you cook with someone, there must be a “your kitchen is mine” attitude, where friends feel comfortable opening each other’s drawers and cabinets. Another challenge is making sure that the costs are split fairly. I recommend that friends divide the cost of ingredients equally, keeping receipts etc. It’s also important to make sure you clean everything up together, even if your hostess says it’s ok to leave a mess. Trust me — it’s NEVER ok to leave a mess at a cooking date.

4. What are some of the most memorable meals that you’ve made, or experiences that you’ve had while cooking with friends or family?

My kitchen is a cooking hub where friends and family gather together cooking and eating. I cook with all of my girlfriends for various reasons. So every meal made together is memorable. From making meals for our family, to catering parties together and baking for bake sales and charity, we cook all the time together. We’re not a “girls who lunch” crowd but a “friends who cook together” bunch. The main difference in the two is that we get dinners prepared while we’re spending much needed girlfriend time. If I had to pick one girlfriend meal that was memorable, it was the first time my friend Debbie and I made homemade pasta and tomato sauce together. Our kids were involved as we created together with flour strewn about as we cranked ribbons of dough on one side of the kitchen and the kids turned the crank of the tomato press on the other. We had such a messy fun time together amidst the chaos. After preparing all the food, we sat down together as one big extended family. One of my favorite cooking friends is a man named Lou, who is nearly twice my age. We’ve made tomato sauce, ravioli, empanadas, gnocchi, caponata and bread. I also adore cooking with my father, since I grew up cooking throughout my teenage years with him. He’s taught me so much about being a chef, from how to use a chef’s knife to making bread and family meals together. I still cook with my father, but mostly on holidays and vacations away. It’s always a fond reminder of the childhood times cooking together.

5. What did you enjoy most about cooking with the Anolon Advanced Bronze 6.5 Qt. Chef Pan?

You’ll see in my video how much I love this Chef Pan. It truly is a non-stick pan that cooks a variety of my favorite meals perfectly. I’ve made my dumplings, empanada filling, taco dinners, vegetable chili and slow simmered tomato sauce in this skillet and it’s been ideal. The tight fitting lid is terrific for steaming and simmering foods that need a slow cook. I love that the handles are heat resistant so I don’t need to look for a pot holder when I am in a hurry to get the meal served. And finally, it’s probably the easiest pan yet that I’ve had to clean. Everything comes out with a tad of soap and warm water within seconds. It’s really become my go-to pan, and that says a lot!

6. What’s the one tip you’d give someone who is looking for a new set of cookware?

One tip is really hard since there is so much to look for in a good set of cookware. But I’d have to say versatility is most important. A new set of cookware should allow a home cook to create an endless variety of foods and give them the tools to try any recipe they’d like.

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Advanced Bronze 6.5 Qt. Chef Pan, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL04 at checkout!


(Links to other websites are inserted for convenience and do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organization, product or service.)

Cook & Tell with Angie McGowan of Eclectic Recipes

Angie McGowan of Eclectic Recipes - Week 3 featured blogger for Anolon Cook & Tell

This week, featured blogger Angie McGowan of Eclectic Recipes talks with us about her love of autumn cooking, ideas for hosting a Halloween party, and how much she loved making her Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup in the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized 4Qt. Saucepot. Enter to win one as part of the Anolon Facebook Cook & Tell Giveaway.

1. When did you develop a passion for cooking, and what life experience, or person inspired you the most to start cooking?

I developed a passion for cooking in my early teens, and I would say that cooking with my grandmother, and those fond memories, inspired me the most to enjoy cooking for my family.

2. What type of cooking and meal preparation do you especially enjoy, and have you found that your cooking style and ingredient preferences have changed over the years?

I enjoy all types of cooking, but grilling is one of my favorites. My ingredient choices have definitely broadened over the years, as I have increased my knowledge of different ingredients and how to use them.

3. What dish does your family clamor for the most?

Of all the different things I try, my family still likes southern basics the best, like fried chicken or fish with fresh garden vegetables.

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup from Eclectic Recipes

4. When entertaining guests, what tricks do you have to stay calm and carry on?

When entertaining guests, I keep the wine flowing to help keep everyone relaxed, chatty and in a good mood.

5. Tell us what you found most beneficial and enjoyable about cooking with the Anolon Nouvelle Copper 4 Quart Saucepot.

I love the weight of the pot; you can tell it’s high quality. I also loved that you can use metal utensils and not worry about scratching the nonstick surface.

6. What seasonal fall ingredients do you love to cook and bake?

My favorite fall ingredient is butternut squash. It’s so versatile in sweet and savory dishes.

7. For someone who may be planning to host an adult Halloween party, what treats do you recommend making? And for a children’s party?

I love to make chili for Halloween. It’s a crowd pleaser for both children and adults. Another fun dinner to make is whole, grilled or baked, wings with a dark glaze such as Hoisin sauce, and call them bat wings. Then serve the wings with trays of carrots and celery in the form of pumpkins with pumpkin hummus.

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized 4Qt. Saucepot, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL03 at checkout!

Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized 4Qt. Saucepot - 25% off with code TELL03

Cook & Tell with Bee Yinn Low of Rasa Malaysia

Bee Yinn Low of Rasa Malaysia

This week, Anolon featured blogger Bee Yin Low of Rasa Malyasia talks with us about how she learned to cook, her intuitions and inspirations in the kitchen, and cooking for kids. Bee makes a tasty dish for us in the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 9.5″ Covered Skillet – enter to win one as part of the Anolon Facebook Cook & Tell Giveaway.

1. Congratulations on being the most popular blog about Asian cooking! There are so many ethnic cuisines and categories to choose from — Malaysian, Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, baking, etc. What are the most popular categories among your ever-growing fan base?

The most popular category is Chinese recipes. In the United States, Chinese food is the most popular Asian cuisine, so it’s very natural that most of the users are drawn to the category. From simple stir-fries, quick rice and noodle dishes, to dim sum and dumplings, there’s always something to whet the appetite of the readers. However, I am also seeing an increased interest in Southeast Asian cooking, such as Malaysian, Thai, and Vietnamese.

2. What are some of the most common questions that Americans have about Asian home cooking? And are there any common conundrums?

The ingredients! To many American home cooks, Asian cuisines are intimidating because they don’t understand the ingredients used, the basic sauces, and where to find them. However, I try to demystify Asian cooking for my readers by incorporating easy-to-find ingredients in my recipes. I also suggest places and online websites where they can purchase the products.

Chicken Sausage made in Anolon Cookware.

3. You’re originally from Penang, Malaysia. What are some of the most potent food memories you have from living there?

The glorious street food and the colorful markets where the freshest produce can be found!

4. What techniques and cooking tools are essential for success in cooking Asian cuisines?

Honestly, in my opinion, none. Generally, you don’t need any special techniques or cooking tools for Asian cooking. Use your senses and taste buds while cooking and you can make just about anything, and tried and tested recipes on Rasa Malaysia always help.

5. Where do you find your inspiration for creating so many original and varied Asian recipes?

I am very lucky because I grew up in Penang, Malaysia — touted as the food mecca of Southeast Asia where some of the best foods are found. I also grew up in a family where food is a big celebration, and was exposed to different tastes, colors, and cuisines since I was little. Also, I travel extensively in the Asia Pacific region… so I am basically inspired by my background and my travels.

Bee cooking chicken sausage in the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 9.5" Covered Skillet

6. You have a section on your blog for toddler recipes, too! How has your cooking evolved since becoming a mom?

Being a mother pretty much changes many things in the kitchen: from shopping for the best ingredients to cooking the most nutritious and balanced meal for my family. It’s great and we are eating much better because of my son!

7. What ingredient are you currently obsessed with?

Thai roasted chili paste or nam prik pao. It’s such a wonderful and versatile ingredient; I use it to make tom yum soup, fried rice, and seafood stir-fries.

8. Tell us what you liked about cooking with the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 9.5-inch Covered Skillet with two side handles — also known as the Everything Pan!

I have a small town home and my kitchen has limited counter and storage space. The Everything Pan is small, versatile and perfectly functional. I can use it to make Asian stir-fries, breakfast for the family (pancakes, bacon, omelet), and even a stew, which I can start on the stove and complete in the oven. Another big plus is that I can just leave the skillet on the countertop when I am not using it and it doesn’t take much space.

9. When you’re not craving Asian food, what other cuisine do you love to eat?

I love eating out at restaurants serving modern American food, or Californian cuisine where locally grown or sourced ingredients are the stars of the dish.

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 9.5″ Covered Skillet, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL02 at checkout!

You can also enter Bee’s own giveaway on RasaMalaysia.com here.

Cook & Tell with Marisa McClellan from Food In Jars

This week, Anolon featured blogger Marisa McClellan of Food In Jars talks with us about her approach to small-batch canning and how she became a canning and preserving expert. Marisa cooks with the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 4 Qt. Casserole – enter to win one as part of the Anolon Facebook Cook & Tell Giveaway.

1. Tell us how you became an expert in canning and preserving. Did it start with where you grew up and learning the craft from your mom?

I became a canning expert by accident. I grew up in Portland, Oregon and every summer, I’d help my mom make jams from the local blueberries and blackberries. In the fall, we made applesauce and apple butter. So I knew the mechanics, but it wasn’t something I spent a great deal of time thinking about.

Then, when I was in my mid-twenties, I went blueberry picking. I came home with 13 pounds of berries and the only thing I knew to do with all those berries was to make jam. I called my mom for instructions, dashed out to the hardware store to buy jars and came home to make my very first solo batch of jam.

When I was done, I looked at that row of jars on the counter and knew that I had to do more of this. I loved that I had made something that was going to last longer than a day or two. It was totally satisfying and just felt right to me.

2. How has canning and preserving changed from when you were younger? Or, has it changed much at all?

The basics of canning are essentially the same as they’ve always been. There are a few things that have changed since I was a kid, because food safety experts have done a lot of research over the last 30 years and have tweaked the guidelines accordingly.

For instance, people once thought it was okay to can pumpkin butter, but we now know that because of the natural variations in pumpkin density, there’s no way to make a truly safe, shelf-stable jar of pumpkin butter at home (thankfully, this is the kind of product that freezes beautifully, so you don’t have to ban it from your home entirely).

3. What features really stood out as being helpful in using the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 4-Quart Casserole?

I live in a modestly sized apartment in the middle of downtown Philadelphia and so don’t have a ton of storage. Because of my space limitations, I tend to make smaller batches of preserves. The Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 4-Quart Casserole is scaled perfectly for these little batches of jams, jellies and chutneys. It conducts heat beautifully, has the all-important non-reactive interior (stainless steel is the best for acidic recipes, because it will never impart a metallic flavor into your food) and its shallow form encourages speedy evaporation. I also love the fact that it can go from stovetop to oven.

Watch Marisa in her very own kitchen talking about the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 4 Qt. Casserole.

4. Why do you think home cooks are so much more interested in the craft of canning and preserving today?

I think that as a culture, we’ve gotten really disconnected from our food. Canning allows people an accessible way to reconnect and feel like they are part of the food system. There’s something so deeply gratifying about opening up a jar of jam made from summer berries in late winter. These moments have become rare in our lives and home canning can give it back to you.

5. What’s your new favorite ingredient for canning?

This year, I’ve really enjoyed working with the Italian plums that come into season in late summer and early fall. They aren’t particularly good raw, but when you stir them together with a little sugar and then cook them slowly in the oven, they shine. I did a batch a few weeks ago in my 4-Quart Casserole and it was the perfect size and shape for the project.

6. What type of produce or vegetables do you think are undervalued or overlooked for canning and preserving?

I think that people need to start thinking beyond cucumbers when it comes to pickling. There’s a world of fruits and vegetables that make amazing and delicious transformations when you suspend them in a puckery brine. This time of year, I really enjoy pickling Brussels sprouts and cauliflower florets. They are just so good when pickled with a few spices!

7. We’re excited to see you recently published your first book, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round. What’s different about your approach to canning and preserving that you think people are craving to know?

I think there are two reasons my style of canning instruction has resonated with so many people. The first is that my voice is human and approachable. So many canning books leave out the humanity. Second, my batch sizes aren’t enormous. Many of the older canning books start out with pounds and pounds of produce. For those of us who live in cities, we just don’t have affordable access to those quantities. By scaling down the recipes, I made canning seem like something that was doable for people with even the tiniest kitchens and limited budgets.

8. Great to hear you are working on a second cookbook! Can you give us a little taste of what we can expect?

The next book will feature recipes on an even smaller scale. I call it “micro-batch canning.” Each recipe will start with just a pint, a pound or a quart of produce. I think it will particularly appeal to people who subscribe to CSA shares, shop at farmers’ markets or have tiny backyard gardens.

Marisa McClellan from Food In jars cooks in the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 4 Qt. Casserole

ENTER TO WIN the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 4 Qt. Casserole, or BUY ONE with our Facebook-exclusive 25% discount code – just visit Anolon.com and enter TELL01 at checkout!