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Eating From the Ground Up

I’m a young mom of two little girls living out in the green hills of Western Massachusetts.

I’m a part time personal assistant in the film world, but I’m working on figuring out how to make my living in the food business. I compulsively give recipe advice to anyone who will listen, so I’m trying to take my cues from that. I also work at our local farmer’s market for my CSA, and I give advice on turnips and tomatoes for hours on end, which I love. I’m married to an artist who is also a Montessori teacher, and my children won’t eat vegetables most of the time.

How long have you been a Daring Baker/Daring Cook and what’s your favorite thing about being in the group(s)

So far? I have been a Daring Baker for almost a year, and a Daring Cook since the group began. I have learned more from getting myself through these recipes than I ever thought possible. I love the community, and I love the opportunity to see blogs from all over the world.

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? How about your favorite kitchen appliance?

I am a serious gadget and appliance lover. I have a lot of them, and I use every single one. Tired of hearing me complain, my husband just bought me a Cuisinart, so I’m pretty in love with that one, but I have some serious affection for some of my fringe gadgets, like my sprouter and my Eurocuisine yogurt maker. And yes, I have favorite non electric gadgets too. Right now I’m pretty into my French rolling pin.

Are you known for making a certain dish or dessert? If so, what is it?

The thing that people ask for in care packages is my granola. That would probably be the one.

Is there any recipe and/or technique that we haven’t covered yet that you’d really like to make/learn?

I’d like to play around with more yeasted breads. But I’m game for it all.

Do you have a favorite movie? Book? Genre of music? Actor? Actress?

Rotates around a lot. But today, I’d have to say “All the Real Girls”, “Moby Dick” quiet electronica, Richard Jenkins, Patricia Clarkson

You’ve just won $5000.00!!!

I’m going to France to try to get someone to really teach me pastry.

What is the ultimate comfort food to you?

Chicken Soup with Dumplings

Which season (Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall) is your favorite.. why?

Fall. I like how it makes me feel nostalgic, and the way it smells, and the fact that there is still food in the garden and it’s cool enough to cook all day. I love the end of fall too, when the snow is just starting up but I’m not sick of it yet.

Other than cooking and/or baking.. what hobbies do you enjoy?

I’m a dancer. And I love music, and dance parties with my girls, and I’m getting pretty big into gardening.

How long have you been blogging? Do you like it? What’s your favorite post you’ve written?

I’ve been blogging for a little over a year. I love it with a vengeance. I would do it all day if I could. I think one of my favorite posts might have been my first DB post, when I was trying to make Caramel Cake only I discovered that mice had eaten through the wires in my oven and then died in there, and I had to walk around the neighborhood with my unbaked cake looking for an oven to put it in. It wasn’t funny at the time, but I laughed the whole time I wrote about it.

What’s your favorite cookbook for desserts/baking? What’s your favorite cookbook for savory/cooking?

Right now I’m in love with Alice Medrich, primarily, Pure Dessert. For Savory, I just keep using Alice Waters, Art of Simple Food. Not so original, I know, but it’s just so good.

If you could bake/cook with other Daring Bakers/Daring Cooks, who would they be and why?

Oh, that’s a hard one! I think we’d all like a few minutes in Audax’s kitchen, and I would love to bake with Helene of Tartlette. Also Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives- she makes such beautiful food and somehow I think I would laugh through the whole experience.

What’s your favorite flower and/or plant?

I love lavender. I grow it and use it in my cooking a lot.

Do you have a favorite local restaurant? If so, why is it your favorite and what kind of food is served there?

No! All the restaurants around me cater to the rich tourists, so we never go out. But if I lived in Portland, ME, my favorite restaurant would be Caiola’s. They serve local, affordable, fancy art. It’s amazing.

Who taught you how to cook and/or bake?

My grandmother taught me to love baking before she died, and my mother taught me how to deal with good ingredients, but I’ve sort of run with it from there.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

I love Thanksgiving. Why do you think?

Reading any good books lately? Which ones?!

I’m a big reader, but the kids are taking it all out of me these days. Mostly children’s books, I’m afraid.

You’ve had a rough week. We feel your pain. How do you relax after a rough week?

Ah, to be truthful, lately it’s True Blood and and a bowl of granola.

Where is your favorite vacation (holiday) destination?

I love Portland, ME.

What is your favorite cooking/food related magazine? Why?

Got to Go with Gourmet. Classy, useful, and I’ve got a thing for Ruth Reichl.

Aside from chocolate for most of us, do you have a food addiction?

I’m addicted to toast.

What did you eat for dinner last night? Did you prepare it or someone else?

Last night, I made a swiss chard frittata, and left a note for my husband to roast some white turnips. He did pretty well.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

2nd cups of coffee, the L word, ice cream cones, narcissistically obsessing on what I’m going to do when I grow up, oh there are so many more…

What kind of colors do you like? Pastels? Earth tones? Brights? Neons? Etc.

I like red. And purple.

If you had the choice of a free kitchen, bathroom, living room or bedroom makeover – which would you choose and why?

Kitchen, definitely, mine is tiny. But can I put a bathtub in the kitchen? Don’t they do that in France?

The Martha – Angel of Domestication or Minion of Evil? Why?


Do you watch any competitive cooking shows? Like Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen? If so, which is your favorite and why?

Nope, don’t have a tv.

You can visit Alana on her blog Eating From the Ground Up

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A healthy start to the new decade