We are happy to announce the winner of the Daily Meal + Plated recipe contest: Judy Hannemann. Judy authors the popular blog, The Midnight Baker, where you can find not only delicious baked goods, but simple and delicious meals as well. We couldn’t say no to her recipe for Mushroom Asiago Chicken, which also happens to be a favorite among her readers! Read our interview with Judy below to learn more about her interesting background as an engineer and her no-nonsense approach to cooking.
Q: What got you started in the kitchen? Have you always liked to cook?
Judith: My mother instilled the love of cooking in me. I can remember as far back as when I was 5, she’d let me experiment with all kinds of things. In retrospect, some of those things tasted terrible, but Mom never inhibited me and let me keep on trying. She said you get better when you practice; she was right.
You are a true New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn. Did this affect your cooking style?
Definitely! Growing up in such a diverse cultural atmosphere exposed me to many cuisines and cooking styles. Being an engineer and scientist at heart, my love of experimenting especially with foods, cooking methods and anything different, has never been dull.
Tell us about your blog, Midnight Baker.
I started my blog after retirement. Truth be told, I was bored. It combines my love of cooking and sharing my recipes, plus my passion for photography. People often ask about my blog’s name–I always liked to bake in the wee hours of the morning because it’s so relaxing and I could be by myself. Actually, it was my time to meditate.
What’s the best cooking advice you’ve ever received?
Keep it simple. That came from my mother and it’s never failed me. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be just plain good. What’s better than a basic seasoned steak grilled to perfection?
What are the three tools you can’t live without in your kitchen?
My razor-sharp knives, my Kitchen Aid mixer and my constant companions–my dogs!
What is one ingredient that is always in your pantry?
Himalayan pink sea salt because it makes the flavor of food really pop.
What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Basic baked chicken with a baked potato and something green. I really do keep it simple.
Is there a chef you really admire or look up to?
I recently had the pleasure of meeting CJ Jacobson on a recent trip to Montana. He’s absolutely amazing and there’s no way you can’t look up to him–he’s about 7 foot tall!
What’s one piece of advice you would give to a new cook?
Same as my mom told me: “Keep it simple.”
Don’t forget to check out Judy’s recipe – it’s only available this week!