Tuesday July 03, 2012 | 11:47 AM
Perhaps you classify yourself as a cook. Maybe even a good cook. Or maybe you're someone whose kitchen talents are limited to knowing the precise amount of time it takes to nuke a hot dog in the microwave so it's hot but not so hot that it splits open like a lightning-struck log.

Whatever your culinary classification, I think we can all agree on one thing: Anything breaded and fried is good.

Whether it's shrimp or avocado or yesterday's ham, simply dip it in some panko and fry it in a pan.

Thursday June 14, 2012 | 11:36 AM
Nothing gets people talking quite like a parsnip.

I picked up a monster-sized one (a full 1.5 pounds of root vegetable wonder) at the Portland Farmer's Market yesterday. It was another foray into the land of vegetables I've never eaten/cooked/seen before because they were never served during school lunches under a blanket of Velveeta cheese.

I didn't need a bag, I told the parsnip purveyor, because I wanted to run through Monument Square carrying this gargantuan root vegetable like an Olympic torch. I ended up walking with it instead. And people started commenting on it.

Friday June 01, 2012 | 12:04 PM

My colleague Karen eats radishes raw at her desk sometimes - often with the same hand-to-mouth enthusiasm I used to save for Goldfish crackers.

I figured she must be onto something, some root vegetable delight that I'd never had the pleasure of knowing, so I tried one.

It was expectedly crisp. And unexpectedly hot. (I'm Finnish, folks. And my people are sensitive to food that's any spicier than a potato.) I didn't beg Karen for more. I didn't set a small fire in the lunchroom to distract her, like I might be inclined to do if I actually wanted to steal the bag of remaining radishes from her desk. Radishes and I just didn't click.

Thursday May 10, 2012 | 04:32 PM

Cooking isn't a competition.

But if it were, I'd win.

My triumph would come in the form of black beans and rice with chicken and apple salsa.

I culled the recipe from the January 2012 issue of Bon Appétit - a coworker gifted me her copy for inspiration during my long, arduous, food-filled cooking journey. I might've missed the beans and rice otherwise, with Bon Appétit being as intimidating as it is, with its fancy pictures and foreign-language title.

Thursday May 10, 2012 | 04:31 PM

Is it inelegant to smother a sandwich?

Is it considered crass to press the lid of a pot onto the face of a turkey on rye, pressing it into a hot pan and simultaneously smashing it into toasted submission?

I guess I don't care if it is. Smothering gives a sandwich personality

It's a little tip I culled from a cooking segment on the morning news a few weeks ago. If you're pining for a panini, but don't have any panini-specific kitchen appliances at your disposal, you can use a lid in lieu of a press.