Behind our yummy recipes, reviews and photos are creative cooks, crafters, photographers and food lovers. We thought it was about time to shine the spotlight on the superstars who make Food.com hum everyday. First up: Culinary Explorer, also known as Alicia Welcome.
This young mom is a busy gal, running her own professional photography business, writing her 365 Days of Food blog and chasing after her two boys in Portland, Oregon. Lucky for us, she still found the time to sit through our Q&A so we could get to know her a bit better and find out her food (and Food.com!) favorites.
Since joining in 2005, Alicia has added 250+ food photos, 60+ recipes and hundreds of reviews. One thing Alicia marvels at are the first couple images she posted here (back when we were Recipezaar) and how far she’s come with her photography and taste buds. This former picky eater has grown her palate by trying recipes by talented Food.com chefs from all over the world.
What’s your go-to Food.com recipe?
If I had to pick one, I’d have to go with something I have made more times than any other recipe from the site: Tuna and Artichoke Panini by Adopted Parisian. It is so simple but packs a punch of flavor. I absolutely love the garlic, olive, lemon spread that goes on these paninis and could eat them every day!
Do you have any favorite chefs here?
One of the things I love about Food.com is that great recipes can come from anybody! So rather than follow any particular member, I enjoy browsing the new recipes posted and giving ones with few or no reviews a try. I have found some amazing dishes that way. I will say though, that I have never met a recipe I did not enjoy from Kittencalskitchen!
Where did your cooking chops come from?
Though my husband jokingly tries to take the credit for “teaching me how to cook,” the reality is that, like for many other ventures in my life, I mostly learn as I go. I learned the basics as a teenager from watching and helping my mom and also through Home Economics. My confidence and ability have definitely evolved with practice.
Italian flat-leaf parsley! I love the freshness it brings to any dish. I put it in just about everything from pastas to skillet dishes, sandwiches, meats, salads and even drinks! The one thing I have yet to try is a dessert containing parsley, but I’m sure there is one out there!
Least favorite ingredient?
It would have to be something like celery or fennel seeds. I usually just leave things like that out unless it’s a small amount or I feel like the overall dish would suffer without it.
Is there one dish that scares or intimidates you?
Tofu and eggplant. I don’t know why I fear them so much. I have saved various recipes for both that look appealing, but I just can’t bring myself to go through with it.
Confession time: What’s your guilty pleasure food?
Chocolate! I love a good chocolate dessert any day, but my true guilty pleasure that I have way too often are iced mochas! I have at least one most days.
It’s your last meal: What are you having?
Since there is obviously no concern about calories or fat, I would go with a nice Caesar salad and rolls to start, a big plate of alfredo pasta (maybe with some chicken and mushrooms), a glass of wine and a molten lava cake for dessert!
Tell us about your most epic cooking flop. Did you cry or save it?
I came across a blog a long time ago for some amazing cake pops and had been dying to try my hand at them. The blogger made it look SO easy. I decided to try some seemingly simple apple ones for my son’s birthday party. Total failure. They would NOT stay on the sticks at all, and every time I tried to dip them in the melted candy coating they would fall apart. I probably did shed a few frustrated tears, or at least some curse words, and then did what I could to save the day. I ended up placing each rolled cake ball into a mini muffin cup and piping the melted candy coating and chocolate onto them in a zigzag pattern. It worked wonderfully and they were a major hit at the party! Someday I WILL make those cake pops though!
Eat With Your Eyes: 3 Favorites from Culinary Explorer
Asian Noodle Bowl
“This is the perfect dish to change things up a bit, while still using familiar ingredients that can be found almost anywhere.”
Seared Salmon With Balsamic Glaze
“This was a nice way to serve salmon. Looked great and super easy. It was maybe a bit simple in flavor, but not in a bad way.”
“These were very good. I put mine on top of whole grain English muffins. I also used less cheese and it was fat free. Made this way we were each able to enjoy three of these for only six WW points!”