My cooking style has been greatly influenced by my husband’s Lebanese culture and our visits to Lebanon. Watching my sisters-in-law prepare delicious meals with lots of fresh herbs, curious spices, yogurt, and seasonal vegetables opened the door to a whole new world of cooking. Another source of inspiration comes from the ingredients themselves, learning about their uses, and then incorporating them into my own cooking.
Cooking from Scratch
I’ve always loved to cook, but making food from scratch happened on an occasional basis early on. Making a spaghetti and meatball dinner, with small children, would consist of jarred sauce and boxed pasta out of necessity. When time permitted, I would make the marinara sauce—using bright red Italian plum tomatoes and some basic pantry ingredients. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching simmering tomatoes develop into a thick sauce. Not to mention the taste of freshly made marinara just can’t be compared.
I would also prepare pancakes by making a simple batter of eggs, flour, milk, and baking powder. It became obvious—the more I made our food, the better my family liked it and the healthier we ate. Ten years later, I find myself making more parts of our meal than ever, from salad dressings, pickles, sauces, and condiments, to crackers and breads. Cooking from scratch now is my way of life and I’ve never looked back.
Julie currently lives with her husband and two sons in their Austin, Texas home.