Washington, DC, has been home to a food renaissance over the past decade – and that has extended over into the blogging world. Many DC chefs, bakers, and foodies have taken to the web to share their views on food and showcase their recipes.
To celebrate this creativity, we’ve decided to begin a series called “Food Perspectives” in the hopes that you’ll feel as inspired as we have by DC’s food renaissance.
Our first feature is Yang Yang, baker and creator of Fortune Goodies, a DC-based food blog that features new twists and inspiring takes on sweet and savory goodies.
Below Yang shares her inspirations, her favorite recipes, and her advice on baking and cooking in DC’s “cozy” (read: small) kitchens.
Q: Who or what has been the greatest influence on your baking and cooking?
My mom, and I’m not just saying that because it’s almost Mother’s Day. I didn’t realize this growing up, but looking back I now know that I was very lucky to have a working mom who cooked dinner for her family seven days a week. I’m more of a baker, and she’s more of a cook, a strictly Chinese one at that, but her love for feeding others, sometimes quite forcibly, is a trait that I’m proud to say I inherited.
Q: What inspired you to start Fortune Goodies?
Starting a food blog and committing to posts five days a week while juggling school and work sounds like a terrible idea, but that’s exactly what I did. Baking is my version of stress relief and starting Fortune Goodies forced me to take time to do what I love.
Q: How do you develop your recipes?
A lot of the food that I make for my blog I owe to fellow bloggers and the fine people on Pinterest. Taking existing recipes as a jumping off point, I’ll then try to adapt them to my own tastes and ways of cooking and baking, simplifying where I can. For original Fortune Goodies recipes, I find myself most often drawing inspiration from my Chinese roots, incorporating rice, wonton wrappers, and matcha green tea powder where I can. Also, fried food is my weakness and I’ll fry just about anything for my recurring Fryday series.
Q: What are your favorite go-to recipes for a quick meal or a sweet treat?
My answer to a quick meal is one that involves no cooking, and for that I constantly turn to homemade Greek salad dressing that I love to douse over a big bowl of chopped cucumbers, tomato, red onion and feta cheese. As for something sweet, cookies are always the go-to. I have a growing library of recipes that I keep coming back to, but if I have to pick just one, I have to go with my signature matcha green tea cookies.
Q: You’ve had the opportunity to live all over the world. How has that inspired your perspective on food? What have you taken away from each place that’s influenced your baking and cooking?
I’ve been very lucky to call Australia, Montréal, Colorado, New York, and DC home. I’ve never lived in China, but the motherland feels like home too. One thing that I’ve learned from living in all of these places is to keep an open mind and to give everything a try (unless it’s tuna). Some individual lessons include:
Australia: Vegemite – one word to sum up the phrase “different strokes for different folks.”
Montréal: French fries are best served with gravy and cheese curds. When neither are available, order chili cheese fries.
New York: Food carts offer some of the best meals and great cuisine doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive.
China: Family-style is the best style.
Colorado: Chipotle tastes best in Denver where it originated.
One more overarching lesson: sometimes, the best meals are the ones you cook at home, wherever that may be.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to bake or cook more in DC? Where should they start?
For most of us, DC living is cramped, our kitchens tiny, and with the abundance of great restaurants to choose from, eating out is almost always the easiest option. Believe me, I do a lot of it. But if you’re looking to bake and cook more, I would suggest starting right on your computer. When you have a free moment at work, turn to Pinterest, All Recipes, Google or (*clears throat*) your friendly neighborhood food blog, and do a quick search for whatever you’re in the mood for. There are so many great, quick and easy dinner options to pick from that a little bit of pre-planning will go a long way to help you make a home-cooked meal cheaply and comfortably in even the smallest of studio-apartment kitchens. Disclaimer: This whole cooking-dinner-at-home-thing is a lesson I’m still learning for myself.
Q: What’s next for Fortune Goodies?
That’s a great question, and one that I don’t quite have an answer for. After three long years of going to school part-time, I just completed my MBA and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted. With my newfound free time, I hope to sign up for a photography class, hit the gym with more frequency and take time to relax and enjoy myself. How all of this will play into my blogging is still a bit of mystery, but I expect to post with more frequency and develop more of my own recipes. Hopefully, a bigger, better and brighter Fortune Goodies will follow. Stay tuned.
For more food perspectives from Yang Yang, visit Fortune Goodies. Photo credit: Fortune Goodies.