Charm City Cook
"As a blogger about food and restaurants in Baltimore, I have to admit that I just sit back dumbfounded at the sheer energy pouring forth on Charm City Cook. That the blog is also so well written and charming — and well-paced — is really kind of flabbergasting. And you would think it would make me kind of professionally annoyed. But the fact is I really love it."

I grew up in rural Baltimore County, and now I live in the heart of Baltimore City. This suburban-to-urban migration has influenced nearly every aspect of my life as a food writer and cook.  For instance, I am always on the lookout to try new recipes and distinctive combinations of ingredients — and I raise chickens in the backyard of my Hampden rowhouse. Also, when it comes to the food I put on the table, I choose only fresh and locally grown ingredients whenever possible and do most of my shopping at a nearby farmer’s markets. My grandparents were farmers, so they went ‘local’ before it was a movement. I guess I’m following in their footsteps.

I’ve always been interested in cooking, but I didn’t get serious about it until after a trip to France several years ago. During the trip, I had a culinary epiphany, brought on in part by having the chance to spend time with Ina Garten, one of my food and entertaining faves, while visiting a friend in Paris. When I got back to Baltimore, I was so inspired. And ready to cook!

One of the things I love best about cooking is that you can constantly learn new things and make exciting discoveries in the process. For example, while trying to find a dessert that appealed to me, I created my Charm City Cook Salted Caramel Brownies. I’m not a huge sweets person, so the combination of ingredients — three kinds of chocolate, sea salt and caramel (along with eggs from my own backyard Ameraucana hens) seemed like the perfect mix for a decadent, yet down-to-earth fudgy brownie.

Currently, Charm City Cook Salted Caramel Brownies are sold at Ma Petite Shoe on 36th Street in Hampden, and are packaged in attractive compostable boxes ready for gift giving.