Feature

Kitchen Careers: The Hill Country Cook, Food Blogger

Kitchen Careers is a regular feature that goes behind-the-scenes with chefs, bloggers, critics and others in the food industry to get the inside scoop on what its like to cook, or eat, for a living.

From the heart of Texas, Katie Burkhart shares her journey in the kitchen at The Hill Country Cook, her blog where she shares recipes with a story for food that will feed your soul.

Meet Katie

Where can we find you on the web? (What is your blog and any other regular freelancing/side projects)

All my recipes, mouthwatering photos, and cooking videos be found at The Hill Country Cook. I also write as a food columnist for my local paper, The Taylor Daily Press; this has been great fun and a great way for me to connect with my community. In addition, I have also been fortunate with the opportunity to moonlight for the Texas Farm Bureau who has featured my videos and recipes.

Who is your culinary icon?

One? I can’t pick one! My top three though, are good ol’ Paula Deen; I love her charismatic spirit. Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman is most definitely is my sister from another mister. Last, but not least, Christy Jordan from Southern Plate inspires my kitchen tall tales with her engaging and enthralling style of writing.

Peach Pocket Pies from The Hill Country Cook

Why do you love to cook?

Because it feeds the soul! I love seeing the happiness brought to a friend or family member when they are surprised with their favorite birthday cake, or comfort food dinner. Food has connected people since the beginning of time and it continues to keep us connected today. Whether it’s in celebration, a gift of healing, or simply two friends sharing a recipe, it brings people together. Whenever I find an old recipe, I love imagining the person who made it, what their kitchen looked like, why they made it, and best of all, what hilarious adventure may have ensued the first time he or she made it!

What is the best part about being a food blogger?

The best part of being a food blogger is being able to share my passions with all my readers, and learn from them as well! One of my many dreams is to teach children’s cooking lessons, so photographing my recipes for others to see feels like a part of this dream is coming true. I also love the connection of being able to share recipes and stories with friends. Nothing is better than passing along a great recipe to a dear friend followed by “You’ll never guess what I did when I made this….”

Homemade Ricotta Cheese from The Hill Country Cook

Who would you want to battle on Iron Chef?

The thought of Iron Chef terrifies me! If I was presented with a pineapple, a fish, and a cucumber, the only I could think to do is to make a congealed salad! I am just not a create a recipe from nothing kind of girl; I am a search through all the old tattered pages of grandma’s church cookbook kind of girl. What I would like to do, however, is to battle Bobby Flay on Throwdown! I heard he likes cherry cobbler, and I got a mean one waiting for him!

What was your first published recipe?

My first published recipe was for Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies. I figured I really had to get people’s attention, right? My childhood best friend came up with the idea, and they turned out GREAT! They are half the fat of a regular chocolate chip cookie, and soooo soft, moist and chewy. And NO, they don’t taste like avocado. Y’all have got to taste it to believe it folks!

Learn to make Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Hill Country Cook

What is your favorite food city?

Growing up in Northern California, San Francisco is the first one that comes to mind. Although I didn’t grow to like clam chowder until I was an adult, they can make a mean one. Combine that with fresh, and I mean fresh sourdough bread, and ooooh you’ll find yourself ringing that trolley bell for another taste. If seafood isn’t your thing, where else can you find Thai noodles, Italian pasta, fresh Mexican tamales, hot, fresh croissants, spicy Chai tea, and the best dark chocolate sundae EVER all within a five mile radius??

Summer Sangrito

What three PBS personalities would you invite to dinner (animated, muppet, or living)?

Well, this is easy! First, I would invite Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, because I think I embody her as a teacher. I think my students would agree, wink wink. Then I would need Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook because I still need help with how to chop vegetables. Last but not least I would invite Christopher Kimball from America’s Test Kitchen. Although honestly I find him a little intimidating, his wealth of knowledge is so interesting; I could watch him for hours!

What meal/snack is your guilty pleasure?

Fresh, hot chocolate chip cookies and milk? Keep it simple, silly.

The Hill Country Cook's Nutella Pie

What is your favorite under appreciated kitchen tool?

My mom and I love to joke about this one; she is the queen of kitchen gadgets, and I hate them. I hate all clutter. I want my kitchen as simple as possible – and as few dishes to wash as possible! However, after she introduced me to the garlic press, my life has been forever changed. My little half of the joke is I also love my prized cherry pitter, and she still uses a paper clip. Who does that?

In one tweet (140 characters or less)- what is your culinary style?

Prize winning vintage recipes; comfort for one’s soul. Good story required.

The Hill Country Cook's Avocado Ice Cream

When outside the kitchen, how do you spend your time?

Outside the kitchen, I am a teacher. I love it; however I would really like to be teaching them cooking lessons! I teach middle school, and I also recently started working on my masters to be a school counselor. In my “free” time I love cleaning (true!), photography, fishing, canoeing, dirt bikes and antiquing. My husband is one lucky man, isn’t he?

Is there a person in the food industry or a type of “Kitchen Careers” that you would like to know more about? Add your suggestions in the comment section!