A stay-at-home mom who runs her own salad-dressing business, Lettuce in Love, she lives in Cold Spring Harbor with her husband, Andrew, her 15-year-old son, Jesse, and her 12-year-old daughter, Abby.

How did you get interested in cooking? My mother is a great cook. When she was working - she owned Sweet Temptations in Huntington - she used to ask me to make salads for dinner after school. I was in the seventh grade. In high school I started a summer business with a friend, doing catering.

Do you like to share your recipes? I started a blog called Food Mojo through Facebook, and I post what I'm cooking every day. People started writing in about how much they liked what I was cooking. On Facebook you get to be friends with people from all over. They call me Chef Steph.

What kinds of things do you like to cook? I try to make what I like to eat (when I am) out. It also depends on what my family wants to eat. I might make four things for dinner. For example, if I make French onion soup, my husband and son will eat it with bread and cheese, but I don't want the bread. I'll make something different for my daughter.

What is your culinary point of view? Fresh, cheap and cheerful.

Are there any ingredients you can't live without? Parsley and lemon juice. Lemon juice adds an extra zing to a recipe.

What about pots and pans? Have you got a favorite? My Lodge cast-iron pan. It's very budget-friendly - they cost about $25 - but you have to season them properly. I've had mine since I got married 17 years ago. Also, I love my immersion blender.

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Is there something in the supermarket you think is really great? Kozy Shack's puddings. They're a company based in Hicksville. And I really like Greek yogurts.

Do you have a favorite restaurant? I like Osteria Toscana and Bistro Cassis. They're both in Huntington and operated by the same owners. The breads are over-the-top delicious, and the restaurants make a nice cocktail. They're consistent.

Do you have any advice for beginning cooks? Make your own salad dressing. Oil and vinegar are simple enough. If you have fresh herbs on hand, you can have something different every day. Buy fresh herbs, and wash and dry them carefully. Wrap them in a paper towel, and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They'll last for a week or 10 days.

SALMON WITH CARAMELIZED VEGETABLES

1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, cut in 1/4-inch slices, separated into rings

1/2 fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 cup string beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 8-ounce fresh, wild-caught salmon filets

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2 tablespoons grainy mustard (Grey Poupon or Inglehoffer's)

 

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. Add vegetables, olive oil and salt and pepper to tray, tossing to coat all the vegetables evenly and spreading out to one layer.

3. Roast vegetables for 10 minutes.

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4. Remove vegetables from oven and toss, making a pocket of room for the salmon.

5. Place the salmon filet on the tray in the area you made for it and cover top of fish with mustard.

6. Place baking tray back in oven and continue to roast for an additional 12 minutes or until the salmon is medium rare and the vegetables are caramelized and crispy.

7. Let fish stand for 5 minutes. Serve with brown rice. Makes 2 servings.

Know a great home cook? Write WHO'S COOKING, Food Dept., Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747-4250 or Linda Perney at lperney@worldnet.att.net