When Lisa Anders looks forward to celebrating a special occasion, she doesn't think about restaurant reservations. Her husband, Brad, can whip up a special meal or dessert to rival any dining establishment.
"He can cook and bake better than I can and most people I know," said Lisa, who nominated Brad for Cook of the Week.
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Brad, who learned how to cook from his mom, thinks his cooking may have helped win Lisa over when they were dating. One Valentine's Day he made a meatloaf for her in the shape of a heart.
"Who wouldn't like a guy who knows how to cook?" Brad asks.
Married now for three years and living in Bartlett, Brad said he is lucky they both love to cook, yet while Lisa follows recipes to the letter, he gives recipes his own spin.
"That's the fun I get out of it," he said. "I wonder what this will be like if I do this."
Brad experiments with all types of food whether it be dipping into his Italian roots to alter an Alfredo sauce or creating slow-cooked chicken wings with garlic teriyaki and spicy barbecue dipping sauces.
One of his favorite pieces of kitchen equipment is a roasting oven which he uses for his slow-cooked pork ribs. A rub with brown sugar, paprika, garlic salt and onion powder coats the meat before it goes into a beer bath. The cover goes on and the slow roasting begins.
"I noticed that the juice in the bottom caramelizes from the sugar in the beer. All the drippings from the rub and the beer almost made their own barbecue sauce," he said. "The ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and flavorful because of the rub. That is a recipe I am asked to make all the time."
Lisa finds restaurants cannot compete with Brad's version.
"I'm a rib lover and now have a hard time finding ones that will satisfy me out in restaurants since his are just so good," she said.
When it comes to baking, Brad is most inspired to create something for Lisa. Most recently, he whipped up a carrot cake, her favorite dessert. He dressed up the dessert by displaying pieces on a cupcake stand decorated with pink and purple edible flowers.
Brad said he simply enjoys making food that others enjoy.
"To see people enjoy what I made is what I enjoy," he said.
Brad looks forward to a new young lady to cook for, and one day cook alongside, as he and Lisa expect their first child in September.
"It will be awesome to cook together. I hope (our child) will want to experiment and do things like we do," he said.
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