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updated: 3/7/2012 1:34 PM

Home-cooked meals bring couple together

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  • Gina and Bill Kelly of Sleepy Hollow with their wasabi-glazed salmon, cooked on the grill, with sesame asparagus.

       Gina and Bill Kelly of Sleepy Hollow with their wasabi-glazed salmon, cooked on the grill, with sesame asparagus.
    photos by John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Bill Kelly of Sleepy Hollow cooks a wasabi-glazed salmon for about 15 minutes on the grill.

       Bill Kelly of Sleepy Hollow cooks a wasabi-glazed salmon for about 15 minutes on the grill.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comWasabi-glazed salmon, cooked on the grill, made by Gina and Bill Kelly of Sleepy Hollow.

      John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comWasabi-glazed salmon, cooked on the grill, made by Gina and Bill Kelly of Sleepy Hollow.

  • Video: The Kellys make wasabi salmon

 
By Abby Scalf

Gina and Bill Kelly may choose different settings when it comes to preparing meals but they come together to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Gina prefers to stay inside, dabbling in Mexican, Italian and Mediterranean cuisines using lemon, fresh herbs, tomatoes and feta. Her favorite ingredients, no matter the cuisine, are garlic and onion.

"I'll come home at night and I'll pull into the driveway and I can smell it outside," Bill said.

Bill likes his kitchen outside using his signature spice rub to create mouthwatering meals on the grill.

"He cooks low and slow. It takes hours and hours. When it's done, you know it's been cooking a long time to be as good as it is. He puts the love in," Gina said.

For 32 years, the Sleepy Hollow couple has perfected bringing their love of food together to share with their children and friends.

"For me, cooking is love. Good food makes people happy," she said.

Preparing meals when their children, Sean, 21, and Jackie, 18, were younger brought challenges. Sean was lactose intolerant and Jackie chose to be a vegetarian. Even Bill admits he was picky.

"I had to incorporate vegetarian, lactose intolerance and a picky eater into making my meals," Gina said. "I had to do my homework."

She discovered lactose free milk and blending lactose free cottage cheese served as good substitutes. But she also relied on her backyard, growing basil, thyme, rosemary and sage to add flavor.

"We've learned to adjust to it over the years," she said.

When Gina cooks, don't expect her to follow a recipe or makes a dish the same twice.

"I tell her to write down what you put in there because it was really good," Bill said.

Gina adds, "I have a sickness for cookbooks. I buy cookbooks because I like to look at pictures, read the ingredients and take a little bit from here, a bit from there."

At the grill, Bill has his special rub of paprika, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt, pepper and garlic that he uses on baby back ribs, brisket or pulled pork. And, his family is thankful that he isn't afraid to grill year round.

"I still will go out there and do it. I don't care. The grill gives off enough heat," he said.

Gina also praises Bill when he comes into the kitchen, adding he's the baker in the family. His favorites are making pies and a cinnamon roll-type treat called monkey balls.

"I like baking just about anything because I like eating it," Bill said with a laugh.

While daughter Jackie simply enjoys home-cooked meals during college break, the couple says Sean has already shown signs of following in their culinary footsteps.

"He is really adventurous in the kitchen. I love to see him cook, and I love to cook with him," Gina said.

After 32 years, the couple agrees it is cooking that is their common thread and what they enjoy doing together.

Bill asks quickly, "You enjoy the cleaning part?" "Even when it comes to cleaning, I never do it by myself," she adds.

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