today’s unexpected guest is a wonderful friend and foodie to follow, amanda frederickson. i had the pleasure of meeting this lovely lady at many events here in the bay area and her instagram feed is one I frequent daily to see what she’s cooking up in the kitchen. she’s a chef, food stylist and photographer, cookbook author, a test kitchen cook in the williams-sonoma test kitchen and founder of the food and lifestyle blog, a life well lived. in her spare time she can be found exploring the bay area and beyond in search of the best bites with her husband and pup. originally from north palm beach in florida, amanda also spent some time in new york and boston before settling in oakland. recently i was at her place and thought it’d be fun to capture her in action and have her share one of her favorite recipes. with the coming of spring, a strawberry galette was a perfect treat to welcome the new season. i hope you enjoy getting to know amanda and her recipe below!
where did your passion for cooking come from?
To be honest, I have no idea. I think it was just something I have always been in love with, even without knowing it. As a kid I was drawn to food. I used to steal the bag of flour from the kitchen cupboard and sneak off into a bathroom, dump the whole bag into the sink and pretend I was a baker by making “dough”. I should have known then that I belonged in the food world.
Growing up cooking wasn’t a big thing in my house so I am not sure where this love came from. I think it boils down to the fact that I love taking care of people and using my hands to create and food covers both of those things. It took me a while to discover this was my passion – the signs were there but I just wasn’t listening to them. Oh and I grew up watching Martha then Ina on TV so I am sure that had something to do with it.
Besides all the amazing things you’re cooking up at home, you work as a test kitchen cook at the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen. What does this entail?
There are two of us in the test kitchen full-time, myself and my co-worker Emily. Emily works on the packaged goods like braising sauces and quick bread mixes that you can buy in the Williams-Sonoma stores. I work on scratch recipes for the catalog and the website. Anytime you see a scratch recipe in the catalog showing off a beautiful product—that comes from me. I have also started hosting YouTube videos for Williams-Sonoma, which is super fun. Together Emily and I, along with our boss Amanda, also host events, teach cooking classes and write cookbooks in the Test Kitchen.
What do you love most about your job?
I really love the creative process of my job. I work closely with the creative team to develop dishes that highlight a product and at the same time are easy and approachable for the Williams-Sonoma customer. Since the recipes I develop will be photographed for the catalog, I also need to think about what the recipe will look like when it is shot—that part is fascinating to me.
When you’re not cooking, what are some local spots in Oakland you like to frequent? And what do you recommend there?
I am so fortunate to live in Oakland which has some amazing food spots. Some of my favorites are the chicken tacos from Cholita Linda, any pizza on the menu at Pizzaiolo, cinnamon toast from Trouble Coffee in West Oakland, the hamburger at the bar at Haven, olive fougasse from Firebrand Breads and last but definitely not least, the gin and tonic at Plum Bar. Honestly this list could go on and on!
I know we’re about to share the recipe for your strawberry galette. What are three other favorite recipes we can find on your site?
I recently posted a recipe for a Thai chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce that I am pretty much in love with. That peanut sauce is totally addicting and I want to put it on everything. I also make a mean banana pudding that may just be the most deliciously addicting dessert out there. Coconut quinoa bowls are something that I have become known for—quinoa is cooked with coconut milk and topped with all sorts of healthy and tasty toppings.
And what’s your guilty pleasure?
Potato chips—salty crunchy greasy potato chips. I can’t buy them because I will eat the whole bag in one sitting.
Any secret ingredients you keep stashed in your purse?
This may sound weird but I sometimes carry salt around—I love Jacobsen salt and they have genius-ly created these little salt tins that go in your purse. Truth is I love salt (hence my addiction to potato chips) and it bugs me when restaurants don’t give you salt and pepper, so I carry my own!
And who’s on your insta-feed?
There are so many inspiring accounts – here are some of my favorites.
Amanda Haas—admittedly she is my boss but is also one of my favorite people in the food world.
Lily from Kale and Caramel
Nik from A Brown Table
Alana at Fix Feast Flair
Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking
Ashley from Local Haven
Alright now let’s get to that galette… Enjoy and happy spring everyone!
Strawberry Galette (serves 6-8)
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
3 Tbs. ice water, plus more as needed
1 ½ lbs fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
¼ cup granulated sugar (plus more if strawberries are too tart)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg whisked with 1 tbs. water
Whipped cream or crème fraiche for serving
Make the pie dough:
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add flour, sugar and pinch of salt. Pulse the machine 2 or 3 times to mix the ingredients evenly. Add butter and pulse the food processor 8 to 10 times. Add 3 Tbs. ice water and pulse 10 to 12 times. The pie dough is ready when the dough holds together when pinched. If it crumbles add more ice water, a teaspoon at a time and pulse, until the dough holds together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball, flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. (This dough also freezes well for up to a month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before using.)
Make the strawberry filling:
Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Taste for sweetness – if strawberries are still very tart add 1 tablespoons sugar at a time until desired sweetness level, remembering that strawberries will become sweeter as they bake. Set strawberries aside.
Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 taps of a rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into an approximately 14” round. Place the strawberry mixture in the center of the pie dough and spread out to about 3” from the edge. Fold in the edges over the strawberry mixture crimping the dough to create a circle but leaving the center of the galette open. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Refrigerate the galette for at least 15 minutes.
Bake the galette on the parchment lined baking sheet for 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Allow galette to cool before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraiche.
• all photography by leslie santarina.