Being more adventurous in the kitchen is something we all aspire to do. We want try new recipes, new ingredients, and new techniques, but we're afraid of creating and being forced to eat (or throw away...) a disaster. Blogger Annie of the food blog Frites and Fries has developed unique recipes by reading many a cookbook and by being just plain ballsy–experimenting with uncommon ingredient combinations to create delicious food and titillating drinks.

P.S. Annie is also the Queen of Food Puns. Don't believe us? Check out her recipe intros to read for yourself!

Tell us about Frites and Fries and why you started it?

I started f&f during my first year of graduate school at NYU. I was studying vision science and I wanted to take up a hobby that was creative, something that would take me out of the research lab. It was originally a New York City lifestyle/food blog but when I met my then-chef boyfriend at the time, it evolved into restaurants and recipes. While I don't regret graduate school, the blog has led me to a career path that I love more: food. Now that I've moved to Minnesota and doing more hands-on food projects, the blog is a place for me to write and test the ideas that I have in my head instead of keeping all to myself in my work notebook. This process is incredibly important to my work life since my clients always need interesting and fun marketable ideas for their businesses. I always need to be on my toes!

Daikon, Carrot & Cucumber Salad

You are the first recipe contributor to reach 100 recipes! What are you tips to developing unique recipes?

When I write recipes, I do it a bit selfishly: I think about what I like to eat and what I crave when I write it. It's a great starting point for me, and from there, I'll try to add one or two "out-of-the-box" ingredient. It doesn't hurt to just try things out even if the combination sounds weird or potentially disgusting. Recipe development is creative and fun, and experimentation is such a great learning experience for new and seasoned recipe writers.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get most of my inspirations from my food professional friends, chef clients, and restaurants -- I eat out A LOT and it's a bit ridiculous. The other day, my boyfriend and I decided that we should stop going out and cook dinner at home for the next 30 days...just to see if we can. We'll see how well it goes! Anyways, I watch the restaurant scene very closely and I read a lot of chef/restaurant cookbooks because it's important to me and my clients. I'm such a fan girl of Stéphane Reynaud, Suzanne Goin, and Jenni Britton Bauer. I also love food blogs and reading up on the chefs featured in Four Magazine.

Pappardelle Alfredo With Lobster Mushroom

What are some of your photography and styling tips to someone who is just starting her food blog?

My biggest tip to new food bloggers is to keep it simple when it comes to taking photos of food. Try not to over-style it and don't be afraid to experiment with different props and backgrounds. Experimenting allows you to find your own style.

With time you also develop your own rules of aesthetics whether you notice it or not. For example, I'm not a huge fan of garnishes and I like using props that have nature inspired tones -- it's also really obvious how much my own style has changed. Sometimes I get a little embarrassed looking at my old posts from 2008...

My biggest tip to new food bloggers is to keep it simple when it comes to taking photos of food. Try not to over-style it and don't be afraid to experiment with different props and backgrounds. Experimenting allows you to find your own style.

Do you use any special equipment or editing tools?

I use a tabletop tri-pod, Lightroom 4, and a food styling kit (which will be available for sale in the future through my company Studio

Wild Mushroom Millet Bowl

What's in your Frites and Fries pantry?

I have so many random things! Right now I have an opened container of gochujang, a jar of fermented bean curd, a lot of pasta, three different kinds of sesame paste, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, a few kinds of pantry has way more items than my fridge. My fridge is kind of sad right now.

Confetti Cookie Icebox Cake

We love your cocktail recipes! What's in the Frites and Fries bar?

Kavalan Single Malt, Hibiki 12-Year, and Bulleit Bourbon (which I used for baking) -- I am a huge whiskey drinker so I try to keep at least three or four different kinds in my bar. I can't have any more than that or I would have trouble making drink decisions. I always keep at least one Minnesota gin (right now it's Prairie Gin) and a bottle of elderflower liqueur on hand. Oh, and you can't forget the bitters! I'm all about Peychaud's. I gotta have my Sazerac.

Thyme-Tequila Cocktail

Challenge question! You have a $50 budget and four adults coming for dinner tonight. What do you make?

Carbonara! Dried pasta is fairly cheap so the only pricey item is bacon. That dish would be about half of the budget if you're really resourceful. In fact, you could have room for dessert. For dessert, I'd whip up a simple fruit salad with some fresh sweetened whipped cream. Simple, classic, and perfect for last minute dinner guests.

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