Chef Krista Espinal

of Birdsall House and Gleason’s in Peekskill

 A late-night snack craving hits. What do you reach for in your fridge?

A comforting and simple PB&J made with Jif Natural Peanut Butter and strawberry jam. 

From your current contents, what could you make for dinner if, say, relatives or friends showed up unexpectedly?

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Lots of condiments and beer and eggs but not much else, so not sure I could make anything. I don’t get much company anyway, since I get home from work late, at 11:30 p.m. 

Anything in there really old or of unknown origin?

I’ve been collecting a bowl of duck fat since December. I use it to sauté potatoes or other veggies. Makes them special. 

Item that would impress a foodie (Siberian caviar, for example?)

A homemade balsamic-and-cherry compote. Good with duck.  

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Rate your fridge from 1 (don’t open without hazmat suit) to 10 (I may have OCD). 

6—on the neat side. I live like a true bachelorette, so never too much in there to get really messy. 

Any embarrassing fake foods, e.g., Cool Whip or Cheez Whiz, etc.?

Can’t say there is—but I will own up to liking Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. That nuclear orange packet of “cheese” is the best. 

Fussy about any staple being organic, fair trade, etc.?

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My dairy. I have Nature’s Promise Organic Yogurt and Stonyfield Organic Milk. My butter is always a European brand, which, while not necessarily organic, is superior to American butters because of the higher fat content.  

Anything not allowed in your fridge (e.g., soda?)

Not a soda drinker—the exception being Seagram’s Ginger Ale if I have stomachache. 

Any random/unusual items in the door shelf?

Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce. I use it on rice noodles.

What’s the meat situation like? M

y boyfriend, Eric Dawes, roasted a chicken not long ago, but the only evidence left of it is a container with some chicken stock. He’s not a chef [he’s an operations manager for Gap] but probably does 60 percent of the cooking in the house. He has a recipe with bacon, peas, and white cheddar that won the mac-and-cheese competition at The Big Cheese in Rosendale, New York. We went out for the first time the same week he won the competition.  

How about produce?

There’s some dried-up parsley. So sad.  

Let’s talk the really cold stuff, as in 32° F and below. 

There’s always frozen berries for my protein shakes. To counter any healthy lifestyle choices, I have Talenti pistachio gelato!  

What’s your favorite item hanging on the refrigerator? 

A magnet from Speakeasy Tattoo in Peekskill. Most of my tats I got there; the latest was a cover-up on my left arm of a cotton-candy zombie girl—a design by my sister. It’s now a rose.

Anything on top of the fridge?

A bunch of GNC Puredge Complete Vegan protein powders, plus Nutro Dog Treats for my boyfriend’s pit bull, Misha. 


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