Describe your culinary style.
My culinary style is mainly healthy, fresh, family-friendly seasonal cuisine. 23 years ago I started cooking vegetarian Indian food, (I was a vegetarian) while I was undergoing chemo for cancer. It was suggested by my doctor as a way to spur my appetite and my sister in law who’s lived and worked in India got me started. I’d always loved Indian food, but never thought of cooking it myself. I was interested in cooking with less fats and oils and organic produce. I loved making my own Indian food and luckily living in Los Angeles, every single thing I needed for a recipe was readily available. Once I started cooking, l never looked back. I’ve since expanded to adding meat and fish to my diet and recipes. Whatever cuisine I’m cooking (I’m Italian-American) I’m always interested in home-made and traditional methods as applied to an American kitchen.
For someone new to your blog, which recipe do you recommend they try first?
A big favorite with my readers are Baked Samosas, made easy by using frozen filo dough. The recipe below is for crab samosas, but I also have recipes for traditional potato and pea samosas on my site.
Indian Style Low Oil Fries, fast and simple.
I also do a lot of gluten free and/or vegan baking for friends who’s diets require that. These simple Indian Almond Cardamom Cookies can be made either vegan or gluten free, or both.
What is the main source of inspiration for your recipes?
I’m always inspired by what I see at the Farmers Market, and what’s available locally. I also shop for more exotic but locally grown ingredients at the only Indian market in Sonoma County and also find the things I need at local Cambodian, Laotian and Hispanic markets. I’ve read a lot of traditional Indian cookbooks as you can well imagine, and am constantly inspired by them. I also enjoy trying to make adaptations of friend’s favorite foods when they’ve just been diagnosed with a food allergy or medical condition. I know how that feels. One of my biggest influences locally has been my friendship with Food Writer and James Beard award winner Paula Wolfert. Paula has been a mentor to me, a wonderful advisor and has been responsible for my move to start cooking in clay.
If you could have one food while stranded on a desert island, what would it be?
Just one? I would like to move to Samosa Island which I think is located a quick swim from Dim Sum Island. Couldn’t it be a dessert island??? In that case it would be dark chocolate.
What is your ultimate guilty food pleasure?
Good bread, any sort of great cheese, and dark chocolate. Also, eating peanut butter directly out of the container. There, I’ve said it and I’m not ashamed.
Yummly is simply freshly delicious. Mouth worthy I’d say.