Erin Grunstein hails from Canada, at least that is what her email says and she and Jamie have a lot in common. In turns out Erin didn't really know anything about cooking until she got married, but once she gave it try she fell in love and decided to share that love with the world on her blog, Erin's Kosher Cooking Adventures.
Tell us about your blog and how you got started:
I'm not sure what inspired me to start a cooking blog - I'm not a professional chef, nor am I someone who really followed blogs. I honestly didn't know what to do in the kitchen until getting married (only 3 years ago) and I'm still learning to this day. I found that frequently, friends were asking me for recipes, so one day last summer, I started posting my favorite creations. At first I was a bit shy, but I had a few people look at it and they loved it, so I shared it. I started getting amazing feedback from people I'd bump into all over the city, and from there, I decided to keep it going.
What is your earliest cooking memory?
I have pictures of myself as an 18-month-old baby baking cookies with my mom. As a kid, this was one of my favorite pastimes – especially baking sugar cookies and dousing them with multicolor (food coloring dyed) sugars.
What is your favorite kitchen implement / utensil / gadget?
The magic bullet! It's amazing for making salad dressings, pesto sauces, mincing garlic, grinding nuts... Also, it doesn’t take up too much space so you can easily put it into the dishwasher. As well, it comes with different plastic containers to process and then store your food in.
What's your favorite kosher dish to cook?
There are so many! It's so hard to choose. I love making food that not only tastes delicious but also presents beautifully and I have a thing for mini and individual food items. So I would probably say appetizers, like my Caprese Eggplant Stacks (the one pictures above) or my Asian rice paper rolls. I also should probably say anything with pesto sauce is a personal favorite- it's just so yummy!
Who is your cooking inspiration?
My mother - she's a phenomenal cook. The only problem is she never remembers what she does to make the food so tasty and she can't give a recipe to save her life! Many of my recipes are spin-offs of hers (such as my Moroccan meat pie) or are mother-daughter creation, such as our Pesto-Stuffed Mushrooms.
Please share a favorite cooking tip or trick with our readers:
Continuing with the pesto talk - when making pesto, always coat the top of the container holding the pesto with olive oil so that the basil does not turn brown.
Another tip when cooking for a crowd and to help make things run smoother: take a place in your kitchen (I just use my table) and prepare all your serving dishes and utensils beforehand, so that when serving (and your guests are waiting for their food) all you have to do is place the food on the plate, instead of scrambling to find each serving dish one by one. It sounds simple but makes a huge time (and stress) difference.
Which recipes are you sharing with us today?