Rella Kaplowitzis the blogger behind PennyPinchingEpicure.com. He philosophy is about budget cooking and just happen to be gluten free as required by her personal allergies. We love that many of her recipes have dollar amounts at the bottom so that you can really see how to cook on a budget. Rella shares easy recipes for everyone.
1. Tell us about your blog and how you got started.
I started my blog in September of 2009. It was kind of a whim--I love cooking, and have since I was pretty young (lucky for my Mom!). People are always asking for my recipes, so I thought maybe other people would be interested in them too. And if not, I figured at the very least it would be a great repository for my friends. And so was born the Penny Pinching Epicure.
My philosophy is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make delicious, really flavorful food. Shortly after I started blogging, I discovered I was gluten intolerant, so all of my recipes (except for a few at the beginning) are totally gluten-free and largely dairy-free.
Honestly, I wasn’t even sure anyone would read it when I started. But it turns out, there are lots of people interested in budget cooking, especially when you have food allergies.
2. What is your earliest cooking memory?
This is a little embarrassing, but my first actual memory is being in a restaurant eating dinner with my family, getting my food stuck in a chair, and falling over backward while at the same time flinging a cup full of ice all over the people sitting around us. Apparently, I was so cute nobody cared!
Seriously though, my Mom got us into the kitchen very early. The funny thing is, she’s never really enjoyed cooking all that much, but somehow she imparted a love of food and cooking to both my sister and me. I mean, check out how excited I am to help roll out hamentaschen dough at three years old!
3. What is your favorite kitchen implement / gadget / utensil?
I live in a pretty small apartment, so multi-functional kitchen utensils are absolutely essential. I suppose it’s a toss-up between my slow cooker and my KitchenAid, although I had to completely rearrange the kitchen to find space for it. I also love my food scale--I do a lot of gluten-free baking (even more of a science than regular baking) and exact measurements are key. Oh, and I love my immersion blender too. You know, you’d be hard pressed to find something in my kitchen I don’t like (as long as it isn’t dirty in the sink...).
4. What is your favorite kosher dish to cook?
I love kugels. When I went gluten-free, a lot of the usual kugels were off limits until I figured out how to adapt them to be Rella-friendly. My favorite (and the favorite of all of my friends) is my twist on a corn kugel: Savory Sage Corn Kugel. It’s so easy, you pretty much just dump everything together, pour it in a pan, bake, and enjoy!
5. Who is your cooking inspiration?
You know, I’m not sure I could pick out any one person. I definitely have food personality favorites, but I think I’m more inspired by the food itself. It’s nerdy, I know, but I absolutely love food shopping, whether it’s at the farmers market or a mainstream supermarket. Walking around and figuring out what I can make any ingredients into is really fun for me.
6. Please share a cooking tip or trick with our readers
I love coming home in the evenings and cooking dinner--I find it relaxing, and it gives me a little bit of “me” time. However, between work and life in general, that isn’t always an option. Enter, my slow cooker. You can make pretty much anything in there, from soups to stews to chicken to jam--and of course cholent! You can even prep everything and refrigerate the crock, then just pop it into the heating element before you leave for work.
7. What recipes are you sharing with us today?
I'm a gluten-free, dairy-free, self-proclaimed food geek. The Food Network is my background noise. I love to cook, bake, and feed others. Visit my food blog at pennypinchingepicure.com.