What is your food philosophy?
Eat plants, and lots of them. Eat foods that are beautiful (thanks, Dana!). Eat foods that make you feel good. Always share food with those you love (and even those you don't). It’s important.
What's always in your fridge?
My cherished sourdough starter that I lovingly refer to as Gadu (translates to bread in Cherokee), Cosmic Cultures sauerkraut, too many condiments to count (it’s embarrassing): Rhea Deep, Dark Horse Umami Bouillon and Fermented Mustard, Seed and Mill tahini, Matcha, Saba jam (thanks, Kristin!) loads of vegetables, even more hot sauces: Highly Likely is a forever favorite, Ghia, Kin Euphorics, Aplos, Figlia, hot smoked salmon, almonds, eggs, cashews, Miyoko’s vegan butter, popcorn (in the freezer) fermentation experiments that my mad scientist husband is always playing with, Gerolsteiner. And I’m sure a lot of other stuff I’m forgetting.
What’s always in your pantry?
Always beans: Zakarian Farm, Rancho Gordo, Sun Gold Farms, flours for breadmaking: Camas Country Mills buckwheat and sorghum, Authentic Foods brown rice flour, Heilala vanilla, gluten free pasta, dried herbs and other things I’ve dehydrated, Gaba rice, quinoa, rice noodles, The Coconut Butter, The Magic Spice, Togarashi, CAP pink salt, spices from Diaspora, Daphnis and Chloe (LOVE the smoky chile flakes), Fly by Jing, and Burlap and Barrel, nooch, Coava Coffee, smoked salt, smoky chile powder from Evolutionary Organics in New York, risotto rice, dried mushrooms, Just Date syrup, licorice salt (thanks, Gaia!), chocolate (current favorite is from Spring and Mulberry), chili oil from the farmer’s market, many teas, cacao, vitamins, probiotics. SO. MANY. THINGS.
My mountain pantry 9/6/22
How do you start the day?
It’s always changing but recently I started time blocking and It’s been helpful for sticking with a routine. I start work at 9, so the earlier I get up the more time I have to myself, which I crave. There’s always a walk with my 15 year old chihuahua, Beba (Ricardo and John are still sleeping), TM, some movement (lately it’s been Lia Bartha on repeat), some fruit, a juice or smoothie, a lot of water (obsessed with Alive Waters) and probiotics followed by an espresso. Some days I add nut milk and turn it into a cappuccino, some days I don’t. We recently had someone come and plant a container garden (thanks, Lily!) so watering the plants is a recent addition to the routine. I love my mornings and look forward to them the night before.
What is the first meal that you remember?
A tie between shrimp cocktail (shrimp was — is — my favorite food) and a Dungeness Crab feast (melted butter for me) with not particularly good but delicious spongy French bread and a small salad. This was a frequent occurrence during crab season in my childhood home.
How did you get into cooking?
My Mom was a fantastic cook. But she didn’t want me bothering her in the kitchen. So, I watched and absorbed from a distance. I quickly realized that food was the love language in our home, and the moment I became old enough to share food with others I did. My first cookbook I bought was The Silver Palate and I cooked many a meal and hosted many a dinner party from that classic. Since then, I’ve stayed curious and my love for food and all it provides continues to grow.
Tell us about CAP Beauty and how it came to be?
Upon finding out I had celiac, I started looking at all the areas where I could change my habits in order to feel my best. I landed on natural beauty quickly as it was a category that was mostly represented only in health food stores. Nothing against a health food store, but I wanted a place that was beautiful, inspiring and good for you. So my friend, Cindy DiPrima, and I set out to create a space that was elegant, welcoming and nourishing. And CAP was born.
How has your relationship to food changed over the course of leading CAP and what has it taught you?
CAP exists because of my relationship to food. It has always been connected to what I eat, and how I feed myself and others. Around ten years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac. I consider that moment the portal that led to the life I lead now. At the time, it seemed terrible, now I consider it to be the pivotal moment that determined my future in so many ways. I was constantly sick prior to the diagnosis, but once I discovered the reason it changed me physically, emotionally and spiritually. It allowed for me to reassess what I was eating and connected me to my body in a way that until then had been a mystery. Before the diagnosis my food choices were guided simply by what I wanted in that moment, with no consideration for the future. Which in all honesty didn't always lead to the best decisions. My husband and I had a lot of late nights, delicious meals and loads of wine (fun, but not a formula that led to feeling particularly good). Now it’s guided by foods and activities that make us feel our best. And that doesn’t mean leaving delicious food behind, it just provides a new lens for me to view eating through. Now I choose what I eat based on what’s delicious, what I want AND how it will make me feel. The shift has been profound, and one that I am grateful for every day.
Mornings call for fruit on fruit.
With so many opinions on what to eat, how have you found what works best for you?
I worked closely with Paola Atlason to redefine my relationship to food. She encouraged me to eat more, love more and learn more. So far, it’s working.
What makes you feel nurtured?
Animals, always. Nature forever. My husband, family and friends. A lot of meditation and loads of time by myself.
What would you say to someone who eats “all the right foods” but isn’t seeing the results they want?
Another person I look to for life advice is Marie Forleo. I learned the concept of “curious scientist” from her, and it’s served me incredibly well. By approaching things from a place of genuine curiosity coupled with reality, it's allowed for change to happen in a kind and loving, yet effective way.
If you were a food, what would you be and why?
Oh wow, what a question?!?! I’m going to say salt as I try to make everything I touch a little bit better.
Favorite restaurants in L.A right now?
SO MANY. Botanica, Honey Hi, Satdha Thai, Highly Likely, Erewhon, Eszett LA, Sqirl, The Real Coconut, Endless Color, Saddle Peak
Food is — ?
Delicious, satisfying, nurturing, true lifeforce, sustenance, joy. Food is a practice.
More pantry staples to fuel my baking addiction.
How do you define and see beauty?
I’ll leave it to my hero, John O’Donohue, the theologian and scholar whose life pursuit was the study of beauty, to share as I could never begin to be as eloquent or insightful when articulating the concept:
“We have often heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is usually taken to mean that the sense of beauty is utterly subjective; there is no accounting for taste because each person’s taste is different. The statement has another, more subtle meaning: if our style of looking becomes beautiful, then beauty will become visible and shine forth for us. We will never be surprised to discover beauty in unexpected places where the ungraceful eye would never linger. The graced eye can glimpse beauty anywhere, for beauty does not reserve itself for special elite moments or instances; it does not wait for perfection but is present already secretly in everything. When we beautify our gaze, the grace of hidden beauty becomes our joy and sanctuary.”
What country would you thrive in food wise?
I’ve forever loved Japan but it can be tricky with gluten. I’d pick it regardless.
What is something you don’t currently do food or health wise that you would like to start?
I haven’t been to a yoga class since the beginning of the pandemic and I dream of a deep hour and a half with my friend Jillian Turecki at Kula Yoga followed by a cacao smoothie and the world’s best muffin from Brownie. If you know, you know.
Are there any "healthy" foods you don't like?
Not that I can think of.
What inspires you in the kitchen?
History, making history, sharing, ingredients, the people who grow our food, ceramics, smells, and the ability to create something so quickly that can touch you and others so deeply. I can’t think of another practice that offers up so much for so little time invested.
What does your weekly shop look like? Do you get everything from one place or frequent different shops throughout the week?
Farmer’s markets are my idea of a fun date so I do that weekly and I supplement with Erewhon and Whole Foods and hit Cookbook anytime we are in Highland Park.
A little afternoon pick-me-up.
Are you a recipe follower or an intuitive cook?
I started out as a strict recipe follower but years of practice and many meals later I am very much an intuitive cook. But I will forever read and look at cookbooks for inspiration.
What do you turn to, to make you feel your best: food and all the other practices?
Meditation, cooking, talking with my husband, hanging with animals, feeding the horses, Kundalini, reading, making the house feel loved, gardening, jumping in the ocean, writing, volunteering with Mini Therapy Horses, baking bread.
Favorite kitchen tool?
I recently got THE MOST EXQUISITE knife from Living Steel and it quickly shot to the top of my list. After that it’s a tie between my vitamix, juicer and baking cloche. But, I do love an outdoor Ooni Pizza oven, and I adore my Balmuda toaster.
Cooking is more fun with sharp and beautiful knives.
What would we be most surprised to find in your kitchen?
I’m a combination of many things; both in personality and food choices so there’s nothing that doesn’t totally make sense. Actually, I take that back, there are fish sticks in our freezer that I bought upon reading a recipe in Nigella’s latest book. But that woman could sell me sand at the beach.
What ingredient are you most excited about right now?
I recently went to Kauai and my mind was blown by the fruit and produce. I thought we had it good here in California, but what they are growing there and selling at the farmer’s market is on a whole other level.
I’ve also recently reignited my love for caviar. Will someone sponsor me, please?!
What are some of your favorite cookbooks?
This is a tough question for me. I collect cookbooks the way others collect seashells and I get so much happiness from seeing my bookshelves filled with them. I consider them a fascinating time capsule of what was happening not just with food but also culturally. Like, when is balsamic vinegar coming back? I’m predicting soon!
With that being said, I reference River Café for everything, would bow down to Judy Rodgers of Zuni if she were still with us, anything my baking queen, Aran Goyoaga writes, Josh McFadden’s take on vegetables is one I love (I know he’s controversial, but I love his way with veggies), Franny’s (RIP, it was John’s first cookbook he shot) and it’s a classic for a reason, Marjory Sweet and Were Brothers little books are such charming love songs to home cooking, all the Tartine books (I met Chad recently and he was amazing), Bryant Terry’s books, anything Deborah Madison writes. And I want to come back in my next life as Nigella Lawson. I consider pretty much anything she writes to be the word.
Go-to meal that you make for yourself more often than not?
A thick toasted (the Balmuda is hands down the best toaster) slice of my gluten-free sourdough bread (huge shout out to my mentor and friend Aran for teaching me everything! Depending on the season it’s either a thick swipe of mayonnaise topped with juicy tomatoes and dusted with CAP salt, Oracle olive oil and loads of black pepper. Or the ubiquitous avocado toast (for a reason!) with my friend Kat’s above mentioned hot sauce from Highly Likely, salt and Oracle olive oil or maybe my most favorite: a thick spread of Miyoko’s butter. I recently discovered the Swedish word Tandsmor from Nigella Lawson that describes butter so thick and so cold that your teeth leave marks in it.
How do you end your day?
I shut down my computer, grab a Ghia and some carrots from the fridge and take a walk to feed the horses. I haven’t been able to ride since my accident last year, so this is the next best thing. I also get to visit with my beyond hilarious, full of life and naughty friend, Suze.
Then it’s home to make dinner, one of my favorite parts of the day. Lately it’s been more of an assembling situation, but with delicious building blocks in the fridge and pantry it always turns out well. Then some reading or a show (almost done with Peaky Blinders!) and off to bed.
Lettuce from my garden!!!!!
MY FAVORITE SALAD
By Kerrilynn Pamer
I like to stock building blocks in our fridge and pantry so I know that a salad is never far away. I'm not really a batch cooker, but I do make food throughout the week that I squirrel away and then pull out for whatever salad I'm craving that day. Use this as a template, have fun with your ingredients and make it yours.
I love the food that Andy Baraghani makes, and his recent cookbook has quickly become a staple in our kitchen. I riff off of his lemony mustardy salad dressing, and make a lot to keep in the fridge. I find that when I have the dressing already made, I make salad a lot more often. Here's what I do with his:
Add 1/4 cup mustard to a jar. Top with 1/4 cup vinegar, salt and pepper. Pop a garlic clove in the jar and a quick squeeze of lemon juice. If you have a zester, add a little, if not, no worries. Shake it together, then add around 2/3 cup olive oil and shake it up more. Season to taste, I typically add a bit more salt and pepper, but it's up to you and your palate. This will last for a good week in the fridge, but you'll probably finish it sooner.
INGREDIENTS (all just ideas, use what you have)
2 heads of lettuce
Wash your lettuce and spin dry well, this is the key to a good salad! I recently got a huge lightweight steel bowl and pop all the ingredients (except for the shake) in there and then toss with the vinaigrette. Such a simple hack, but a game changer. Then I transfer to a bowl to serve from. Top with Daybreak seaweed, salt to taste and toss once more. Lunch, or dinner(!) is served.
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