Friday, June 19, 2009

Guest Blogger: What's In Your Pantry

This blog makes me want to eat well all the time! When I have a craving for the naughty stuff, I go straight to What's in Your Pantry. It's like food porn. She makes healthy eating feel attainable. Sometimes books/recipes are a bit far fetched for the average person, not here
though. Oh! and She's making her own Kombucha . You go girl! (I know I know I'm way too excited about the damn kombucha...) Yooli was gracious enough to answer a few questions. Enjoy. Thanks Yooli!

What made you start What's in Your Pantry?

I started my blog back in 2007 when I was working as policy aide for Congress and moonlighting as a personal chef during my nights and weekends. I needed an escape from my high-pressure day job and I wanted a place where my personal chef clients could go to look up a lot of the recipes I prepared for them on a weekly basis.

The original concept was a blog for foodies on a budget - the idea being that a well-stocked pantry and fresh quality meat and produce (purchased on sale or at the farmer’s market) could yield really satisfying meals that any budding gourmet could be proud of.

But then my life turned upside down! I quit my job, moved back to my homestate of California and started my first year of law school at UC Davis School of Law. After a really unhealthy first semester filled with pizza, beer, late night junk food binges and lots of soda consumption, I dragged myself home at Christmas 15 pounds heavier and battling acne for the first time in years! Once the New Year hit, I realized I would be turning 28 and needed to make smarter lifestyle choices. So as my diet and approach to eating changed, so did my blog.

So now What’s In Your Pantry? mostly focuses on healthy eating and my constant rambling thoughts on what exactly that means. (Does “eating healthy” include meat? Dairy? Soy? Conventional produce or organic? Local or not?) But despite these changes, I’ve tried to keep to the fundamental concepts of the original What’s In Your Pantry: sharing recipes for fresh, delicious meals while keeping an eye on the bottom line. My diet and recipes continue to evolve, so I’m excited to see where my blog will go next. Hopefully all of you will like them. Stay tuned!

What's your favorite thing to eat right now?

Right now, its all about amazing summer produce. Cherries, melons, apricots, avocados, corn and the first summer tomatoes. I can’t get enough!

Favorite cookbook/show/blog?

Oh wow, this is a really hard question! I don’t watch television very often, but I do enjoy catching the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. I love her unassuming style and she has simple, easy recipes that always work. In the age of over-animated, gimicky food stars, Ina Garten remains calm and pulled-together. I love that.

I don’t buy many cookbooks because I usually just riff in the kitchen based on what I have on hand. However, Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks website is a treasure trove of simple, natural, wholesome plant-based recipes that I adore. I am going to get her Super Natural Cooking book soon!

As for blogs – goodness, there are so many amazing blogs out there I can’t pick just one! But here is a cross-section of food blogs I read regularly: Orangette, LovIn My Tummy, Care to Eat, Simply Recipes, Dorie Greenspan, David Lebovitz, Wednesday Chef, The Kitchn, The Fitnessista, Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen.

Did you grow up eating mostly organic/plant based foods?

As a Korean-American, I definitely grew up eating a lot of plant based foods. I don’t think I ever had an issue with eating my veggies because they were in everything, at every meal. Organic foods were more my own thing. I got into organics and gardening in 2000 after interning for Long Beach Organic, an amazing non-profit near my hometown that created organic urban gardens in blighted areas. I’ve always tried to buy organically whenever I could afford it, but up until recently, its always been an irregular habit. Right now, I’m trying to switch over completely to organics and figure out a way to eat as organically and locally as possible, while sticking to my budget.

Have you had a chance to visit local farmers Markets around the country, if so how do they compare to totally rad Northern CA?

I’ve been really lucky to have always lived in areas with amazing farmer’s markets. I grew up in LA, so I don’t have to tell you how easy it is to get to great markets in So.Cal! In Washington, D.C., where I lived most recently, farmers markets and CSA programs thrive. D.C. is literally less than an hour away from farmland in every direction. So places like the Arlington Farmer’s Market were always awesome to visit on Saturday mornings. And I like to visit markets wherever I travel – New York, Paris, Rome, Florence, Amsterdam, Seoul, etc. There are amazing markets every where, in every city. For me, its the best way to get a feel for a new city!

I think Northern California gets a lot of respect for its markets because the farmer’s market/organic/local foodie culture has been around longer than in other places, and so eating seasonally, locally and organically is just easier. Here in Davis, we have our farmer’s market twice a week and we have an amazing food co-op that stocks all the best foods from around the state. That’s definitely not the case everywhere, so I feel really grateful to live in such a health and eco-conscious town.

What's your favorite guilty pleasure food?

White rice and noodles. What can I say? I’m Korean. As much as I love whole grains, sometimes I just want a huge platter of white carbs. When I’m feeling the need, I go to the Chinese place around the corner and get a big plate of pan-fried noodles or make some fried rice at home. Its my comfort food.

All images via What's in Your Pantry?

No comments:

Post a Comment