ATX Featured Food Blogger: Caramelized
When you start digging into the vast world of the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance you’ll come to a couple conclusions. First, there are so many folks in this town who are passionate about food. Secondly, a majority of them can take beautiful pictures of food. Thirdly, we have a lot of great writers in Austin.
All of these things checked out while we were reading through Cara’s blog, Caramelized. Not only does her blog have great recipes, she also takes the time to review restaurants both here in Austin and other spots around the world. We realize we’re giving you a weeks worth of blogs to follow, but believe us… they are all worth it.
How did you discover your love of food and writing?
Food Network was my channel of choice for as long as I can remember. Rather than receiving Tiffany’s jewelry for my bat mitzvah over a decade ago, I the rabbi’s daughter, received a pastel yellow KitchenAid, cooking knives and sushi kits! More recently, both food and writing has become creative outlets during jam-packed days in the public relations world. Writing is a passion of mine, no matter the subject, but why not write about something I love? And that, my friends, is food. Everything food.
Has blogging changed the way your view food and cooking? If so, how?
Absolutely. In this muddled world of media, writers must work extra hard to tell a story. That is what communication relies on these days: capturing attention. A simple recipe cannot just list ingredients and steps, and a restaurant review cannot just list a menu and price point; they must provide vivid pictures, mouth-watering descriptions and a genuine opinion. While I, of course, focus on the food itself, I have realized that the key to successful blogging is selling that story and virtually swaying that reader to walk into her kitchen to whip up that recipe or call that restaurant for a dinner reservation next Saturday night. I spend much more time with my Canon camera that I would have ever imagined. I am constantly trying to “amp” up my descriptions and critiques to positively affect my blog readers.
What is your favorite ingredient to use in the kitchen?
Garlic. Salt. Or garlic salt. It’s still mind-blowing to me that one sprinkle can elevate two avocados into the yummiest guacamole.
What is your best memory in the kitchen?
As the first child, babysitting siblings was never my cup of tea. My five-year-old sister was not easy to entertain; that is, until I create the game “cooking show.” One at a time, we would put on a cooking show for the other, pretending to be Rachael Ray or Giada and crafting sweet surprises for our parents. Batter-covered bowls and dirty pans flew left and right, but our young minds never seemed to notice. Our sous-check, my mother, handled the mess when she would arrive home. We are still grateful for her help in and out of the kitchen.
What is the best thing about your kitchen?
My kitchen is the central space in both my Memphis home and my Austin apartment for family and friends. It’s the constant. I’m a firm believer that food brings people together; so ensuring that the kitchen serves that communal purpose is a consistent goal of mine.
What is your favorite meal to prepare?
While not a full meal, I love a caprese salad or an easy caprese”, as I call it. There’s always that feeling of accomplishment when successfully preparing complicated dishes, but nothing beats the simplicity of local, fresh ingredients. I have recently been buying heirloom tomatoes from Memphis Farmers Market and pair them with mozzarella, sweet basil from my friend Gary’s garden, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. The colors are brilliant and the taste is always pleasing!
What does your dream kitchen look like?
Ah, the dream kitchen. Just as most little girls craft their one-day wedding – dress and all – I, as a little girl, began crafting my dream kitchen- KitchenAid and all. First, I envision abundant natural light with a herb garden sitting on the windowsill above a farm sink. I also would love a wood-beamed ceiling and a large island with cozy bar stools and suspended cookware. A farm table for family dinners is a must.
What 3 guests would you like to have at your dinner table?
Kate Middleton (maybe she’s bring Prince George?), Sheryl Sandberg, Martha Stewart
What does the word “sustainable” mean to you when it comes to food?
Hm… When I think of “sustainable,” I think of the source of an ingredient. It’s inspiring to craft and style dishes with the source of my produce in mind. Such a though process truly elevates the quality and taste of food, in my opinion.
Favorite Recipe to Date?
My mother’s chicken piccata. It’s adapted from Cooking Light Magazine and satisfies every dinner guest, even the picky ones! Plus, it’s a healthy dish with much room for flexibility and ingredient variety. I sometimes add shiitakes on top since we’re mushroom lovers in my family.
What three recipes would you share with our readers?