We're sitting down with our favorite writers and cooks to talk about their upcoming cookbooks, their best food memories, and just about anything else.
Aran Goyoaga wears many hats -- blogger at Cannelle et Vanille, cookbook author, food stylist, and photographer. We spoke to her about her new cookbook, Small Plates and Sweet Treats, and she was kind enough to provide us with 5 copies to give away! (Find out more about the giveaway below.)
1. Describe your all-time favorite meal.
This is so hard! It changes often -- especially with the seasons -- so I am going to go with nostalgia and food that I find comforting. I would start with menestra de verduras (there is a version of it in the book), which is a medley of lightly cooked vegetables served in a light broth with Serrano ham. Then I would follow with really fresh roasted whole fish, like hake or snapper, with lots of herbs, fennel, and lemon. For dessert, arroz con leche (rice pudding), always. (There are two versions of it in the book!)
2. How was the process of creating a book different from blogging?
I find that the initial creative process is very similar. I approached the recipes for the book the same way I approach the ones for the blog. But blogging is much more spontaneous and the feedback is immediate, and a book takes a long time to see the light. Also, in a blog post, I can surround a recipe with infinite images, but for the book, I could only select one photo per recipe which was difficult for me. Writing the book forced me to be much more efficient in how I told a story through images and words because of the space constraints.
3. In your opinion, has gluten-free living become more common and accepted over time?
I believe so. My best friend's family started living gluten-free 12 years ago and I remember back then they had a hard time finding ingredients and encountering people who understood what gluten was. Things have certainly changed, and now gluten-free products are readily available all over the country. People are also much more aware of what it means to have gluten intolerance and not only celiac. Raising a gluten-free family is not an issue until we go out to eat and then I have to be more careful with our choices.
4. What (or who!) are some of your cooking influences?
My Basque upbringing and my family are definitely my biggest influence in my style of cooking. My grandparents owned a pastry shop and someone was always cooking around me when I was growing up. The people I have encountered through the years I have lived away from home have also been a big influence on me, especially during my time at the Ritz-Carlton's pastry kitchen. I also have a cookbook addiction as well and I am always reading for inspiration.
5. What is one dish in the book that you're really proud of, and why?
Oh so hard to choose! There are several for sure and each one for a different reason. I personally love the Swiss chard, pear and Gruyere tart and so do many of my friends. It makes me happy to watch them enjoy it and hear them say "I would have never guessed this was gluten-free." That is what the book is all about. And I am also very proud of the coconut doughnuts because they are so moist and my children love them so much. Puts a smile on my face!
Want to win a copy of Aran's new cookbook, Small Plates and Sweet Treats? Answer the question below in the comments section of this post by Tuesday, October 16th at 2pm EST:
What's your favorite gluten-free recipe that feeds a crowd?
We'll pick 5 random winners and contact you by email -- best of luck!