Today I invited Emily Piskulick from the fashion and lifestyle blog, Dear Serendipity, to guest blog about her kitchen essentials and cooking inspiration. Emily and I went to high school together. It has been so fun growing in the blogging community with her!
When Gabi invited me to create a post for her, I wanted to combine something Gabi loves (food) with something I love (design). If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that home decor is one of my favorite things to shop for on the planet (a very close second to clothes, of course) and kitchen accessories are some of the most fun to shop for. The kitchen section of any store instantly sucks away hours of my time and energy. So, I thought it was only fitting that I discuss my top 5 kitchen must-have accessories!
I’m loving these drink signs because they instantly liven up any room and take my mind right to fun, sun and summer. I love this hand and dish soap because I’m a total freak about clean hands before cooking – and I need something that smells amazing like this! I also go nuts for a good apron, mainly because it allows you to bring your fashion-forward side into the kitchen, and this Ikat print is just screaming my name (and yours too, Gab!). Next, I’m a huge fan of Le Creuset – my mother has told me for years that these pots are basically the end-all-be-all when it comes to kitchen must-haves. Finally, I’m a sucker for a cute water bottle, and this “Keep Calm and Carry On” saying is one I just can’t get enough of.
GG: Who is your cooking inspiration and why?
Emily: The matriarchs in my family are definitely my cooking inspiration. Both my mother and grandmother have always been able to whip up such amazing and even complicated dishes and treats with ease, a skill that I have always envied. I wish that I had inherited more of their talent!
GG: What is your favorite memory in the kitchen?
Emily: Much of my childhood revolved around food since I had a mother who cooked and grandmother who baked constantly. I remember being 4 or 5 when I stood in my grandmother’s kitchen (on a step-stool because I couldn’t even see the top of the counter) and she first taught me how to make sugar cookie dough. Both my mother and grandmother have really inspired me to be more present in the kitchen.
GG: What was it like to cook in your first kitchen during college?
Emily: My first kitchen came sophomore year in an on-campus apartment, and the experience was dismal at best. It was such a small space and virtually impossible to keep clean, and I feel like I really had no idea what I was doing so I never really made anything good. Lots of Ramen was prepared and consumed in that kitchen, so it’s nice to have a house now with a giant kitchen so I can cook whatever I want.
GG: Which ingredients do you always have on hand?
Emily: For breakfast, I always have the ingredients for pancakes or waffles, eggs, bacon and fresh fruit. For lunches and dinner I’m obsessed with pasta, so I always have all different kinds of dry pasta, ravioli and tortellini. I also always have chicken, fresh veggies (basil, garlic, tomatoes), tons of olive oil, and cheese. Most of my meals are raw fruits and veggies with just a splash of something on the side.
GG: What is your fall-back dish after a busy day?
Emily: I practically live on pasta (thank my Italian roots for that one) and I’ve learned so many simple and quick pasta dishes from my mom that are great after a long day of school when I’m too tired to make some four-course meal but still don’t want something that’s made in a microwave. My favorite has to be this angel hair pasta dish with cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese and basil. It’s so simple yet so delicious! It makes me feel like I’m at home.
GG: Are you more of a recipe-based cooker or a spontaneous chef?
Emily: The first time I make a recipe, I’m a huge rule follower. And then the more times I make it, I start experimenting with whatever I have on hand and get a little looser about the ingredients.
GG: Which food blogs and websites do you find yourself searching on?
Emily: My favorites are Smitten Kitchen, the recipes on Cupcakes and Cashmere, and of course Gourmet Gab!
Love food. Love self. Love life.