Tali Simon is a regular contributor to JoyofKosher with gorgeous photographs and tasty recipes. She is a vegetarian from birth who lives in Israel. She writes for many print publications including Bina Magazine. It has been so much fun getting to know Tali through her writing and recipes and we are so glad to have her as part of our community. We can tell you she is a perfectionist so that means her recipes are spot on perfect, give them a try. Today we chat with Tali to find out a bit more behind the recipes.
Tell us about your blog and how you got started:
About a year ago, I was working as the editor of a small start-up news website. One of the things I did during my time there was launch a blog section, where I wrote two blogs and edited a handful of others. I named one of my blogs "Table for Two" and wrote about my cooking adventures as a newlywed.
When the company shut down at the end of last summer, I renamed the blog "More Quiche, Please" and gave it a completely new look on its own domain. The blog is much more developed now -- my recipes (and other posts) are organized into 32 categories on the index, including things like kitchen tips, menu plans, and giveaways. I also have a (still-growing) section on food photography.
What is your earliest cooking memory?
I grew up in a healthy, vegetarian family. By that I mean whole wheat everything, tofu, soy milk, snacks from the health food store, and no sugar. Okay, we did have ice cream on special occasions, but you get the point. My earliest cooking memories are actually not so early -- they're from when I was 13 and making complete Shabbos meals because I was afraid that my sleepover guests wouldn't like our "weird" food!
One time fairly early on, I asked the friend I'd invited for Shabbos to tell me what foods she liked. Her one-word answer (“potatoes”) set my plan in motion. That Shabbos, my family dined on twice-baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato blintzes, potato cheese bake, and roasted potatoes. I still can't believe my mother actually allowed me to plan (and execute) a potato Shabbos.
Wow, a vegetarian from birth, have you ever eaten meat?
Well, I've never intentionally eaten meat. But once, about two years ago, it happened by accident at someone else's Shabbos table. My hosts were close friends who were well aware that I'm a vegetarian, and that's why they double-checked that the stuffed cabbage they bought was actually pareve. The store owner assured them it was, and so they served it that night without another thought. My father and two of my brothers were also at that meal, and we all ate it.
All of a sudden, one of our hosts' daughters elbows her mother and whispers, "Imma, this is
!" We all stopped eating. I couldn't even finish what was on my plate. People ask me all the time whether I make fleishig meals for my meat-eating husband. The answer is no -- every meal in our home is dairy or pareve, and my husband hasn't once asked for meat. He gets his fill when we go out for Shabbos meals, and doesn't feel deprived at all. I'm very lucky to have married someone so flexible.
What is your favorite kosher dish?
The answer to this probably changes every week because I'm always trying new recipes or new versions of old ones. In general, though, I love making hearty soups, especially ones with unique flavors like this pumpkin black bean soup. I also love making Asian-inspired pasta dishes and salads, or anything with fresh sauteed mushrooms.
Who is your cooking inspiration?
I don't come from a cooking/baking family, so I get my culinary inspiration from friends and other food bloggers (I read about 10 or 15 food blogs regularly). And I'll always have a soft spot for
Norene Gilletz, whose cookbook "Norene's Healthy Kitchen" was a gift from my in-laws soon after we got married. That book really got things started for me in the kitchen.
Please share a favorite cooking tip or trick with our readers:
One of my favorite baking tips is to press three of four extra chocolate chips on top of each cookie before baking. People will go for those over the regular ones (which only have chocolate chips inside) every time.
A vegetable tip I find really useful is to use a chef's knife for slicing peppers open and cutting out the pith (the white stuff), but then switching to a serrated knife for chopping or dicing.
Which recipes are you sharing with us today?
Cheese Blintzes - Gluten Free (I developed this recipe for Pesach, but they're definitely good enough to eat year-round and gluten free.)
Tali Simon left U.S. News & World Report to move to Israel in 2010. She is now a happily settled writer, editor, and food blogger living near the Dead Sea. She loves to cook, and her skinny husband loves to eat. It works well. Catch up on Tali's latest kosher vegetarian recipes at More Quiche, Please.