IN THE KITCHEN WITH POOJA PARIKH
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Pooja, I’m Indian American, and I currently live in Oklahoma City with my husband and sweet pup. I’m a Featured Creator and the Community Manager for FoodSocial, a growing recipe and meal planning platform that benefits all who use it; and I love the work I get to do every single day. The kitchen is my happy place, where I can crank up the music, play with different ingredients, and pour my love into delicious, nourishing food. I’ve always loved creating and working with my hands, which translated beautifully when I developed an interest in cooking.
How did you get involved in cooking?
In 2010 I was diagnosed with an auto-inflammatory disease, and a couple of years later my eyes were opened to the impact food can have on overall health and wellness. Food has always been a big part of my life and the culture I come from, but it took over in a whole new way when I had to re-learn how to cook in a way that served my body.
This was back when there were no real “convenience” products for grain free, gluten free, whole-food-based cooking (and things like almond flour weren’t easily accessible), so I really had to learn how to cook from scratch. Fortunately, I was gifted my dad’s genes and was able to pick up a lot of it naturally.
Describe your cooking style:
I enjoy coaxing flavors out of foods with minimal ingredients, when possible. Lots of flavor, little effort, and balancing flavors with vegetables instead of masking them. I prefer a balanced plate ideally with a good protein portion and lots of veggies, although that’s not always what our meals look like.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
Since my food journey has long been about health, I tried to consume as much information as I could along the way to ensure that I was setting my body up for success in managing chronic illness. I think my education on grass-fed meat started with googling as I delved deeper into healthful eating, and then it became more widespread on social media throughout the years. It’s always something I strive for because I know how important it is, even if it’s not always attainable for us.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
This isn’t necessarily a recipe, but my all-time favorite is a perfectly cooked (medium rare), beautifully marbled ribeye steak. I’m a steak purist so all I need to season it is salt and pepper, and a pat of butter when it’s done. Bonus points if it has a good crust too. Is anyone else’s mouth watering?
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
Ingredients: Salt, Black Pepper, Lemon, Grass-fed Butter, Garlic
Kitchen Tool: Sharp Chef’s Knife or Butcher Knife
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
If you feel like your food is missing something or it feels bland, usually it needs either salt or acid. Too often, food is undersalted–salt is your friend (for most)! Or add an acid like lemon/citrus, a splash of vinegar (balsamic, red wine, champagne, rice, etc), mustard, etc. It’ll add a brightness your food may be lacking!
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
I listen to all different kinds of music when I’m in the kitchen, but the main rule is that it has to be something I can sing or dance to. From classic rock like Queen and Hall & Oates, to Bollywood music, to Mumford & Sons, to show tunes or Disney, to 80’s and 90’s classics to today’s hits, I’m all over the place and I love it.
Anything else you want to share?
If cooking feels intimidating for you or you don’t know how to combine different flavors, invest in a few high quality spice blends. They do the work for you, and all you have to do is season your food, add some oil or butter and some acid, then cook it. It’s so much easier to impart flavor that way, and makes weeknight meals simple and quick. My personal favorites are Primal Palate and Balanced
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Enter to win our August 2023 All-Natural Food Giveaway for a chance to win $150 bundle of delicious & nutritious grass-fed and pastured meats.
Contest runs from August 1 – August 13, 2023.