• Carla Hall's Pantry •
Down to earth. Fun-loving. Funny. Personable. Warm.
We’re describing the queen of “cooking with love”, Carla Hall, of course! She’s a chef, business woman, TV food personality and Top Chef alum (check out seasons 5 & 8!).
She describes her kitchen as laid-back and approachable, and she's famous for food that “feels like a warm hug”- aka the definition of comfort food. In true #pinefor form, she cooks from the heart, and it shows.
Let’s peek into her sweet kitchen...
- I would say that my food and kitchen style is laidback...approachable. During the week, I’m like everyone else -- I make simple, quick meals. Even if I’m roasting vegetables, a chicken or making a quick soup to have for a few days, I mix it up with different spices. A well stocked spice drawer can be your best friend for when you don’t want to think about WHAT you’re making. Ok, so I’m making roasted chicken and vegetables. How different can that chicken be with all the spices that I have? How will I make the carrots and other veggies sing and inspire me? SPICES! I also eat a lot of eggs, so I spend good money on the best eggs available. I treat omelettes like a pita...whatever I have available is going inside. However, my favorite omelette is simply mixed herbs and goat cheese.
- I love that food tells a story. What you gravitate towards, why you love a particular dish, why you hate another dish, what memories are associated with a particular dish...Food is a living history. Asking a person what their favorite dish is will tell you more about that person than asking “How are you? What do you do?”. That said, I think that we spend too much time talking about the latest trends in food. What does it matter? Why are we trying to force people into a trendy corner? Food is personal. Food is the one place we allow people to be different...without judgment. At least I hope so.
markets & shopping
- If I’m shopping in the grocery store, and I’m making something specific or shopping for an event, I always have a very organized list. I divide the list into sections based on where things are in the store -- produce, seafood, meat, dry goods, frozen, etc. If I’m shopping on the weekends and going to the farmer’s market, I almost NEVER have a list. I want to be inspired by the season, the colors, the farmers.
- I find inspiration with my spices. I think of a cuisine and what basic spices/aromatics make that cuisine what it is. One example is a bean salad that I make. I love beans, and I always have them on hand. I found a recipe for Harissa Bean Salad in The Cut by Morris Chestnut. It’s now one of my go to recipes. I love to feel like I’m traveling when I eat.
- flour sugar...baking stuff
- all the spices for my dry rub:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Chili powder
To Sum it Up:
Pantry item she can't live without: vinegar (apple cider)
One or two items that are always in her fridge: pickles and eggs
Her go to inspiration cookbook: The Flavor Bible
Her most trusted kitchen tool: microplane
5 adjectives that describe her pantry: cluttered, clean, international, utilitarian, sweet
Her all time favorite market: Union Square Greenmarket
Women made food products she pines for:
Shop Carla's Pantry
Whose pantry do you want to peek into?