January Blogger of the Month: Pri Aggarwal of Recipris
One year ago this month, our January Blogger of the Month Pri Aggarwal, started her food blog, ReciPRIs. She has been a vegetarian her whole life and decided to share her creations with the world. Between juggling a full-time job as a lawyer and practicing mindful eating by focusing on flavor, texture and presentation, she has discovered her own passion for food art, simple recipes and healthy eating. Check out some of my personal favorites (called “Pam’s Picks”), peppered throughout the article!
You say your “Pops” was your inspiration for starting a food blog. Why is that?
I would send him and my mom pictures of the food I made and post pictures on Facebook, and people would ask me the recipe for the dish. So my Pops said why not start a food blog so you can share all the good recipes with your friends, and so your grandkids will have somewhere to learn how to cook? So I did.
On the right panel of my blog I have something called “inspiration.” It is basically a list of other blogs that I love for one reason or another – great photography, creative recipes, cute props. I am also inspired by going to restaurants and trying to re-create my favorite recipes or by health-ifying fast-food recipes such as my Baked Jalapeno Poppers recipe, which recreated Jack In The Box’s jalapeno poppers.
Pam’s Pick #1: For the sake of Superbowl Sunday, Pri’s above recipe for baked jalapeno poppers beats any bar, grill, or restaurant version. Home-hosted football, here we go!
What do you do outside of writing for Recipris?
I am a full-time practicing lawyer. I currently practice corporate and real estate law. Because my hours are so long, I only have time to cook on the weekends. Also, we use natural light for our photographs so I try to cook in the mornings or early afternoon when the natural light is best.
When did you first discover your love for food?
In law school when I was struggling to eat healthy while being a full-time law student. I realized that I needed good healthy food for brainpower and that Subway was not going to cut it everyday.
Pam’s Pick #2: Butternut Squash Ravioli. Talk about melting in your mouth, these pasta-filled treats will fill you up everytime in the lightest portions.
How did you learn to broaden your range of ingredients?
Experimentation! For example, I recently made beefless beef enchiladas by using texturized soy protein. Morning Star and Trader Joe’s both carry it and it’s delicious. Another unique ingredient I like is breadcrumbs. They taste good on everything.
To be honest, I don’t practice mindful eating often. I am the quickest eater in my family! I eat small portions so that probably also contributes to why I am finished first but I definitely don’t chew every bite 32 times like I should.
Pam’s Pick #3: Pad Thai. Seriously, who could deny this one-and-only, go-to Thai dish? When you make it using Pri’s recipe, it’s guaranteed to become the ultimate kitchen staple.
Even though you feel you don’t really practice mindful eating, what does it mean to you and why is it important?
I think it’s important to focus on the presentation and texture of the food, which is often overlooked. Through mindful eating, every sense is invigorated – smell, taste, sight, touch, [even] hearing.
You’ve been a vegetarian your whole life; how do you feel about animal products and non-vegetarian practices?
I don’t have an opinion either way. My mom and fiancé eat meat and it doesn’t bother me. I grew up being a vegetarian so it’s more of a habit than a preference.
Pam’s Pick #4: Sweet Baked Potato Chips. These homemade chips are the perfect light, healthy snack.
Food presentation is like an art and it’s really soothing to the soul. I love “playing” with my food and finding fun ways to present it.
What are some of the hardest things you find to use in the kitchen?
Anything with a sharp blade because in college, I cut my right middle finger off using a rusted can opener by trying to pull the lid off on my own. All of a sudden, blood was flying all over the place. The ambulance arrived shortly after, thanks to my roommate, and took me to the nearest hospital where I had emergency stitches done in [the Emergency Room]. I now only use an electric can opener!
Do you have any ‘tried and true’ or ‘go-to’ recipes that are your own creations?
Yes, my fiancé loves my panang curry. Also, I love making Mexican food because it’s so easy and tasty!
Any advice for other food bloggers out there?
Start slow and have fun with it. There will always be things you want to do but you have to be patient with letting your blog develop over time.
Follow Pri on Twitter for more tips and recipes. Photos provided by the blogger.