We are thrilled to have the brilliant Tara Thomas on Bright Rx today. Tara is a New York City based chef, restaurant consultant, food editor, and culinary artist. She travels and develops creative fusion cuisine that finds its way in her writing at Caldera magazine, food installations, and restaurant menu at Che, the plant-based cafe at Sincerely, Tommy Eat & Stay. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Tara and asking her some questions, read on for her interview and marvelous vegetarian crostini recipe.
Q&A with Tara
Brightland: What is your favorite way to unwind at home?
Tara: My favorite way to unwind at home is to enjoy the space that I have. That means cooking in my kitchen, pampering myself with hair and face masks, and getting cozy watching an old movie over tea. Having a clean space is so important for my relaxation, I usually begin this leisurely unwinding with a bit of tidying up to bring peace into the space. Then I get to cooking, pampering, and settling in for the movie that will probably put me to sleep like a baby!
Brightland: What do you like to keep out on your kitchen countertop or "kitchen shelfie"?
Tara: I absolutely love a clean and minimal countertop. Like an empty canvas it invites exploration. A simple bowl of fresh produce and a vase of vibrant florals is enough for me!
Brightland: What does living in a golden state meant to you?
Tara: Living in a golden state means living knowing you're light. Light is meant to shine, to be shared, to inspire those around you, and to remind them that they are abundant as well. A golden state is state of elevated presence!
Brightland: What is your favorite way to use olive oil?
Tara: Olive oil is delicious, and I am an oil fiend! It's distinct flavor for me means including it in dips, finishing dishes with it, and most of all fixing up some fresh sourdough with a nice shallow pool of it and some fleur de sel!
Brightland: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life (but receive all the nutritional benefits + look fabulous), what would each of you choose?
Tara: I'm torn, it's either extra ripe mangos or sourdough from Hart Bageri in Copenhagen with fleur de sel and olive oil! Help can I have both forever? Please and thank you!
Brightland: Could you provide 3 tips for those looking to eat/cook more sustainably?
1. Shop in bulk for grains, legumes, and pantry staples.
2. Pick a few vegetables and fruits for the week. I usually go for two types of leafy greens, mushrooms, a root, and 2 fresh herbs. This invites a positive challenge in the kitchen where you can play with a few ingredients during the week and make an abundance.
3. Reduce your consumption of everything, reuse where you can, and think about your impact! Taking the extra moment to be conscious always pays off!
How to Create a Cozy Ambience
Tara is a culinary event producer who creates food installations to evoke experiences that go beyond taste buds. She has created an ambience recipe for Brightland, providing us with tips on how to create the desired cozy ambience beyond the food.
Recipe for Ambience: When creating food for gathering the appetizer is the catalyst of excitement for the dinner coming up. Cooking in a kitchen with cozy ambience is key to an evening of delights.
- Light a candle and burn palo santo to bring peace into the space
- Accessible work station where all of your tools and ingredients are at arms reach for ease of cooking and messy moments.
- An excellent playlist that satisfies your soul (not too loud you want to hear guests at the door)
- Drink of Choice (calm tea, a red wine, water is always a must)
- Comfortable house shoes
Crostinis with Sauted Miso Carrots
- 4-5 Tbsp Brightland's ALIVE
- 3 Medium Size Carrots
- ½ Yellow Onion
- 1 Tsp Dried Coriander
- 1 Small Bay Leaf
- 2-3 Tsp Chickpea Miso
- 2 Tsp Mirin
- ½ Habanero finely diced (more if wanted)
- ¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice (half lemon)
- ½ Tsp Grated Ginger
- ½ Tsp Grated Turmeric
- 2 Tsp Chickpea Miso
- 2 Tsp Mirin
- 1 French Baguette
- Finely chopped chives
- Spice Mixture*
- ½ Tsp Cumin
- ½ Tsp Paprika
- ¼ Tsp Ground Pepper (black or blend)
- Prepare a clean work station with ingredients, tools, utensils, and any extra objects you would like on hand. Ambience and a positive work space is key! Preheat oven to 350°F
- Half and coin the carrots. Process carrots in food processor until they become a rough mince. Set aside in a bowl for cooking.
- Slice half an onion into four pieces. Process in food processor until they’re finely chopped. Set aside in a bowl for cooking.
- Combine habanero with apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Set aside for cooking.
- Heat cast iron skillet or medium skillet to a medium-low heat. Pour two tablespoons of Brightland's ALIVE along with dried coriander and a bay leaf. After about one minute add the onion. Cover to allow flavors to become aromatic and onions to become more translucent.Salt with a pinch of salt.
- Pour mirin, miso, grated ginger, grated turmeric and a spoonful of pickle liquid into the pan. Stir to combine ingredients. Once combined add carrots and an one tablespoon of Brightland's ALIVE. Salt with an additional pinch of salt. Cover the pan for three minutes.
- Meanwhile the carrots are cooking. Slice your baguette diagonally into ten to twelve half inch pieces. Using a tablespoon of Brightland's ALIVE drop a small drop on top of each baguette. Arrange on a sheet pan, bake in a 350°F. Remove after five minutes or until surfaces are crispy but center is soft.
- After three minutes of the carrots cooking, add the spice mixture, lemon juice,pickled habaneros, remaining Brightland's ALIVE, and a pinch of salt. Allow to cook for about five to eight more minutes.
- When carrots are finished they will be tender with a bit of crunch. Taste and salt to your preferences. Place an abundant spoonful over each slice of the baguette and top with chopped chives. Serve on an inviting platter. Enjoy and share!