Lisas Kitchen: Lisa is based in London, Ontario, a veteran vegetarian for 19 years serves up a collection of delicious culinary creations from her kitchen, with an emphasis on spicy Indian dishes. If you want to know what sensible vegetarians eat, Lisa's Kitchen is the place to be.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: You are the chef and author of Lisa's Kitchen. A site dedicated to heightening the Vegetarian experience. When did you start your blog and why?
Lisas Kitchen: I started my blog on March 18th, of 2007, in honor of the birthdate of my late mother who taught me basic baking and cooking techniques from an early age. I did not grow up in a vegetarian household, but I never enjoyed meat and though I would eat it while a child, I always consumed it before my veggies, saving the best for last.
My blog was started because I enjoy cooking and promoting healthy eating. I was prompted by some friends of mine to share my creations and originally I was going to start a website, but the blog format is much better suited to my purposes. I hope one day to publish a cookbook to encourage vegetarians to eat proper balanced meals. I was very fortunate to receive a comprehensive Indian cookbook shortly after giving up meat and that book opened up a whole new world of culinary delights specifically suited to a vegetarian diet.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: It's so common that true foodies have someone in their past that was a major contributor to their passion for food and cooking. For me it was my Father. What is one of your best memories of you and your Mom in the Kitchen?
Lisas Kitchen: I have so many fond memories of my Mom and I in the kitchen! She taught me how to make an amazing pie crust and we would often make cookies together. I still remember how my brother and I would keep returning to the kitchen to munch on freshly baked, warm cookies. I would whisper to my brother that I would fetch us a few more cookies, thinking Mom wouldn't hear, but she did and never told me until I was a young adult. I think she felt is was rather charming actually, though of course, there was a limit on how many cookies we could consume.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: It's obvious by your blog entries that you are passionate about good food and food that is good for you. Where does that passion derive?
Lisas Kitchen: Flavor and nutrition. After starting my blog, creativity in the kitchen has flourished. Though I always go back to my tried and tested recipes, I am inspired to seek out new stimulates for the palate. Food is my canvas. I am also fortunate to have influences who know the value of proper eating. You feel so much better after a good balanced meal that you can control. No bad oils or processed foods. The difference is evident and your body will thank you.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: I could not agree with you more Lisa. Good food is all about good quality, fresh ingredients. That is what ultimately makes food taste great and makes it great for you.
What decided you to become a Vegetarian?
Lisas Kitchen: I suppose being an animal lover had a great part in influencing my decision to become vegetarian. Although I still enjoy cheese and eggs I simply don't see meat or chicken being a part of my diet anymore. I just feel better and cleaner when I don't eat meat. I have been a vegetarian for 20 years now, and I will remain so for the remainder of my days.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: Where do you get your ideas for your creative and delicious recipes?
Lisas Kitchen: Lots of places! I have an extensive cookbook collection, enjoy looking about on the internet for recipes to adapt and often come up with creations while I go to sleep.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: Are you the photographer for all of your recipe pictures?
Lisas Kitchen: Indeed I am! I wish I was a better photographer and some day I hope to learn more about the technical aspect of taking fine food photos. I do have a passion for plating my dishes.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: So you have actually made each and every recipe on your blog?
Lisas Kitchen: Indeed, every dish I have posted on my blog has been made by me. I value my readers and will only share the tried and tested dishes that are my favorites.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: Is entertaining a big part of your life?
Lisas Kitchen: Well, not particularly. I am a rather solitary type of gal, but I do have a small circle of friends that I truly enjoy treating. I take requests and am always pleased to share food with my loved ones.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: You have quite a few pasta recipes on your vegetarian blog. Does pasta play a big part of being a vegetarian?
Lisas Kitchen: Pasta used to be a mainstay of my diet, but I like variety and typically rely on grains and beans. I do enjoy pasta though and find it gives me a boost when my energy levels are down.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: You have recipes for Rye Pasta, Quinoa Pasta, Kamut pasta, what alternative grain pastas do you like the best?
Lisas Kitchen: I think my favorite pasta that I have tried is quinoa pasta. Quinoa is one of the healthiest and most complete grains and so nutty and tasty besides. It truly is a hard choice though to choose, as I have cooked with and enjoyed many alternative grain pastas.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: Which alternative grain pastas do you feel are the most beneficial to a vegetarian diet?
Lisas Kitchen: Whole grain pastas as whole grains are the way to go in general.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: When creating your vegetarian pasta recipes, would you say you are a traditionalist or is your cooking style more nouveau.
Lisas Kitchen: Both actually. I love to experiment, but there is nothing like good old fashion mac and cheese, though I have come up with some interesting twists on that classic dish, including a version with paneer cheese.
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: If you had to choose your favorite Italian pasta meal what would it be?
Lisas Kitchen: That is a difficult question! I suppose one of favorites would be this Pasta and Feta Cheese Casserole with Olives that is always a hit with my dinner guests and the aforementioned dish.
The Pasta and Paneer is also so appealing to the eye. As you can see here!
I also like to serve pasta with some homemade biscuits. How decadent is that?
Pasta-recipes-by-Italians: It sounds amazing and I can't wait to try them both myself!
Lisa, thank you so much for participating in this interview. For those of you who are interested in some more creative, delicious, vegetarian recipes be sure to visit Lisa at her blog.