Meet our member of the month, Kayla Saslow,
the blogger behind The Nerdy Chef.
What was your original motivation for your blog? What keeps you motivated?
I started my blog because my parents were tired of me cooking for no reason. We had piles of cookies and other baked goods and nowhere to send them, so I justified my cooking by photographing and writing about it on my blog. We still had plenty of food, but at least I was being productive with it. I’ve managed to keep blogging throughout college by cooking throughout all my breaks and vacations. Now, my parents are happy about all the extra food since they get easy, tasty meals to defrost while I’m gone.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I absolutely love pizza. Spending a semester in Italy only made me crave more Italian food, so really I could live on anything full of cheese and carbs. After wrapping up my internship in Chicago this summer, I also had plenty of deep dish, which is certainly different than the Neapolitan style pies I had abroad but still delicious. There are just so many different styles and toppings I could never get tired of it.
What has been your biggest cooking disaster?
My biggest food disaster would have to be when I tried to make the perfect smooth mashed potatoes with my food processor. In an attempt to get rid of all the lumps, I overworked the starches so much it basically turned into glue, and as much as I love potatoes (and I do love potatoes) I couldn’t bring myself to eat them. That, or when my grandma accidentally seasoned our Thanksgiving turkey with cinnamon.
What recipe are you looking forward to the most now that we are approaching fall and colder weather?
One of my favorite things about moving from the south to Wisconsin is having an actual fall with cool weather, gorgeous colorful leaves, and plenty of good food. I love a big bowl of soup (usually matzo ball just like my grandma makes), and I’ll grab a cup of hot chocolate whenever it’s extra cold outside. For some reason I always crave even more pasta, especially some pillowy gnocchi or anything with a rich, hearty braised meat sauce. Basically, I fill up on anything warm and cozy, wrap myself in a giant blanket, and plan what I get to cook the next day.
What are your favorite recipes for tailgating?
When it comes to tailgating and watch parties, I like to have one big, filling dish like a chili along with a variety of finger foods. One of my personal favorites is making a big ring of pretzel nuggets and filling the center with a dip like buffalo chicken or beer cheese. I’ve also found that you can use your favorite wing sauces for meatballs, which are much less messy (and easier to prep) than wings themselves. If I make a dessert, I try to match the colors to whatever we are cheering for or at least make it handheld and portable, usually some sort of festive cupcake or piles of cookies. That way, people can focus on the game and not who gets the most food like my friends and I are prone to doing.