Aida Mollenkamp is one of those people you really, really want to be friends with. When she invited us to guest post on her blog, I thought long and hard about what recipe I would share. After all, this woman has some serious cred! But Aida welcomed us with open arms and was such a gracious host, that my nerves were genuinely calmed. After all of this Internet business, I’m really excited we’ll have an opportunity to meet in person this week! Today, I’m thrilled to share a new 5 Questions With…Aida Mollenkamp, who, besides knowing a thing or two about food, knows a thing or two about music! Thanks so much for stopping by, Aida!
1. Tell use three of your all-time favorite recipes.
Picking favorites is always hard for me, especially because my preferences change as I make new discoveries. Currently, I’m favoring:
North African “Tandoori” Salmon – Here the tandoori technique is used with North African flavors for a really complex dish that’s a cinch to throw together. An unexpected bonus is that my niece and nephew are pretty much obsessed with it so it’s been a great way to introduce the little ones to new flavors.
Spiced Pickled Shrimp – I am a sucker for anything pickled as I love the bright, tart flavored and it’s rather unexpected with shrimp. Because this is easy to throw together and has a gorgeous presentation, it has become a regular recipe for cocktail parties and happy-hour gatherings. [TK note: This has been on my to-make list for months!]
Walnut-Maple Graham Crackers – I just developed them a little over a month ago and they became an instant classic as everyone who tried them was hooked. They’re a more adult take on graham crackers that are crisp, buttery, have a distinct toasted nut flavor and happen to be gluten free.
2. What role does music play in your life?
I can’t over emphasize the role music plays in my life.
I have a deep-rooted connection to music that comes from having danced classical ballet for over 20 years. But, even if I’m not dancing, I listen to music every day and almost all day. Particularly when I’m cooking, food styling, and traveling, music is always going, and it’s fair to say my main non-food related hobby is going to music shows. As I’ve gotten older, music has becoming an auditory chronology to my life, spurring memories I might otherwise forget.
3. Name 5 things you can’t live without (ingredients, kitchen tools, apps, gadgets, food/restaurants, etc.)
Coffee — You really don’t want to be around me if I haven’t had coffee or, worse yet, if I have had coffee but it’s burnt or otherwise crappy.
French Press — When I’m on the road shooting, I travel with my own beans, grinder, and French Press so that I can have good coffee now matter where I end up.
Chocolate — Aside from coffee, my other big indulgence is chocolate. I’m a big fan of the Mast Brothers work though I discovered Madre Chocolate on my latest Hawaii trip and have them ship me chocolate monthly.
Instagram — I was a late adopter to the app but now love sharing a visual language with my friends via Instagram [TK: Check out our 5 Questions With…Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram]
Spotify — Aside from live-streaming KCRW online, Spotify is the place I turn for streaming music online and on the road
4. Please share two food and music discoveries you’ve made in the last 6 months (new bands, music venues, restaurants, ingredients, tools of trade).
NoMad Restaurant — My college friend recently opened this restaurant in New York and I visited on a trip a few weeks ago and I’m still dreaming about it. The tasting menu by Chef Humm was inspiring and the service was stellar without being stuffy.
Cuernacava — While on a trip to Ventura last month, this taqueria came highly recommended and it was seriously fabulous. The Al Pastor tacos were some of the best I’ve had and I got to try an alambre (a dish that’s sort of like fajitas meets skewers) for the first time.
SBTRKT — At last weekend’s Coachella, I braved the ridiculously cold temperatures in order to see SBTRKT and they did not disappoint. Their track “Wildfire” is on regular repeat in my house right now.
tUnE-yArDs — Their track “Bizness” is my go-to when I need a jolt of energy or something fun to get the party started.
5. What’s your music listening setup?
Because I’m on the road a lot, I’m a headphones/MacBook girl. I bought a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones for video and filming work and they do such a good job at noise cancellation that they’ve become my go-to music headphones too.