My name is Shikha, and the idea for this blog came from my family. My kids, ages 11 and 9, are both vegetarians and enjoy delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals, and they often help me in the kitchen. They started worrying about how they’ll get by without Mom’s delicious food when they head to college, and even though that’s years from now I wanted to put something together for them, and for my other family and friends who often ask me what I’m cooking.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always cherished fresh, healthy, and seasonal food. I have vivid childhood memories of my grandfather squeezing fresh orange juice for all of his grandchildren every morning, but only when oranges were in season. If I close my eyes, I can still picture his slender arms pressing down on the manual citrus juicer in our kitchen. With every sip of that juice, I could taste the joy he took in giving us real and simple food.
I have also always enjoyed the aromas of herbs and spices, like freshly cooked basmati rice with cardamom. When I was old enough to help set the table while my mother and grandmother cooked, as I moved around the dining room I could smell the sweet aromas of roasting spices and feel the warmth from the oven as they caught up on each other’s days, shared local gossip, and gave updates on the family, all while cooking a delicious meal. Eventually I stopped setting the table and started cooking in the kitchen with them. Daunted and overwhelmed at first, I slowly learned how to use spices, how to tell them apart by their aromas, and how to cook without measuring or even using recipes.
Once I grew up and had a kitchen of my own, I started to experiment with various cooking styles and techniques. I learned the magic of blanching vegetables and how to cook them to just the right crunchiness — no more mushy asparagus or cauliflower for me! After a long day of corporate work, cooking was a relaxing and creative outlet for me. My desire to learn classic techniques actually inspired me to take cooking and baking classes at the French Culinary Institute and Natural Gourmet Institute. In 2012, I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I was trained in over 100 dietary theories and studied a variety of healthy lifestyle coaching methods.
My love of cooking isn’t limited to my own kitchen, though. I am lucky enough to live New York City, home to some of the most outstanding restaurants, farmers markets, and cafés in the entire world, and my family and I plan all of our vacations around food. Whether it’s around the corner from our apartment or halfway around the world, we all love to discover hidden gems and explore new neighborhoods in search of the perfect meal.
Although I have been a vegetarian since my late teens, I have also experimented with vegan, gluten-free, and high-protein diets. Today I consider myself a vegan with everything in moderation — I try to avoid dairy, eggs, and processed foods — so some recipes on this site are vegan while others are just vegetarian; it all depends on what I feel like cooking that day!
So, I hope my recipes interest you, intrigue you, and most of all inspire you to cook healthy, whole food, plant-based meals at home. Bon appétit!