As the culinary-trained editor of Tasting Table’s Good Taste, Karen Palmer possesses both serious chef skills and lots of food intel—which gives her a home kitchen advantage.
After all, she may spend her day editing a story on the healthiest granola on the market or in the test kitchen fine-tuning a recipe for Roast Herbed Tomatoes.
“I learn about new products that have a healthful spin all the time,” she admits, “and the recipes we run from chefs, and that I work with our test kitchen to develop, give me ideas for how to use vegetables in new ways and for how to be more creative in my own cooking.”
We got a sneak peek into Palmer’s Park Slope fridge:
So, with all of the food intel and cooking skills you have, what’s your general approach to food? I try to make sensible choices, but I love food and restaurants, so it’s definitely all about balance. When I’m cooking for myself at home, I tend to eat more of a vegetarian diet. Then I save eating meat or the more indulgent foods for when I go out. I’m just trying to balance going out in the city with a lighter, more healthful approach at home.
What are some of your go-to dishes and techniques when it comes to that healthful home cooking? A lot of the food that I cook tends to be Mediterranean or Italian in flavor—it’s what I grew up with and it’s just easy. I always have whole wheat pasta—I’ll toss in fresh greens or brussels sprouts, and I put red chili flakes in everything. From scrambled eggs to pasta sauce from scratch, I pretty much throw it in everything I make. I cook a lot with beans, black, garbanzos, canellini, especially if I’m cooking on a weeknight since they’re a good source of protein. I’ll make a quick bean soup or a saute with beans, artichoke hearts, and garlic.
You have a couple different kinds of yogurt. Is it your breakfast of choice? Totally. I typically eat a pretty light breakfast, whether it’s yogurt and fruit or oatmeal. Greek yogurt is just great, and I use it in different sauces and in salad dressing, too. I make a dip with ginger and honey and cilantro that goes great with fresh crudites. I also really love Siggis. It’s really thick and smooth and still has the tart flavor.
What’s in the container behind the radishes? I’ve been really into pestos and tapenades. That’s an olive tapenade that I made. I love anything that’s tart and briny—olives, capers, pickles, that kind of stuff. And with pesto and tapenade, a little goes a long way. If you want to add flavor to a pasta or even vegetables, it’s so easy and you get a lot of flavor. I’ve been making arugula pesto a lot lately just to have on hand.
What’s the Cherry Rooibos Tea on the top shelf? That’s a product we covered pretty recently! I loved it so much that I took a couple home for myself. They’re antioxidant-rich cherry juices—they do some straight tart cherry juice, but this is a line of infused teas. I had never really tried cherry juice before, and it’s delicious, especially if you like a tart flavor. I really just drink water most of the time during the day, but if I’m going to drink something a little more caloric or sweet, I’d rather know it’s made with quality ingredients and packed with nutrients. —Lisa Elaine Held
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