Fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. This is especially true in the case of vegetarian chef, blogger and cookbook author, Amy Chaplin. As a young girl growing up in rural Australia, she enjoyed fresh vegetables straight from her family’s garden while learning the joys of cooking alongside her mother. “My Mother loved hosting large parties and frequent dinners,” says Amy. “Helping her was really the beginning of my career in food.” At 16, Amy started working in restaurants as a way to fund her travels but it quickly became the focus of all her creative attention. After stints in Amsterdam and London, she settled down in New York where she now lives in her East Village apartment with her partner, writer Jacqui Kravetz, and their three (!) dogs. (Percy the whippet and loyal kitchen companion is shown below.) Last year she published her first book, At Home in the Whole Foods Kitchen, Celebrating the Art of Eating Well, which features delicious recipes inspired by the whole foods and fresh ingredients she enjoyed as a child. Amy spends her days cooking for private clients, developing recipes and posting to her inspiring blog where she encourages her readers to get into the kitchen and cook at home.
While not exactly the pastoral setting she grew up in, Amy is able to source beautiful, fresh produce at her favorite shops in New York. “I go to the Union Square Farmer’s Market at least once a week and it’s my main source of inspiration,” she says. “I also shop at Commodities, the 4th Street Food co-op, Union Market in the East Village and Eataly.” She keeps her pantry well stocked with jars of heirloom beans, nuts, seeds, super foods, whole grains and lots of garlic and onions. Like her mother, she loves entertaining and prefers even the simplest meal at home to eating out. And since she is constantly developing new recipes in her kitchen she always has an abundance of ingredients at home to whip up something delicious. “My perfect meal lately is a black rice bowl with scallions, poached egg, avocado, steamed greens and a generous drizzle of flax oil…or a new fennel dressing I’ve been experimenting with.” Whether entertaining friends or just enjoying a quiet night in, you can celebrate Amy’s art of eating well by stocking some of these items she always has on hand.
1. Raw Almonds from Spain — I soak them to make the vanilla, cinnamon almond milk I use daily for breakfast. I also love them toasted for snacking or adding them to salads. Nuts.com sells them or you can get truly raw almonds direct from organic farms in CA, like Massa Organics.
2. Vanilla — I use the beans and extract most for nut milks and smoothies — its perfect when you want a sweet taste without adding sweeteners. I buy any brand that’s organic.
3. Chia Seeds —They are part of my breakfast most mornings. I love to soak them with oats and almond milk and then top with berries, maca (see below), ground flax and cinnamon.
4. Maca Root Powder — Very potent super food that helps balance hormones and boost energy. It also has a delicious malty flavor that tastes great blended into nut milks, smoothies or sprinkled over oatmeal.
5. Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans — I love any large creamy bean that they carry but my current favorite is the white Corona bean. It is what I reach for when entertaining, as no one can believe how good they are. I usually just marinate them in good olive oil, vinegar and sea salt with some chopped scallions and they taste amazing.
6. Sencha Tea — Rishi’s sencha tea is my absolute favorite. It has a delicious, bright, grassy flavor that I am completely addicted to.
7. Frankie’s 17 Extra Virgin Olive Oil — It is by far my favorite olive oil for drizzling and dipping. I always serve it with dukkah and warm bread when people come over for dinner.
8. Flax Oil — I love the flavor of good cold pressed flax oil for drizzling over salads, steamed veggies, avocado toast, eggs and just about anything else I eat! Flora is the best brand as it comes in a dark glass bottle to prevent oxidation.
9. Vitamix — Besides a pressure cooker, my vitamix is the only other piece of kitchen equipment that I don’t want to live without. Although I don’t drink smoothies daily I still use it most days for making nut milk, blending big batch dressings and creamy vegetable soups.