Interview with Cara from Caramelized

I see preparing food as more than a function—it’s an art that brings meaning out of the ingredients at hand and adds value to connections around the table.

Tell us about yourself!

I’m the “Cara” behind “Cara”melized, a 26-year-old self-taught cook and founder of my food and lifestyle brand and blog. When I’m not blogging (or eating), I’m managing public relations and social media strategy for approximately one dozen clients at DCA, a boutique creative communications firm. I live with my husband Alex and pup Sawyer in a contemporary townhome right off the Mississippi River in a historic neighborhood of Downtown Memphis.

Share your approach to food with us: what do you like to cook? Why?

I love cooking as not only a creative outlet but also as a means to bring people together. Sure, one can and should cook for a party of one with pride; but I see preparing food as more than a function—it’s an art that brings meaning out of the ingredients at hand and adds value to connections around the table. That essence is my focus of Caramelized—just like the cooking method of caramelization, the extra moments we take to bring out the sweetness of an element—whether an ingredient, a special occasion, or a daily ritual—yields the most beautiful end-product.

Describe your food personality in 5-7 words

Simple, bright, delicate, seasonal, shareable

What are your 3-5 favorite recipes? Why? Tell us about them!

Mexican Street Corn Souffle – It’s such a fun mix-up for the traditional corn dish of the Thanksgiving feast, but it goes beyond just the holiday! Served brunch-style with breakfast tacos, anyone? Recipe here.

Slow-Cooker Tomatillo Chicken Chili– With only five primary ingredients (most of which I keep on hand or properly stowed in my freezer), five show-stopping spices and garnishes, and five(-ish) hours in the slow cooker, I make this winning meal to satisfy my entire week. Recipe here.

Corn Orecchiette with Fresh Herbs – Cream-free yet super decadent, this pasta performs beautifully for an al fresco dinner party or casual night in. The enriching sauce is crafted from puréed fresh corn and sautéed scallions, along with sharp Parmesan for depth. Recipe here.

What’s your favorite thing about Want the Recipe?

The convenience of curating the recipes permeating our overwhelming social media feeds into one reliable platform!

What food can you not live without?

Pasta. Cheese is number two; but let’s be real, cheese is always in my pasta. So I’ll go with the first. Bucatini, taggliatelle, angel hair or cavatelli – I’m totally in love with the shapes and textures of the Italian starch.

What kitchen appliance do you swear by?

My Staub French Cocotte—It’s too large to fit in a drawer, so I leave it on the stovetop at all times. Out of convenience but also out of cast iron sturdiness and roasting precision, I prepare all from soups and sauces to pan-seared proteins and veggies.

What are your favorite blogs/ Instagram accounts that you follow? What do you like about them?

Molly Yeh – She’s half-Asian and half-Jewish and marries a nostalgic heritage with adaptable, modern methods and recipes. Molly manages to create the most whimsical and brilliant of recipes day after day.

Emily Schuman – She’s an OG blogger who’s built a brand beyond the written word; but she always prioritizes the blog medium as a means to carry the Cupcakes and Cashmere voice and legacy.

The Defined Dish – Totally approachable, adaptable and healthful. It’s a daily go-to despite the chaos of a work week.

Do you have any advice for our food community?

Don’t be afraid to amend on the fly. As much as I wish I could follow every recipe verbatim, chances of missing one ingredient are high, so I must substitute or evolve in a small yet significant way. Not only does the omission or addendum make your dish unique, but it makes it yours!

What’s your Instagram handle, blog link, any other social media or accounts you’d like us to share!

You can find me on:

Instagram: @cara_melized

My blog: caramelizedblog.com

Facebook: /caramelizedblog

 

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