In today’s edition of “SF’s Favorite Foodies Series” I’d like to introduce you to Vianney the lovely and talented chica from Sweet Life blog. I say introduce lightly because I’m sure many of you already know Vianney and her delicioso blog. Her recipes are warm, family favorites that will surely inspire you to get in the kitchen. Those of you that know her blog know that she is “The Margarita Queen”. A well deserved title because her Margarita recipes are extensive, creative, perfect for entertaining or for a fun night in. Without further ado, let’s get to know Vianney a little better and what inspires her beautiful recipes.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about your blog?
I began my blog to chronicle my adventures in baking. Little did I know my daughter would become the baker in our home and leave little for me to chronicle. I began sharing my favorite plates from my childhood and was really surprised by the reaction. People really enjoyed learning how to make the recipes that are close to my heart like frijoles de olla, sopa de fideo and migas.
2. Why do you like to (cook/bake) spend time in your kitchen?
When I got married I wanted to impress my husband with new dishes and flavors. I enjoyed experimenting with spices, techniques and trying new cuisines. When I became a mother I wanted to hand down my mom’s recipe, share our culture and introduce my girls to their heritage. I love to spend my days in the kitchen with my girls giving them a bit of my childhood through plates of Mexico. These are the moments, memories I cherish.
3. Have you always liked spending time in the kitchen?
Yes, growing up my parents both worked two jobs. During the week we kids had to jump into the kitchen to create meals. I often found myself scanning my mom’s cookbooks for cookie recipes to bake. On the weekends is when the kitchen really excited me as my mom is a whiz. She loves to cook and took advantage of her weekend to create wonderful family recipes.
4. What is your most special or memorable kitchen moment, be it a happy or a disastrous memory?
I have so many, but one in particular includes my mom. I made empanadas con queso y cajeta. I was so worried, nervous, excited to share them with my mom. She is my kitchen idol and I wanted her to be proud of me. She loved them, even asked for the recipe. All day I had the goofiest grin on my face, such a BIG moment for me. Disasters in our home happen at least once a week; we embrace them as a learning experience to help my girls learn to transform a disaster dish to a new creation.
5. On your blog you say “I’m a proud Texan and blessed to be Hispanic.” Growing up in your Hispanic home when it came to food what side was embraced most, the Texan or Hispanic or a mix of both?
Hispanic. I was a teenager when I first tasted a brisket. We begged my dad to make one outside and we slowly began trying Texan food. My dad would grill tripas on a disco (a grill made from a disk from a farm tractor) in our backyard. There were always frijoles on the stove, nopales, queso and fresh salsas. When I moved out I buried myself in Texan food, learning all I could. I realized this is where I was raised, is will never compete with my Heritage only adds to the flavor mix.
6. What is your favorite authentic Texan food to cook/bake, and what is your favorite authentic Mexican food to cook/bake?
Texan food is brisket. I have finally after so many years conquered this feat of producing a great brisket that I can serve with pride. There is so many elements involved in creating a great brisket; wood, heat, cooking time, cooking temperature. I am very impatient, so I had to learn to be patient and let the wood take over and smoke my brisket. Mexican, oh the list is endless from mole to pozole every region has their own version. Chile rellanos, yes I am obsessed with poblanos. A lot of people push chile rellanos aside worried about the fat from frying, but they have many options. Filled with vegetables, beans, cheese or drizzled with a sauce made from nuts.
7. What is your favorite spice and why?
Comino, one of my go to spices.
8. What food or ingredient repulses you, and why ?
Eggs. I love eggs with papas,chorizo con salsa or mixed into a recipe, but plain sunny side or scrambled I can’t seem to enjoy them. My mom says even when I was little I was not fond of them, so she would add beans, vegetable or salsa.
9. When you want to treat yourself or loved ones what do you prepare or splurge on ?
When I have loved ones coming into town I want to spoil them with dishes that they may not normally make for themselves. I splurge on a feast with a dish catered to each one of my family’s favorite flavors. I know my little sister loves queso fundido, so I buy a great bottle of tequila. My dad loves tostadas so I invest in a wonderful local cut of pork. My mom enjoys ensaladas so I source local citrus and homemade fresh queso. I want them to feel loved, enjoy a great meal and feel special. We have a blast.
10. When you go out to eat what do you go for?
At the moment we are working through a list that we complied from Texas Monthly “best of.” This list includes Texas, Authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex. What I love is each spot listed has history; some have been in business for generations. Some weekends we travel hours to visit a spot on our list, so one weekend we will enjoy Texan fare the next Mexican food. My girls are in charge of our list so they plan, investigate and map our trips.
11. What food is your food vice? You know, one you sneak in a little extra of when no one is looking.
This is so embarrassing, but I love Pringles. Sour Cream Pringles. I had them for the first time when I was in High School and they are my weakness. I NEVER buy them, because honest truth I will devour the entire tin. Funny thing is every time our family travels together for a long distance everyone knows to buy a can of Pringles for me. I will take over the driver’s seat willingly late at night as everyone sleeps to eat Pringles.
12. Who are the people that inspire your culinary journey? (be it a professional, enthusiast or novice)
My mom for sharing her Mexico with me, my daughter (12) for her passion and dedication to absorb every detail in preparing herself for culinary school, Chefs that has helped me along the way from Rick Bayless, Fany Gerson, Roberto Santibanez, Diana Kennedy etc..etc.. and blogs. Every day I find another blog I love, that excites me or teaches me something new. The passion that you find on the internet is amazing; people who love to cook never fail to inspire me.
13. Do you like to listen to music while you cook? What do you listen to?
I did listen to music when I was a newlywed, but with my girls the noise would be too much. We are loud in the kitchen, lol. On days when I find myself alone I do listen to Enrique Iglesias (first album) or the 80’s.
14. What is your goal or what do you hope to accomplish with your blog ?
My goal is to share my love for food, being simple as frijoles or my obsession for margaritas. I hope to leave my family a place they can turn to for family favorite recipes and give my girls inspiration to continue to cook. I hope to continue to meet new food lovers, connect with friends and have fun.
15. Anything else you would like to say or share with us, tips or advice for fellow blogger ?
Advice, have fun. Share what you love, your passion and try not to get too wrapped up in comparing yourself to other blogs. Your blog is your space. Share with us your recipes, your connection to food, your food memories and we will follow along.
Recipes pictured can be found here:
– Avocado Dulce de Leche Muffins
– Cumin Chicken Hominy Stew
– Hominy Quesadillas
– Pumpkin Margarita
– Lime Flan
– Prickly Pear Margarita
– Frijoles de Olla
– Tamarind Tequila Molleja
– Apple Margarita
Now that your mouth is watering go on and visit Sweet Life for more amazing recipes. Gracias Vianney, it’s been a pleasure!
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