We love keeping it simple as we're constantly running in multiple directions. So when we had the chance to sit down with Siri Daly, Today Show food contributor, Author of Siriously Delicious, wife to Carson Daly of The Voice and mother of 3, we had to find out more about her lifestyle cookbook, dishes that are simple to make and where she eats here in NYC and in LA.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your food background and how this led to ultimately creating your own food book?
SIRI DALY: I am a self taught, passionate home cook. I grew up where my parents were great cooks. I loved cooking with them as a kid and then as I became a mother myself and found myself in this domestic situation, as I had to feed my family every night, that led me to start my own food blog – Siriously Delicious. I started that and it kind of gave me an outlet to just document what I was making every night for myself. Through writing and garnering an audience, it became something more. I was creating recipes then all the time documenting the good and the bad. This grew over time and allowed me to be on the Today Show and it was always a dream of mine to write a book. Especially, this type of book which is a love of food with simple and approachable recipes.
AM: Tell us about the book. In terms of approaching and writing it, how is it laid out and what should we expect?
SD: It’s sort of meant to be a snapshot of what my day is as a busy mom of 3 kids. The chapters are divided into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour, Sides and Desserts. So, again it’s really about recipes that are no fuss and the ingredients are those that you probably have on hand. It’s not about sifting flour or tempering chocolate. It’s simple approachable recipes that you can easily adapt if you have picky eaters, allergies or whatever it is. It’s balanced as there are plenty of nutritious recipes and those that aren’t. It’s a real tasty approach.
AM: Do you also have smoothies and items within those healthy areas as well?
SD: Yes! We have a smoothie recipe in the breakfast chapter and mini parfaits. So there is really something for everyone – from homemade girl scout cookies to rainbow popsicles that have spinach in the green section. I definitely think that anyone can find something that they can eat.
AM: Now, does Carson have a favorite recipe that he likes?
SD: That’s a good question as I don’t know if he has a specific recipe, but there are a ton in there that he requests pretty regularly. A few of our family’s recipes are in there like his mother’s Fried Chicken – she actually passed away this year so that’s a real special one. My mother’s Rhubarb Crisp that she has been making since I was a kid. There are recipes that really mean something to my family. Each one really tells a story and I try to convey that in my writing.
AM: What are 3 recipes that you love that are perfect for Spring for girlfriend get togethers?
SD: Spring – I would definitely say, one of the Bruschettas – one of my favorite being the smashed peas and the avocado toast – peas are so great in Spring. There is a great light chopped salad in there and a pasta with arugula pesto which I just made yesterday – it’s another favorite. I love making pasta salad in the spring as you don’t want to cook over a hot stove and make everyone crazy.
Oooo there are also the rainbow pops although that’s more summer, but they are so beautiful to look at. You can eat one for breakfast and it’s really a treat. Aesthetically it’s gorgeous and makes me think of days to come.
AM: How long did it take to put this book together?
SD: When I started writing it was probably a year. I did the majority of writing over the summer which was awesome. I love to write and being able to focus on my food and my own. It was such a treat for me and you know it was really more whole life in the making. As these are recipes I grew up on like my mom’s Tuna Casserole and I made my own version of it. It was definitely a labor of love.
AM: What is it about food that you enjoy so much and when did you realize that you enjoy cooking and wanted to continue in that vein?
SD: That’s a good question. There was definitely a time in my life when I stopped cooking and not because I didn’t enjoy it, but I was a single person in my 20’s that didn’t have a ton of time and I would do the whole – come home and take out and have microwave Trader Joe’s meals.
I remember feeling like something was missing and when I started to have children, I realized how much I love to create meals for my family. That’s what I love about food. It brings people together and the kitchen is that hub in our house. We’re always around each other and we try to really make eating together a priority most nights. Even if Carson and I aren’t going to eat because we’re not ready, we sit there with the kids. It’s just that shared experience over food which I love so much. It’s also so creative as you can have fun with it and not to take it so seriously. That’s why I created the blog and the book, Siriously Delicious. You don’t have to follow recipes to a “T”, you can use your own taste buds and your own ideas to make something your own.
AM: What are 3 dishes from your cookbook that you feel are the easiest to make in terms of less prep time that a busy mom or person would be drawn to making?
SD: Definitely for breakfast, the Mini Yogurt parfaits because you can make them for breakfast and you barely need a recipe because you put the granola in the yogurt and you can customize them any way that you want. Then you can make them with your kids and they’re amazing on the go which is a huge time saver.
For dinner, I’d say that anything that is some sort of a bar situation. So, I have a big potato bar. How simple is it to bake some potatoes and have all sorts of fun toppings? You can have it for dinner and you can also have it for a party as it’s customizable, fun and different. Something we make a lot is the Crispy Chicken Paillard! It’s customizable as my son is the only one that will eat a salad and my girls, they are against green things but they love the chicken. I will serve it to them with some carrots and I’m not a short order cook because I can make one meal and it’s great as a leftover because they can be chicken cutlets. It doesn’t take a lot of time.
AM: What are your favorite chefs and what are your favorite restaurants here in NY and in LA?
SD: When I wasn’t cooking at that time in my life during college – I was watching Food Network. Ina Garten is definitely one of my favorite idols. She just makes really elegant, simple meals that are comfort foods at their best. There’s something about the way that she does it on television that is really soothing. I LOVE her!
As far as restaurants and chefs, there’s in LA – we do a lot of Mexican (can’t think of a specific chef). There’s a place in Manhattan Beach called Love & Salt. There’s a chef called Michael Fiorelli who is awesome and one of my favorites. It’s a small place, but the food there is farm to table delicious that’s simple and seasonal dishes. We just recently went to Pizzana in Brentwood which is new. I believe it’s the people that are behind Sprinkles. Ridiculously – stupid good food!
Out here, there’s a place called Frankie’s 457. Frankie is actually a good friend of Carson’s. So when we go there, he sits with us. We don’t order and he tells us what we are going to eat. But it’s always delicious and one of our favorites out here.