Sveta is efficient and creative as she prepares Timbalis — an incredible Indian dish that she describes as savory cupcakes or mini-quiches. Within minutes ingredients come and go, the kitchen a flurry of activity and then completely clean. No one ingredient lingers on the counter beyond its usefulness. Joe, a cool furniture designer is happy to be Sveta's official mincer, mixer, chopper, and eater.
Spice and complexity of flavor are usually part of every meal if only because Sweta is very inspired by the Indian food her mom prepared growing up.
Because the apartment Joe and Sveta share is a rental, Sveta likes to focus on the foreground rather than the appliances and backdrop of the kitchen itself. She likes to think about that which happens in the kitchen rather than what it looks like. While she appreciates it's open layout, she insists on keeping a beautiful red dutch oven on the stove at all times to distract herself and others from what she sees as less than ideal.
No matter what the kitchen looks like, Sveta likes to prepare meals there every night for her family. Good food is an active choice in this household. Healthy for sure, but happily, totally delicious as well!
Sveta's Answers to the Kitchn Questionnaire
What's your cooking style?
Urban rustic. I love the notion of farm to table but it needs to fit into the context of our busy lives.
What inspires your kitchen?
Fresh in-season ingredients, beautiful colors, a bit of chili, anything Indian, our chalkboard.
What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
My Jensen bowls by Norman Copenhagen. They are ‘extraordinary’ ordinary bowls.
Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Cleaning as you go makes the meal look effortless. And make sure you use a sharp knife. My husband is the resident knife-sharpener.
Biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Storage is quite a challenge which means we have to edit the number of tools, utensils and cookware we can really keep. We can’t really spread as we prepare a meal so we tend to have to be quite organized.
Our Trio Espresso machine by Luca Trazzi. It is definitely part of the family but favors my husband. We do love our Breville juicer as well.
Dream tool or splurge:
Any Aga range. They are inspired.
What are you cooking this week?
Fettuccine with olive tapenade and red chilies, a simple balsamic glazed chicken with radicchio, shaved brussel sprout salad with mint.
What cookbook has inspired you the most?
I really enjoy Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. It’s easy to over-complicate Indian meals and here, she has some elegant shortcuts.
What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Our first Thanksgiving. I had made every classic under the sun and even prepared vegetarian versions. I did however ‘accidentally’ throw out the turkey before anyone could help themselves to seconds. A happy wine-filled mistake, all in an effort to clean up and move onto dessert.
ResourcesI’ve recently been turned onto Yummly.com – it is a great recipe resource that allows you to search for recipe ideas in many different ways from time to price to course.
Sveta's Recipe for Swiss Chard TimbalesPrep time: 30 minutes
1 large bunch swiss chard, coarsely chopped
2 portabella mushrooms, diced
1 small yellow pepper, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
¼ flat Italian parsley, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp red chili flakes
¼ tbsp dried thyme
¼ tbsp black pepper
½ cup grated Emental and Edam mixed (or one or the other)
6 egg whites
2 tbsp greek yogurt (you can use regular yogurt too but drained it in a cheese cloth for a few minutes)
Chili powder to garnish
Preheat over to 350°F. Lightly oil 9-by 2-inch cupcake pan.
In a large pot, heat oil. Add garlic and portabella mushrooms and cook on medium until semi-cooked soft. Add peppers and parsley and sauté until cooked through. Add chili flakes. Add swiss chard and cook until wilted. Salt to taste.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites, yogurt, pepper, and thyme.
Spoon egg mixture into baking pan, filling each cup ½ way. Spoon vegetables over egg mixture and top off with cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Insert knife in center to make sure it comes out clean. Then place in broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown. Sprinkle with chili powder and let sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pans.
Serve over a mixed green salad.
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(Images: Jill Slater)