Leela Cyd

Leela Cyd is a photographer and cookbook author. Her previous books include Food with Friends and Cooking Up Trouble. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and new baby son Izador Cosmo.
This Awesome Grandma Has Cooked In Her “Forever Kitchen” For 55 Years
Forever Kitchens
It's got an oval island, cabinets wallpapered with old calendars, and a jar full of glass!
Sep 30, 2020
How To Cook Corn on the Cob
Here's how to make the most of the summer's sweet corn.
Jul 3, 2020
Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs Are Bright in Color and Flavor
Tangy, creamy deviled eggs for your holiday get-together.
Mar 27, 2018
My Friend and I Created a Pie Contest for Our Hometown and This Is What We Learned
Three years ago I lamented to my dear friend Joya Rose that I missed the chance of a lifetime to enter a pie contest in Los Angeles. She said we should create our own in our small town of Santa Barbara, and we did just that. This was our third year running the #SBPieContest. There were 27 pies to be judged, broken out into seven categories: sweet, savory, special diet, kids, wildcard, traditional, and people’s choice.
Feb 18, 2018
Recipe: German-Style Lemony Cheesecake
Swap the graham crackers for a biscuit crust!
Nov 13, 2017
5 Entertaining Souvenirs I Bring Home from My Travels
I travel a lot for work and fun, and shopping while abroad is one of my favorite things to do. With all the idiosyncratic treasures out there to be had, and the thrill of the hunt, bargain, and score, I actually prefer shopping in foreign locales! Plus, the items I bring home evoke fond memories every time I use them. Here are the five souvenirs I always bring home in my suitcase. I love tea and the magic of tea salons all over the world, so whenever I go somewhere, I seek out these hideaways.
May 26, 2016
Recipe: Pistachio Rose Clouds
These powder-pink pistachio rose clouds have a lot going for them. They’re truly a study in texture — they shatter at the touch, are chewy in the center, and melt the moment they hit your tongue. When’s the last time you had that much fun with dessert? I love serving a food that just makes guests squeal with glee, and these meringues certainly fit the bill. The airy pinkness makes them over-the-top girly, and their intense sweetness is lovely with a cup of strong black tea.
May 25, 2016
A California Tea Party with Leela Cyd
A few weeks back, on a very hot Southern California day, I had a gaggle of girlfriends over for a tea party in a fancy greenhouse to celebrate the launch of my cookbook, Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings. I went pretty over the top with a decadent menu of nibbles from the book, soul music crooning from under the table, a dress code (yes, I went there!), and finally a beautiful group walk on the beach when it was all over.
May 25, 2016
Recipe: Purple Cauliflower Hummus
If you get the colors right in any food, you can almost guarantee the flavors are going to be good. When I first discovered all the varieties of colorful cauliflower, I knew the common white type might be forever banned in my kitchen. This flavorful dip is shocking purple and changes colors before your very eyes, thanks to a hit of lemon juice.
May 24, 2016
Recipe: Avocado Coconut Tartlets
Avocado toast is as delicious as it is ubiquitous. Here I’ve riffed on the concept and elevated the idea for a ladies’ tea to create these avocado tartlets. When blended with a little vanilla and maple syrup, avocado cream becomes a revelatory sweet pastry filling. I knew I had to include this very popular recipe from my book for our tea party; it hits all the right notes for a crowd: sweet, creamy, and a touch salty from the pastry crust.
May 23, 2016
A California Tea Party: The Party Plan and Menu
To celebrate the launch of my first cookbook, Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings, I decided to invite my nearest and dearest girlfriends for an afternoon tea party, set in a rustic greenhouse by the sea, with a bunch of snacks from the book. The Earl Grey, giggles, and conversation flowed freely — I didn’t want the afternoon to end. Here’s the plan and menu for our simple gathering.
May 23, 2016
Recipe: Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup
One of the foods I most long for from my childhood bopping around Jewish delicatessens in New York and Los Angeles is the humble bowl of matzo ball soup: a mountain of tender dumplings surrounded by rich stock and not much else. As a child I would nibble each tender spoonful, carefully whittling down my knaidel (as “matzo ball” is called in Yiddish). I felt comforted and loved, not from my grandmother’s kitchen, but by those fascinating, mostly ancient servers who dished it up.
Dec 9, 2015
Sweet, Easy & Raw Recipe: Avocado Cacao Mousse
In my fantasy food world, I’d have a personal raw vegan chef whipping me up magical, healthy food all the time. In reality, I eat like a normal, hurried, working person, always on the lookout for quick and healthy recipes. Could it be that my dream and waking world intersected here with this sublime, avocado confection? Indeed.
Nov 6, 2015
10 Sweet & Savory Ways to Top Your Morning Oatmeal
I love porridge for its earthy flavor and creamy bite, but I also see it as a blank canvas in which to spin tales of delicious and diverse toppings. The opportunities for creativity and invention are endless — from sweet to savory, and everything in between. Once you start to move beyond traditional brown sugar and raisins, you’ll find merriment in blobs, dashes, and slivers of anything and everything lingering in the larder.
Oct 16, 2015
Joanna Goddard on the Two Most Important Food Moments for Her Family
Who cooks and eats here: Joanna Goddard of Cup of Jo, Alex Williams, and their two kids, Anton and Toby Where: Brooklyn, New York Rent or Own? Rent With a busy balance of work, travel, and family life, Joanna and Alex have a lot going on, but their schedule doesn’t stop them from making time to cook with their kids and eat together on a daily basis. Food and fun are major factors in what makes this family tick merrily along.
Aug 12, 2015
Joanna Goddard’s Favorite Milkshake for Kids (and Grownups Too)
Who cooks and eats here: Joanna Goddard of Cup of Jo, Alex Williams, and their two kids, Anton and Toby Where: Brooklyn, New York Rent or Own? Rent We toured Joanna’s Streamlined Brooklyn Kitchen yesterday, and now she’s sharing a refreshing recipe! This simple “milkshake” is in regular rotation in the Goddard/Williams household. It’s a healthy twist on a classic, but the kids feel like they’re getting a major treat, and the adults sometimes partake too.
Aug 11, 2015
Joanna Goddard’s Streamlined Brooklyn Kitchen
Who cooks and eats here: Joanna Goddard of Cup of Jo, Alex Williams, and their two kids, Anton and Toby Where: Brooklyn, New York Rent or Own? Rent We at The Kitchn have been long-time fans of Joanna Goddard and her lovely, always-on-point lifestyle blog, A Cup of Jo, for so many years! We are delighted to share a peek into the kitchen she shares with her two small children and her writer husband, Alex Williams. (Alex does most of the cooking and all of the dishes! Can I marry him?
Aug 10, 2015
Recipe: Poached Rhubarb Royale
As rhubarb makes its sweet, tart, hot pink, and sassy way into our farmers market baskets, here’s one easy recipe to transform the odd vegetable into a silky compote. I dare you not to put a blob of this delightful mess all over everything! My mouth is still puckered from eating so much of this glorious dish. Rhubarb is one of my favorite seasonal ingredients.
Jun 6, 2015
What’s Cooking This Weekend, Samantha Wennerstrom?
This week we met Samantha Wennerstrom, founder and editor of Could I Have That?, a beautiful lifestyle blog. We toured her airy, bright, newly remodeled kitchen; gleaned her easy entertaining secret; and even got a healthy, quick recipe that’s perfect for a summer gathering. There’s only one question left: What’s cooking this weekend, Samantha? Pulled pork sliders. A severe craving!
Jun 5, 2015
Samantha’s Favorite Summer Salad
Who cooks and eats here: Samantha, Todd, and Elin Mae Wennerstrom Where: Santa Barbara, California Rent or Own? Own We’ve toured Samantha’s airy, bright kitchen, we’ve learned her entertaining secret, and now we’re going to dive into a meal this hostess prepares frequently. Samantha’s cooking style, according to the lifestyle blogger, is “relaxed, seasonal, healthy, and unplanned.” This salad perfectly embodies this philosophy.
Jun 3, 2015
Samantha’s Favorite Tool for Easy Entertaining
Who cooks and eats here: Samantha, Todd, and Elin Mae Wennerstrom Where: Santa Barbara, California Rent or Own? Own Yesterday we toured the lovely home kitchen of this Santa Barbara-based style blogger. Samantha loves to entertain at a moment’s notice; she’s often inviting over friends for a quick charcuterie platter or light tea and nibbles. What’s her entertaining secret for an easy, elegant setup? Read on to find out. Cutting boards!
Jun 2, 2015
Samantha’s Light, Bright Kitchen Remodel
Who cooks and eats here: Samantha, Todd, and Elin Mae Wennerstrom Where: Santa Barbara, California Rent or Own? Own Samantha, Todd, and baby Elin share a newly remodeled, bright and airy kitchen in Santa Barbara, California. Samantha’s relaxed and timeless fashion sensibility seems to be perfectly echoed in this space — where the couple recently installed open shelving, marble countertops, and new appliances.
Jun 1, 2015
Rainbow Chia Pudding Bowls Are My Favorite Spring Breakfast
Who cooks and eats here: Leela Cyd & David Kilpatrick Where: Santa Barbara, California See their kitchen: Leela & David’s Quirky Cottage Kitchen Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Often I fall asleep to my own thoughts about what’s going to be on my morning table. Instead of sheep, I count pancakes, French toast, poached eggs, Dutch babies, omelettes, and oatmeal.
May 20, 2015
How We Improved Our Kitchen with a Tool Cart & Vertical Storage
Who cooks and eats here: Leela Cyd & David Kilpatrick Where: Santa Barbara, California See their kitchen: Leela & David’s Quirky Cottage Kitchen This kitchen was challenging in its lack of pantry and the fact that there are very few walls, and the existing walls are met with doors to other rooms (bathroom and tiny office), so a large shelving unit wasn’t practical.
May 19, 2015
Leela & David’s Quirky Cottage Kitchen
Who cooks and eats here: Leela Cyd & David Kilpatrick Where: Santa Barbara, California Rent or Own: Rent We’ve lived in this little downtown cottage for about two years, and although the kitchen has its quirks (no dishwasher, very little built-in pantry storage), we’ve made it work with several DIY fixes. I’ve tested an entire cookbook in this space, experimented with new and old recipes, and have daily breakfast dance parties here.
May 18, 2015
Recipe: Lemony Pesto Pasta with Edamame & Almonds
Longer days and outdoor picnics call for an easy pasta recipe that everyone will enjoy. This dish is easy, healthy, and very elegant. In the height of summer, I love to make fresh pesto from the garden, but during the rest of the year, I cheat a little with my favorite store-bought brand. Having a nice dollop of the verdant sauce on anything from homemade pizza to sandwiches — it’s the brightness and intensity of flavor that I crave!
Apr 16, 2015
5 Tips on Getting into (and Learning from) a Restaurant Kitchen
Some of the most informative, intriguing, and hilarious experiences of my life have been in restaurant kitchens, learning from accomplished chefs all over the world. So how did I manage to get into the back of the house, and how has it helped my own home cooking? I asked. That’s it. After sitting down, scanning the menu, and putting in my order, I usually inquire of the server if I may briefly visit with the chef who’s preparing our meal.
Apr 8, 2015
How To Make Marshmallow Peeps at Home
I’m not sure where the harebrained idea to make my own marshmallow Peeps came from, but I’m sure glad it did. Yes, they are a lot of work. Yes, they involve gelatin (an ingredient I don’t often use). And yes, they are loaded with sugar and not much else. Oh, and yes, they are a tremendous amount of fun to make and eat! Happy Easter, my friends! g-cdn.apartmenttherapy.
Mar 30, 2015
Recipe: Matzo Brei with Bananas and Pecans
Matzoh brei is just the comforting, homey dish you want to eat the morning after your Passover Seder. My grandmother would never have added pecans, bananas and maple syrup (she was more of a salt and pepper gal), but I believe she would have surprised herself, raised an eyebrow, and enjoyed this delightful variation. A few months ago, I caught up with a blogger who spoke to me of her grandmother’s matzoh brei, and ever since then, I’ve been hooked.
Mar 29, 2015
Recipe: Classic Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese
I have a serious thing for diners and their intrinsic Americana nostalgia. Sometimes the food isn’t even so hot, but I still pop in for a basic sandwich and cup of mediocre coffee every now and again. Chef Trevor Rudd of City State Diner in Portland, Oregon, walked me through one of my most beloved — and America’s most beloved! — diner specials: the wedge salad. Want to know the secrets behind this iconic dish? You know you do!
Mar 20, 2015
Recipe: Grand Central Bakery’s Biscuit Jammers
In the past, I’ve had a troubled relationship with biscuits. My favorite baked good seemed just beyond my reach. Until now. Folks, you were tempted by the photos of Piper Davis making these jam-filled biscuits, “jammers,” during her kitchen tour a while back and now I’m bringing you her pitch-perfect recipe. Your world will be forever changed for the better!
Mar 2, 2015
A 5-Step Recipe for Taking Care of Yourself on Valentine’s Day
When the daily grind has worn me down and I’ve spread myself too thin, I like to take a U–turn from my work routine and jump back into bed. And stay there all day with a few key ingredients. Join me as I pamper myself in celebration of Valentine’s day. Yes Valentine’s Day can be about sharing red sparkly things with loved ones, but it can also be about honoring perhaps the most critical (and often overlooked) relationship of all, the one I have with myself.
Feb 14, 2015
How One Little Boy in Northern Thailand Learned to Love Baking
Who: Jade and Toby Keller, son Cy, and dog Dot Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand Read Parts 1 and 2: Jade’s Thai Kitchen in Chiang Mai and Why Jade Shipped Her Special Wedding Dishes Across the Globe Jade works as the Educational Program Manager at the SOLD Project, an NGO in Northern Thailand working to prevent the trafficking of children into sexual servitude.
Jan 22, 2015
Why Jade Shipped Her Special Wedding Dishes Across the Globe
Who cooks and eats here: Jade and Toby Keller, son Cy, and dog Dot Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand See Jade’s Kitchen: Jade’s Thai Kitchen in Chiang Mai As we read yesterday, when Jade and Toby moved to Thailand over four years ago, they thought they might stay for one or two years. Since then they’ve come to feel so at home in their new country, they have no plans to go anywhere.
Jan 21, 2015
Jade’s Thai Kitchen in Chiang Mai
Who cooks and eats here: Jade and Toby Keller, son Cy, and dog Dot Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand Rent or Own?
Jan 20, 2015
Teja’s Family Garden of Edible Delights
Who cooks and eats here: Teja Ream & Neil Collier, plus daughter Elsa and baby Owen Where: Los Angeles, CA See Teja’s Kitchen: Teja’s Family Kitchen Rent or Own? Own We’ve visited Teja’s home kitchen and seen her routine for making homemade baby food, and today we’re getting a peek into her beautiful garden! Teja loves fresh and organic produce, so she started a garden outside her Los Angeles home.
Sep 4, 2014