Friday, April 04, 2014

Blogger Spotlight with Tux from Brooklyn Homemaker

Last month I started a new monthly series here on the blog - Blogger Spotlight.  In last month's post, I introduced you to Lori from Foxes Love Lemons.  This month, I'm featuring Tux from Brooklyn Homemaker. I was first introduced to his cooking, homemaking and lifestyle blog while I was checking out the finalists for The Homies on The Kitchn. I started following BH's Facebook page and have enjoyed what I've seen so far. Tux seems like a pretty fun, charming guy with lots of creativity and personality. His home decorating style is super inspiring and his recipes are ones that I think will inspire you in the kitchen.

Tell us how you got started blogging.
I actually started blogging pretty recently - last October. I've always loved entertaining, cooking and baking. When I was especially proud of something, I'd usually post it on Facebook or Instagram. Friends and family would often tell me I should get into blogging, but for a long time I didn't take the idea seriously. Then one afternoon, my husband and I hosted a brunch for some friends who were recently engaged. When I served a three-tier pistachio cake for dessert, they insisted that I needed to share my talents with the world. I was sure they were crazy, but after a few glasses (or was it bottles?) of wine, I started to warm up to the idea. In the beginning I didn't even have a camera and was taking photos with my iPhone. It took me a while to really "find my voice" when it came to the writing, but I have to say that I really love doing it! Since I'm still so new at it, I'm constantly learning and trying to improve. I honestly can't believe how far I've come and how happy I am with the direction of my blog in such a short time.
Tell us a little about yourself and what life is like for you on a typical day.
I'm originally from upstate New York, but now live in Bushwick, Brooklyn with my husband, Russell, and our two mini schnauzers, Doris and Betty. I manage a kitchenware store in Williamsburg, so I spend most of my days there. I usually start the day off with a green juice and some French press coffee while I enjoy some quick QT with Russell and the pups before heading to work.  It can be a demanding job, but I get to talk to people about food and cooking all day. So, it's, also, really rewarding and interesting. I'm fascinated with kitchen gadgets and getting to know the differences between them. Lately, I've been trying to share that knowledge and experience with my blog readers. Whenever I get some downtime at work, I like to look around the store for kitchen towels, serving dishes and all sorts of pretty things to feature in my photography.
When I come home, I like to spend the rest of my day cooking and photographing meals to share on my blog. I spend time working on posts, reading other blogs and scanning Pinterest for ideas. We like to end our evenings on the couch snuggling the dogs and watching our favorite television shows. On my days off, I tend to divide my time between cooking/baking, hanging out at the dog park, having friends over or going out for dinner/drinks.
How or where do find creative inspiration?
I can honestly say that I find inspiration everywhere! Working in a kitchenware store and engaging with customers is a constant source of inspiration. Where I live in Brooklyn, there are a ton of great restaurants so going out can be a great way to get inspired, too. I ,also, love to leaf through my cookbooks and I spend countless hours reading other blogs to see what other people are up to. I'm also a HUGE fan of Pinterest. It can be an unlimited source of inspiration and ideas, but also a great place to store and collect all of the recipes that I find online. I was married last summer and if it hadn't been for Pinterest, my wedding would have been a much more stressful and much less beautiful experience.
What are your top five favorite ingredients to use in cooking or baking?
  1. Good quality butter
  2. Buttermilk
  3. Chocolate
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Thyme
Have you ever had any memorable cooking “fails” or “flops?"

When it comes to blogging, I try to be as honest as possible when something goes wrong in the kitchen. Instead of giving up and moving on, I try to figure out what went wrong and fix it if possible. I think that learning from mistakes is one of the best possible ways to learn what works and what doesn't. There are recipes on Brooklyn Homemaker (like my Grapefruit Bars and my Spiced Citrus Bundt Cake) that were fails the first time around. But, I managed to fix them and make them blog worthy.

What is your favorite post on your blog?

That's a hard one, but I think it would be my Red Velvet Cake with Ermine Icing.  For a long time, I never really cared for red velvet and never understood what all the fuss was about. I had an idea of what it should taste like, but it seemed to me that it was different everywhere I went. One day, curiosity got the best of me. I started digging into the history of red velvet. It turned out to have a long, interesting story. I've always been fascinated by the history of certain dishes, as well as the history of food trends and the way people feed themselves. I thought that the history of red velvet was such a great story and would make such an interesting post, so I took a crack at making a version that would appeal to me. It's a deeper, darker, more chocolate-y version and is paired with an icing that would have been traditional before cream cheese icing came into fashion. After baking and eating this version, I think I finally understand people's fascination!

What post on your blog has been the most-popular with your readers?

This would definitely be my Coconut Curry Squash Soup. It completely blew up on my Facebook and Pinterest after a popular Paleo blog posted the recipe on their own Facebook page. I've never fully understood exactly what you can and cannot eat on the Paleo diet, but it turns out that this soup is Paleo-friendly. It, also, happens to be completely delicious, really healthy and totally easy to make.

What are your top three favorite kitchen gadgets?

Does a cast iron pan count as a "gadget?" I have a variety of pans and skillets in my kitchen, but my cast iron sees way more action than all of the rest combined. I really love my new Rosle garlic press. (You can read all about it in a recent post I wrote.) I, also, totally love my julienne peeler and use it constantly.

Do you have any hobbies that you’d like to share with us?

Beyond cooking and baking, I, also, love interior design, furniture restoration and home improvement projects. (I try to incorporate some of those interests into my blog along with the recipes.) I, also, love gardening and though my yard space is small, I plan to post about my outdoor activities once the weather warms up.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I just had to share a photo from Tux's post of his living space. I adore the photo gallery wall. And, I find his design style simply inspiring. To take a little tour of Tux's apartment, check out his blog post, At Home with Brooklyn Homemaker.

What would be on the plate for your “last meal?”

That is such a hard question for me to answer. If I had to choose, I think it'd be my version of my grandmother's Chicken Pot Pie.  I've tweaked it just a bit from her original recipe. But, it is still so warm and homey. It invokes such nostalgia in me that I can't think of anything else I'd rather have as my last meal.

I'm so grateful to Tux for allowing us a glimpse into his life and blog this month here on Blogger Spotlight. I know he'd love for you to stop by and visit Brooklyn Homemaker.
Or, you can check him out on Facebook or Pinterest.

Photos used with permission.


  1. Thank you so much for featuring me and my blog! I'm so honored!

  2. Yes, Maria ... he seems to make his readers feel super comfortable and like, he'd be so much fun to spend some time in the kitchen with! :) It was so fun to feature him this month!