Meet Aran Goyoaga: photographer, stylist, author and blogger behind Cannelle et Vanille, an archive of beautiful desserts, savory recipes and stories about travel and life. The Basque-born pastry chef started her blog in 2008 while at home with her new son, and it didn’t take long for the cooking community to fall in love with her gorgeous photos and thoughtful words. Last year she published her first cookbook Small Plates & Sweet Treats, full of simple, savory dishes and seasonal gluten-free baked goods.
With fall weather and special occasions summoning us to our kitchens, we’re turning to Aran for inspiration. Here, we ask her all about her ultimate dinner party menu, favorite ingredients and what’s on her current playlist.
What’s the story behind the name of your blog?
When I was a pastry chef, I worked for a French man. I loved the way he pronounced the “i”s. Cannelle et Vanille, which means cinnamon and vanilla in French, were also the smells of my youth growing up in my grandparents’ pastry shop in the Basque Country. When I started the blog, I just instinctually leaned towards that name.
What’s your favorite recipe on your blog and why?
So hard to pick one, but my favorite savory recipe is the Swiss chard, pear and Gruyere tart, which is also in my book Small Plates & Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking. And for a sweet recipe, Brown butter and Roasted Apple Madeleines.
You’re hosting a dinner party tomorrow night. What would you serve?
Something simple with different small plates. It always varies on the season, of course. Things I can make ahead and then reheat with some last-minute dishes. For example, for fall, roasted cauliflower with lemon vinaigrette and yogurt; fish soup with coconut milk and fennel; roasted root vegetable tart; green salad and, for dessert, chocolate and hazelnut pots de creme and a nice affogato.
What ingredient(s) do you look forward to the most every year?
Oh so hard to pick, because every season has amazing ingredients. Usually the hardest ones to find I covet most, right? Right now I am obsessed with quince and I am having a hard time finding them this year.
What’s your number one gluten-free cooking (or baking!) tip?
I think the most important thing is not to be scared of different grain flours and also, do not use gums when they are not needed. I think so many gluten-free products could be much better without all the gums.
What do you eat when you’re alone?
Usually salad with whatever I have in the kitchen, or soup. I love anything I can eat with a spoon.
Who’s your ideal dinner guest?
People who laugh a lot and eat everything.
What’s on your dinner playlist?
Depends on the dinner guest, of course, but I am sure Arcade Fire, Elliott Smith or Dirty on Purpose would end up somewhere in there.
What’s the first food blog you look at every day, besides your own?
I wish I had more time to read food blogs!
What are you cooking tonight?
I don’t know yet. I am headed to the farmer’s market in Ballard (Seattle) this morning and we shall see, but I am feeling I want to make something with celery root. Maybe a gratin and a beef stew? I want something hearty!