LIKE “wellness,” the term “lifestyle expert” was in play so much this year it became practically meaningless. But how else to sum up someone with as many pots on the boil as
? Host of the Food Network series “Ayesha’s Homemade” and “Ayesha’s Home Kitchen” and author of the best-selling cookbook “The Seasoned Life,” she’s also a partner in “farm-to-bottle” juice company Züpa Noma and founder of meal-kit company Homemade and her own line of kitchen ware. Earlier this month she received the Champion award from the No Kid Hungry organization for her activism to end childhood hunger. And she recently added restaurateur to her résumé when she and chef
opened the grill-focused International Smoke in San Francisco, with a menu drawing on Ms. Curry’s travels around the world as well as her Canadian, American, Jamaican, Chinese, Polish and African heritage. “My diversity is reflected in the way I cook,” she said.
That holds true, too, in the kitchen she shares with her husband, Golden State Warriors point guard
and their children, Riley, 5, and Ryan, 2. Join Ms. Curry’s nearly 5 million followers on Instagram, and you too can check in to see what’s happening at her Alameda, Calif., home—perhaps a Sunday dinner of Korean-style short ribs, coconut rice and shrimp, or an afternoon hangout in the garden. Should you visit her garden in real life, be prepared to hear all about the microclimate disparities between the East Bay and San Francisco. She can’t help it, she said: “I’ve become a crazy garden lady!”
The first thing most people notice about my kitchen is: my island. It’s a pretty big one and the only thing separating the living room and open kitchen. I love it because it’s big enough for everybody to sit around and “help” me cook—by drinking a glass of wine.
The kitchen tool I couldn’t live without is: the fish spatula. My friend Amanda introduced me to it a couple years ago and I can’t get enough of it. It’s slotted so it creates air pockets that allow for easy food release. It’s great for not only fish but for everything. It’s the perfect pancake flipper. I’ll even use it like a whisk to beat eggs.
A typical breakfast for me is: a giant cup of coffee. I am terrible about having a balanced breakfast. I’ll prepare it for my husband and kids and then at the end of it all, I’ll forget to feed myself. If I’m feeling crappy, I’ll take a tablespoon of grass-fed butter and blend it in to make bulletproof coffee. I use the Breville [Oracle Espresso Machine] to grind beans, make espresso and froth cashew milk, which I’ve been really into lately. On a good day, breakfast for me is a slice of avocado and a nicely fried egg.
On weeknights, I typically cook: spice-rubbed chicken with coconut rice, topped with parsley mint sauce. My family requests this meal almost weekly. Otherwise, I’m cooking pasta. My husband has to carbo-load for his games. For the kids, I’ll sneak in some veggies by blending eggplants, carrots, spinach or whatever I have on hand into the sauce. My [Kitchen-Aid] immersion blender is great for this.
In my pantry, you’ll always find: brown sugar. It’s a terrible obsession. And curry powder!
When I entertain, I like to: cook Korean short ribs. It’s an affordable cut of meat and it’s not time-consuming. You can marinate it for days, overnight, an hour—and it’s going to be super flavorful. The marinade’s full of soy sauce, brown sugar (of course) and garlic. Sometimes I’ll grate in a Granny Smith apple to add an extra layer of sweetness. All you need to do is throw the marinated short ribs under the broiler, about 3 minutes on each side, and you have dinner. I love how quickly it comes together. You can impress your guests too because it looks like something that took a long time.
I love it when my dinner guests bring: wine. I’ve always been a red wine drinker, but lately I’ve been into whites. I’m super into Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru, a white Burgundy. It’s so crisp and refreshing, and it goes well with any sort of seafood, pasta or nice charcuterie and cheese board. My husband and I took a trip to France last year and again earlier this year. That’s what really got me into it.
If I’m not in my kitchen, then I’m probably: in my kids’ playroom, spending time with them. Or in my garden. I started gardening for the first time last spring and I haven’t stopped since. I’m obsessed with it. It’s rewarding having something start as a seed and then turn into something beautiful.
My favorite season for cooking is: that moment between fall and winter, when people are beginning to put on jackets and everybody’s cozying up. I love comfort food and it’s the perfect opportunity to make it. You have the big holidays; there’s family around.
The most underrated ingredient is: miso. People tend to just use it for broth, but I use it to flavor up my veggies, pastas and roast chicken. You can rub a chicken with miso and butter, pop it in the oven and roast it at 350, and it makes this crisp, flavorful skin.
A food trend I am totally over is: the unicorn thing. Adding rainbow-colored frosting and sprinkles to everything will never make sense to me. All I can think about is how much food dye is going into these products—and what people’s insides look like as a result.
My interest in food started: when I was around 12 years old. When most kids were watching Saturday-morning cartoons, I was watching cooking shows: Emeril,
I think because I saw them on TV, I never thought it was something I could do. I didn’t figure it out until later in life, but I’m so happy I did.
Jamaican Green Seasoning
This bright, herbaceous sauce is deployed often in the Curry household—as a marinade, a sauce and even a dip. “It’s so versatile and very reminiscent of my Jamaican roots,” said Ms. Curry.
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes MAKES:¾ cup
- 4 cups chopped cilantro
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup basil leaves
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- ½ cup diced white onions
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- ½ tablespoon thyme leaves
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1. Use a food processor or mortar and pestle to pulverize all ingredients to a fine paste.
2. Transfer to an airtight container. Seasoning will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator, or up to 5 months in ice cube trays, wrapped tightly in plastic, in the freezer.