Do you know Nadia Kazmi? I’m sad to say that I didn’t know a whole lot about this powerhouse singer, even though she’s from (and still lives part-time) in my home base of Calgary. It may be because Nadia spends about half of her time in Brooklyn, where she’s working hard to establish her career as a blues-inspired rock singer. Either way, she’s well worth acquainting yourself with, especially if you like a little bit of grit with your rock and your roll (watch the video a little further down in the post for evidence).
Her brand new EP LAMB comes out this Friday, with some tour dates coming up in September, so I thought it would be a good time to catch up with Nadia and talk food. I was surprised to learn, among other things, that her family is behind a much beloved local pizza chain. Read on to find out more…
Are you much of a cook or are you more of an eater? If you do like to cook, what are some of your favorites?
Both! I like to cook and like going out to eat too. I’m pretty good at trying things at restaurants and then recreating the recipes from taste at home. My favorites are Asian fusion dishes because they incorporate some of my favorite flavors like nuts, veggies, fish and citrus. Grilled trout is also a favorite of mine. Easier to cook and more forgiving than salmon, I just put crushed salt, pepper and cumin seeds with lemon on it and either bake or grill it. I eat fish but no meat so I’m on the lookout for seafood stuff.
I hear you’re from Calgary but live in Brooklyn now! What’s the food scene like there? Have you discovered anything amazing that you just can’t get in Calgary? Conversely, what do you miss from home?
I basically split my time between the places depending on what’s going on with my music and shows. The food scene in New York is pretty all encompassing, there’s something for everyone and a lot of versions that are constantly popping up. People are on the lookout for the latest openings and Brooklyn’s restaurant scene is the fastest growing so there’s no shortage of new places to try. There’s a real trend towards having one type of food and doing just that like only grilled cheese sandwiches or a plethora of mac n’ cheeses. In addition, it’s easier to find vegetarian and healthier options such as wild caught fish or grass-fed burgers. Calgary’s food scene is growing and you can get most things here that you can find in NYC but eating out in New York is less expensive on average. What I miss from Calgary is a greasy spoon breakfast at a nearby spot. Seems to be a dying art in New York where there are a lot of cafes with sandwiches or overpriced spots that look like diners but not as many true greasy spoon diners as there used to be. Breakfast that ends at 11 am is not a musician’s breakfast, I need an all-day breakfast.
What were some of your favourite foods growing up? Are they still your favorite?
PIZZZAAAAAH! Yes, still a favorite for sure. Greatest food ever invented. My dad owned pizza places all my life and started one of the most well-known chains in Calgary called Deep Dish Pizza (Chicago style) but my favorite is actually thin crust, especially New York or Neapolitan style. And I DO NOT fold my slice in half, I don’t care if New Yorkers think this is the best way to eat a slice because it’s less messy. All you taste is crust! Each pizza bite should have direct contact with cheese, sauce and crust simultaneously or it’s criminal. I’d rather have cheese running down my face and grease all over my white t-shirt than deprive my taste buds of the correct correlation of cheese to sauce to crust ratio.
Do you find what you eat — be it because it’s healthy or just really delicious — affects the way you make music, whether you’re in the studio or playing live?
I’d say bourbon has the biggest effect on how I make music (always positive, ha). Actually, cheese isn’t great for vocalists and I avoid it (even pizza, sigh) when I’m recording. But I still get some nervousness when performing or recording so I like to eat something filling but healthy beforehand because it keeps the butterflies to a minimum. Lots of veggies and a healthy serving of protein so salmon is a favorite.
What’s in your fridge right now?
Lots of organic veggies, preserved lemons, tofu, champagne, white wine, tequila
What’s your favourite kind of pie?
Apple – classic
Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with us?
I have an easy one that is pretty amazing considering how little goes into it. Some friends of mine from Paris invited me for dinner and served this. It was so good that I figured out the recipe on my own and make it at least once a week. It’s called a French Tian and is Tunisian influenced.
1 medium onion
1 large beefsteak tomato
1 medium zucchini
crushed garlic cloves
Slice the onion, tomato and zucchini into 1/2 inch thick circles (use little bits of onion ends to chop up)
Line the bottom of an oven safe casserole or baking dish with olive oil and some of the chopped onion, add salt and pepper
Drizzle veggies generously with olive oil, lots of salt and pepper and thyme
Place veggies on top of onion bed in alternating formation and throw crushed garlic cloves on top
Cover and place in oven at 300 for 1.5 hours, uncover and turn up the heat to 350 for 15 minutes to give the veggies a bit of a crisper finish
You won’t believe how good this tastes. Serve with fish or chicken or eat as a meal on it’s own with rice.
I didn’t manage to get a good photo, but Nadia is right, this is delicious. Be sure to get an amazing tomato and your life will be all the happier. With zucchinis in season, I plan to make this every night.
As mentioned, Nadia has some tour dates coming up in the fall, in the Eastern part of Canada and the US. Check her website for a full list of dates.