[This post is part of an ongoing series of interviews with cookbook authors, bloggers, women entrepreneurs and home chefs whose work I enjoy and admire. If you’ve got someone in mind you’d like me to approach for an interview, please shoot me an email at rickiATrickihellerDOTcom, or leave a comment here and let me know! And now, enjoy today’s installment!]
[photo credit: Dave Biesse]
If you’re vegan, if you read food blogs, if you like to experiment with cooking and baking, or if you’re simply someone who eats food every day, you are likely already familiar with Angela Liddon, the creative force behind the powerhouse blog, Oh She Glows. I first “met” Angela soon after she started her blog when she emailed to ask some questions about my former bakery, Bake It Healthy. Angela went on to run her own highly successful Glo-Bakery online for several years. I knew immediately that Angela possessed warmth, intelligence, humor and immense talent; but it was shortly thereafter, when she decided to run a post about my Almond-Crusted Root Vegetable Fries and my blog received almost as many visits in that one day as it had the previous month–well, that’s when I knew for certain: this woman had gone supernova!
I honestly have never met anyone who doesn’t think Angela is the bomb. She’s just as beautiful, friendly and approachable in person as she is on her blog; and this woman has a true gift when it comes to creating delicious and stunningly photographed recipes. I had the great pleasure to meet Angela in person at one of her birthday bashes a few years ago, and then the opportunity to meet up again at the last year’s Vida Vegan Con:
As no doubt many of you already know, Angela’s first cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, was recently released to thunderous acclaim. It’s a stellar collection of new recipes, with a few reader favorites from the blog thrown in. I was blown away when I first peeked inside: like her blog, Angela’s book is filled with her signature style, combining everyday ingredients in novel ways to create unique and irresistible dishes that appeal to anyone, vegan or not. And, of course, there are the photos (a few of which you see peppered throughout this post, along with a couple of my woefully rough Instagram pics!). It’s truly an incredible accomplishment by an equally incredible blogger, writer, and recipe developer. (And. . . .just yesterday, she made another major announcement!! Huge congrats, Angela and Eric!!)
I’m so very delighted to be able to share my interview with Angela today!
[From instagram, the Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich, made here with my own grain-free bread. Love!]
If you could have dinner with any other food writer, food blogger or cookbook author, who would it be (and why)?
I would love to sit down and chat with the talented, inspiring, and courageous Jo-Anne McArthur, who is an award-winning Canadian photojournalist documenting the plight of animals in factory farms, the mink fur trade, animal lab testing, marine parks, and zoos across all 7 continents. Jo-Anne says her mission in life is to raise awareness about animal issues and to photograph the predicament that animals are in because of humans.
“I truly believe that it’s innate that we’re all compassionate and that if we are given the opportunity to care, we will.” ~ Jo-Anne McArthur
She is a huge inspiration!!
Also – Eric Tucker, renowned chef from Millennium restaurant in San Fran, would be up there for sure. I had the pleasure of meeting him very briefly and experiencing his menu at Millennium last year. He creates fresh and unique ingredient pairings, beautiful presentation, and everything obviously tastes incredible. I would want to pick his brain and find out how he comes up with such incredible flavour combinations. What are his daily inspirations, etc.
[Angela’s Present Glo-Bars granola bars. Photo credit: Angela Liddon.]
I can’t wait to try more recipes from the book—they all look great to me! I’m sure you’ve been asked this before. . . but which is your favorite recipe? (Okay, you can pick three).
It changes daily, but today they would have to be…
- Oil-Free Baked falafel Bites (healthy, crunchy baked falafel bites with a homemade salsa all served over lettuce wraps and cashew cream. A light appetizer or meal.)
- Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip (people will hunt you down at parties for the recipe!)
- Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte (a serious crowd-pleasing dessert recipe that no one can resist. No one.)
What surprised you most about the process of creating a cookbook?
How many tears I shed over it. Haha. I’m only half joking. It was a long journey, so I guess you could say I was surprised by how many hurdles there were along the way and how long it took to create the book. I think it was a good thing that I was so naïve going into it. Almost 3 years later, I can finally say it was all worth it because I learned so much and I was forced to keep improving my skills at a very quick rate.
It seems like scores of new food blogs are popping up daily. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in 2014? What are the qualities you think make for a successful blog (or blogger)?
Three things that keep me coming back to food blogs are:
1) Authentic writing voice. You don’t have to be the best writer out there, but be authentic! It really helps people connect with your blog and story.
2) Vivid photography. A blog with great food photography will keep me coming back again and again. We eat with our eyes, after all!
3) Reliable, well-written recipes. I want recipes that I can trust, so I tend to keep coming back to the ones that provide consistent results and clear directions.
[Flu-Fighter Sunshine Smoothie, Morning Glory Smoothie and Tropical Beauty Green Monster.
Photo credit: Angela Liddon.]
What’s next for you?
Oh gosh, this is turning out to be a busy year! There are a few things I have to keep under wraps for now, but I can tell you that my husband and I are working on our first Oh She Glows App. It will feature all the best recipes from my blog and new updates weekly, as well as a shopping list, food photography, and so much more! We’re also hoping to start up a new business sometime in the near future, but I’ll keep you guessing on what it is.
Thanks so much, Angela!!
And in case you’re not yet tempted enough, here’s a sample recipe from the book. This Chakra Caesar Salad with Nutty Herb Croutons is even anti-candida diet approved!
[photo credit: Angela Liddon.]
Chakra Caesar Salad with Nutty Herb Croutons
reprinted with permission from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon (Penguin Canada)
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole raw almonds
1 whole head garlic, for roasting, plus 1/2 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
4 tsp (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/2 tsp (1 to 2 ml) fine-grain sea salt, to taste
1/4 tsp (1 ml) dry mustard
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped, or a mix of romaine and destemmed torn kale leaves (about 10 cups/2.5 L)
1 recipe Nutty Herb Croutons (below)
Make the dressing: Place the almonds in a bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak the almonds for at least 12 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse the almonds. Pop off the skins by pressing eh base of each almond between your thumb and forefinger. (Removing the skins yields a smoother dressing, but it’s not absolutely essential).
Cut off the top of the garlic head so all of the raw cloves are exposed. Remove any loose skin. Wrap the head in foil and place ito n a baking sheet. Roast the garlic for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and golden. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Remove the foil and squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and into a food processor.
Add the soaked almonds, oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, dry mustard, pepper and 1/4 cup (60 ml) water to the food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Tastes and add more salt and pepper as needed. Add the minced raw garlic if you’d like the dressing to have a more intense garlic flavor–otherwise, leave it out.
Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing on top. Toss until fully coated. Sprinkle the Nutty Herb Croutons over the salad just before servings. Makes 4-6 servings.
Nutty Herb Croutons:
1 Tbsp (15 ml) ground flax seeds
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup (250 ml) raw almonds
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chopped sweet onion
2 Tbsp (30 ml) packed fresh parsley, or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried parsley
2 Tbsp (30 ml) packed fresh basil, or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried basil
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried thyme
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried rosemary
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine-grain sea salt, or to taste
Herbamare, for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 300F (150 C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the flax, oil, and 2 Tbsp (30 ml) water and stir. Set aside for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened.
In a food processor, pulse the garlic to mince it. Add the almonds and process until finely copped. Add the onion, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt and flax mixture and process until a sticky ball of dough forms.
With your fingers, sprinkle small portions of the crouton dough onto the prepared baking sheet, using roughly 1/2 tsp (2 ml) of dough per crouton. Place the croutons 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on the baking sheet and sprinkle with Herbamare.
Bake for 20 minutes, then gently flip the croutons and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until golden. Watch the croutons closely near the end of the baking time to make sure they don’t burn.
Let the croutons cool on the pan for 10 minutes. They will firm up while cooling. Cool the croutons completely and store in an airtight glass jar for 2 to 4 weeks. Makes 8 servings.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 [Stage 1 if you replace the jarred Dijon mustard with more dry mustard] and beyond; sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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