My lovely friend, Dawn, recently asked me to share my tips for food blogging.
As you know, I have a demanding full-time job and this is my hobby. After a few years, I think I have a great balance between managing the blog and the rest of my life. Mainly, the blog does not take over my life.
Some people wonder how I make and share so many different recipes without losing my mind.
I try to keep things low-key. I only take photos once. New recipe, snap a photo. If I come back and the photos suck, oh well… I will still post the subpar photos if the recipe is good.
This also means that I may make a recipe one way but find a better use for it afterwards as leftovers. Then my photos might not look like my recipe!
That is how this recipe evolved. It started out as a Thai Kale Salad with Chickpeas and a Peanut Dressing. I made it, I ate it. However, the next day, I thought rice paper rolls would be better. So I wrapped them up… and decided I didn’t want to bother with new photographs and munched away. Of course, the wrap was better. There is something sensational when all the components of the dish hit your palate at the exact same time: the lemony kale, the sweet red pepper, the crunchy carrots and the chickpeas are not rolling around everywhere…. and how could I forget the delicious peanut sauce? It is light, thinned with vinegar but flavourful with the ginger and orange. Drizzled into the salad roll, it was delicious. So delicious, I gobbled up the rest of the salad before rethinking about a new photo shoot.
Want more advice on how to be an awesome food blogger? Check out Dawn’s round-up with tips from Joanne at Eats Well With Others, Alissa from Connoisseurus Veg, Susan Voisin from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, Cara Lyons from Cara’s Cravings and Alyssa from Queen of Quinoa.
Thai Chickpea & Kale Salad Rolls with Peanut Dressing (or Salad!)
Adapted from Edible Perspective
1 small head lacinato/dinosaur kale (200g prepped), stemmed, rolled and julienned
~1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if canned
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
12 rice paper rolls
1 recipe Thai Peanut Dressing (see below)
1. Make your dressing (see below) and allow to sit while you assemble the rest of your salad.
2. After you’ve thinly sliced your kale, place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle in the lemon juice and salt. Mix it all up with your hands (no cheating!), working the lemon juice and salt into the kale leaves until the colour begins to darken and the leaves wilt (around 5 minutes).
3. For a salad, just mix all ingredients together and drizzle with dressing (I preferred the dressing in blobs).
4. For rolls, in a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 1-2″ of water. If you are fancy, wet a cloth for assembling the rice paper rolls and lay flat over your working area (I usually don’t bother with this – I do it on top of a clean cutting board).
5. For each rice paper roll, immerse the dry roll in the warm water for 5 seconds, and then transport and lay on top of a wet cloth/clean surface. In a line in the middle of the wrapper, add your salad ingredients and top with a bit of dressing. Roll up the wrapper from your side first, flip in the edges and continue to roll it closed. Cover with another wet towel as you assemble the remainder of the rolls.
Thai Peanut Dressing
2.5 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter
2 tbsp + 2 tsp rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
1.5 tsp hemp oil, or your favourite oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1.5 tsp Bragg’s/soy sauce/tamari (I used Bragg’s)
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp grated ginger
pinch granulated garlic
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar, oil, maple syrup and tamari until smooth. Stir in the orange zest, ginger and garlic. Allow to sit at least 5 minutes for the flavours to meld. Season to taste. Leftovers will thicken. Thin with water as necessary.
Makes a scant 1/2 cup prior to thinning.