Sites We Love: Eat Your Greens
Gorgeous photos? Check. Engaging writing? Check. Seriously inspiring recipes, tips, and culinary curiosity? Check, check, and check. The best food blogs all seem to have a lot in common—but what separates them out are the strong personalities behind them. In our Sites We Love series, we sit down with some of our favorite bloggers to find out how they do it—and why it’s as much fun for them as it is for us.
Today's Site We Love is Eat Your Greens, written and photographed by LA-based food writer and dietician-to-be Anjali Prasertong. Anjali utilizes her background as a personal chef and her current education in nutrition to create elegant and simple meals (accompanied by photographs of the same nature) that are healthy, easy to prepare, and perfect for those on the go. Here's what Anjali has to say about her site:
Blog Name: Eat Your Greens
Live since: January 2012
Posting rate: 1 post per week
Geographic location: Los Angeles, CA
Why is the site called Eat Your Greens? I started Eat Your Greens after applying to a masters program in nutrition, so I thought it made the most sense to pick a name that could also be the name of my nutrition counseling business many years down the road. (Um, can you tell I'm a planner?) As such, I knew I couldn't pick something too specific, like Tempeh 4-Eva, or too cutesy, like The Greens Girl! I needed the name to encompass my eating philosophy without being attached to any particular trend or eating style; I wanted it to be timeless. Eat Your Greens seemed like the perfect fit—it's good advice no matter what diet you follow and I also happen to love greens.
Of course, after picking the name, I discovered that eatyourgreens.com is owned by some vaccine-developing pharmaceutical company in the UK, so I embraced my 1990s zine-making, Riot Grrrl roots and changed "your" to "yr" in the URL.
What's been your most popular post? My post about Japanese soy sauce eggs (shoyu tamago) has been surprisingly popular. The recipe is incredibly simple—you simmer peeled hard-boiled eggs in a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar—but they manage to be so much tastier than plain eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are such an easy, portable, filling snack, so I think people are always looking for ways to make them more interesting.
What's your favorite post? I have a special place in my heart for my not-very-authentic mujadarah (spiced lentils) recipe because it embodies what I think Eat Your Greens is all about. Lentils, onions and rice are some of the most humble, economical ingredients out there, but with a few spices, they quickly become a wholly comforting meal that is way more delicious than it ought to be. It's one of those dishes I've been honing for several years and I know I'll still be making 20 years from now, so I was excited to share it on the blog. It's proof that healthy cooking doesn't have to be time-consuming or tasteless!
What's something great that you've learned or that's happened to you since starting your blog? In April I had the opportunity to travel to Lebanon on a food-focused tour and had one of the best weeks of my life. We spent a lot of time eating in people's homes and I was blown away by the hospitality of everyone we met, which seemed to be bottomless, just pure generosity. On one of the last days of the tour, we stopped at a family winery for what was supposed to be an afternoon tour and tasting, but we ended up getting delayed and arriving three hours late. Instead of giving us a quick tour and sending us on our way—it was our fault we were late, after all—the family turned our tasting into a full mezze dinner that stretched into the night, with lots of wine and ouzo and laughs. It wasn't a PR ploy, it wasn't a transaction between customer and vendor, it was a real family wanting to give their guests a generous, memorable evening.
It ended up being one of my favorite meals of the trip and the experience has definitely made me rethink the idea of hospitality. Entertaining others doesn't have to be flashy or expensive. If it comes from a place of generosity and a pure desire to make your guests feel welcomed and cared for, it will be a great meal.
What's the usual process for developing one of your posts? I am a great believer in capturing recipe or post ideas as soon as I have them, so I have a running list going in Evernote. If I want to post a recipe, I'll usually decide by Thursday and make the recipe and shoot it on Friday morning. Then over the weekend, I'll edit the photos, write up the recipe and post it on Monday morning. Or occasionally I'll make something really awesome for dinner and just quickly shoot photos before the sun goes down.
What are your favorite ingredients and tools? Living in Southern California, I am lucky enough to have year-round access to local fruits and vegetables, so seasonal produce is what inspires my cooking 90% of the time. At the moment, I am loving the crossover of the last summer tomatoes, eggplant, and red peppers with the first winter squashes and hardy greens.
My pantry is always stocked with walnut oil and good extra-virgin olive oil, since I make a lot of vinaigrettes for dressing salads, cooked vegetables, grain bowls, beans, and more. I also rely on flavor boosters like miso paste, preserved lemon, and anchovies, which add a ton of umami without a lot of extra work.
Besides my knives, the tools I reach for most in the kitchen are my Benriner mandoline (I love slaws and shredded vegetable salads) and my small OXO 9-inch whisk, which is the perfect size for whipping up a vinaigrette or a small omelette. And I recently started cooking with a pressure cooker, which I am kind of obsessed with. Perfect brown rice in 20 minutes? From-scratch beans in 12 minutes? It's a game-changer.
What are your favorite food and cooking resources (books, stores, etc.)? One of my favorite pastimes is wandering through ethnic grocery stores and checking out all the unfamiliar ingredients. Sometimes I buy things, sometimes I don't, but I always leave inspired to try something new in my cooking. In the Los Angeles area, some prime spots for wandering are Super King Market (mostly Middle Eastern groceries with some Latin American goods as well) and LAX-C (also known as "Thai Costco").
What photography equipment do you use? I use a Canon T3i camera and usually shoot with my Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. I edit in Photoshop, though one of my goals is to someday sit down and actually read the "how to use Lightroom" book I bought.
Where else can we find your work? I am a contributing editor for The Kitchn, where I post five days a week. This year I've also worked on a couple parties for our Gatherings From The Kitchn entertaining series, which has been really fun. I hosted an outdoor movie party in August and will be hosting a pumpkin-carving party for the fall. Look for it in October!
What food blogs do you follow? The First Mess, Happyolks, The Yellow House, Flourishing Foodie, and Emiko Davies keep me inspired in the kitchen and beyond. Before I started grad school, I was a personal chef and I keep up with my talented former co-workers by reading their blogs: Apples & Onions and La Femme Epicure. And of course I check on what all my smart and inspiring colleagues are up to on a daily basis at The Kitchn.
What is one thing that sets your site apart from others? I'm always curious about friends' go-to meals, the recipes they cook on busy weeknights when they need some nourishment. These are the recipes that find a home on my site. There isn't a lot of glamour in the quick, budget-friendly, healthy meal, but those are the recipes that get me excited and they are what I cook 95% of the time.