Sites We Love: Love & Olive Oil

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.

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Tk Blog name: Love & Olive Oil Live since: February 2007 Posting rate (posts per day/week/month?): 2-3 times per week Geographic locati

Today's Sites We Love is Love and Olive Oil, where cookie dough afficionado Lindsay Landis shares her infectious enthusiasm for food that looks as bright and colorful as it tastes (with gorgeous photographs to prove it). Her recipes for sweets are whimsical and fun (homemade pixie sticks or Cadbury Creme Egg brownies, anyone?) but her accessible savory recipes are just as compelling. Here's what Lindsay has to say about her site:

Live since: February 2007

Posting rate: 2 to 3 times per week

Geographic location: Nashville, TN

Why is the site called Love & Olive Oil? When I first started the blog, I knew it would chronicle the kitchen adventures of my husband (then boyfriend) and I, since we do all of our cooking together. That's where the Love comes from. And olive oil, well, it's probably our most-used ingredient. Love & Garlic and Love & Chocolate would have also been contenders.

What's been your most popular post? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles. Need I say more? That post went bonkers when I posted it two years ago and has remained at the top of the charts ever since.

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Lindsay Landis

Credit: Lindsay Landis

What's your favorite post? I have to say I agree with my readers here. The truffles were, in hindsight, a much bigger deal than just the numbers. The popularity of that single post is what ultimately led me to write an entire cookie dough cookbook (The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook). While I never set out to write a cookbook when I started the blog, the opportunity to do so was an incredibly rewarding, challenging, frustrating, and exhilarating process. I've learned so much and think that the blog has changed for the better because of it.

What's something great that you've learned or that's happened to you since starting your blog? I find it amazing actually how much personal growth I've experienced in the 5 years I've been blogging. You need only scroll through my archives to see it. My writing, my photography (I will NOT link you to some of my older posts, let's just say I've come a LONG way), my recipes, my tastes and skills in the kitchen. The blog reflects all of that. Aside from that, the most important thing my blog has brought to me is a sense of community, both locally and with people I've "met" online.

Love & Olive Oil was barely 6 months old when Taylor and I picked up and moved from California to Nashville. We didn't know anyone here, had no family nearby. And since we both work from home (by day we run a web and graphic design business), we didn't have an automatic community through our work. We're both rather introverted people, and that made it hard for us to really meet people. Sure we had each other, but there were times when I questioned the move. The turning point for me was discovering the local food blogger community here in Nashville. Being able to surround yourself with other like-minded people is really what's made this city feel like home for us. I don't think we'll ever leave!

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Lindsay Landis

Credit: Lindsay Landis

What's the usual process for developing one of your posts? In the early years, the blog posts were simply about what we were eating. Taylor and I cook 5 to 6 times a week, so there was no shortage of content. Even now that we're doing more original recipes, it's still about sharing. Sometimes I feel like I'm sharing my meals with my readers, even if we're not physically sitting at the same table. It's incredibly rewarding and something that I'll never get tired of.

What are your favorite ingredients and tools? Other than olive oil (of course), I love good dark chocolate, marzipan, basil, and goat cheese (although, probably not all together in the same dish!) As far as tools, you can never have too many spatulas. My lime-green stand mixer gets daily workouts (plus the pasta and ice-cream attachments). I'd be utterly lost without it. My new favorite tool has to be my OXO egg beater. I made far more spontaneous batches of whipped cream because of it. And spontaneous whipped cream can only be a good thing.

What are your favorite food and cooking resources? We're extremely lucky to have such an amazing community of food-producers here in Nashville, and it's only getting better. We live blocks away from the city's massive farmers' market, and head there weekly for things like eggs, beef, and seafood. We participate in a CSA every summer, which we love because it forces us to step out of our comfort zones with new ingredients we wouldn't normally buy on our own (garlic scapes, beet greens, and moon and stars melon, for example). As for stores, I've been known to do some major damage at the cake supply shop. Sprinkles in every color? Don't mind if I do!

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Taylor Hackbarth

Credit: Taylor Hackbarth

What photography equipment do you use? I recently upgraded to a Canon 5D and a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. We're lucky to have massive windows in our condo, which I adore for their beautiful natural light.

Where else can we find your work? My first cookbook, The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook was just released, and I may or may not have a second one in the works as we speak.

What food blogs do you follow? I've got a whole page dedicated to my favorite blogs. I probably read too many, but they are a source of daily motivation and inspiration for me.

Do you know a blog or blogger who deserves to be featured in this space? Email a nomination — including a link to the site and a few sentences on why they're worthy of love — to siteswelove@saveur.com.