This past weekend I had a fun little cooking blogger meet up with local blogger Allison of Allison Eats! We’re both big lovers of food, but we also like to eat healthy. To kick off the New Year, we decided to put together three healthy snacks for eating healthy in 2012. While putting everything together, I picked her brain about graphic design (she works as a full-time graphic designer here in Philadelphia), photography, and food – so to kick things off: an introduction interview with Allison…
FP Naomi: When did you begin your blog?
Allison: I started it back in October of 2010 – it seems like it was even longer ago than that!
FP Naomi: Where do you get a lot of your cooking inspiration from?
Allison: Definitely my mom – I learned a lot from her. I still make tomato sauce exactly how she first taught me growing up.
FP Naomi: Do you have any favorite blogs or cookbooks that you use?
Allison: Yes! Around the holidays I especially love my Gourmet Cookie Book. It has cookie recipes from Gourmet Magazine reaching back throughout its history – there are some really old ones in there. It’s fun for gift or cookie swap ideas. I still haven’t had the guts to make any that list “lard” as an ingredient though.
Another cookbook I love is Braises and Stews. I picked this one up when I bought my Le Creuset Dutch Oven (which has been amazing). I especially love some of the seafood recipes in here. We made the Summer Stew with Halibut, and it was so good.
The other cookbook I really love is called Baked Explorations. The recipes are from this bakery in NYC, and they’re all around really good. I also like to look at this one for food photography inspiration. They use such unexpected props like vintage items and dice. It’s really out of the box, and looks so beautiful.
FP Naomi: Do you have any signature dishes?
Allison: My guacamole – for sure. It’s kind of funny actually because I always wing it, but people are always asking me to bring it to their parties.
FP Naomi: What do you shoot with?
Allison: I just got a Canon SX3OiS for Christmas! Before that I was using my boyfriend’s camera.
FP Naomi: The photography on your website is great. Do you have any tips for me?
Allison: I usually use a box light to get the lighting right (she uses this one). In my kitchen the light is very orangy-yellow, so it helps a lot. Sometimes I set up white boards around the food to block out the background. I’m also always picking up single dishes or napkins whenever I find them on sale places.
FP Naomi: What are some of your tactics for eating healthy?
Allison: I swap out fatty ingredients for lower fat options a lot – like low fat sour cream and instead of the regular stuff. I also like to eat a lot of Asian food. It has such bold flavors that you don’t need to use a lot of fat or sodium. You can make a lot of it by steaming – it’s really fresh and natural. Another rule I live by is always bake – never fry.
First up, Allison and I made Babaganoush with homemade baked pita chips. This snack is guilt free, and great for entertaining guests. Here’s how to make it at home!
2 medium eggplants, halved lengthwise
5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary – needles removed from stems
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp minced pasley
2 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp tahini
½ tsp red pepper flake
Salt and pepper
Pita Chip Ingredients:
3 whole wheat pitas, layers separated and each piece cut into 8 parts
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Arrange eggplant cut side up on baking sheets, then make slits and stuff in garlic and rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil, season with ½ tsp salt, and bake until tender. (About one hour)
- Remove from oven and let cool
- While your eggplant is cooling, lower your oven to 350F.
- In a small bowl , combine olive oil and garlic.
- Arrange pita sections onto tinfoil-lined baking sheets, and brush with the olive oil mixture making sure that each slice is evenly coated.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. At the halfway point, stir up the pita chips.
- Once your eggplant is cooled for the babaganoush, scoop the flesh out into a food processor. Add the parsley, lemon juice, tahini, and red pepper flake. Add salt and pepper to taste, and pulse to blend.
- Plate and serve!
**the babaganoush with keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days