What photography setup do you use?
I currently take most of my photographs using a Nikon D3300 Camera, with the Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G Macro Lens. (The macro lens, with its higher aperture, is what allows for artistic blurring that you see in a lot of food photos, including all of my recent ones since I made the switch from the kit lens that comes with the camera). One thing I do that I think is somewhat rare among food bloggers is that I occasionally also use a Hoya Polarizer to reduce excessive glare in my lighting setup and make the colors in my photographs richer.
My new house doesn’t have very consistent natural lighting, so I predominantly shoot in artificial light, using the Lowel EGO Tabletop Light, and a homemade reflector made of poster board and aluminum foil. I keep my camera steady using a Vanguard Alta Tripod.
Finally, I learned most of the basics of quality food photography from Pinch of Yum’s Tasty Food Photography eBook. It’s completely worth the money and I highly recommend it to newer food bloggers.
Can I freeze this recipe?
The easy answer is, “probably”. A lot of vegan food freezes really well! You don’t have to worry about milk or cheese separating; meat drying out; fish overcooking; or anything else weird like that. But not all recipes do well in the freezer, and for some recipes, you might want to only freeze some of the components. I try to offer advice on specific recipes about freezing, but if you don’t see any, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you with my recommendations. In general, I always say to use your best judgment and know that if I have not tested freezing the recipe, I can’t guarantee any results.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Recently I’ve started adding my suggestions for prep-ahead to most of my new recipes, but I doubt I’ll be able to go back and add this to old posts. Many my recipes lend very well to doing some prepping ahead of time. Use your judgment or feel free to ask me in the comments about specific recipes. I try to reply to every question that I get about this.
Can I make this recipe oil-free?
I avoid cooking with unnecessary oil and often initially try to make recipes without any. I philosophically subscribe to the “whole foods, plant-based” paradigm and I understand that oils do not have as much nutrition as whole food fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut, etc.
However, I’ve tried the whole “saute garlic and onions in vegetable broth” thing and I just don’t think it tastes good, and often don’t think the flavor of aromatics is successfully infused into the dish without any oil. For this reason, there’s almost always a little bit of oil in my soups, stews, and that sort of thing.
The same goes for roasted vegetables. I don’t like the flavor and texture of most of them without just a hint of oil to help them caramelize. For other recipes, the reasons vary. Oil is necessary for my rice paper bacon to crisp up without burning. Oil is needed in my vegan sugar cookies and other desserts so that they’ll have the right texture after baking.
I do have plenty of oil-free recipes on the blog though, and you can browse all of them via the oil-free recipes tag.
Longtime readers may notice that my views about cooking with oil have evolved over time. I used to go to great lengths to avoid it, but as my life has gotten busier, and I have grown wiser, I’ve started to prioritize things differently. I’ve also continued to become a better chef over the years, learning to unlock better layers of flavor in my recipes through the thoughtful, restrained use of oil and other fats.
Can I make this recipe whole wheat/gluten-free?
If you’re not sure about a specific recipe, please ask me in the comments. In general, my yeast-based baking recipes will NOT convert successfully to gluten-free without significant reworking. Other recipes will usually work with some minor tweaking. I always try to use whole grain flours unless crucial to use all-purpose flours for the right texture, so make those substitutes at your own risk. If I did use all-purpose flour, I probably also waxed poetic in the blog post about why I did that, so for a window into my mind, check there too :).
If the gluten-ous ingredient in the recipe is a whole grain, like barley or wheat berries, try substituting another chewy, sturdy grain like rice. If it’s soy sauce, you can use tamari instead. In general, I encourage experimentation, especially if you already know that you don’t mind the taste of whole grain baked goods.
Why are there so many ads on your site?
I get variations (some more hostile than others) on this question all the time. Maybe you’d feel a little less annoyed about me recouping revenue from this site if you knew that I pay hundreds of dollars per month in infrastructure costs just to keep it running for you to visit; I spend anywhere from 10 to 40 hours per week of my own time maintaining the site; another absurd number of hours cooking, styling and photographing recipes to share; and most importantly, I provide ALL of the recipes on my site to you at NO charge. If you want my website to stay here for your free enjoyment, there are going to be ads. Thanks for your understanding!
Why do I have to scroll through so much writing and photography to get to the recipe?
Many readers find it valuable for me to step through the origins of a recipe and the reasoning behind the choices of ingredients and techniques. As for the photos, I try to limit how many I include, but maybe I’m still being a little greedy.
A super exciting new feature I introduced to my site in 2017 is the “Jump to Recipe” button! If you don’t care about anything other than strictly the recipe itself, just click that “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the post and skip straight past all of my self-indulgence :).
What other questions do you have for me? 🙂