Blogger Spotlight - Season with Spice

This week we are catching up with Mark and Reese from their blog ‘Season with Spice’. The colorful dishes on the blog are influenced by midwest and southeast asian cuisine, making for bold and flavorful creations. With inspiration from a historical spice trail in Malaysia, this intercontinental foodie duo has a unique story behind their blog.

Posted by: Angie Rizzo

image

Where are you located?  

We recently moved from Penang, Malaysia (Reese’s home) to Minnesota (Mark’s home)

 

What inspired you to start blogging and how long have been doing it?

For the three years we were living in Penang, we worked as consultants on many community & arts projects in the UNESCO World Heritage site of George Town. One of those projects included the development of a local spice trail, which gave us a better understanding of the cultural, historical, environmental, and culinary value of spices. From that experience, we wanted to learn more and cook more with spices, which ultimately led to the development of Season with Spice in April 2011.

 

About how often do you post to your blog?  

Right now we are posting a recipe, or a spice related article, once a week.

 

Do you have a unique style in terms of your blogging and/or cooking?

Because colors represent spices, our site and images tend to be more colorful.  An easy task when we were living on the tropical island of Penang during the first two years of Season with Spice, but a little more challenging during a Minnesota winter!   

 image

What are you doing when you are not food blogging?

 We are spending most of our time right now working on our new business - an organic spice shop called Season with Spice - which will be launched in March 2013.

 

What kind of food did you grow up eating and how did it influence your taste preference today?

(Reese) I grew up in Penang - a melting pot of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Thai, Indonesian, and other Asian food influences - so I always had an adventurous palate to explore foods from around the world.  

(Mark) I grew up on a steady diet of Minnesota dishes, but spent most of my adult life in Asia - living in Malaysia, Japan, India, and Singapore.  It was tough at first on a sheltered Midwest guy like me, turning my head to ingredients like fermented shrimp paste, but now I can’t get enough of it.

 

 Based purely on cuisine, which country do you most want to visit?

We would both love to visit countries in the Mediterranean to explore all those wonderful seafood dishes. 

 

What are your least favorite foods?  

Pink slime!

 

 How do you decide which dishes to blog about? Do you follow a theme or overarching concept in your blogging?

Our recipes always have at least one spice or herb, and tend to be Asian or Asian-inspired dishes.

 

Gooey or crunchy?  

Crunchy.

 

If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?  

Seafood buffet!

 

What do you find the most challenging about blogging? e.g. Finding content, photography, writing?

Photographing your lunch when you’re hungry

 

What blogs do you follow?

Just One Cookbook,  Rasa Malaysia , Something Edible, Wok with Ray, and MJ’s Kitchen.

 image

All images via: Season with Spice

Blogger Spotlight - Baked by Rachel

This week we are pleased to highlight another foodgawker submitter, Rachel Currier from Baked by Rachel. This New Hampshire blogger has a wide range of savory and sweet recipes on her blog that are easy enough for most people to make and even easier to enjoy. Rachel tells us about her love of comfort food and the family who loves to eat it.

Posted by: Angie Rizzo

image

Where are you located?
I live in a tiny town in Southeastern New Hampshire, with my husband and our three young children (ages 5, 3 and 1).

What inspired you to start blogging and how long have been doing it?
I started blogging in early 2010. At first it was just something fun to do. I loved baking and playing in the kitchen so it seemed like a good fit, especially since I didn’t have any actual hobbies. It’s since turned into much more.

About how often do you post to your blog?
I try to stick to a pretty strict schedule of three times a week. For me, that works, though some weeks are a lot easier than others. Having a schedule has forced me to be more organized, I plan out recipe ideas months in advance sometimes.

Do you have a unique style in terms of your blogging and/or cooking?
I wouldn’t say my style is unique, but maybe I’m the wrong person to ask. Many of my recipes are classic comfort foods, perfect for just about any family. Most recipes can be adapted to fit your personal likes or dietary needs. I bake and cook with my family and blog in mind.

What are you doing when you are not food blogging?
Assuming this excludes all blogging related activities…it really depends on when you catch me. I might be pretending to be a horse, giving my 1 year old rides around the room, working on kindergarten homework or even pranking my husband. I do have my fair share of favorite shows to keep tabs on too.

What kind of food did you grow up eating and how did it influence your taste preference today?
The food we ate was pretty basic. We had pretty busy schedules as far back as I can remember, so everything was always quick or pre-made to some degree. Homey but fairly standard 80’s and 90’s food… the good and the bad. I think the only way any of it influenced my current style or taste preferences is that I adore comfort food. Who doesn’t?

image

Based purely on cuisine, which country do you most want to visit?
That’s hard. Honestly, the first place that comes to mind is Italy for their fresh pastas, pizza and gelato. But then there’s France with their desserts and fresh breads. Can we just say Europe as a whole? That’d be amazing for the food, scenery and history.

What are your least favorite foods?
For those that know me, this comes as no shock at all but I absolutely loathe tomatoes. I’ll eat ketchup, but that’s it. I know that doesn’t really count, but it’s as close to eating a tomato as I’ll ever get. And even though I live in an amazing place to get fresh seafood, I’m not a big fan. It’s all about the texture but I am willing to try bites here and there to at least see if I like it or not.

How do you decide which dishes to blog about? Do you follow a theme or overarching concept in your blogging?
I blog what I love, or what my family loves, so the schedule… or occasionally lack thereof, is planned around that. I might have items in my fridge that need to be used up, so I make a recipe out of that. Or if a holiday is coming up, I might plan at least a few around that because I know my readers will enjoy it. My main goal is always to please my family, but I want my readers to enjoy the recipes and share them with their friends and families too.

Gooey or crunchy?
Gooey! Cheese, caramel, chocolate, candy… it’s all got to be gooey. But there are times crunchy might win out.

If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
I’m simple. I’d be happy with greasy pizza, margaritas and warm apple pie. Or even just pie. I could probably live off of apple pie and other apple recipes.

What do
you find most challenging about blogging?
Sometimes it’s hard to just let it go. Whether the ‘it’ is dealing with frustrations over content theft, a rude comment or a failed recipe. The good always outweighs the bad, but those bad days are still hard and I imagine they always will be.

What blogs do you follow?
It’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. I have hundreds of blogs in my reader.

What are your favorite recipes?
My absolute favorite recipes are total opposites, one savory and one sweet. The one common factor between the two is the number of times they’ve both been made, which says a lot for how good they are.

 

image

Images via: Baked by Rachel

Blogger Spotlight - Emily Loves Food

We are excited to release our first interview for a new blog feature, Blogger Spotlight. First off, let us tell you a little about this new series. Each week we will be highlighting a submitter from a gawkerverse site (foodgawker, craftgawker, dwellinggawker, weddinggawker and stylegawker). We will post an interview with the blogger and some of our favorite images from their gawkerverse gallery. We thought it would be interesting for our audience to get to know more about the bloggers they look to for inspiration.

We had the chance to catch up with Emily Osborne, the author of the blog Emily Loves Food. A newer submitter to foodgawker, she is in the grips of food blogging and had a lot of great things to say about blogging and her relationship with food (she loves it!).

Posted by: Angie Rizzo

image

Where are you located?

Auckland, New Zealand.


What inspired you to start blogging and how long have been doing it?

 I’d always loved cooking - especially cooking new things. I only have a few select favourite things that I continue to cook - otherwise, I make things once, enjoy them, and move onto the next thing. I also love to photograph my food, it’s definitely part of the whole creative process. So blogging was a natural progression - certainly a better outlet for my food photos than Facebook! I’ve only been doing it for about eight months, though I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon.


About how often do you post to your blog?

I try to update it at least once a week, sometimes every few days. I always find I have a story to tell (whether it relates to the food or not is a different matter!) so sometimes I’ll whip something up just so I can have a ramble about my day.


Do you have a unique style in terms of your blogging and/or cooking?

I’m not sure… certainly my food is usually fairly simple and unassuming, and I like to think that anyone should be able to make it. Like I was saying before as well, I do throw in a lot of commentary in each post: each new post basically comes with The Life and Times of Emily (who Loves Food). So I suppose that sets my blog apart a little, because theres a lot of wee anecdotes about what I did at work, what happened to me at university and what the weather is like.


What are you doing when you are not food blogging?

As a student, study takes up a lot of my time. I’m in my second year of Graphic Design, third year of tertiary study (having also studied animation previously). I absolutely love it though, and am committed to design as a profession. And then, of course, there’s part time work in an windowless department store with ten-year old songs crackling over the intercom in the evenings and weekends.

image

What kind of food did you grow up eating and how did it influence your taste preference today?

I grew up eating a lot of home cooked food - we hardly ever ate out or had takeaways. Both my mother and father cooked, alternating each night to give the other a break. My dad cooked a lot of classic british meals - which are quite common here in New Zealand - where you had your meat, your vege (maybe come broccoli and green beans) and a couple of potatoes. My mum on the other hand, was a fairly adventurous cook, and introduced me to couscous and quinoa and made amazing asian and middle-eastern meals. Because of this, I definitely don’t find that I revert back to ‘easy comfort food’ - my comfort food is something new and exotic and exciting, to the point where I will go out of my way to avoid that meat and vege and potatoes combo. I really love working with new tastes and smells and textures, and am so grateful that this kind adventurous eating was instilled into me at a young age.


Based purely on cuisine, which country do you most want to visit?

That’s tough. Asia definitely - we’re going to thailand at the end of the year, which should be a culinary experience, but I’d also love to go to Malaysia. And the Middle East, undoubtedly. Anything with fragrant, punchy, powerful dishes that aren’t based around the meat n’ three vege way of eating.


What are your least favorite foods?

Potatoes. Hate ‘em.


How do you decide which dishes to blog about? Do you follow a theme or overarching concept in your blogging?

No, no theme at all. I put up the dishes that I get good photos of, which is probably about 70% of what I make.


Gooey or crunchy?

Crunchy outside, gooey middle. Best of both worlds.


If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?

I’ve known the answer to this since I was about five. Sushi. I just cannot get enough of it. There has never been a time when I haven’t felt like a few piece of good ‘ol salmon and avocado.


What do you find most challenging about blogging? e.g. Finding content, photography, writing?

I think that if I found blogging challenging, I wouldn’t do it! Of course, taking the photo can be a bit of a challenge, especially with ugly food (or, equally, food that smells great and you just want to eat it and not have to worry about mucking around with the camera) but ultimately, that’s only a small part of what is largely a fairly natural, free-flowing exercise.  I like the photography, the writing, the styling and I like to cook. There’s no part of the experience that I find a chore.


What blogs do you follow?

I don’t actually follow many blogs myself, but will instead visit them based on individual recipes. I’ll browse through blog after blog looking for a great red velvet brownie or apple pie recipe, and when I find one I like, I’ll bookmark that post of that blog for future reference.

 image

Images via:  Emily Loves Food

Site Update: Sort & Filter

Today we released a few behind the scenes site updates and some new features. One of the features we released last year was the customize page. We determined that many of you weren’t going to this page, so we moved the functionality to the homepage. The primary site updates today are the following:

image

Sort & Filter Tab

On the homepage and search result pages, you will now see the “sort & filter” tab or the “filter results” tab hanging below the navigation bar on the right side. Clicking on the tab will show the sorting options and the filters sidebar. We hope moving this functionality to the homepage will make it easier to use.

Personal Homepage

When you are logged in and filtering a page, you now have the ability to not only save the page, but to make it your personal homepage. If you make the page your homepage, tapping on the site logo will load your personal homepage. You can always undo and revert back to the normal site homepage (latest page) in the filters sidebar or on my saved pages within your profile. For example, here is a search result for "healthy" excluding dessert & sweets that you could make your homepage to avoid sweet temptations.

image

Improved Category Filters

Previously when two or more categories were selected as filters, the results displayed posts that were in any of the categories. We tweaked the filters so only posts that are in all selected categories are returned, which will provide better, narrower results.

Popular Pages

The posts on the popular pages were self-fulfilling. Once a post got on a popular page, they remained there as the popular pages get a lot of traffic, which meant the posts on these pages contained mostly older posts. To provide fresher content, we changed the “popular last 7 days” and “last 30 days” pages to only display posts that were published in the last 7 days or last 30 days. Previously, posts published at any date could make it on the popular last 7 days and last 30 days pages. The popular all-time pages will not change.

Most gawked - last 7 days

Most gawked - last 30 days

Site Redesign

Today’s updates are relatively minor, but we are working on some significant user experience (UX) and design changes. The mobile UX will be impacted the most and hopefully improved upon. The tablet and desktop UX will remain very similar with an improved design. We are really excited about the next set of site enhancements! Here are some features that you’ll see coming soon…

  • Infinite scrolling (don’t worry pagination lovers, we have you covered)
  • Better navigation
  • Improved mobile UX (think iPhone app UX)
  • Lighter page weight for faster page loading

If you have any feedback or see anything wonky on the sites, please send us note via the contact form.

-Chuck

P.S. Have you met the gawkerverse team yet? 

foodgawker favorites 06/14/12

Sample the top five foodgawker favorites from this month:

Southwest Stuffed Peppers make a great summer time dish. [via Sunny Side Up]

~

Perfect for Reese’s lovers: peanut butter cheesecake with a fudge peanut butter cup layer and an oreo crust, all covered in a rich chocolate ganache.  [via Deliciously Declassified]

~

Sonoma chicken salad puts a new twist on an old favorite with the incorporation of pecans, dried cranberries, and apple juice. [via Cooking Classy]

~

Stuffed portobello mushrooms are a great gluten-free and vegetarian appetizer. [via A Food Centric Life]

~

These simple mini cinnamon rolls are yeast-free, use fewer than four ingredients, and can be on the table in less than half an hour. [via Sally’s Baking Addiction]

dwellinggawker favorites 06/03/12

Linger for a while in the top five dwellinggawker favorites from this month:

Is your shoe collection getting out of control? Check out this post for creative ideas to organize your shoes. [via PS by Dila]

~

The key to a well-organized garden is a great pathway, use these 35 garden pathways as inspiration for your next project. [via Freshome]

~

Brighten up your home for summer with these 10 colorful ideas. [via Babble]

~

From ice to sand dunes: 36 incredible places to see on Earth. [via Enpundit]

~

Style has no price tag— try these tips for a pretty home on a budget. [via Florence Finds]

~

Forget diamonds, a well-organized closet is a girl’s best friend: 12 Captivating Closets to Covet. [via Fab You Bliss]

weddinggawker favorites 05/28/12

Revel in the top five weddinggawker favorites from this month:

Burlap adds a rustic touch to any wedding; browse through this gallery for 15 burlap finds. [via OneWed]

~

A list of gorgeous wedding dresses including this one photographed in Paris. [via Le Magnifique]

~

Incredible first look photographs from both the altar and first look sessions. [via Bowties & Bliss]

~

Advice on how best to word wedding invitations. [via Apple Brides]

~

Wondering how to integrate your pet into your special day? Check out this post with over 20 ideas for how to include your pet in your wedding. [via Bridal Guide]