Be careful what you wish for. I’m not talking about this Spinach Stuffed Roast Salmon Fillet either. You can never go wrong wishing for that.
What I mean is my upcoming cookbook, Savory Pies from Ulysses Press.
Now don’t get me wrong the opportunity to write this book is the single best thing to come out of this blog. Without a doubt. But like all good things in life there’s a tradeoff. I just didn’t imagine the tradeoff would be my blog.
I love my blog. It’s like a member of the family. The neediest member of my family, sure. But with a mug so cute– it’s easy to make allowances. Because throughout this three-plus year online journey, one thing has remained a constant. I consider myself a blogger first. I just happen to blog about food. That doesn’t make me a chef. Though I cook a whole lot. It also doesn’t make me a writer. Though I write (and re-write) almost as much as I cook. In fact when IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) invited me to join their esteemed organization, I had to think long and hard about it. In the end I decided against joining. I don’t really consider myself a culinary professional. But like I said I don’t really consider myself a writer either. And yes, I see the irony in that statement. I am writing a cookbook– professionally. In fact my blog has become enough of a source of income for me that I spilled it into a corporation that already shelters several of our other financial interests.
But what’s all this mean? Why am I putting you through all this blather?
Well, the truth is the harder I work on the cookbook– the worse my blog does. My traffic is down 40% since November. My Alexa sunk like a stone, from about 70,000 to about 200,000. I am making a lot less money.
So, being a numbers a wonk, I have to try and figure out why…
Maybe it’s a coincidence that my stats started to suffer the very month I announced my book. After all, three years old for a blog is decidedly middle-aged. Maybe my middle-aged blog is just not as sexy as it used to be. We all understand the phrase middle-age spread. Maybe my blog isn’t aging all that well. It may still seem hot in my eyes as I am still in love with my blog. I am also very, very loyal by nature. Have I confused love and passion?
The other explanation may simply be logistics. Maybe the audience has stayed the same size, but the content available has multiplied. Simply said, there are a heck of a lot more blogs today than there were three years ago. And lots of them are good. Very good. Easier software, better templates, built in SEO, computerized cameras. These things have all made blogging more accessible and easier to master. Maybe my audience is stretched as thin as it will go…
But what I fear most is this. The book has made me busy. Too busy? So busy that it has made me a bad blogger buddy? I still cruise through dozens of blogs every day (addicts are like that) but I don’t always leave a message. Maybe people think I abandoned them? Still I try to drop pins when I can, leaving a trail that I hope shows how much I love my blogging buddies.
The other side of this busy thing is what scares me the utmost though. Maybe the quality of my content has gone down. Audiences can be fickle. They also notice when you’re just coasting. Am I coasting? It’s been ages since I posted a recipe all my own that was not only terrific, but was also more than just another blogger version of the same thing. Classics are great. Tried and true flavor combinations can satisfy. But they don’t really stand out in a crowded field. That takes a little more effort to accomplish.
So today I am trying to try to bring back some of the old sparkle. Just to show people that although I may not be a writer and I may not be a culinary professional. Hot damn if I’m not a good blogger. I can’t promise to keep it up very long, I may go back to coasting. After all I’m writing a book & I want that to be good too! GREG
- 2 (1‑pound each) center-cut boneless, skinless salmon fillets
- 3 pn each kosher salt & black pepper, divided
- 4 oz ricotta cheese, drained
- 1 clv garlic, peeled & minced
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 c seasoned fine breadcrumbs
- 2 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling as needed
- 6 oz crumbled feta
- 6 oz baby spinach, washed & dried
- 1 c whole tarragon leaves
- 2 T grated parmesan cheese
Place the oven rack in the top position then heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Butterfly the salmon fillets: Lay one salmon fillet on a cutting board. Slice it through the center lengthwise, so that it lays open flat in one large piece like a book. Do not cut all the way through. Season the inside with a pinch each salt and pepper. Repeat with the second fillet. Leave the fillets laying open.
In a medium-sized bowl mix the ricotta, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil into a thick uniform paste. Spread about 1/4 of this mixture onto the inside surface each butterflied fillet. Sprinkle about half the crumbled feta over the ricotta mixture. Lay 12 or 15 spinach leaves flat on top of each filled fillet, followed by 8 or 10 whole tarragon leaves. Close the top flap of the fillets over the filling.
Spread half of the remaining ricotta mixture onto the tops of each fillet, topping each with 12 or 15 more spinach leaves, and a few more tarragon leaves. Tie the bundles closed with kitchen twine. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan on top each fillet.
Bake 20 minutes in the oven, let rest 5 minutes before untying and cutting each fillet into 3 portions. Divide the remaining spinach between 6 plates. Top with a portion of salmon. Serve warm or at room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil.
Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.