A family member ran the Boston Marathon, and we prepared a feast for him the next day. We had smoked brisket, potatoes au gratin, kale salad, and pickled beets. We encourage our toddler to help in the kitchen as often as possible, and here she is patting down the spice rub.
This past week I shot a campaign for Andy Boy’s broccoli rabe. That’s right, an advertising campaign for a vegetable. It’s one of my favorite green vegetables, they are one of my favorite clients, and we work hard and have a good time. I came home with bunches of the beautiful stuff, and set to work making broccoli rabe pesto, right from their recipe page. I was going to bring some to our first lakeside cookout of the season, but we ate the batch I made (although there is lots more in the freezer). It’s one step more complicated than traditional basil pesto, because you parboil the rabe, but then you reserve that green water and boil your pasta in it, and I love that.
Back at home, the week was filled with starting spring seeds – rabe seeds! a gift from Barb Fritz, a prop stylist I work with a lot – and flowers for the pollinators. Then we grilled, and found a tadpole at the lake.
A weekend of cooking for friends and family. Whenever I cook for friends, I look to recipes I’ve shot for Alana Chernila’s books. This weekend I riffed on radish butter, which we photographed this summer for her upcoming title. I also made roasted & marinated eggplant from Jamie Oliver’s Italy, it’s loaded with fresh mint, garlic, oil & vinegar. We (my husband) smoked a huge brisket, delivered to our door from the Applestone Meat Company. There were cocktails around a fire, an egg hunt in snow flurries, a spring walk wearing winter gear, and general frivolity.
One more recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty, and I’ll move to another book, I promise I will try. This is an incredible way to use up the last of the winter vegetables kicking around. Chop and roast, in progression, parsnips, red onions, olive oil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes. Roughly chop capers, and whisk them into lemon juice, maple syrup, and Dijon. Don’t leave this hanging around on your counter through the day or I’m sure it will disappear quickly. The bite sized pieces are too enticing.
Is it a salad when it is roasted and drenched with melted cheese? Probably not, but it is delicious, and I’m sure it counts as two vegetable servings. This dish is a play on one I found in Ottolenghi’s Plenty. I didn’t have endives and Gruyere, but I did have radicchios and Taleggio, so I made due. It’s so simple: Cut, caramelize, cover with sliced cheese, bake, add bread crumbs & thyme, eat while piping hot.
I always feel grounded and balanced when I’m eating lots of salad, and I’m always looking for new twists. This one, inspired from Ottolenghi’s Plenty, is sure to be repeated. The basic idea: Chop cucumber & red onion and toss into a vinaigrette of smashed ginger & garlic, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and top with roasted sesame seeds. There’s a little salt, sugar, and cilantro in there to balance out the flavors.
This week I was with the Applestone Meat Company, photographing raw meat with spring vegetables. Working with Joshua Applestone (founder of Fleisher’s Pasture-Raised Meats) is like going back to my roots. I photographed the very first magazine article ever written about Fleisher’s, then their media kit, then their cookbook. And now I’m working with the Applestones on their new venture. Josh & Jessica are like family, and as much as I adore each and every one of my clients, this one is special. They are doing good work in the world, supporting the business of, and access to, humanely-raised meat. It’s a cause I believe in.
Last year, in a top secret studio setting, I photographed the winner of MasterChef Season 5, Courtney Lapresi. Her cookbook, Everyday Fancy, will be published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang in May 2015. Courtney was such fun to photograph. She truly shines and the camera loves her. I can’t wait to see the rest of the book, for now, here is the cover.
I am excited to announce the publication of Against the Grain: extraordinary gluten-free recipes made from real, all-natural ingredients. The book was written by Nancy Cain and is published by Clarkson Potter. I will be adding interior shots to my main website soon, but for now, here is the cover… a gluten-free breakfast pizza. Even a gluten-lover like me loved this!
Maya Kaimal produces the most delicious jarred and prepared Indian foods. Simmer cubes of chicken in her Tikka Masala or Madras Curry, add some chopped shallot and maybe some cashew nuts, and you have a fast, healthy, and yummy dinner.
Maya wanted to do a step-by-step to show all of the ingredients that go into her prepared sauces, so she, Jessica Bard, and I photographed her making Coconut Goan, from scratch, using those components. The mustard seeds & curry leaves popped, the onions caramelized, and the spices infused the tomato and coconut. I was so inspired to watch the process that I found myself cooking her recipes all week.
A portrait I did of Zak Pelaccio of Fish & Game Restaurant in Hudson, NY, for the New York Times. The story – about several chefs’ fantasy Thanksgiving Dinners – is here.
This October I photographed the second half of the Broccoli Rabe social media campaign. Check their website for recipes. Truly, broccoli rabe has changed my regular dinner routine at home. Something I now cook regularly: parboiled broccoli rabe, sausage, parm, orecchiette pasta. So, so good.
For the better part of October, I have been working on shooting a cookbook for The Hot Bread Kitchen. This not-for-profit bakery trains low-income, foreign-born women in the culinary art of artisan baking. Many of the breads these women bake are hard-to find regional specialties: buttery, flaky Moroccan m’smen; sesame topped Persian nan-e qandi; Armenian lavash crackers; and all kinds of challah. I could eat their heritage corn tortillas every day. I watched two women bake batch after batch from soaked whole corn kernels, and the flavor is unparallelled. The Hot Bread Kitchen cookbook will be published by Clarkson Potter in 2015. For now, you can sample their breads at these markets.