I was recently asked to do some butcher shop meat photography. The Applestone Meat Company wanted pretty much all of their cuts of meat documented. The challenge was to come up with an attractive way to photograph this glorious meat in its raw form. We wanted appetite appeal, and that can be a tough ask from a raw piece of meat. We brainstormed. They suggested white. I suggested marble. We decided to show the raw meat in the very early stages of cooking. The higher end cuts were dressed up in only salt and pepper. Some of the other cuts were given marinades and dry spice rubs.
This butcher shop also produces a lot of sausages – andouille, bratwurst, hot Italian, chorizo, Parmesan and broccoli rabe and many more… well over a dozen different blends. We wanted to show these, but we didn’t want to show them raw with raw ingredients around them. So, we cooked the sausages in a way that reflected their particular characters. One of the butchers at the shop happens to be a trained chef. He and the Applestone team came up with recipes, and he cooked them for the camera.
Look for these images rolling out on the Applestone Meat Company’s website and social media channels in the near future.
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 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.
It’s been a long wait, but we are close now… I shot this book for chef Rahm Fama about two years ago. It will be published this July 1, by Clarkson Potter, and may much eating of meat, potatoes, and amazing side dishes commence.
This book is different than a lot of cookbooks out there. It is heavy on the food & recipes, and light on the dishware, meaning…. most of the book was shot almost from above, using just a few different plates, on a few different tables. The food is truly the star. I will post example shots after the pub date.
Michael Symon’s latest book, Carnivore, hits the shelves on October 16th. I’m excited about this book. We shot it last fall, when I was 6 months pregnant, including a trip to Michael’s home in Cleveland, OH. Here are a few shots from the book, and I have already cooked two recipes from my advance copy, and everything is as tasty now as I remember it being on set.
On set in Woodstock, NY this week, shooting Chef Rahm Fama’s upcoming cookbook for Clarkson Potter. Let me just say, we are cooking and shooting and eating a lot of meat and vegetable sides, and it is tasty. Rahm is the best. I’m so lucky to get to work with high energy, excited, positive folks.
This morning, on assignment in Pine Plains, NY, I found myself in the midst of a pheasant hunt. Got to love a French chef on a hunt: Mid-morning snack included slabs of home-made duck paté and cured ham on chunks of baguette, white and red wine in glassware, and steaming hot bullion…. with table, tablecloth, and napkins, of course.
Michael Symon told me today that my laugh sounds like his laugh. This is quite funny if you have ever heard one of us laugh… And there were quite a few giggles on the set. Here we are on day 2 shooting his Carnivore cookbook.
I was speaking with a college friend of mine on the phone the other day and she reminded me of how much we change. In particular, she reminded me of my 7-year long stint as a vegetarian. Those days are long gone, and now here I am, up close and personal photographing all kinds of meat. First there was the Fleisher’s butcher cookbook, then there was the Joe Beef cookbook. And this week I am in the studio with the crown prince of fleshy treats, photographing Iron Chef Michael Symon’s upcoming Carnivore cookbook (Clarkson Potter). And I couldn’t be happier.
I am excited to announce the publication of The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat (Clarkson Potter). Written by Alexandra Zissu and Josh & Jessica Applestone of Fleisher’s Grass-fed & Organic Meats in Kingston, NY – and featuring 125 color and black & white photographs by me – the book is part guide, memoir, manifesto, reference and cookbook. The official publication date is June 6, 2011, but here are some previews from my advance copy:
A selection of fats.
Dry rub on a chicken
Pastured steer on a farm in the Hudson Valley.
A pastured pig on a small farm in the Hudson Valley.
Josh in the Fleisher’s meat locker.
Detail of a two page graph showing the best ways to cook offal.
For the 2011 Butcher Blackout, Josh Applestone and the Fleisher’s crew traveled to the Joe Beef restaurant in Montreal, and they asked me to go along with them. Before the 12-course meal Fred Morin prepared, we had a six-hour picnic in sub-zero weather. Snacks included champagne and oysters on the half shell served from a snow bank and foie gras lobster poutine. Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods showed up with his film crew, so look for that on the upcoming Montreal special. Here are a few photos, and for more, visit this slide-show.
For the February 2011 issue of Chronogram magazine, I observed a lesson in cooking offal from Chef Rich Reeve. When we had finished, there was a buffet of: beef heart tacos, roasted marrow bones, bbq pig’s tail, pig’s ear frittata, and cow’s tongue pastrami. For Peter Barrett’s full story – and an easy recipe for chicken and pork liver terrine – click here.
A recent cover story I photographed for the Winter 2010 Edible Hudson Valley investigated the pros and cons of deer hunting in the area.
Been spending time in the meat locker and crawling around the cutting room floor at Fleisher’s, working on pictures for their upcoming book, to be published by Clarkson Potter.