The Huffington Post has named the Joe Beef cookbook as one of the Best 11 Cookbooks of 2011, and my cheeks are burning hot – hours after hearing the news. First Publisher’s Weekly, then Details, then USA Today, then Time Out New York… [Update: Bon Appetit magazine rates the book as one of the 8 Stellar Cookbooks of 2011; it is also a Chicago Tribune favorite; it is an editor’s pick for a Best Cookbook gift idea at Martha Stewart magazine – along with the Fleisher’s book I photographed] It’s amazing to watch the accolades build up for the book we made for that tiny restaurant in Montreal. I drove north over the span of a year, to chase chefs Fred & Dave around their restaurant, on fishing boats off the coast of Prince Edward Island, and around the outlying areas of Montreal. We didn’t even have a food or prop stylist, but we had Fred & Dave’s aesthetic genius. It was just the kind of location-based, food-based, character-driven project I love to work on. I’m just so thrilled I can’t contain myself. Here are a few of my favorite shots, and there are hundreds more in the book:
We did a very simple Thanksgiving: A beautiful heritage turkey from Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats, wrapped in a butter-and-stock-drenched cheesecloth, from a recipe by Michael Symon, served to guests who traveled from afar. We rented a table to fit everyone and to cover that table I bought a 10′ length of burlap. Today I will reuse that burlap in the garden to wrap a honeysuckle bush a buck has been using as a scratching post for his antlers.
As for the turkey – I can’t imagine ever going back to basting or brining. Chef Symon’s recipe made for the most luscious flesh & crispy skinned bird we have ever cooked. For my own reference next year, his recipe is below.
Our heritage bird was 16 pounds, and we cooked it at 350 for almost 3 hours, which brought the internal temp to 190, which should have been a disaster. But, it was perfect.
Chef Michael Symon’s Roast Turkey
- 1-12# fresh organic turkey
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1 halved lemon
- 1 halved red onion
- 4 cloves peeled garlic
- 1 bulb quartered fennel
- 1 large piece of cheesecloth
- 1 # butter
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbl salt
Remove innards from turkey and rinse inside and out. Place all veg, herbs, stock and butter in large pot and bring to simmer. Place cheesecloth in pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain liquid and reserve vegetables and herbs and let them cool. Stuff cooled vegetable mix in cavity of bird and place on roasting rack in pan breast side up. Cover bird with soaked cheesecloth and place liquid in bottom of pan and place in 350 degree oven for 2 hours. Open oven and remove cheesecloth and baste with liquid. Raise temperature to 400 and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove turkey from oven and make sure leg and thigh are at 160 internal temperature. Let rest for 30 minutes and serve.
More Thanksgiving recipes from Chef Symon here.
I spent my birthday doing two of my favorite things: Photographing a cookbook on location, and eating great food. The cookbook part involved following Chef Michael Symon around the West Side Market in Cleveland – we met his favorite meat vendors and took the elevator down to the cutting chambers. The next day, for lunch, there was Michael’s classic beef cheek pierogies at Lola Bistro, an array of charcuterie, and house-cured bacon and house-smoked turkey sandwiches. Still, one of my most vivid memories of Cleveland was seen through the car window as a man walked his pit bull through the rough side of town, carrying a big stick. The need for the stick was clear – as two other pit bulls charged, barked, and lunged from the other side of the road. Lucky for the four lanes of traffic between them, and the man and his dog passed without incident…that time.
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.
For the Summer 2011 volume of the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health‘s cookbook, we continued the clean and bright theme that compliments all of their branding. This book is filled with snacks, sandwiches, soups, and salads.
Not only was The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts selected as a Top 10 Pick for Fall by Publisher’s Weekly, the book has also been rated one of the Top 10 Cookbooks of the Year by Details magazine. Incredible to be reading all this advance buzz… it makes remembering the year I spent traveling & doing the photographs (noted here and here) all the sweeter.
Here I am on day 1 shooting the STREET cookbook for Susan Feniger. Our team of chefs (Susan & Kasja Alger), stylists, and I are working in Susan & Liz’s hill-top home with an incredible view of Los Angeles. As we work, Liz is filming for the STREET website. She got these shots of me shooting some very funny things.
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.
In January, I visited 8 restaurants for the annual Dining issue of Hudson Valley magazine. Here is the cover and table of contents page I shot. The multi-item plate image was done at one of the most interesting restaurants where you will never eat: Damon Baehrel’s Basement Bistro – located in the middle of nowhere and yet has a 3-year wait list. Baehrel cooks what he calls “native harvest” cuisine which features meats cured in pine needles and root vegetables cooked in the soil in which they grew. Check out the caption below.
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.
Back from another three-day shoot for Joe Beef restaurant in Montreal. We shot dishes in the restaurant, made excursions to the outskirts of Montreal for poutine and hamburgers, and then there was Chinatown to eat jellyfish (and other things “not for Canadians”) with the Joe Beef chef, sous-chefs, and bartender at 3 a.m.
The Elephant Wine & Tapas Bar, in Kingston, NY, is located directly across the street from Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats. This is convenient as that is where chef Rich Reeve sources much of the meat on his menu. He buys the inexpensive cuts and turns them into adventurous tapas dishes. The menu changes regularly, but one night’s offering included beef heart tacos, lamb sliders, “porchetta” roulade, Basque style bbq lamb ribs, and crispy blood sausage. I spent an evening speaking to and photographing chef Reeve and will make a complete post later, but for now, one of my favorite dishes of the evening, bone marrow:
Maya Kaimal launched her eponymous Fine Indian Foods line after coworkers raved about the sumptuous feasts she cooked for them. You can find Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods products in over 1000 stores across the country: Whole Foods Market carries the sauces, as do gourmet and specialty shops. We photographed a selection of dishes the home-cook can easily prepare at home.
All of Maya’s sauces are delicious combined with almost any combination of vegetable or protein. Here is one idea:
Maya Kaimal’s Tamarind Curry Grilled Shrimp Kebabs
1 ½ lb extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup Maya Kaimal Tamarind Curry
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
2 tablespoons sliced scallions (optional)
Indian Naan or other flatbread (optional)
1. Pre-heat grill to medium.
2. Toss shrimp with ½ cup of Tamarind Curry. Thread shrimp onto 8 skewers.
3. Place kebabs on grill and cook for 2 minutes on the first side. Turn the kebabs over and baste with some of the remaining Tamarind Curry. Continue grilling and basting the kebabs until the shrimp are cooked through, a few minutes more.
4. If you like, garnish kebabs with the cilantro and scallions and serve with grilled naan or other flatbread.
Find more recipes at www.mayakaimal.com
On location in Montreal, Canada on a shoot for the Joe Beef Cookbook we are doing for Ten Speed Press.
I hosted a holiday dinner party for 12 friends who love food. One friend makes his own sausages and grills pizzas in the wood-fired oven he built in his backyard, other friends work at such publications as New York magazine, or write about food for the New York Times, or are the editor of the Hudson Valley’s Chronogram magazine, and one friend just likes to open restaurants. Of course, the thought of cooking for such a crowd made me shiver.
That’s where Chef David Matthew Lydick, executive chef of Revolution Cuisine stepped in. He and his sous chef shopped for and cooked a 12 course dinner for us, while the rest of us made our way through two cases of wines. It was an unforgettable evening of extravagance. Thank you, Chef Dave.
The full menu:
coconut chicken satay on banana bread muffin
macaroni and kunik goat cheese bites
Catskill venison carppacio local baby arugula roasted shallot and grape relish garlic croustini
carrot pea raisin cilantro lime raw kale and lemon garlic fresh grilled vegetable caponata
pigs in a bacon blanket inside out smore
Swiss chard gratin local baby arugula walnut black olive pesto
pan seared cape diver scallop apple nut salad peanut vinaigrette
smoked salmon chowder smoked trout lox rainbow trout caviar
mixed game burger applewood smoked bacon Vermont cheddar polenta cookie Morroccan chutney
baby back riblets asian cole slaw maple ginger bourbon sauce
garlic studded leg of lamb root vegetable latke grilled apple sauce cider reduction herb crème’
brie and red grape rum pudding with saffron crème anglaise and rosemary
Prepared by Chef David Matthew Lydick, Executive Chef, Revolution Cuisine
Hopping around Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with my brother was a blast. He has been bicycling around the world for ten years (favorite stops: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, India, France, Ireland, and Greece) learning languages and planting trees. His olive skin has turned a darker shade from years of exposure to the sun and elements and he speaks Spanish with a Portuguese accent. Everywhere we ate in Mexico he asked the chefs if his sister could take pictures in the kitchen.