Joe Beef Cookbook

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.

A classic Montreal poutine with fries, gravy and cheese curds
A perfect bite

Pacific Northwest Vacation

I just got back from two weeks visiting family & friends on and around Vancouver Island. We took 6 ferries in 12 days and…

valdez boat access only island british columbia
Spent 3 nights on Valdez, a boat-access-only island
that has no electricity or fresh running water
but is deluxe all the same
We sourced goods from local islands
camped on a hill in a tent that became target practice
went fishing
and rested in a hammock overhanging a cliff.
Back on Vancouver Island, my dad and I visited what used to be our front yard
butterfly brand smoked scallops on the beach
and had a snack.
pork roast rotissserie
My mom and step-dad hosted a pork roast
and invited the neighbors.
fishing on salt spring island bc
We took a ferry to Salt Spring Island where my brother tried to catch a fish
and later I swam with my sister.
Off to Deep Bay on Vancouver Island where my second family lives
fresh caught prawns to grill
they caught a whack of prawns and grilled us a feast.
Then we took one last ferry on the way to the airport.

Butchers with Style

Two of my favorite people, Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura, have finished their internship programs at Fleisher’s and are moving to Los Angeles to open their own sustainable butcher shop. In the next few weeks they are signing the lease on their building, getting married legally in Connecticut, driving across the country, having a wedding ceremony on the west coast, and opening their new shop, Lindy & Grundy’s Meats. I will miss them, but it is California’s gain.

Check out Amy Scattergood’s post on the LA Weekly blog (with more photos of Erika & Amelia).

Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura of Lindy & Grundy's photo by Jennifer May

Kripalu Cookbook

Hot off the press: A cookbook published by the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health – the largest center of its kind in the United States and located in the rolling hills of the Berkshires. I photographed the dishes, executive chef Deb Morgan and helpers cooked, Jessica Bard styled, and it was overseen by Kripalu creative director Elena Erber. May the recipes inspire clean eating everywhere.

Kripalu Seasonal Menus cookbook photos by Jennifer May
The cover of the Kripalu Seasonal Menus cookbook

The Kripalu Seasonal Menus cookbook photos by Jennifer May

Prison Food

For a recent issue of Edible Hudson Valley, writer Lee Bernstein and I visited New York’s medium security Fishkill Correctional Facility for a tour of the kitchen, messhall, and food storage rooms. No food is actually cooked on the premises – it is prepared off-site, trucked in, and the packaged contents are heated in large stainless steel tubs and served by inmate staff. Meal names are often glamorized (“creamy chicken dinner” consists of bagged chunks of soy protein mixed with bagged white powder, plus water). For the full story see the Summer 2010 issue of Edible Hudson Valley.

Left, an officer makes sure each utensil is accounted for. Right, an inmate who works with the special dietary meals.
In the locked utensil room: Utensils are kept on a shadow board, to keep track of them.
An inmate cook prepares hot dogs for lunch. Hot dogs are one of the more popular items - along with pizza and chicken.
An inmate maintenance porter fills a kettle with boiling water, which will be emptied into buckets and used for mopping the messhall after lunch.
Signage in the hallway
A kosher meal, pre-heating
Left, tables and stools in one of the large messhalls, moments before inmates arrived for lunch. Right, creamy chicken dinner, before it is prepared for serving.

Artisanal Vinegar

For the July 2010 issue of Chronogram magazine, I met a Benedictine monk who makes artisanal vinegar at a monastery in Lagrangeville, NY. Read Peter Barrett’s full story here.

Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette a benedictine monk who makes artisanal vinegar
Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette at the monastery near Poughkeepsie, where he lives and works. Brother Victor is also shown in the garden where he grows and harvests herbs to flavor the vinegars.
Apricot vinegar and special reserve vinegar - produced, aged, and bottled on site at the monastery

Elephant Wine & Tapas Bar

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:

bone marrow as cooked at the Elephant Wine and Tapas Bar in Kingston NY

Oyster Farmer, PEI (Audio Slide Show)

On Prince Edward Island, Canada, oysters are harvested today much as they were 100 years ago. Oyster farmers float above oyster beds in dories, and they use long forked tongs to collect the shellfish from the red sandy bottom below. On board, they sort the oysters by shape and size, and pack them into crates. Here is a glimpse into one oyster fisherman’s morning on the sea, when the spring season opened this May.

Audio Slide Show – Oyster Farmer (1 min)

Philip Buote, oyster fisherman

Pig to Pork

In April 2010 Fleisher’s Grass-fed & Organic Meats hosted a full-day class in butchery. Students observed master butcher Hans Sebold slaughter a locally-raised heritage pig at a family-owned farm in Stone Ridge, NY. Back at the shop, Joshua Applestone and Thomas Schneller, master butcher and CIA instructor, led demonstrations in pig butchery, sausage-making, and curing charcuterie.

I am not including the more graphic of my photos, but if you are sensitive you may want to skip this one.

Cupcakes in the theme of the day await the diners after the last butchery class

Mint

At Mint Premium Foods in Tarrytown, NY you may trip when reaching for an obscure food product on the haphazardly stacked shelves, but it might be worth the risk for all the fine cheese you will sample while tending your bruise. Shot for the Spring 2010 issue of Edible Hudson Valley.

Owner Hassan Jarane used to be a photographer in Manhattan, until he got tired of lugging gear around
Maria and the rotisserie filled with spiced chickens
Shelf stable

Butcher Blackout

In March, 2010, Joshua Applestone of Fleisher’s Grass-fed & Organic Meats in Kingston, NY and Tom Mylan of The Meat Hook in Brooklyn, took a group of butchers and friends-of-butchers on a late-night tour through Williamsburg. The annual event is known as the Butcher Blackout.

Butchers Joshua Applestone and Tom Mylan

Joe Beef Cookbook

On location in Montreal, Canada on a shoot for the Joe Beef Cookbook we are doing for Ten Speed Press.

Signage and shadows
Updating the menu board is a daily task
Food looks beautiful on these white dishes with scalloped edges

Rabbits for the NYT

I was asked to visit a rabbit farm to photograph a rabbit for the front page of the New York Times’s Dining section. Of course, I gave them a bunch of options. Here is the one that ran, and if you click through you will see more of the Dining editor’s favorites on the NYT Blog. You will also read a lot of irate comments from readers. People canceled subscriptions they were so angry about this story. To paraphrase a poster with a different attitude, ‘It seems it’s only edible if it’s not cute.’

Outtakes from the rabbit cover

A March 2010 Dining cover story in the New York Times

Julie Powell

The ultimate food blogger, Julie Powell, author of Julie & Julia, on location at Fleisher’s – the butcher shop where she interned for her new book Cleaving. This portrait of Julie did double duty for a profile about her in Chronogram magazine, and it will also be included in my upcoming book, River of Words: Portraits of Hudson Valley Writers (SUNY Press, August 2010).

Julie Powell, photographed at Fleisher's

Kitchen Tour of Mexico

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.

Preparing chili peppers
Way off the beaten path we ate spicy beans with eggs and fresh tortillas. Dipping into the salsa pots would have made Anthony Bourdain proud.
Cooking for an outdoor patio setting
The chefs behind my mother’s favorite restaurant
Not exactly the kitchen scene I’m used to seeing in NY, but tasty food none-the-less
This woman cooks out of her open-walled kitchen & living room. She told my brother she is not much of a cook, but for $1 it was pretty good.
A typical produce stand
Brother Ryan

Farm Stay – NYT

Stony Creek Farm in Walton, NY, offers tent style camping (complete with flushing toilets, indoor gas stove, a wood floor platform, and furniture) to people who want the farm and camping experience without all the roughing it. I shot a story about it for the New York Times.

Slide Show – Farm Stay

Stony Creek Farm in Walton, NY, shot for the New York Times

North Winds Farm

Obviously, I don’t shy away from meat. But like so many others, I was a strict vegetarian for almost a decade. Luckily, there are now sources to buy meat that comes from well cared for animals that lived decent lives. On a recent shoot with farmer Richard Biezynski at North Winds Farm near Tivoli, NY, he told me if he hadn’t become a farmer, he would have been a vet. On season, you will often find me visiting his booth at the Woodstock Farmers’ Market.

Farmer Richard Biezynski and his son, Russell, at Northwind Farms, where they raise pigs

Wild Boar Weekend (Audio Slide Show)

The folks at Brooklyn-based A Razor, A Shiny Knife (self-described as “an educational, social and theatrical culinary experience”) hosted a weekend event near Ithaca, NY in which guests witnessed a boar journey from farm to table. I photographed and captured sound from the all-day event for the New York Times. Follow through below for the audio-slide show.

Audio Slide Show on the New York Times’s site (2:14 min)

Shot for the New York Times’s Dining section
Food stories in New York's Hudson Valley and beyond from photographer Jennifer May