James Bloomfield, the chef at Alliance made a few cheese dishes for me to photograph for the Chef’s Dish column of Culture Magazine. Here are some of my selections from our winter photo shoot. The rest are in Culture!Read More
This summer I had the remarkable opportunity to work with some of my favorite food photographers and bloggers once again in Bordeaux France. First we made and photographed a Honey Cake with Whipped Mascarpone and Fresh picked Figs ...Read More
Have someone that is hard to buy for? Here are some food ideas from a foodie. Me! I love food. And they will too!Read More
Meet Jeff, a pasture raised meat farmer. I spend a few hours talking with him about his farm and the animals that he loves and then i have the pleasure of actually tasting one!!Read More
Have you ever eaten a Squash blossom? Did you know that only the male blossom is eaten, while the female is left to produce the fruit? I didn't either!! But, you can find the latest about this delicate dish on my blog!!Read More
Looking for a substitute for a meaty burger? Chef Nancy Allen's Black Bean Burgers for Everyone hits all the right notes. And best yet, it's not too complicated. Want to check it out?Read More
You can't rush the cherry blossoms! But, we can fake it until we make it!
Hurry up spring! In the mean time, here's a short story about maple syrup gathering (it's happening right now!) and a really delicious and healthy green tea GenmaichaGranola Bar recipe by Sarah Copeland.Read More
Salted caramel, Milk Caramel- so many caramels to choose from. Check out my pretty pictures. Find out where i suggest sourcing your local Milk Caramel. If you are adventurous, you can even make your own. It's quick, easy and super delicious!Read More
When it is winter and snowing outside, nothing warms me up like a cup of hot chocolate. This easy modification to French Broad's Lavender Hot Chocolate is lower in calories, yet maintains the not so sweet, chocolaty floral-heady taste that I love so so much!Read More
White Truffle Cheese pizza. Of course you need truffles, and not the chocolate ones! Easy and delicious to make. Recipe right here!!Read More
Part 2 of my Croatia adventure with First We Eat Events and Eva Kosmas and Carrie Nershi. Great food+great styling+unique settings = great pictures!! Come take a look!Read More
My food photography workshop in Croatia was exciting and I loved every minute of it! I would say that this workshop was a recipe for a great adventure!!Read More
I love living in Northern Michigan and the summer fields yield so much earthy sweetness that I can hardly contain myself. August and September are months that contain day after day of food pleasure for a foodie like me! I depend on my local organic farmers to provide the fresh food bounty and I can't tell you how wonderful it is, when i can rely on the talents of fabulous chefs to put it all together in a sumptuous way!
I met Nancy Allen at Meadowlark Farms on a Friday morning. One day a week, she cooks a spectacular farm to table lunch for all of the workers that toil in the fields and barns and prepare YOUR csa boxes. Her lunches utilize freshly picked produce- what can be better than a tomato picked just minutes before preparing a recipe?
Nancy loves fresh vegetables. She says that they have so much flavor and so much more moisture than anything you could buy in the grocery store.
Getting down to business happens quickly with Nancy at the helm along with a couple of assistants. Pots and pans clang out from their bins, rolling pins get dusted with flour, cutting boards and knives stand at the ready- it's a small but coordinated production. First the slicing and dicing, then the pastry dough for the tarts... then, tomato placement- wow! all the while, i'm learning while photographing... press the dough out gently from the middle, dust the tomatos and zucchini with salt, prebake the tart crust...
The glorious tarts are becoming a reality and my stomach is starting to speak. The aroma of cooked pastry and warm tomatoes is floating through the air. Lunch is coming together and I am snapping away at almost a frenzied pace right now... the colors are beautiful and finishing touches are gracing the table. This is heaven to me and I am so happy to be here.
Tomato Tart from Nancy Allen adapted from Susan Moulton
3 large tomatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Kosher salt for sprinkling
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup coarsely grated Smoked Gouda cheese
2 tablespoonschopped basil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Make this pie during the high tomato season and you just can’t lose; those big ripe local tomatoes will do all the work for you. After you slice and salt the tomatoes and roll out the dough, the rest is simple. (If you want to cheat, use a store bought pie shell instead of homemade dough. Just let it soften enough so you can ease it into the tart tin. By the way, feel free to substitute other fresh herbs for the ones I list here. Mint, cilantro, dill, oregano, marjoram, chives, chervil, parsley and tarragon all pair nicely with tomatoes.
Serves 6 to 8
Roll the dough into an 1/8-inch-thick round on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, cut off any excess dough from the edge, and prick the bottom lightly with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line the pastry shell with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more or until light golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Turn up the oven to 400ºF. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and drain in a colander for 10 to 15 minutes. Spread the mustard over the bottom of the shell and sprinkle the cheese over it. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in one overlapping layer. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are very soft, 35 to 40 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, thyme, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste to blend. Sprinkle the pie with this mixture while hot and spread out gently with the back of a spoon. Serve the pie hot or at room temperature.
Lunch is served. The hungry farmhands are so pleased to see such a delicious table of farm fresh food lovingly prepared by Nancy Allen. Thanks Nancy and Meadowlark for a delicious experience- perfect for a late summer Friday afternoon...
giving away some secrets...Read More
I'm studying how to shoot pies; slices, whole pies, the richness of the crumb crust, the creaminess of the whip topping, the juicy fruit- heck, simple things too, like the overall angle on the slice. I want to show the top of the pie but also, the inside. The center is the "meat" ok- i should probably say "fruit" of the pie and it just has to look appealing and irresistible. What should I put the pie on? Plates can be very reflective and I'd rather not see be distracted by that. Maybe a doily would cut the reflections down. Burlap was suggested as a possible surface, and i just love how it disappears at the top of the frame on a well lit white table. So, then i thought about napkins. Could a napkin be a surface? And I love the lightness, but what could work about a rich dark wood surface?
I love pies. They are so all american! To me they say "HOME" and warm and comfort. I love that they are made with real fruit- grown here, in our warm sunshine and cool lake breezes.
They feel like richness to me and nourishment and comfort and mom all rolled into one!
I hadn't really considered all of the variations possible- and now that i've taken it on, well, i do see that there are lots of possibilities for pie.
Do you have any suggestions for me? I'd love to hear what you think?
Fine table linens and antique sparkling silver serving ware are part of the charm of being in Sylvia's home. Her attention to detail invites even the grumpiest of friends to laugh and enjoy the warmth inside, while the outside is chilly and white with snow. On this particular Sunday, we drank Vodka martini's and dined on fresh crab cakes and pineapple upside down cake, and shared a few poems, a few jokes. All of this, takes the chill out of the air. Our hearts and minds are ready for spring- so, goodness Mother Nature, will you cooperate?
CSA's are such an amazing way to get our produce. There are about 30 active farms in our region and so many varieties available. Want a vegetable CSA? check out MLUI's list online. Want a milk CSA? or cheese? those are available too. Everything grows abudantly in our lovely region, grapes, hops, tomatoes, kale, carrots, squash, pumpkins, flowers- the list goes on and on. In Grand Traverse Area there are veg CSA's, milk, cheese, flower csa's, wineries, breweries...It's enough to make your stomach growl.
One of my favorite events, one that i look forward to every year is the annual Harvest Dinner at our CSA from Meadowlark Farms in Leelanau Penninsula. John and Jenny always have fresh pressed cider and the members of their CSA and friends, bring dishes to pass and share. Since we all love fresh food, our dishes are usually comprised of the wonderful food that we get every week from Meadowlark.