Quinoa, Butternut Squash & Kale Salad And An Apple Cardamom Crisp

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Quinoa, Kale and Butternut Squash Salad

I hope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving had a wonderful time doing so. We surely did. The whole week was actually pretty darn good. It was rich in connections and reflections. The time spent in the kitchen with Laura reminded me of the time spent at home preparing a holiday meal with my grandmother and mother. It was comforting and soothing in so many ways.

It was a lot of fun cooking a huge feast with another like minded person. It's easy to talk food, pies, gratins, table settings, photography while chopping, boiling, cooking, peeling, etc... We made a lot of dishes. We wanted to try new recipes and still some beloved family ones. We certainly did not hold back but we had plenty to box up for our guests to take home. I have learned years ago that Thanksgiving leftovers are a must!

Leaves

I will revisit a couple of the dishes for a later post but among the biggest hits were the Apple Cider Brined Turkey from Bon Appetit, Laura's mashed potatoes with creme fraiche, a root & leek vegetable gratin and a fennel-brioche and sausage stuffing. And the greens beans! I must revisit those miso green beans soon and post the recipe!

Apple Cardamom Crisp

When everyone gathered around the table and shared some of their stories, time, themselves, my heart just fogged over. I was thankful for being surrounded by so much love and friendship. Many times I had to pinch myself that the day went as beautifully as it did. And continued the day after when Laura and her fiance Alex requested that I shot their engagement pictures. We had so much fun...well into the evening with dinner and drinks.

The weekend was spent quietly putting china and linens away, shopping at our farmers market and loading up on lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Taking some time to sit in the park with Bill and share a crepe and a cup of coffee. It finally started to feel like the holiday season (except for the 80F weather). Those simple things are all I crave for. They fuel me and refuel me times and times again. Just as certain foods do.

Pink Lady Apples

After a few richer meal than usual, I like the simplicity of a few good salads or soups. Without being a full blown detox, it's nice to dig my fork into a lighter fare. Lately, it's been lots and lots of variation around quinoa salad and this one is the one I have made countless time in the past couple of weeks. It's versatile enough to be a side dish or main course (with a poached egg on top...fabulous!). Kale and butternut squash are abundant this time of year but any seasonal vegetable would work.

I generally pass on desserts in favor of a good juicy apple or pear this time of year. I do however have the habit of making dessert for our Sunday suppers with friends and crisps and simple tarts are always high on the list during Fall and Winter. Having a spoonful of a little sweet something always makes me feel like I am ending the weekend well and ready for the week ahead.

Apple Cardamom Crisp

The quinoa salad is one I intent to serve for lunch during the Food Photography Workshop I'll be teaching in Charleston on December 10th. Yep, I enlisted Laura to assist and help prep some great foods for all the attendees. On a side note, there are 3 spots left for that workshop!

I am curious though....what do you like to cook or bake to give your body and self a little break this holiday season? Looking forward to being inspired with your answers! Thanks for sharing!

Quinoa, Kale and Butternut Squash Salad


Apple Cardamom Crisp:

Makes 6 to 8 (depending on your ramekins)

Ingredients:
For the fruit:
6 regular size apples (your choice) or about 12-15 lady apples
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons honey
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cardamom

For the crisp:
1 cup Jeanne's all purpose gluten free flour mix (or same quantity regular flour)
1/2 cup (100 gr) light packed brown sugar
1 stick (113 gr) butter, softened

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F (convection or regular) and position a rack in the center. Prepare the fruit:
Peel, core and slice thin the apples. Place them in a large bowl with the cranberries, honey, lemon zest and juice, cornstarch and cardamom. Toss well and reserve.
Prepare the crisp topping:
In a medium bowl, combine with your fingertips or a pastry blender the flour, sugar and butter and form large clumps of dough. Refrigerate at least an hour or freeze overnight.
Assemble and bake:
Divide the apples evenly among 6 gratin dishes or ramekins. If the crisp dough was refrigerated, just break apart clumps of it over the fruit with your fingertips. If it was frozen, you can simply grate it on top with a large cheese grater.
Bake for 20-30 minutes. Let cool.

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Quinoa Salad:

Makes 4 to 6 servings as a main dish.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups peeled, cored and diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped kale (previously washed and cleaned)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
vinaigrette (recipe here)

Directions:
In a large pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until all the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat, fluff with a for and place in a large bowl to cool for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat one teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook until it turns translucid. Add the garlic, butternut squash and kale. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove the lid, check that the butternut squash is tender but not mushy or hard when you poke a piece with a knife. Add the thyme and continue cooking until the all the liquid creating by the cover has evaporated.
Let cool to room temperature. Gently fold the cooked quinoa and the cooked vegetables together along with the vinaigrette.
Serve room temperature or cold.

Giving Thanks: Mixed Nuts Tartelettes, Winter Greens & Squash Gratin and Tomatoes & Roasted Garlic Tartines.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mixed Nuts Tartelettes

This close to the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I figured it was high time I shared some of the eats that we will have with friends this coming Thursday. It's not all that we are preparing but when trying these recipes out for the big day, they really stood out. Tomato And Roasted Garlic Tartines as little bites with cocktails. Winter Greens and Squash Gratin as one of the sides and Mixed Nuts Tartelettes instead of the traditional pecan pie.

Tomato & Roasted Garlic Tartines

These recipes were the kind that made B. proclaim "please-please-please-put-these-on-the-Thanksgiving-menu-or-I-will-pout-and-throw-a-temper-tantrum". No, he didn't really say that. He gestured it while eating another spoonful. So, while planning the menu with my friend Laura, I penciled these down along with tried and true favorites and this Cider Brined Turkey from Bon Appetit. It's mildly concerning how excited I am about this one!

Roasted Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

Yes. I am cooking. Yes. I want to. Yes. I am completely thrilled about it. Nothing makes me happier than gathering good friends and family around a good meal, good wine and good conversation. That also has me wildly excited about the day. It's not about buying into the hype. It's not about food. It's about making a meal for people you love. It's about sharing. Making dishes that honor traditions as well as making new ones.

Roasted Garlic

The fact that this meal is centered around Thanksgiving is just icing on the cake. Like many of you, I give thanks everyday for the good fortune I receive and the lessons I learn, bitter or sweet. I think it's nice however to have another chance to give thanks it out loud. To others. To yourself. There are never too many opportunities for gratefulness and wishing good upon others.

Tomato & Roasted Garlic Tartines

While not making a big production of it, I am very thankful that my friends, here or far, love cooking and prepping this much. Every year has brought a different group together and a different flair.

Tablescaping...

A while back, we decided to do have Thanksgiving with friends and Christmas with family. It seemed a lot easier on our sanity given B's family dynamic and the fact that we do have a close knit group of friends we absolutely love hanging with during the holidays. Of course we compare weird family stories! But most importantly, we can keep our shenanigans up and no one will get offended. We can let loose and do exactly what we want. No pressure. I am grateful for that...

Roasting...

I do count my blessings. Everyday. And one of these is to be able to come here and unwind with you guys. What a blessing it is when things go array. Thanks for being part of the stories I write on this blog, the recipes. Thank you for your feedback, your questions and your love of food and photography.

Winter Greens & Squash Gratin

On a separate note, but one for my mama in particular, the newspaper did a full spread feature about my outlook on life, photography, work, etc.. in their Saturday printed issue that they also posted online here. See mom ... I am not always noodling around...ahahah!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Mixed Nuts Tartelettes


Tomatoes And Roasted Garlic Tartines:

Makes enough for 6 to 8 people as an appetizer/nibble

Ingredients:
2 cups cherry tomatoes (gold or red)
1 whole head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
baguette toasts (gluten free or regular slices of bread, toasted to your liking)
oregano or other herb of your liking

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375F (convection) or 400F (normal). Position a rack in the middle.
Place the cherry tomatoes in a baking pan and drizzle about half a tablespoon of oil over them. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat. Set aside.
Cut the top of the head of garlic, place it in a piece of baking foil. Drizzle the remaining half tablespoon of oil. Close the piece of foil over the garlic head.
Place both the baking pan with the tomatoes and the foil with the garlic in the oven at the same time. Remove the tomatoes after 20 -25 minutes and the garlic after 30-40 minutes (it should be soft). Let cool.
Rub each piece of toast with some roasted garlic, add a couple of tomatoes on top and sprinkle with some more salt and pepper if desired. Add some oregano to taste.

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Winter Greens and Squash Gratin, adapted from Virginia Willis's Basic To Brilliant Y'all (see the original here)

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus more for the gratin dish
1 butternut squash + 2-3 acorn squash, (about 3 pounds total), cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch of Swiss chard, cleaned, stems removed and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 /2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons regular or gluten free panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375F (convection) or 400F (normal). Position a rack in the oven.
Place the squash, cut side up on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until soft and slightly golden brown. Let cool.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped Swiss chard and cook until the greens are wilted, another 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the nutmeg and thyme and stir well. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Scoop the flash of the different squashes in a medium sized gratin dish. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Top with the reserved greens.
Pour the milk and cream over the vegetables and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together the breadcrumbs and cheese in a small bowl. Season with some salt and pepper. Decrease the oven temperature to 350F (convection) or 375F. Remove the foil from the dish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Continue baking for another 15 minutes.

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Mixed Nut Tartelettes:

Makes eight 4-inch tartelettes

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 cup Jeanne's all purpose gluten free mix
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 stick (115g) unsalted butter, kept very cold
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup waluts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Directions:
Prepare the pastry. In the bowl of a food processor, (or follow the same instructions if doing by hand), pulse together the flour and the cocoa powder until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles small peas and is evenly incorporated. Add the salt and pulse on more time. Gradually, stream in the cold water until the flour just comes together. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and form into a 2-inch thick, round disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before rolling out.

Flour your working surface with tapioca flour (if gluten free) or regular flour and start rolling out the dough to about 1/4-inch thick adding more flour as you feel the dough starts to stick. You can also roll it out in between two sheets of plastic wrap of parchment paper, especially with working with the gluten free version. Cut eight 5-inch rounds of dough and place them inside eight 3 to 4-inch tartlet pans. Place a small piece of parchment paper inside each of them, fill with dried beans and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F (both convection and not) and position a rack in the middle.
Place the tart shells on a baking sheet and bake the tartlets for about 15 minutes (with the dried beans inside). Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and remove the beans and parchment paper.

In the meantime, prepare the filling:
Place all the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until golden for about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the skin from the hazelnuts (see my tip at the end of the recipe). Coarsely chop all the nuts. Reserve.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until brown bits form on bottom of pan, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Stir together the honey, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk in the eggs, then the brown butter. Fold in the nuts with a spatula or wooden spoon. Divide the filling among the tartlet shells. Bake tartelettes until filling is set around edges and jiggles slightly in the middle, about 30 minutes. Cover with foil over tart if the crust gets too dark. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Tip to skin the hazelnuts:
Place the nuts in a mesh bag like the one you purchase citrus in (lemons, grapefruit) or onion. Over the sink, rub the nuts together in the bag until all the skins have fallen through the holes in the mesh bag. Easy peasy...

Pecan Brown Butter Cakes & A Roasted Vegetable Salad

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hazelnut cakes

Let me start this post by giving you some heads up, sort of housekeeping news if you will. The workshop that Clare and I are holding in May 2012 is indeed sold out. There is a waitlist so feel free to send us an email to get on it if you wish. You never know...We are also planning more workshops like this in the future so stay tuned!

The good news is that if you live in Charleston and surrounding areas, I will be holding a One Day Food Photography Workshop at Heirloom Book Company downtown on December 10th from 10am til 5pm. Click here for all the details and to register. Photography, food, styling, book, fun space, and great natural light!

Pecans

One of the things I love about Charleston and the area where we live, is waking up to a thick layer of fog over the ocean. It gives me the impression that Winter is settling in. I know better. It means today will actually be warmer than the last. That's ok. I'm not paying attention to those little details anymore. There is Fall and Winter happening in my kitchen, regardless of my shorts and flip flop attire.

Every morning that I take the pups out in the backyard, I bring a little basket and gather the pecans that keep falling during the night. We fought the squirrels long and hard this year but it looks like we won the battle. Well, we did not lose it too bad, I should say. They left us plenty for a few pecan pies, some pecan sandies and the Pecan Brown Butter Cakes pictured here.

Pecan Brown Butter Cakes

Fresh from the oven. Toasted the next day. A dab of Nutella. A smidge of lemon curd. With a cup of tea or coffee. We surely did not get enough... That would be partly because of a little incident involving a phone call, a step outside the studio, a puppy and a tray of cakes left at snout level. I can't blame Bailey for not resisting. I almost inhaled three of them as they were cooling down.

If it is any testament to how good they are, I made two more batches in the last couple of days. And placed them far away from any possible puppy incident. On the same vibe the roasted vegetable I made for lunch the other day almost ended up consumed by my better half alone...

Savoy Lettuce

This salad is a riff on the salad that Clare a made many times when I was there last month for work. It is so easy, wonderfully seasonal and super comforting. Yes, comfort. In a salad. With lots of fresh ingredients. That's my idea of comfort right now. Sometimes it's a cup of rich chocolate mousse, a serving of spaghetti carbonara, a bowl of cheese rich onion soup. It depends on what is truly affecting me at the time.

I have loved these months traveling and staying with friends and bloggers rather than hotels. It gave me the chance to see them in their environment and learn from them. I was never as happy as when they wanted to share their cooking with me and let me in their world, their family traditions, their everyday. I'd rather chill at home with someone sharing their cooking and their story than go out to eat (unless the restaurant does feel like home).

Beets

I admit that I get the most satisfaction out of roasting vegetables for soups, salads or simply turning them into easy-do easy-come side dishes. Nothing could be easier than this salad. Roasted golden beets and fennel, a sprinkle of blue cheese, pumpkin seeds and some edamame on top of a bed of greens and Savoy lettuce. I ended up doing a shallot vinaigrette similar to the one Clare made when I was visiting. I sat down and felt a huge sentiment of peace and gratitude.

We call it Clare's Salad at the house now. Just like we have Tami's Lima Bean Bisque or Heidi's Winter Pasta. Or Elise's Braised Short Ribs.

Roasted Veggie Salad

Cooking with friends. Even if only in spirits. And to paraphrase someone we know... "it's a good thing"....

Pecan Brown Butter Cakes:

Makes 12

Ingredients:
1 cup shelled pecans
4 oz butter (1 stick)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
zest one lemon
2 cups Jeanne's gluten free all purpose flour mix (or regular flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Position a tray in the middle. Grease bottom of 12 muffin tins and line with wrappers. Set aside.
Place the pecans on a single baking sheet and toast for about 15 minutes. Let cool. Grind finely in a food processor. Reserve.
In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, melt and cook the butter until it turns golden brown and has a nutty scent. Takes about 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool. (I usually don't strain mine since we like the little dark particles that form when it browns but feel free to do so)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sugar and eggs until pale (takes about 2 minutes). Add the cooled brown butter and lemon zest and mix until well blended. Add the ground pecans, then the flour mix and baking powder and whisk about 50 strokes until the batter is smooth.
Pour it into the prepared tins and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Roasted Vegetable Salad:

Serves 2 as main dish

2 medium golden beets, washed, peeled and quartered
1 small fennel bulb, washed and quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
salad greens
2 oz blue cheese
handful of pumpkin seeds
handful of edamame
Shallot vinaigrette (see here for recipe)

Preheat the oven to 375F. Position a rack in the middle.
In a medium bowl, toss together the beets and fennel bulb quarters, add the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place in a 9x13-inch baking dish and roast for about 20-30 minutes or until tender and a little charred/caramelized.

Place a handful of salad greens at the bottom of two plates or bowl, top with the roasted vegetables, add about 1 oz of blue cheese to each plate and top with some pumpkin seeds and edamame. Drizzle with the shallot vinaigrette and serve

A Three Day - Food Photography Workshop...In Charleston, South Carolina!

Friday, November 11, 2011

THE WORKSHOP IS OFFICIALLY SOLD OUT. WE ARE NOT ADDING MORE SPOTS BUT THERE IS A WAITING LIST AVAILABLE.

When I was in Seattle last month, Clare Barboza and I started comparing notes about the workshops and classes we were doing. Nothing strange there. We have become close friends over the last few months and have worked together on a couple of projects well enough to know our outlook, philosophy and ethics about photography and work just gel. It's very comforting to find like-minded spirit you want to work with repeatedly, support and cheer along.

Anyway, in one big breath I said "Hey! I have an idea! We should create a workshop together. In Charleston!"... and within five minutes we had the dates penciled down and were online finding the perfect location. We wanted to make it a thorough learning experience where people would learn from both of us since we have similar views and complete different approaches at times. But also a retreat, by the ocean, with plenty of photography field trips in gorgeous Charleston.

And so...here it is!
Food Photography Workshop in Charleston, South Carolina!

Join food photographers, Clare Barboza and Helene Dujardin for a 3-day/4-night photography retreat in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina.

Imagine spending 3 days and 4 nights in a gorgeous house located across the street from the beach in The Isle of Palms, enjoying great food and wine, learning all about food photography and styling from Clare and Helene, and taking lots and lots of photos. Over the course of the workshop, you will learn about exposure, utilizing natural light, composition, choosing props, styling, and how to tell a story through photographs.

When: Thursday, May 3 through Monday, May 7, 2012

Fee: $1250 (includes accommodations for 4 nights, all meals, transportation to/from Charleston International airport and on all field trips, and 3 days workshop instruction from Clare and Helene. Please note that bedrooms are shared. See house plans here. )

To register: Click Here.

Workshop Schedule (subject to change):

Thursday, May 3rd:

Meet and greet at 5pm with cocktails and nibbles.

Attendees will be treated to a homemade dinner prepared by Clare and Helene (contribution of their better halves at the grill not excluded!). Please list any food allergies or restrictions at time of registration.

Enjoy the evening walking on the beach, checking out the music scene a block down from the house or get a good night of sleep in preparation of the coming days.

************************

Friday, May 4th:

Enjoy breakfast on the back deck before gathering with Clare and Helene for your first session of the day!

Session #1, The Nitty Gritty of Food Photography (basic camera function, exposure, light, depth of field)

Photo shoot

Lunch prepared by your hosts

Session #2, The Nitty Gritty of Composition and Food Styling (learn simple yet essential art guidelines, camera angles, etc.)

Photo shoot

Session #3, How to tell a story with images ( in preparation for field trip the next day)

Dinner at the beach house, served family style

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Saturday, May 5th:

A field trip to the Charleston farmers market, (bright and early!)

Photo shoot- photographing seasonal bounty and market finds, as well as cooking, styling, composing, shooting breakfast/ brunch.

Brunch

Session #4, Shooting on location

Dinner at award winning Lana Restaurant in downtown Charleston, prepared by the handsome and talented Executive Chef John Ondo (!)

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Sunday, May 6th:

Breakfast

Photo shoot- picnic on the beach (food preparation and styling, working outdoors, telling a story)

Downloading and choosing images

Critique and Review

Farewell dinner bash prepared family style.

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Monday, May 7th:

Breakfast

Clean up and departure

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Sponsors:
If you are a company interested in sponsoring part of the event, please get in touch with either Clare at clare@clarebarboza.com or Helene at helene@helenedujardin.com
Cucina Fresca
Seattle based Cucina Fresca will supply a hungry group of food photographers with the finest of their products from homemade sauce and pasta to gluten free options and delicious recipes!

Sponsor
Based in Charleston, SC, Rio Bertolini's Fresh Pasta Co. produces fresh cut pasta, ravioli, gnocchi, lasagna, pizza dough, sauces and more with local and seasonal ingredients. Find them at Farmers Markets across South Carolina and Asheville.

Le Creuset
There is no need to introduce this household name...Le Creuset... Based in Charleston, SC, we are excited to say that they will provide us with cookware and giveaway items to satisfy attendees and readers alike.

Sharing My work, My Passion: Los Angeles Photography Workshop...

41

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Apples

As soon as I turned the key in the door, I could not help myself and let a corny "Honey, I'm home!" only to be met by my other two honeys...the pups. Then I remembered, B. had probably gone from his day job to a music job. He would not be home until after 11pm. I had plenty of time to chill, unpack, do laundry, snuggle with the pups and find my place back home after this past week in Los Angeles.

This has been our rhythm since May that Plate To Pixel, the book I wrote on food photography was released (went in second printing in July y'all!). With his schedule of day work and music keeping him busy late into the night at least five days a week, and mine of shoots, on location or at the studio, made it really easy to take the decision to travel as much as I have this past Summer and Fall. Whether for a shoot or for a workshop, I was pretty much following an average pattern of 8 days gone - 10 days home. Up until now...

Culver Hotel - Culver City CA

My schedule so far indicates that most of my shoots will be on locations relatively near or at my studio. So far. I think. Unless an out of town gig comes up, of course.
But right now, the suitcase has been shoved to the back of my closet and everyone is finding their groove again. I am happily taking the time to comb through messages and emails, making plans for friends and family for evenings and weekends.

I am also planning my parents' arrival for Christmas and the leisurely trip they want to take to DC and New York with us. Train. Walks. Restaurants. Museums. Another kind of trip. I can't wait to be in the kitchen with my mom and cook our favorite comfort foods for the holidays, make care packages and drop them off to friends together.

But before this and the next recipe I have simmering on the stove as we speak, I wanted to leave you with some pictures of this last workshop I held in L.A this past weekend.

Culver Hotel - Culver City CA

I have a soft spot for L.A. I love that city. In all its contradictions. It may be spread out and intense with people and buzz, the lack of skyscrapers is of major appeal to me. I don't walk the streets looking for the famous pretty face. I listen carefully hoping I'd catch the ghost of Myrna Loy or Jimmy Stewart. I know...L.A is much more than the movies. I discover that everyday. So many great cultures migling at once.

I loved staying at the Culver Hotel this time. It was cozy, within walking distance of great restaurants, full of history and with live Jazz almost every night. Great cocktails too. The lovely room, staff and general atmosphere combined with the chance to catch up with friends such as Carrie, Jenny, Cathy, Andrew and Matty (not all at once) over cocktails or dinner gave the trip a bit of a homey feel I love so much.

Girlfriends...
With Carrie and Jenny.

The great part is that I had this much fun and good feel during the workshop. Those three days teaching were jam packed and went by so fast! It was intense but everyone had a lot of fun at the same time. I loved how everyone in the group tackled each exercise and obstacle with such fierceness and determination!

Hope you enjoy this little recap through pictures...

Studio Chair
The workshop was partly at LightSpace Studio in Culver City. Loved the decor there.


Helene - L.A Workshop November 2011
First day demonstrating overhead shooting. Picture courtesy of Liren Baker at Kitchen Confidante. The lovely Micah was my assistant for the weekend.


Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011
The kitchen and prep area at the studio on day one.


Liren - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011
Liren practicing some of the lighting techniques discussed in the workshop.


Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011
Students at work...focused and intense...


Radishes

The second day of the workshop was held at Hollywood Sierra Kitchens where the attendees could choose before many different kitchen vignettes to create a scene and tell a story with their food and the decor. This location shoot had so many different lighting options, from natural to fluorescent that there was always a decision to be made and a challenge to be met.

Hollywood Sierra Kitchens - L.A Workshop - November 2011
Inside the showroom.


Hollywood Sierra Kitchens - L.A Workshop - November 2011
Sneaking in a few shots myself.


Michelle - L.A Workshop - November 2011
One of the attendees, the lovely Michelle of Luka Looks.


Carole - Liren - L.A Workshop - November 2011
Carole came all the way from Brazil to take the workshop. Here with Liren during a team exercise.


Hollywood Sierra Kitchens - L.A Workshop - November 2011
One of the vignettes at the showroom. Kind of modern Italian.


Helene - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011
Shooting with a medium format Phase One camera...Picture taken via phone by Micah.


We wanted to add different voices to the workshop and different points of view or just have attendees the possibility to think about "the next step" if they wanted. The lovely Marie-Anne Aizac, photographers agent for Velvet Artists and Mara Serdans, agency art buyer from Deutsch, came to talk about what agent and art buyers were looking for in photographers, gave them pointers on how to put their best foot forward. I loved how the discussion was clearly two ways orientated where attendees were able to share as much of their passion and interest as Marie-Anne and Mara. It was wonderful!

In the last part of the afternoon, John Moeller of Digital Fusion, came to talk about his company's work as digital technicians on photo shoots. He came with a Phase One medium format camera. I think the 80 megapixels of horsepower of that baby made everyone super nervous. Having handled a few Hassies back in the day, I jumped in and started shooting. Soon enough, everyone was excited to try shooting with this tremendous camera.

Carol - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011
Carole jumps right in and tries the medium format camera too.


Digital Fusion - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011
John also demonstrated their super efficient storage system, DF Studio, similar to a cloud system but much more oriented toward a client-photographer smooth relationship.


Mary - Lightspace Studio - L.A Workshop November 2011
Mary planning her move with the medium format. No intimidation there! I love it!


Shrimp & Arugula Salad

Now that I am back and staying put for a little while, I can't wait to fill up the fridge with greens and seasonal produce and make plenty of healthy meals. Stay tuned for this salad recipe soon and plenty more!

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