A Duo Of Salads And Cod With Lemon Caper Relish
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
As cliche as it may sound, if you feel nurtured on the inside, you show it to the ones you loved on the outside.
The difference this year compared to previous visits is that everything was a whirlwind (again...). A mix of driving back and forth, packing boxes, unpacking boxes. All this with super trooper pup Tippy somewhere in the car, who at 16 years old is decidedly the best dog ever. The minute we both got back in the house last week after we said goodbye to my parents, we both plopped down on our respective beds. I did not see that pup surface until dinner time. I pretty much did the same thing well, except for a big grocery trip to stock up on everything I needed to fix a few dinners and lunches.
Jerusalem, chock full of dates, almonds and spices, a pan seared cod with a tangy lemon relish from The Sprouted Kitchen coobook. My go to meal last week was a quinoa salad that existed only in my head for a long while. A mix of sweet and savory with red and yellow quinoa, lots of herbs and topped by a barely set soft boiled egg.
I hate to say but all meals this week will feature plenty of hot soups and liquids instead. I am hoping my mother did not pass on her bronchitis on to me as a farewell gift but sure looks that way. Already perusing my favorite coobooks for nutritious soups.
If you have a favorite(s), please share!
Pistachio - Cumin Crusted Rack of Lamb & A Roasted Cauliflower - Hazelnut Salad
Monday, January 14, 2013
I have had the images for this post up and ready for words for about a week now. It's not that I can't find the words to go along. It's just that I am ever near long enough the computer to sit down and write.
We had such a great time at the beach with my parents, my brother and his family that diving right back into work mode was a blessing and a curse at the same time. It's been busy around here but having my parents stay with me here in Birmingham for a couple of weeks shifted the rhythm even further.
It's good. It's all good. It's actually awesome to have them around and see the new house, the new job, the new town. They really get a handle on my new situation and all the questions they had are being answered. My photo schedule, the way we do things, the people I work with, the places I like to go to for dinner, a drink or to shop. Things are about as new to them as they are to me and we share discoveries and new finds everyday.
It's really nice to come home after a long day and start cooking with my mom. Chopping, dicing, searing, etc... while sipping a glass of wine and watching the end of an old movie or listening to the radio. We have more quiet time for serious talks, or to simply catch up on news about the family at large.
It's been raining lots lately and we have been enjoying a few comforting and hearty meals. The kind to make you feel instantly better and warm inside after being caught by a heavy rain.
Stews, fish soups, long cooked dishes, and roasted veggie soups have permeated the air around for days now, filling me with a bit of nostalgia. The flavors and spices of my grandmother's stews and roasts come into to our conversation almost at every meal. Her cooking while being so intricately French provincial was so influenced by her life in Northern Africa and encounters with other army wives.
It might be for this reason that I have absolutely loved every page turned in the new cookbook by Ottolenghi, Jerusalem, co-authored with Sami Tamimi. I hear my stomach growl at just about every recipe and my eyes pop out from every stunning picture. I find my family's cooking in so many of the recipes in the book.
I don't know if we are atypical or just reflect an era (military, moves, oversea travels, wars, etc...) but some of my most vivid food memories are as much of harissa, Berber couscous and papaya with lime juice as they are of cassoulet and Bouillabaisse.
In that regard, the book completely appeals to me. The way Ottolenghi and Tamimi look at culinary traditions and influences. Understanding that one dish may have the same root but different interpretations in neighboring cultures, civilizations or countries. They understood that cooking is honoring ones traditions as well as sharing common flavors, differences in interpretations. Food travels. It is not one to be of only one people and one culture. It is alive. It reflects peoples, generations and history. It is humanity.
I get that. Especially when sitting down at the dinner table around a plate of Pistachio Crusted Lamb and a side or Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad. (recipes after the jump). I get the sharing, the cultural influences, and the roots. The history that brought this plate and the chatter about it, in front of me. I happily grab my fork and ask my mother for one more story about my grandmother. About her own childhood. About mine with her.
Only a few more days and they will be heading back to France. A few more days to revel in the memories and the times we are living in the present. I am grateful for the love and time they give me these few short weeks. It's been quite nice, indeed...
I hope you all have a wonderful week too!
Happy New Year 2013 & Reflections On The Year Gone By
Thursday, January 03, 2013
In 2012, my inner wish for myself and others was: Live fully. Play hard. Leap and take chances. Tiny or big. Do what makes you truly happy. I did. It shaped the following 12 months and took me on a rollercoaster ride of the best kind.
Here is a little recap of the year passed. What a year! Lots of great photo jobs, lots of wonderful collaborations. If anything, the last year is for me a deep acknowledgment of my strength and growth as an individual, photographer and wife.
I shot a really fun book, Marmalades that winter as well as worked with some really different clients such as One Kings Lane for which I shot Heirloom Book Company Tastemaker Tag Sale.
I was giddy to have Lana Restaurant and Heirloom Book Co both ask for over a dozen of my photographs to go up as exhibits of fine art food photography in their respective establishments.
And I was honored to be selected to have my photographs used as a backdrop for Donna Karan's Urban Zen Foundation event.
I also shot two new color lines for Le Creuset and one more campaign for One Kings Lane.
I started a very productive and fun collaboration for Food & Wine magazine and shot over 100 pictures for them throughout the year. One of my favorite freelancing gigs in 2012.
I photographed my dear friend’s wedding and wished her goodbye as she moved away to start her new life. I co-taught an amazing workshop in my hometown of Charleston.
A group of complete strangers coming to learn and share and becoming fast friends in the process is something I absolutely love to witness and be part of.
At the end of Spring, it became clear to me that all the hard work and discipline of the last few months to establish my professional goals and stick to them as a photographer were now leaving me less time for blogging. I knew I was gearing us up for some big jobs ahead that would fulfill my love for photography and working with talented creatives.
I just had no idea of the twist our life would take in the early days of summer.
“Be Bold In The Dreams You Wish For Yourself”. Be that child who dreams and feels lie nothing is off limit. If you do not ask the best of yourself, you will never work for it. If you do not ask for the best from the world, you will never see it is out there. I needed the nurturing of Squam. Too many airplanes. Too many jobs without rest in between. Too much up in the air that I did not know how to handle. At Squam, I opened it all up to the Universe. And everything started falling into place.
I photographed a bunch of fun features for The Local Palate magazine.
I headed off to Washington, D.C to teach a photo workshop at the USPCA annual conference for the second time.
I co-taught a fun filled 3 day workshop in Seattle, WA and got to spend some quality time with generous and loving folks.
I taught an intense and enriching workshop in Northern Ireland. Women from all over the world came to learn and share of themselves. We had an incredible time in an incredible setting at Belle Isle Castle and I can’t wait to do it again! Bill and I took extra days to visit his ancestral grounds in Scotland and road trip along the coast of Ireland and Northern Ireland prior to the workshop. Absolutely gorgeous.
I traveled to Canada to shoot a cookbook for Le Cordon Bleu.
Our couple grew stronger than ever this year and summer as we were faced with pretty big decisions. Questions and opportunities we had to keep for ourselves first and work on as a team. the hard work of the years passed was finally started to shape up for us on an emotional level.
I traveled to Birmingham, AL and secretly test shot for the biggest opportunity of my career, Senior photographer at Oxmoor House. And then started to plan the second biggest moment of our year: a move. Leaving family and friends to start a new life.
We are, at the moment, living in two different states doing the long distance thing until Bill can join me once his semester teaching at CofC here is over. Then we can be together and dive together into this new setting. That will be our biggest adjustment of 2013. All the logistics of getting our two lives merged into one again.
I shot a massive project for Food &Wine magazine while editing book pictures and packing boxes.
I found a house for rent in Birmingham in between a plane back from Canada and one to New Hampshire.
I taught two more 3 day workshops in Charleston with fantastic women and forged inspiring and creative bonds with all of them.
I learned a ton about my own resilience and mental strength by moving and living by myself while Bill remained in Charleston. I grew. Lots. I am so looking forward to letting all the pieces of this new life fall in place.
It is Winter again. My family from France, parents, brother, sister-in-law and my two nieces came to the spend Christmas and New Year’s with us. We did not know when they booked their flights and we rented a house on the beach for all of us that I’d be in Alabama now but we all made it and had a fabulous time.
Whatever you wishes are for 2013 – go for them. Make them happen. The year is yours for the taking.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!