Kumquat Buttermilk Panna Cotta

March 31, 2015


Kumquat Panna Cotta
If we've hung out together before, you then know that there is not a dessert I do not like. Crunchy, melty, elaborate, simple, fruity, chocolate,...I like desserts. However, I have noticed as I grow older that I have more of a savory tooth than a sweet one while I still love to bake and make ice creams or confections for friends and gift giving. A simple fruit satisfies my sweet tooth. Oh wait. I did do a number on that chocolate bar in the test kitchen at work today. Never mind...!

Still, give me a good piece of cheese and that is my dessert. I do however have a particular affinity for panna cotta. It's creamy, soft, can be flavored or plain, topped or layered. There are so many possibilities on a simple panna cotta recipes as there are recipes for chocolate chip cookies. Variations are as endless as your creativity and desire to play.
 
Kumquat Panna Cotta
I found myself with an abundance of kumquats and not enough days to eat them before they'd go bad. I like to snack on them raw as I edit pictures or catch up on emails after work but I had simply too many on my hands at this point! With my husband out of town, I didn't really feel like baking or doing something complicated with them. A panna cotta seemed like a simple and super satisfying dessert. 

Infusing the cream and buttermilk for the panna cotta with pureed kumquats gave a whisper of citrus to the cream while fresh slices of the fruit on top providing that little pucker I was looking for. Perfectly light and creamy. And decadent...
 
Kumquat Panna Cotta


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A Two Day Food Styling & Photography April 25th-26th 2015!

March 22, 2015


WkshopBHMLogo2
A lot of you have sent emails or sent comments about my workshop schedule this year. I am working on a couple of ideas but there are a few family events planned out this year as well as a few family things that need most of my free time and attention.

But, I am excited to announce that I am teaming up with my bestie, food stylist Tami Hardeman to bring you 2 day food styling and photography workshop in Birmingham, Alabama where I reside. I love this town and its art community. So many great restaurants, talented photographers, exhibitions and so on. We will be spending two days creating, playing, working, sharing.

We both work in this field as our everyday life but the need to come together and teach and create independently from clients fuels us with lots of energy and passion that we want to pass on to you.

The class is targeted to all levels and we will be there to take your photography and styling to the next level. Gently and efficiently, we will give you the tools to let you express your creativity with your styling and photography.

We will guide you on several photo assignments where we'll share all our tips and techniques. Whether you have a blog, write for a local or national magazine, work with brands and need to supply food photography, want to establish a career in the world of food styling and/or food photography, etc... this workshop is for you.

We'll share the tools and philosophy we use in our daily workflow: defining a mood and feel, working with mood boards and sketches, sourcing ingredients and styling, choosing the best props to showcase the food, composition through lighting, best camera angles and tools for the task at hand, editing and post processing.,etc...

Here are the details:
When: April 25th &26th
Where: Studio 410 in Birmingham, Alabama
Number of attendees: 8
Fee: Early bird of $850 until March 30th then $875 til day of the workshop
- Meet and Greet on Friday April 24th from 7pm til 9pm,
- 2 days full of instructions with Tami and Helene
- dinner Saturday night (location TBA)
- lunch, snacks and refreshments for both days (travel costs, transportation and lodging not included)

Please go HERE to register. See you soon!
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Jerusalem Artichoke & Parsnip Soup With White Bean, Dill and Smoked Tartines.

March 17, 2015


Sunchoke Parsnip Soup2_Blog
Nothing makes me happier than being behind the camera, working with my food and prop stylist, nourishing that passion for food and photography that brought us together. Heck, we do it all week long. With the same gusto, fun, dash of sass and sprinkle of emotion and splash of pride. We know we have a task at hand and we know how to bring our collective minds together. We have one shot to make you want to make the recipe you see all shiny pretty in front of you.

I work with amazing talented people. I will never stop saying that. We bring our experience, our truths, our personalities and we let each other talk through our craft. Sure, some days we hit the proverbial wall. But we pull each other up and we talk it out, work through it and keep the intensity and quality going. I love the different teams I work with. They are the unsung heroes of a beautiful photograph. It takes a village to make a cookbook and I am proud to be living on a passionate, goofy, funny and dedicated block of that village. There I said it. I wanted to say it.

Smoked Trout Tartine Blog
That said, most of us have a little of weird streak in that we can't wait for the weekend to come so we can get together and cook, style and shoot some more. Even after a full week. Gluttons for punishment? No. Not really. We come together to play with the food we want at that moment, no schedule or call sheet in hand, just us. I get to play with my props in my own space at our own pace. There might be a couple of tasting breaks involved, maybe a couple of cocktails. Always a pup keeping a watchful eyes on us. It's relaxed, it's fun and it's good for the brain, eye and soul.

This past weekend, I got together with food stylist Nathan Carraba for a Sunday Play Day in the kitchen and my home studio. We worked on three different stories and this is part one of the series. It was a gorgeous day to turn on the grill (and we did) but also to make the best of this transitional weather has to offer. It's a bit too early here for Spring produce and winter ingredients are starting to look and taste less than seasonal. This is the South. Transition is happening. We're just anxiously waiting on the other side of the fence...!

We started with one of my favorite weekend lunch combos. Soup and tartines. A silky Jerusalem artichoke and parsnip soup paired with a white bean, radish and smoked trout tartine. Nathan cooked and styled, I propped and shoot. And then we sat down to a lovely lunch before moving on to part deux of our plan (which I will post later).

Recipes follow. Stay tuned for more fun!

Sunchoke Parsnip Soup_Blog


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Pear Walnut Cake, A Family Tradition

March 3, 2015


Pear Almond Cake
There are very few things that a cake won't cure. From gray days and heavy rain to sickness and nostalgia. This winter has been brutal for a lot of folks. Here we have been spared from the general malaise of being stuck in a never ending cycle of snow days, blizzards and freezing temperatures. We did have a very minor taste of it last week with a little very slushy watery snow blanketing our street one evening. First time Tiggy the new pup experienced the snow. She had a blast, slid down a small hill a couple of time and like me, enjoyed the quietness that comes right after it falls.
 
Pear Almond Cake
In anticipation of a snow day and potential loss of electricity (didn't happen), I went ahead and cooked a bunch of the vegetables and proteins I had in the fridge and freezers as well as the fruits laying about on the countertop. The results were a couple of stews and soups, a batch of pear financiers and this yogurt based pear cake.
 
Pear Almond Cake
This cake is my go-to, fullproof, can't-mess-it-up-even-if-you-tried cake. We learn to make this cake almost as soon as we can stand and stir in my family. All my aunts have equipped with and taught this recipes to their sons, my grandmother passed it on to my mom who passed it on to me and my brothers. It's a never ending cycle of goodness as we pass it on to the next generation of kids, siblings or friends.
 
Pear Almond Cake
And now I am passing on to you. It can be as understated as plain with a good cup of tea or studding with fruits, chocolate, nuts, flavored with vanilla, walnuts, lemon and anything in between. The result is a tender and crumbly cake that never ceases to comfort and make people smile.

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