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Monatsarchive: May 2012

A Sweet Affair …

I don’t do wedding photography. It’s not that I can’t. I just enjoy photographing food a lot more. Except when it comes to friends. My husband used to be a wedding photographer back in the 70s and 80s. Some of our friends are sought after portrait and wedding photographers. I am still doing food and have no desire to change. But…once in a while, close friends ask me to photograph an engagement session. Or their wedding.

Last weekend, my assistant and friend Laura got married to Alex. I love them both. I photographed their engagement session and had a total blast. As a wedding present, I offered to photograph the wedding. It was a true friendship and family affair since they asked my husband’s band to play at the reception (he’s the one with the trombone).

Their wedding was a true Southern affair. A thoughtful and reflective ceremony and a reception in a gorgeous antebellum house. A perfect mix of sophistication, handmade, European elegance and simplicity. A lovely way to embrace the town and flair of our beautiful city, Charleston.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day. Thank you Laura for entrusting me with making your memories last a lifetime through a few (many) shots.


Getting Ready… The Anticipation…












Getting Married …

L&A _ 3

L&A _ 2


Married! …Stolen moments before the reception …








Let’s Party! …











Congratulations and Best Wishes Laura & Alex!

Shrimp, Butternut Squash & Coconut Soup & Pickled Shrimp With Cucumber Spears

Shrimp, Butternut Squash & Coconut Soup

Since I have started keeping up a blog in late 2006, I have always heard my seniors say "never apologize for being busy, missing or not keeping up regular posting schedule". I get that. A blog is primarily meant for fun. Or at least it started that way for most. It did for me. My blog is not my job. I don’t make a living from it and we do need to be a two income family. By a twist of hard work and continued practice, the blog gave me a very busy and very fulfilling career. And right now, I feel the pages and regularity of the blog escaping me.

I think about that dessert I made and photographed and not yet posted. About the soup we ate for lunch and dinner almost three days in a row it was so incredibly delicious. I start formulating the sentences that would bear enough meaning to tell you about the ribs we grilled and devoured with blue cheese coleslaw the other day before getting caught in the rain. On our patio. Soaked. Yet happy with full belly and lots of cheers with friends.


I blog in my head a lot these days. Lot less on paper. In the shower, while others sing out loud, I start sentences peppered with just the right amount of seasonal flair and fresh ingredient. I think long and hard about other words for "fragrant" as I tie my shoes or put the leash on the dogs. As I back up files and archives all my work at night, I dream of a blank screen where I can start a post.

So, yes, unlike my seasoned senior fellow bloggers, I am saying "sorry folks if I am not as often here on this page as I would like it to be". It’s all good though. Things are busy here but all "oh so" awesome. Lots of fun shoots, more for Food & Wine, Le Creuset and One Kings Lane, prepping lots of fun workshops for the summer and planning a few more commercial and editorial shoots in the middle. Never a minute to slow down. And I would not change it. This is it. This is life. I can only do this once.


I am also taking the time to slow down, sigh and regroup. By coming here. By cooking some wholesome foods. By committing to the farmers market every Saturday. The colors, the smell, the care and the love that everyone puts toward giving us healthy materials to feed our bodies and soul… All very motivating and inspiring to get in the kitchen, tie my apron on, sharpen my knives, cling my wooden spoons (they are my ruby red slippers) and find comfort in the things I can explain and seemingly have control a little.

Soups are definitely one of those things that we like to sit in front of in the evening. Especially when we can sit down together, pour ourselves a glass of wine and talk. No other interruption than his band stories or geek talk over equipment. It does not matter if it is 50F or 110F outside, soups are always welcome.

Pickled Shrimp and Cucumber Spears

One of Bill’s favorites is a Thai chicken and coconut soup that he had decades ago in New York City. I have tried many times to recreate it based on his description and you can guess I never quite got it right. So much is part of his taste memory and so much is part of the memories of the trip itself. One day, I finally decided to give up on that memory entirely and come up with a completely different coconut based soup. Luck would have it that I only had to look so far as to one of my favorite cookbooks, Noodles: The New Way by Sri Owen.

This book is one of those in our kitchen that is open many times a week for inspiration. Cooked from a couple of times of month for satisfaction and permeated for ever with fragrances of star anise, ginger and mint. One of the recipes I had bookmarked from the very first day I got the book waited a whooping 10 years before I actually made it. Modified and made, I should say. And since then, I have made it ten times already. Trying to catch up on ten years without Shrimp, Butternut Squash and Coconut bowl at a time!

Fresh English Peas

The original recipe in "Noodles: The New Way" was "Coconut, Tofu and Pumpkin Noodles". I loved all the flavors but modified to accommodate what I had in the fridge when I decided to make it the first time. Pumpkin was replaced with butternut squash and shrimp made their way in our bowls, instead of tofu. Right now that shrimp are in full season, it’s really easy to get a couple of pounds from the dock in the evening or from the market if we don’t feel like casting our nets. Butternut squash are not in season anymore however so I have been using golden beets or baby turnips instead lately.

Another recipe that has been on rotation every week during this shrimp season is one I shot for Food & Wine: Pickled Shrimp With Cucumber Spears. So easy and so refreshing during this hot Spring and upcoming Summer. I know we are lucky to have access to local fresh seafood so easily. Port city living has lots of perks. Being able to get dinner right off the dock or right off the fishing boat is definitely one of them. Standing in line waiting for my turn gives me ample time to exchange recipes and forces me to take time out. I am kind of digging it…

Hope you have a wonderful end of the week…!

Shrimp, Butternut Squash & Coconut Soup

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Food Photography Workshop In Charleston – A Recap.

Charleston - Our Dock

Thank you all for your words of comfort and virtual hugs. I came to you from a very vulnerable place and your words held me strong throughout some pretty dark hours. Some comfort came from learning that since he was an organ donor, my cousin’s heart is beating for someone else. This bit of news calms some of my anger.

Charleston - Our Dock

Looking at old family albums helped a lot. Also did diving head first into editing and reflecting over the workshop that Clare Barboza and I instructed together a couple of weekends ago. Each and everyone of these pictures made me smile and brought me back to a good place. The place Clare and I would call "the life we want to lead and the work we do to get there". Teaching workshops is one of the things we do to find ourselves in that good place. It’s about sharing information, connecting with people and helping them find the way to what makes them happy with photography.

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012

I wasn’t nervous co-teaching with Clare as much as I was hosting our first duo workshop in my town. Clare and I jive. There is only support and care. Genuine interest and zero drama. We work through things at different or similar paces, depending, but always with the understanding of the greater picture. In this case, the workshop, the attendees, the info dispersed and the well being of everyone. Debriefing over Prosecco each night was also a genius idea…eheheh

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012

Over the course of the few days we had planned, the attendees participated in 5 different themed photo shoots, visited the Charleston farmers market and had dinner at Lana for on-location shoots. It was intense, and yet we made sure to have plenty of downtime to enjoy the beach house, the waves and the gorgeous weather all the while editing and sharing tips over wine and cheese each evening .

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012


We tried to create vignettes and photo opps at every turn of the house, providing the attendees with lots of props and surfaces from both our studios and finds that Clare had scored along the road trip from Seattle to Charleston. We might have packed more than our husbands would have liked to carry up and down the stairs but at least we had plenty to play with for 3 days!

Sangria Bar

Ice Cream Bar


Props & Surfaces

I love Charleston. I love everything about it. The people. The places. The artisans, artists and farmers. I also love everything that is bizarre and antiquated about this town. I love how forward and backward it can be at times. Thus, my worry that the attendees would only see certain facets of Charleston and miss the good details. I needn’t worry. We had an amazing group of smart, talented and beautiful women join us on this workshop. I fell in love with each and everyone of them for their generosity and wit. I left the workshop exhausted but completely inspired.

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012

Charleston Food Photography Workshop May 2012

Kuddos to our super awesome assistant and kitchen manager Laura who kept us well fed and organized. Could not have done it without her! It was pretty much non stop action in the kitchen. I can’t believe she’s moving at the end of the month!!

Charleston - Our Dock

I am really glad that Clare, her husband Joe and their pup Nina stayed a couple of days after the workshop. Our husbands developed a similar friendship to ours while we were at the beach house workshopping. We knew they would. They are awesome guys…!


I was curious to see how our pups would bond and no surprise there either. They loved each other. Bailey and Nina had a great puppy romance. Full of love bites, nips, runs and even sharing a bed a couple of times. Tippy, the older dog was pretty much unphased but give a dozen years, I am sure he would have fought Bailey for a spot next to Nina…

Charleston - Our Dock

We took those extra days with them to chill by the dock, process the whole weekend, plan even more fun for next year (stay tuned!) and walk around downtown. The old streets, old stones. Our favorite spots.

Charleston - Downtown

Gave us the chance to discover new and fun places to go back to like Black Tap Coffee Shop. A new favorite of mine.

Charleston - Black Tap Coffee Shop

Charleston - Black Tap Coffee Shop

Charleston - Black Tap Coffee Shop

A much needed rest and recovery. A time to focus on the details as well as the broad strokes. 

 Charleston - Downtown

I leave you with some images from Charleston taken after the workshop was over.  This is the town as I see now. Fall is different. And magical too which is why I am thrilled that Clare and I will be teaching two more workshops here in November. Can’t wait!

Charleston - Downtown

Charleston - Downtown

Charleston - Downtown

Charleston - Downtown

Charleston - Downtown

Charleston - Downtown

Here are some of the posts written by the attendees about the workshop. Thank you ladies, it was an honor!

Claire McCormack Photography: Farmers Market Snapshots

Lorie at Savory Nest.

Angela at Angie’s Southern Kitchen.

Shannon at No8Photography.

Paige at Simple Expressions.

Kay at The Church Cook: Day 1Day 2Day 3


May Flower

Today holds all the promises of a good day. It is my birthday. It is Mother’s Day here in the US.

And yet, it is a difficult day for my family yet again.

In the last 5 months we have had to say goodbye to three very close family members. My grandfather, my uncle and just this Friday, my cousin passed away. He was 26 years old. We are once again being tested. We are once again holding each other up and saying goodbye to a person we loved and loved even more.

Please keep us in your thoughts as you hug and cheer today. Whether you celebrate a birthday, a mother, a graduate or simply the fact that it is Sunday and you have a day off. Just celebrate it.


Squash Blossom Quiche With Feta & Basil

Squash Blossom Quiche

My voice is raspy. My eyelids are heavy. My clothes are still in a pile by my bed. And I still have to find my slippers. Yet, my heart is full, my memories wonderful and my mind is a big mumble jumble of pressure drop, happiness and everything that is good and wonderful.

Squash Blossoms

Clare and I held our first 3 day workshop together this passed weekend and I still have to process it all. To say we had a great time would not do it justice. We met one of the most wonderful group of women we had had the chance to instruct in everything food photography related. One word that I have used so far to describe the workshop and this weekend is "generosity". I will go back to that when I post more about the workshop in the next couple of days.


As I mentioned, I still have to process the emotions and thoughts of this weekend. All wonderful. All making me completely aware that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. What I have set out to do and giving it my all everyday. Food photography allowed me to become my own. It is my responsibility to nurture that path.

Squash Blossoms

For Clare and myself, the workshop was both a way to nurture the attendees' interest and skills in food photography as it was a way to offer them the time and the place to unwind and focus for a few days. Something we don’t always have the opportunity to do in the midst of careers, families, children, etc… We wanted to take care of them. We made them work. We made them laugh. We fed and wined them.

Squash Blossom Quiche

One of the lunches we prepared consisted of several salads and quiches. One of them was a variation on the one I am posting here today, a Squash Blossom Quiche with Feta and Basil. Unusual and completely tasty. Squash blossoms are in season here right now and every where at the farmers market these past couple of weeks. I can’t get enough of them. Simply chopped and tossed in salads. Slightly grilled and sprinkled with sea salt. Filled and pan fried until crisp. It’s a love affair I hate to see end in a few weeks when they will disappear from the stalls.

Watermelon Radishes Salad

Another love affair of mine lately is with radishes. Watermelon radishes, heirloom French radishes (Jaune D’or radishes), French breakfast radishes, early Scarlet, Sicilian reds, etc… Raw with a sprinkle of salt, roasted with a sprig of rosemary. Or simply dressed with a drizzle of pungent olive oil, celtic salt and freshly ground pepper. I bought many bunches to use during the workshop and they were the perfect peppery or spicy touch to the giant salads that accompanied all our dinners.


Lowland Farms, Farmers Market

We are very lucky to have the folks at Lowland Farms grow as many interesting varieties of radishes, greens, kales, etc…with that much care and passion. A simple radish salad was the perfect buttery-peppery partner to the soft and delicate squash blossom quiche.

Watermelon Radishes

Time to unwind, get myself situated again and get ready for the busy weeks ahead. All by nurturing creativity and self with good food and good people…

Squash Blossom Quiche

Squash Blossom Quiche With Feta And Basil:

Serves 6 to 8 (I used a 9.5-inch round Le Creuset pie pan and had plenty for 8)


For the crust:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or same amount of Jeanne’s gluten free flour mix)
generous pinch sea salt or kosher salt
1 stick (115gr) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup ice cold water, or enough to just hold together the pastry
1 egg wash – yolk, pinch salt, splash water, blended together

For the filling:

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

8 to 10 squash blossoms

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic blade, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the cold butter all at once. Pulse until the flour is the size of tiny peas. Drizzle the ice water through the mouth of the food processor, while pulsing. Stop just when the pastry begins to come together. Empty the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disk using your hands. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This can be done up to 2-3 days in advance. You can of course, do the whole thing by hand.

Once the pastry has rested, preheat the oven to 350F. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface, to about 1/4″ thickness. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a food processor, pulse together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and basil leaves until the basil gives the filling a light green color. By hand, nutmeg and feta. Do not pulse but stir them in with a spoon. Pour at the bottom of the refrigerated pie crust and top with the squash blossoms in a circle all around the filling.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until the quiche is golden brown. Let cool slightly before eating.