Skip to main content

Jahresarchive: 2012

Stone Fruit Love & Friday’s Favorites

Stone Fruit Love

Summer…We are definitely in the thick of it now! Baked goods have been slowly but surely replaced with ice creams, sorbets and plenty of fresh, ripe and juicy stone fruits. Yellow peaches, Saturn peaches, apricots, plums, cherries have been my go-to desserts for weeks now. Mostly in their natural forms but also in tarts and sorbets. Which I need to photograph soon before we eat them all…

Stone fruits maybe my favorites right now but here are a few other links that make my heart pitter patter lately that I wanted to share with you. Most are from my Pinterest pins but also from favorite blogs.

~ This Kale, Apple and Pancetta Salad from Once Upon A Chef.
~ This Creme Brulee Ice Cream (I know!!) from Cafe Johnsonia.
~ Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese from A Couple Cooks – oh dear…!
~ Today Will Be The Best Day Ever…Heck yes!!
~ I {heart} these Vintage Camera Nighlights.
~ Reading just got way more fun with this
~ This salad is art…From Lemon Fire Brigade.
~ Best Soft Shell Squash Tacos (my first too!) from Happyolks.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches & Portuguese White Gazpacho

Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches

Starting this post with a little housekeeping note: one spot came available my workshop/retreat in Northern Ireland, July 19th – 23rd (details here) If you are interested, please email or call the Belle-Isle Cookery School where the workshop and retreat will be hosted, here.

Speaking of that workshop in Northern Ireland, we are finalizing the schedule of lessons, shoots, cooking and fun and I am getting so excited I can’t stop smiling all day! Really can’t wait to be there and meet everyone. I am also still pinching myself that I can do this with Bill and we are taking a few days before to explore both Scotland and Northern Ireland where is ancestors are from.

Tomato Heaven

We travel well together. We have a way of dividing planning tasks without even saying it. From the first time we crossed the English Channel on a super long, chaotic and loud ferry route, we knew we could travel together without wanting to throttle each other. He’s really the best companion.

I am realizing this post is turning into a public Thank You note to my husband….but he deserves it. For everytime I have been able to spend an hour geeking out on the photos for a post or taken another more time to write and edit recipes and words – he’s been behind me, supportive of this blog, intended at first to be nothing more than a fun creative outlet.

Portuguese White Gazpacho

That fun creative outlet turned out into a fun and amazingly rewarding life, creating stories through images. And he’s been my rock throughout the process. While my mom was complaining I was "still on the internet", he would gently tell her "give it a bit more time, she’s got a plan."

Did I? Have a plan? No, not really. My guts were telling me there was something there. My creative self was telling me not to let go. So I pushed through. With Bill by my side, never complaining. Many times a day I feel the urge to tell him thank you for this gift. I pick up the phone and send a text. A smiley face, a one liner. An extra hug. Something. Anything that shows him that I am mindful of what he’s doing.

Ingredients For Portuguese White Gazpacho

To tell my husband "thank you" for his awesomeness, I know that the simple act of putting a nice lunch together will say just that. We never eat lunch together so when Summer rolls around, it’s a bit of a treat. Taking a few extra minutes to pack up a nice picnic and a bottle of cold lemonade to head out to the dock or the bench in the backyard is one way for me to say "I notice what you do".

From the first years that I moved to the US, I have always loved the idea of the "Sandwich and Soup" lunch combo one can find at restaurant. I’ve loved seeing how different years bring different favorites, from the elaborate "Salmon BLT and Vichyssoise" combo to the classic "Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup" one. Each chef, restaurant, region and era putting its own spin on it.

Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches

One of my favorite salade is Salade Nicoise, one of my favorite sandwiches is a Pan Bagnat and one of my favorite soup is gazpacho. I finally combined them all in one of our favorite picnic fares to date: Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches and Portuguese White Gazpacho.

The sandwiches are pretty straightforward, combining all the ingredients of a Salade Nicoise; tuna, oilves, green beans, eggs, tomatoes into a sandwich that needs to be made the night before, such as the Pan Bagnat, so that the bread can get all soft inside and the flavors meld together inside.

The gazpacho has been made three times since I made it first thing last week when I came back from New Hampshire. We just can’t get enough. A creamy blend of almonds, cucumber, fennel, oregano and garlic. If a soup ought to be called "sensual", it would be it. It made my toes curl. Which is always a pretty good indication I am happy… Thank you David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table, for the recipe!

For dessert, the first cherries from our neighbors tree. A nice picnic indeed…
Sorry for the so-so polaroid, was in a hurry to eat them!


Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches:

Makes 4 large sandwiches

1 cup French green beans
4 large eggs
2 cans tuna in oil, drained, coarsely flaked
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup small black olives, pitted
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup torn and loosely packed basil leaves (no need to chop fine, just use your fingers)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 anchovy fillets, finely crushed with back of fork
1 garlic clove, minced
1 baguette (regular or gluten free)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and blanch the green beans in it for about 3 minutes. Drain them in a colander and place them in a bowl full of ice until they are completely cold. Drain again well and reserve. The goal is to cook the green beans just enough to remove the raw taste of their uncooked selves but still keep the vibrant color and nice crunch of their barely cooked selves.

Bring another large pot of water to a boil. Add the eggs to the boiling water, cook for 6 minutes (soft yolks). Remove them from the water and run them under cold water until they are cooled enough to peel. Once peeled, coarsely chop them up and add them to the green beans.

Add the tuna, tomatoes, olives, shallot and basil. Toss well to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, anchovy and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour this vinaigrette over the green bean and eggs. Toss well until everything is nicely seasoned with the vinaigrette.

Cut the baguette in half horizontally and spread the Salade Nicoise all along its bottom part. Wrap with a layer of parchment paper and then a layer of foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. The next day, cut the baguette into 4 pieces and serve.


Portuguese White Gazpacho:
I am not reposting the recipe here since I made it ad verbatim from David’s site, Leite’s Culinaria.
I skipped the crab salad included in the recipe but I have no doubt it was as good as the gazpacho.
I used gluten free leftover bread that was going a bit stale but feel free to use regular bread.

**Mortar & Pestle from Le Creuset.

Scrambled Egg Tartines With Parsley & Garlic Mushrooms

Scrambled Egg Tartines

Hello everyone! I am on A Cup Of Jo today, sharing my favorite breakfast and recipe for Scrambled Eggs Tartines!

Thank you Joanna for having me again. It was a lot of fun to be participating in this series!

You can catch up on the first recipe I contributed, Roasted Tomato Soup With Parmesan Croutons, here.

Scrambled Egg Tartines

These tartines? They just feature my favorite way to eat mushrooms and eggs together. With plenty of parsley and garlic. Tender soft scrambled eggs and buttery warm toasts.

I am curious. What is your favorite way to eat eggs? I like scrambled but I prefer poached eggs to tell you the truth. You?

UPDATE: I have been told that due to a family emergency, one person had to cancel their spot in my workshop/retreat in Northern Ireland, July 19th – 23rd. If you want it, please email or call the Belle-Isle Cookery School where the workshop and retreat will be hosted, here.

Scrambled Egg Tartines

Saturday Scrambled Eggs With Parsley & Garlic Mushrooms

Serves 2

For the mushrooms:

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup mushrooms of your choice (we like shitake or chanterelles, but any earthy mushroom will do), chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the eggs:
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon olive oil or butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Remaining ingredient:
Fresh or toasted bread

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the mushrooms, with the garlic, until the mushrooms are just beginning to soften. Remove from heat, add the parsley and toss with a wooden spoon. Make sure not to burn the garlic or it will become really bitter.

Crack the eggs over a medium bowl and scramble them a few times with a fork. Mix in the crème fraiche (or sour cream). Season with salt and pepper. In a smaller sauté pan, heat the olive oil (or butter) over medium heat, add the scrambled eggs and gently stir them with a wooden spoon as they cook. You can decide to cook them until dry but we like them a bit soft and runny.

Serve the scrambled eggs over fresh or toasted bread and spoon a generous amount of sautéed mushrooms over each toast. Enjoy!

A Week At Squam Art Workshops…

Squam Art Workshop

Back from Squam Art Workshops where I had a wonderful time. Best students. Best cabin roomates. Best time. Took a whole day off. Oh yeah. And it was as good as marmalade on toasty bread. Here is what Squam is to me, in a few snapshots.

Squam Art Workshop

There were deep conversations. Lots of "ah!ha!" moments. Lots of light hearted moments. Lots of laughs. Some belly dancing. Lots of crafting. And sharing. Crying too. And more laughing because we would just want to smack ourselves silly otherwise, non?!

Squam Art Workshop

Squam June was about layers. Of clothes. Of your soul. For me, it was about letting my six year-old self come by. Because I really miss her. She was always fun, bold and smiling. She’s back. After five months without, I was starting to really miss her. But she’s back indeed. And so glad she had brought her rain boots to make splashes in puddles… And walk in the rain. One of my favorite thing to do.

Squam Art Workshop

Moments spent at the Playhouse. Listening to people’s moments. Sharing in their journey. Surrounding by the warmth of a fire or the glow of gazillion twinkle lights. In June. If you know my addiction to twinkle lights. You know that made me beam inside…

Squam Art Workshop - Jonatha Brooke

Listening to Jonatha Brooke is always a privilege. Her will to share her story through her songs, her words. I can guarantee there was not one dry eye in that room the night Jonatha performed. Squam is strangers sharing compassion and hugs. Squam is balm for your soul. Thank you ma belle, my heart is mended a little bit more thanks to you.

Squam Art Workshop

Squam is in the details. There are everywhere. Let me count the ways…

Squam Art Workshop

At Squam, the trees whisper wonderful uplifting things after an intense morning teaching.

Squam Art Workshop

Every where you turn, there is something someone created and is giving to others.

Squam Art Workshop

At Squam, the trees wear pom-poms. And you can’t help but smile. Big.

Squam Art Workshop

Squam Art Workshop

Squam Art Workshop

At Squam, trees wear pantone color garlands. Lots of them. Swishing around with the wind.

Squam Art Workshop

There is never enough heart garlands in a forest. Well, in my opinion anyway….

Squam Art Workshop

Little owls started popping everywhere. I named this one Elliott.

Squam Art Workshop - Jen Gray & Michelle Madden Smith

There is beauty everywhere at Squam. Jen and Michelle. Beautiful inside out. Thank you for making me smile. For letting me goof. For the hugs and the quiet moments.

Squam Art Workshop - Thea Coughlin

The beautiful Thea. I have never met one photographer who gives has much of herself with each portrait or project. Truly an inspiration.

Squam Art Workshop

Yeah…some of us have epiphanies on the docks at Squam.

Squam Art Workshop - Jen Gray

While some if us contemplate jumping in the cold water… And Jen did! Crazy girl…

Squam Art Workshop - Jonatha Brooke

Squam is taking a moment in time for yourself. And doing something to be shared. A moment to meditate. A moment to breathe.

Squam Art Workshop

Let’s leave it that…

Squam Art Workshop

And this. Squam is love. And spunk.

Squam Art Workshop

Squam is waiting for you… And I can’t wait to be back teaching cooking and food photography classes for the Fall session!

Mixed Berries Galettes, A Taste Of Summer

Mixed Berries Galette

This mixed berries galette has all the attributes that often make me weak in the knees when I think about an uncomplicated Summer dessert. One that is not perfect, a little tart and puckerish, refreshing and vibrant with colors. One that does not require lots of heating and whisking over a hot stove when the temperatures are already blistering outside. One that takes the best of the season and wraps in a buttery blanket of homemade pastry crust.

We are right at the prime time for peaches, plums and lots of stone fruits. Even with strawberry season coming to an end, blueberries are now in full swing, along with raspberries. While I can find all these at the farmers market, I did not expect to find golden raspberries at our neighborhood (read tiny – last minute shop stop) store.

Red currants and golden raspberries can’t ever be local, I have been told. Too hot down here apparently but I admit, I could not resist getting a couple of pints of the raspberries. It’s so rare to see them around and after sneaking in a taste, I tried to come with desserts where their sweet and mild flavor would used to their advantage. Well, beside finding their way directly into my mouth…

Berries For Galette

I am still a hard core fan of raspberries and Chantilly for dessert. Nothing else. Nothing less. Nothing more. But…I think I am the only at the house who does that. My dear husband would rather have a little crust to go along with all that berry goodness. Something to tame the pucker-up factor which I so love.

Making any kind of pastry dough is a way to relax for me. The mixing, kneading, rolling. All focused and intentional steps to have something good to share with loved one for dessert. Finding the right balance of fruits, sugar. The right amount being mounded onto a buttery crust before being enclosed, free form. The smell filling up the entire house as the berries release their juices and aromas.

There is always a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I pull a galette out of the oven. I can’t describe it really. A peaceful second where I feel and understand years and years of family cooking and cultural belonging. It is a fleeting second, indeed. But one that anchors me in the moment and the moments to follow where we will cut right through that galette and smile.

Mixed Berries Galette

Finding peace and balance has never been as important to me as it is now. I’ve never felt the need to actively seek them. There are always in me. However, the family events of the last five months have made me dive head down into my work and not allow myself to feel negative emotions. I am aware that I need to voice things out, write them down, and scream out loud if need be.

Nurturing comes from within oneself first. For me, it has been as simple as baking. Late at night when I let myself get sad and angry. Making jam. Cutting fruits. Anything that makes me feel close to the ones I love. When we had a problem in my family, we would make a cake. Did not matter if one person or twelve would come eat it. The intent to create was a simple human attempt at conjuring the absence.

Mixed Berries Galette

So I made a galette. And another one. One morning, B. woke up to a dozen cupcakes, a banana loaf and another galette. One night, we almost had apricot tart for dinner. It’s winding down…thank goodness. It’s actually been great practice for the workshops I am teaching at Squam this week. I am also looking forward to the scenery of New Hampshire. A bit of wet weather and colder temperatures.

I am also looking forward to sharing with other students the personal reward that is to create, to make something by hand and to tell its story. To leave a trace and to find a spark within oneself. For some it is painting, knitting. For others like me, it is baking, kneading, whisking and taking a photograph. Journaling the process. Leaving a trace. A thought. An emotion or a connection.

If you are heading to Squam this weekend, come say hello!. I will make sure we have a slice of pie to share together!

Mixed Berries Galette

Mixed Berries Galettes:

Makes three 6-inch galettes (enough for 6 to 8 people depending on size)

Notes: the crust is taken (and slightly adapted) from Holly Herrick’s book Tart Love which I recommend to everyone who has issues with making pie crust. Techniques, tips and troubleshooting ideas are well explained by Holly and the recipes are creative and delicious. And I can safely vouch for them since I also happen to have made and photograph 45 of them for the book…No plug intended… I just love that book…

For the crust:
1 1/2 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or regular all purpose flour if not gluten free such as While Lilly)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
110 gr cold butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup cold milk beaten with 1 egg yolk

For the filling:
1 cup each raspberries, golden raspberries, strawberries (hulled and cut small), blueberries
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1/4 cup honey

Prepare the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, (or follow the same instructions if doing by hand), pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles small peas and is evenly incorporated. Gradually, stream in the cold mil & egg yolk mixture 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.

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.

Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, combine all the berries with the lemon zest and juice, cornstarch (or arrowroot) and honey. Fold gently until everything is incorporated. Let stand while you roll the crust.

On a large surface area, well floured, roll out the pastry dough to 1/8-inch thick and cut out three 8-inch circles from it. Transfer right away to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mound half the fruit filling on one circle and repeat with the other one going close but not all the way to the edge. Leave a 2-inch border of pastry all around. Gather the edges of the pastry dough, pleating as you go with your fingertips (don’t worry about being even – these are free form. Imperfections are wonderful anyways…). Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the galettes are golden brown

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches With Pesto Avocado Spread & A Grilled Apricot & Prosciutto Salad.

Grilled Salmon Sandwich With Pesto & Avocado Spread

Even though it’s been feeling like Summer for a couple of months already, I am finally getting into the hot days groove seeing all the Summer produce at the market. Strawberry season is at an end. Peaches and plums have been on the stands for weeks and I got my first taste of cherries the other day. Apricots are finding their way in just about everything we eat.

Raw Salmon

There’s lots of grilling on. The air conditioning does not prevent any roasting or stove cooking but at the end of a long day shooting, I want nothing more than sitting on the back deck with a glass of wine, a few pages of my book and the smoky scents of the grill beside me.

Making Guacamole

With Bill home now that the school year is over (he’s a professor by day, musician by night), there is plenty of time and one more person to share recipes I want to try. During the year, lunch is pretty much a singleton affair unless I am on location or it’s the weekend and he’s home. But comes Summer and I want to be a tad more creative than my everyday salad-protein combo.


As enticing as a Nicoise salad is, a watermelon radish salad, an heirloom tomato salad, a poached salmon and quinoa salad, a roasted veggie salad do sound. I want to try my hand at interesting sauces and sandwiches. I never make sandwiches when having lunch on my own but he likes them. And I like cooking. No better time than to venture out and make something fresh and tasty like a Grilled Salmon and Pesto Sandwich with a peppery basil and avocado pesto.

Salad Fixings

The pesto avocado spread came about on the fly really. As it happens many times when cooking savory dishes. I had just made a lot of pesto from our wild growing basil plant and I had some leftover guacamole from the evening before. Put the two together and you have something incredibly smooth, creamy and with a little garlicky-peppery bite to it. Add a side salad and you have one perfect lunch.

While It Rained...

I admit, with the heat around and my loopy schedule this whole summer, sometimes it is much easier to fix a big salad, throw a bunch of good looking veggies together and sit down together for a little bit. One salad that I like to serve as an appetizer to guests during the summer has found its way to our main course list lately. An easy to put together and super refreshing Grilled Apricot, Mozzarella & Prosciutto Salad.

Lemon Thyme

We are grilling and roasting lots of stone fruits lately. I like to make this salad with slices of ripe cantaloupe, like my mama used to make, but adding apricots brings it ever so much closer to home. Apricots and good bit of fresh chopped lemon thyme. I do miss the apricot tree we used to have in the front yard in Provence. Perched on its branches, I would count the number of ripe apricots I could start taking home so mom could make a tart.

Grilled Apricots

Double up on the ingredients and you have enough for a main meal which will keep your energy up for a long while. I love this salad because it can double up as nifty little tartines when you are ready to serve appetizers and a nice cold beverage to your guests. Simply layer the ingredients (minus the salad) on the toasts and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the proscuitto crisps up.

Happy first day of summer! I am looking forward to spending a few refreshing days next week in New Hampshire where I will be teaching a couple of food photography workshop! Hope to see you at Squam Arts Workshops if you are attending!

Grilled Apricots, Mozarella & Prosciutto Salad

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches With Pesto Avocado Spread:

Serves 2

For the pesto avocado spread:
1 cup basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup guacamole (or substitute 1/4 to 1/2 avocado)

In a food processor, pulse all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Reserve.

For the Sandwiches:
4 oz salmon fillet (skin on)
basil, parsley, thyme
lemon slices
4 slices whole grain or gluten free bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large tomato or 2 small vine ripe ones, cut into thin slices (I like the small Campari)
handful arugula
pesto & avocado spread

Place the slamon on a grilling rack or pan (we use this one) and place a few leaves of basil, parsley, thyme, right on the flesh. Add some lemon slices. Place skin down on the grill over medium flames and cook until the fish is completely cooked through (about 8 to 10 minutes) without flipping it. Remove from the grill and discard the skin. Let cool for a few minutes and flake the salmon in a small bowl.
Brush the bread with the olive oil and grill until crispy and toasty.
Start assembling the sandwiches by spreading the pesto-avocado cream on each toast, then layering arugula, tomato slices and salmon on one slice of bread. Top with the second and repeat for the other sandwich. Eat up!

Grilled Apricots, Mozzarella and Prosciutto Salad:

Serves 4

4 apricots, halved and pit discarded
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs lemon thyme, chopped
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
8 thin slices of prosciutto
big handful arugula
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper

Brush the inside of the apricots with the olive oil ad place directly on the grill over medium high flames. Grill for 3-4 minutes or until you get nice grill marks and the apricots start to cook (but don’t let them get mushy), flip them and cook an extra 2 minutes. Remove from the grill, place on a place and sprinkle with the chopped lemon thyme. Reserve.
For each person, place a couple of apricot halves on a plate, a few slices of mozzarella, a couple of slices of prosciutto and some arugula. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, add some salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

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

read more

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.