Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer: Eat Simple and Bright





It's that time. Full on summer, where the mere idea of cooking feels like too much. Keep a Negroni or Last Word close, and throw fresh ingredients together. That's the speed of summer. And so happens to be the theme of my latest at Anthology

I thought, for this time around, why not share a few favorite go-to's as summer's heat bears down on us all? Side note: I just traveled to New Orleans for a travel story, my first time. 1. Why the hell haven't I been there before?? It was amazing. 2. Holy Mother of God, it is hot there….. Anyway, summer is hot and we want to eat delicious things that don't keep us chained to the stove. Right? 

I happened to have a refrigerator full of fresh produce from my CSA with Harvest Roots Farm and my good friends at Sanctuary Farms, and another friend leaving town for a few days said, "have at my veg patch 'cause it's just going to go to waste"…. Why go crazy in this heat for a story, when the one that needed to be created was right in front of me?

Here are three amazing salads that will have you and your guests smiling. Maybe gushing. See the whole story, with recipes, here.










Broiled peach and butter lettuce salad with sheep's cheese toasts and toasted almonds - bright, juicy, crunchy, and every bit the epitome of summer.

My riff on the Ni├žoise - briny, sharp, crunchy, creamy, buttery, peppery - a savory lover's paradise.

Wilted chard and prosciutto with toasted pine nuts - soft and velvety, salty, tangy, buttery, crunchy - as simple as it gets.

Which one suits you?

Also! If you haven't seen it yet, this week's New York Times features my couscous-inspired paella…. (I did some cooking after all) Ridiculously photogenic and delicious. Here it is, as well as a few outtakes -



I just completed a massive load of photo edits for some recent projects. Very excited to see what the editors choose, forming the shape of each story. Next week brings a new, ambitious project, shooting one of the pioneer chefs (and his delectable food) here in the South….  

Stay tuned!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Food52 Preserved Lemons, New York Times Slow Roasted Fish, Continental Bakery for Birmingham Magazine


It's been a supremely busy time. I feel like I've been saying this with each visit here, but it's true. Thanks for keeping me busy with wonderful projects, lovely clients. :) I just finished a travel story for Garden and Gun Magazine - look for it late summer - and this week will be a new travel piece with Fine Cooking and A Moveable Feast. How fun!

For things here at home base: it makes my day to conceive - and then execute on - each recent story...  How will this new one feel in its textures and hues? What will the food on the plate look like on set? How do I see the light dancing across everything, making a gorgeous display so that all of you will be sure to get irritatingly hungry? I'm having a blast. 

Today debuts a new contribution to the 'Halfway to Dinner' column I've written for, here and here. This story is about my love affair with preserved lemons. They are extremely easy to prepare - all you need is patience! Preserved lemons, essentially a pickle, impart a delightful punch to anything to which they are added. See for yourself. Click here for the full story. 

In all my busy-ness, I could only quick-and-dirty-like (with my iPhone) document this batch made for Food52. These are Meyer lemons and I highly recommend using them for their sweeter flavor and thinner skin-to-pith ratio. Use organic, whatever you have chosen, as you'll ingest skins and all. Salt, some lemon juice and water, and a month or so's time, and you have briny, satiny-savory amped up lemons for use in just about anything… if you make some, I want to know how you decide to use them!







In other news, last week's New York Times carried another Pairings article I produced, featuring a fabulous roasted fish...


Here is the full story (and the delicious recipe).



Another story out now, this month's Birmingham Magazine features a wonderful bakery which has innovated French style baking here, for 30 years and counting. Carole, the owner, was such a pleasure to work with. And, I can attest that each baked good is worth its weight in butter and flour….












There are summer pastries waiting to debut, an artisan pickle story, and a gorgeous feature all about me, right around the corner. There's also more travel work - I fall in love with so many of the places - and more with my beautiful farmer friends. Not enough time in a day. 

For all the latest, come along with me for daily experimentation and funny, beautiful adventures on Instagram. I'm addicted and having way too much fun!

I hope you're diving into summer and celebrating it to the fullest. xoxo

Friday, May 23, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Crostadas with Anthology and the Big (and belated) Front Page Story at The New York Times



I shall tell you all about these tasty little tarts. But first, something wholly overdue...



I have been so busy, that this story which I've had in the queue to share - back when it went live about a month ago - got lost within the myriad projects which have demanded my attention in the time since. It was such a pleasure to produce, that I just want to take a moment here to acknowledge that.  Especially with the ground Roberta's Cookbook claims these days. The whole thing is every bit as delicious as it looks.

Here are some outtakes from that story - and, a big thanks to Roberta's Pizza for know-how on resonating elemental ingredients! They melded - and melted! - together, making for such tasty pies. ;)












This last one, the "Green and White," was my absolute favorite. The marriage of crunchy, lemony, bitter greens, with the fatty, gooey cheese - and that crispy crust - heaven. Here is the full story if you don't already know it. 

And to the feature-at-hand… After juggling some tech issues at the mother ship, my most recent monthly with Anthology is out today!

These wonderful little pastries proclaim spring in a very fitting way. I hope you'll be transfixed by their beauty, enough to have a look at the recipe and consider making them for yourself. They're worth it. In any case, they celebrate spring, to which we seem to have fully arrived. Side note: here in Birmingham, it was a *hot* day yesterday, a sign of the much warmer still days to come. Hold on. And enjoy a fruit tart along the way….










I hope you are hungry now. Full belly rumble. As you can see I continue to have a ball with my monthly stories, and I love the Anthology ladies. Thank you Alexis, Meg, and Anh-Minh for being really great people to work with. 

Do you have ideas or requests for stories I'll produce next? What would just make you swoon? I would love to hear your thoughts. Keep it seasonal, but besides that, get creative! Let me know down in the comments.

On an altogether separate note, I contributed another feature with the fine folks at Food52, also a while ago now. I know, I'm making belated a trend. But only because so many wonderful projects have taken shape and demanded all my attention.

This story centered around red quinoa: nutty, versatile, delicious. I developed the recipes, cooked, styled, and then photographed them, as part of the "Halfway to Dinner" column. Here it is in full, and some of my favorite yummy images, below…. the shrimp and quinoa patties would make a great addition to your Memorial Day plans, if you haven't decided already to make the rhubarb and strawberry crostadas. Or, a version of this meal, with fresh seasonal produce and a fantastic charred steak…. :)







Stay tuned! There are a couple new features I'm cooking up with Food52 right around the bend. Follow me on Instagram if you want up-to-date gorgeous daily photos.

And, I am very proud to share that some of my grandmother's recipes have found their way into a beautiful story I produced for the next Anthology Journal, out this summer. I will let you know about it as the time approaches.

Beyond that, there's new work I just submitted with Birmingham Magazine, as well as The New York Times (two stories coming soon!), and another *huge* project I pulled off basically single-handedly. 

And there's more still. YES. I am so thankful for all these opportunities to be creative and share my love for beautiful, real food. 

Have a wonderful weekend!