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