Tuesday, February 28, 2012

a dairy class

This past weekend was awesome.
I got to hang with one of my all-time favorite people on this planet, I had an incredible dinner at Toro Bravo in Portland, and I took a home creamery class at Kookoolan Farms in Yamhill, Oregon.

Truth be told, we don't consume a lot of dairy in our house. Joe is lactose-intolerant (although somehow that doesn't prevent him from eating ice cream and brie) and, while I love cheese, I mostly eat it when we have company.

This class, however, made me excited about dairy again.
A huge part of that, though, was that we had the opportunity to use raw milk, which is about a million times more healthful (and flavorful) than anything you will find at the grocery store.
In 3 hours, we learned how to make butter, creme fraiche, (I never want to eat store-bought again), fromage blanc, yogurt, kefir, ice cream and cottage cheese.

After learning the process for all of these, I can't believe I haven't tried making them sooner. They are all so simple!

Nikki making butter, (ie: shaking up heavy cream in a big mason jar)

Straining the buttermilk off the butter

The best butter ever!

Ice cream


Creme fraiche, fromage blanc, and cottage cheese

The farm sells lots of great products other than delicious raw dairy products, grass fed beef, vegetables and poultry. Featured below: kombucha, green walnut wine, and eggs.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

it's a cake i made


(gluten free & vegan chocolate cake sweetened with maple syrup and prunes. And, yes, it was actually really good. You can find the cake recipe here.)

(Oh, PS- the icing I made was NOT vegan.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

it's a golden kind of day


Thanks to Anthony at Left Coast Dog Services for letting me tag along with the golden brigade today. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

my 3-day farm to table workshop

I received emails, comments, and encouraging words on Facebook after posting my idea about a multiple-day farm to table workshop, so I am going to do it!
And, believe me, this workshop is going to be a blast.

The class will start on the evening of Thursday, September 20 and end the morning of Sunday, September 23rd. The whole event will take place on beautiful Whidbey Island.

This is a workshop focused on how to tell a story through photographs. Students will document 2 farms on the island, learn all about food photography, and will spend their days taking a whole LOT of photographs. There will be group critiques, as well as plenty of time for individual instruction, (if desired.)

Since this is a 3-night workshop, I have rented a beautiful house near Coupeville, that sits on a gorgeous piece of property high above the Saratoga Passage. I have personal experience with this particular piece of land, since my husband and I were married on it back in 2003. It's a very special place.

The workshop fee is $1250 and includes everything. Specifically.....

•3 nights accommodations in the Willow Pond Lake House, (PLEASE NOTE THAT ROOMS ARE SHARED.) You can view the house here.

•all meals (including wine)

•transportation on the island (you will still have to get yourself to Whidbey but carpooling may be an option.)

•all workshop instruction

I hope we'll see you there! :)



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

a cookbook shoot, the finale

(This is a continuation from this post and this post.)

Well, today is the last day of the shoot with Kim O'Donnel and, I must say, I am a bit sad. This shoot has been so fun and smooth from the very start, and it has felt so good to be working on a new project in my studio.

We only have 5 dishes to shoot today; a crepe dish from the Mother's Day menu, a noodle dish from the Lunar New Year menu, a gorgeous eggplant timpano which is part of an Autumn menu, some sopes from the Cinco de Mayo menu, and a pasta and white bean dish from one of the Spring menus.
Below are the props I gathered for each of those shots.

crepes/mother's day

noodles/lunar new year

pasta with beans/spring

sopes/cinco de mayo


So what happens once all the recipes have been shot? Well, I will spend time working on the images in Photoshop, making sure they are touched up if they need to be, checking that the images are saved in the correct color space, and resizing everything according to the publisher's specs. Photos are then saved as tiffs and then usually FTP'd (or mailed) to the client.

At that point, the publisher will choose which images will go where, and start laying out the design of the book. While we are handing over close to 50 final shots, the publisher may choose to only use a portion of those. The most important thing is that we are giving them options.
For example, Kim and I made a point to include a number of "process" and ingredient shots. These are important images because they can be used in multiple ways-- as possible section openers, within chapters to further explain a recipe, or as front or back matter within the book, (images that may go behind the table of contents, foreword, etc.)

I promised I would show you one of the final shots, and so here it is! I chose the onion shot because I spent a fair amount of time talking about the process of shooting it in the last cookbook post.
While I did shoot it with the cover in mind, it may or may not end up being the cover image. That decision is entirely up to the publisher and their sales team. However, this shot gets my vote! :)


Thanks for following along with this process.
I hope you will check out the book when it comes out in the Fall!