Thursday, March 28, 2013

metropolitan grill

A few weeks ago, I did a shoot for one of the premiere steak houses in Seattle, The Metropolitan Grill.
Here's a sneak peek...

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

the wall of awesome

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I randomly came across this wall of old metal on the way to one of my shoots last week.
How I wish I had surfaces like these in my studio!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013


Any food photographer knows that the search for interesting surfaces is an ongoing quest. I scour thrift stores, antique shops, salvage yards, and etsy constantly. However, some of my favorite surfaces have been found on the beach or in someone's heap of recycling. You just never know when you are going to come across the perfect piece of chippy painted wood or scratched up metal.

I came across this amazing place online called SurfaceArchive, which rents out all types of surfaces to photographers. Brilliant!! And yet they are located in New York. :(
Unfortunately, we don't have anywhere like that in Seattle, but it gave me an idea. My friend, Nik, is an incredible artist and metal sculptor and is constantly creating interesting textures in his own work. I reached out to him and asked if he could create some custom surfaces for me-- some in plaster, some with weathered wood, and some with various types of metal.

Nik recently came by the studio to drop off the first ones he'd made-- his "test" bunch, as he called them. I am SO thrilled-- the plaster samples he made are beautiful!! He took 3 light-weight panels and created different surfaces on each side, so they are all double-sided. You can see the results below.
Most of these are combinations of plaster, concrete and dye.

I can't wait to see what he does for me next!

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

radicchio salad with baby greens and caramelized onions

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I almost never post recipes on here, but I have been eating this salad non-stop for the past 4 days so I thought I would be generous and share. Plus, I am always complaining that there aren't enough salad blogs so I figured I should do my part.

This salad was completely and totally inspired by Julie, an amazing food stylist with whom I have had the privilege of working recently. She was telling me about a salad she made comprised of radicchio, spinach, caramelized onions and tossed in a vinaigrette, and my mouth was watering. Joe and I eat salads as our main course several times a week and I'm always looking for new things to try.

In my version, I added crumbled bacon and a sprinkling of ricotta salata at the end. I also chose to use a balsamic vinaigrette. With the sweetness of the onions, smokiness of the bacon, bitterness of the radicchio, saltiness of the cheese, and sweet-tart of the dressing, there is a delicious mix of flavors that hits all the important notes. No matter how you make this, though, you really can't go wrong. It's fab.

Radicchio Salad with Baby Greens & Caramelized Onions

1 head radicchio, chopped
4 oz. mixed baby greens (arugula, spinach, and baby chard work really well)
2 sweet onions, sliced very thin
olive oil
5 strips of thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
vinaigrette of your choice
ricotta salata (optional)

First, caramelize your onions. I found the easiest way to do this was to toss them with olive oil and salt, spread them on a sheet pan, and bake at 375 until they are golden. Make sure to stir them occasionally so they don't burn.

Make your dressing. I make all my dressings to taste, so I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to amounts. Basically, I squirt some dijon dressing in a mason jar (2 teaspoons, maybe), add some balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper, and some good olive oil and shake until it's all emulsified. Easy.

Add radicchio, greens, caramelized onions, and bacon to a large mixing bowl, pour in dressing, and toss. Sprinkle on ricotta salata at end, if desired.

Serves 4

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Monday, March 18, 2013

phone pics of a fun shoot

Last week was spent in a verrrry fun shoot for Megan Gordon's upcoming cookbook, "Whole Grain Mornings" (Ten Speed Press) to be published late this year.

One of the hardest parts of a cookbook shoot, in my opinion, is waiting to share the photos that come out of it. In this particular shoot, that is definitely the case. Megan's book is full of delicious and tempting recipes for whole-grain breakfasts. Beyond the natural beauty of the food, the styling direction on this project was totally up my alley: lots of neutrals and earthy color pallets along with a natural and relaxed approach to the food styling. I am so proud of the photos from the shoot, and I cannot wait to share them here....many months from now when the book comes out.

In the meantime, here are a couple teasers taken on my phone. The first is of my awesomely talented food stylist, Julie, working her magic. The second is the aftermath from one of the most delicious recipes in the book, (I ate many of those fritters you see below.)

I must give a shout out to the fantastic team that was involved in this project: Megan, one of the most lovely people you could ever hope to meet, Betsy, art director extraordinaire, and Julie, the rockin' stylist who made everything look beautiful. I could not have asked for a better group with whom to collaborate. Also, thanks to Shannon, my wonderful intern who helped things run smoothly in about a million different ways. :)

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

{farm story} glendale shepherd

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I recently got the opportunity to visit Glendale Shepherd, a small dairy on Whidbey Island, specializing in delicious sheep's milk cheese.

I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe the beauty of this farm. The property, which has been in the Swanson family for 3 generations, is magical. Gorgeous, tall pine trees cover the grounds, with a winding pathway that leads down to the lower pasture and waterfront. There are numerous buildings on the property-- a tall, fort-like house that the family built themselves, a wood shop, a metal shop, a cheese-making facility, a greenhouse with a root cellar, a sewing room, and various barns. There are ample spaces for creativity, in addition to areas for practical work.

In short, I want to live there. :)

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