All smiles all day. When the studio is filled with the sweetest smells imaginable and the cutest little cakes and cupcakes ever, it is a happy day. That's how we felt all day long during our great shoot with Splurge Bakery in Millburn. Have a birthday party you are planning? Do what I did for my son's party and order custom cookies (we got soccer ball cookies, which were also so reasonably priced, I should add!) Have a holiday coming up? Check out her Cake Buddies. So. Darn. Cute. And while you're there, don't miss grabbing some of their incredible pound cake. Just trust me on this one. Go ahead and visit. It's right on Main Street in downtown Millburn, NJ.
Sue and I jumped at the chance to shoot the upcoming catalogue for Sherry-Lehmann this past month. Little did we know though that we would have the privilege of photographing wines we can only dream of drinking. It was truly a pleasure to be in the presence of such beautiful bottles of wine. We can't wait to see the catalogue when it comes out!
As the New York Times wrote, ""At Le Malt, food makes an appearance, but cocktails rule."
Sue and I would only half agree with that statement. Not only were the cocktails incredible, creative, and delicious, but the food was outstanding as well. Executive Chef Duke Estime is the first Haitian born chef to be featured at the James Beard House in New York City. The dishes he brought out for us to photograph were not only beautifully presented, but also were bursting with incredible flavor.
It was really such a treat for us to photography their new cocktail menu. We could easily see and feel the passion that is poured into making this lounge top notch.
We love when our clients want to return for more images and we especially love it when it's Suzanne Glatt, who makes the delicious gluten-free vegan nut mix Suzi's Gone Nuts! We had so much fun shooting her product (and maybe, just maybe, stealing a little nibble here and there!) Her mix is delicious, healthy, and I have to say, addicting! Check her out on her website Suzi's Gone Nuts
We had so much fun creating video for our good friend, Benita Kasbo of Kasbo's Market. We met Benita last year while shooting her delicious Syrian cheese called Jibneh. Benita wanted to create a video that highlighted all the ways that Jibneh can be used. Not only is Jibneh delicious, but it is so versatile! It's awesome simply sliced and eaten, but is even more amazing melted (as it gives mozzarella a run for it's money- check the stretchiness in the video!!) It also pairs well with other cheeses on a cheese board for a cocktail party, and BONUS, kids love it, too!
If you would like to learn more about Benita and Jibneh, hop on over to Kasbo's Market. It's definitely worth a visit!
We are so pleased to announce that our cookbook we have been working on for months is now available! Feed Your Mind, Long Beach Island's Seafood Cookbook was a really special project for us. Working together with Gary Henderson and Farrell Dunleavy, publisher and designer of Bay Magazine, we created a cookbook that is really an ode to a place all of us find so special. This cookbook is filled with easy recipes to make at the beach, featuring all local New Jersey seafood and produce available in local farmer's markets. Sue and I loved every minute of creating this cookbook, from recipe testing, to styling and shooting the photography, it was a gift to us to have the opportunity to put this together. We hope you love it as much as we loved creating it. You can purchase the book in local bookstores on Long Beach Island, as well as on the website for Bay Magazine.
Beth Nydick, Holistic Health Coach, invited us to guest post on her blog at Blue Barn Kitchen and we thought it would be fun to share a healthy recipe with her readers as well as share a sneak peak into who we are and what we do. Below is our post, but definitely head on over to visit her site! Lots of resources there on healthy eating!
Today we thought it would be fun to give you a little sneak peak into a shooting day with us so you can learn a bit about our process and how we make our images. There's so much more than pointing the camera and shooting! So, here’s what we do to make food look it’s best.
Our first step is to gather some inspiration images to get ideas on the look and feel we are going for with the day’s shoot. From there we can plan what backdrops and surfaces we’ll use, how we plan to light it, and what props to bring out. Usually Sue decides on the recipe and how to style the food and I decide how it is going to be shot and lit- will it be shot overhead? Straight-on from the side? A three-quarter angle? And where will the lighting be coming in from? Is this mimicking early morning? Mid-day? Early evening? Once those decisions are made, we’re ready to shoot.
For this smoothie, we knew wanted to make it look bright and cheerful- so the idea was a light and bright photo shoot (as opposed to a dark and moody one, which might be more suitable for a winter soup, but eh hem, I’ve had one too many of those this month and we want some sunshine!) Because of this, we chose to shoot on a white marble surface to make the color of the smoothie really pop. We also wanted to highlight some of the great healthy ingredients in the smoothie, since once they are blended you will not be able to see what’s inside. So we decided to surround it with big chunks of the pineapple and kale.
A word of advice when shooting food- don’t just run to the store and choose the first kale bunch you see! Food stylists take their time really looking at which ones look the freshest and buy those. You may get some weird looks from the produce department, but no worries, I think secretly they love that you are showing the care those vegetables deserve!
We now have to set up our set. We get our backgrounds and surfaces in place, our props and glassware ready, but, we don’t put the food in yet! We use a stand-in (maybe it’s a rolled up towel or something like that to hold its place) because here’s the thing: food starts to wilt, discolor, and settle while onset. I happen to have LED lights so they are not hot, but even still, you’ve seen food after it sits awhile- it turns color, develops a crust, loses it’s effervescence, etc. So, once all these things are in place, we do some test shots to set up our lighting the way we want it. We then make sure the props are in a pleasing composition and our colors are showing appropriately on camera, and that I have a good white balance since those whites need to be actually white!
NOW it’s time to add the food! We pour the smoothie in the glass that’s already exactly where we want it to be in the frame. We shoot and Sue starts to make the little micro-adjustments to make it look perfect- moving the kale around, the pineapple chunks, checking for condensation, etc. It’s definitely a job for people who are patient because it sometimes takes 30 minutes to an hour to perfect a shot! This definitely surprises people, but it’s true! Sometimes we luck out and nail it right away, but being the perfectionists that we are, it usually takes that long :)
Hope you enjoyed hearing about our process. If you are curious to know more, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us an email or give us a call. We welcome any conversations about food, and if we can help you make your food shine, let us know!
Pineapple Kale Coconut Smoothie
- 1 cup coconut milk (the kind in the dairy aisle in the carton)
- 1 T almond butter
- ½ t chia seeds
- 1 t flaxseeds
- ½ frozen banana
- ½ cup frozen pineapple
- Handful of kale, sliced off the stem
In a high-speed blender, add ingredients in order. Blend until smooth. Add small amounts of water, if necessary. Enjoy!
February is one of the hardest months in my opinion. Spring is still so far away and the beauty of winter is starting to get old. This is when you need to try and fully embrace the coziness of the season. Put on your most comfortable warm clothes, light some candles, put on some jazz, and find your favorite baking recipes. Pour a cup of tea and get into the laziness of the season before things start to take off and get busy again. Here, we have one of our favorites, from Food 52, a salted caramel apple tart. We shifted the recipe a bit with what we had on hand but none the less, it warmed our souls and made another cold weekend go by with enjoyment. You can find the recipe on their site here.
I feel incredibly lucky to live in a community where there are so many creative and talented people. One of these people is Cathy Roma, who writes the blog What Should I Make For. We met Cathy at a wine dinner event and decided that we needed to find more time to talk food. Her blog is an incredible resource. As she says in her introduction:
Cathy invited us into her beautiful South Orange, NJ kitchen where she showed us this great and simple recipe to make crackers. I had never made crackers before- somehow I'd assumed they would be too fickle. But watching her bake these, how quick and easy they were, and oh man, how delicious, well, let's just say she definitely knows her way around the kitchen. You can find the recipe for the crackers on her blog here.
If you're ever in a bind thinking about what to make for...well, anything really, go ahead and check her out. Should I mention the incredible salad she made us for lunch? She's seriously your source for go-to recipes! Enjoy!
Like so many others, I've cleaning it up for January. However, I work in food. I love food. My idea of a "clean up" just means chill on certain things so when I want some fries, I don't feel bad about it. So when I saw Bon Appetit's Healthyish plan and their Tahini Brownies I thought, YES. Bingo. Healthy, while still providing that much needed chocolate kick. Just a warning- they are super dense. But for me, dense just means concentrated chocolate and none of the other fluff. Who needs that anyway. You can find the recipe for Tahini Brownies on their website here. Enjoy!
Sue and I had the great pleasure of shooting for the grain-free granola company out of Ojai, California, Lark Ellen Farm. I can't even begin to tell you how incredibly lovely the owner of this company is- so sweet, so kind, so supportive, and an all-around wonderful person to work with. We really felt lucky that she found us!
When we first started talking, she told us she would be bringing in her designer, Diane Benjamin of Pomegranate Design to be collaborating on everything, which was great. We started trading ideas and suddenly realized that Diane lived in the next town over from us! Who could have imagined that? We knew it was a good sign :)
Needless to say, we had a fantastic time styling her fabulous product- which, by the way, is beyond delicious! And so healthy, too! It was an all-around terrific and inspiring day! So if you are looking for a great alternative to granola for those of you who are avoiding grains, or even if you are not, it's definitely worth checking out. We can't wait to see the new website when it's complete!
This is the perfect zero guilt, gorgeous and healthy BBQ dish you're going to want to make next. Bonus is that the recipe makes extra tzatziki which is dairy-free and delicious on everything from grilled meats to salads. I have pretty much eaten it with a spoon- I can't get enough of the stuff!
A very loose recipe for Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps
First, make your tatziki. I used the recipe I found at One Green Planet, which was perfect.
In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups coconut yogurt with one peeled and cut cucumber, 3 cloves of garlic, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, good pinch of salt, and a big handful of fresh dill. Let sit for at least an hour.
Skewer some chicken breast halves and grill. Then, as if you are making salad dressing, gather up any fresh herbs you have- a cupful or so and mince. We used basil, parsley, and a bit of sage.To the bowl, add a minced a clove of garlic, about a half cup of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper and combine. When the chicken is fully cooked, spoon over the herb mixture.
Top with your tzatziki and enjoy!
We're so excited to share the beautiful new website for Razza in Jersey City featuring our photography. There's even a fun gallery on the site showcasing not only our work, but Dan Richer's gorgeous dishes using produce he receives from local farms. His ingredients are top notch, he's an artist in the kitchen, and quite honestly, it's the best pizza I've had. When you go, make sure to try the Project Hazelnut pizza. I promise you, you will not be disappointed!
Check out the new website here. And don't forget to click on the link to the gallery to see the rest!
Benita Kasbo, owner of Kasbo's Market, came to us looking for a team who could bring her cheese to life with photography. Little did we know what a great day we had in store for us. We had so much fun during this shoot, (Benita is a hoot!) that our stomaches hurt from laughing so much! Plus, every time one of us turned around, Benita was handing us another amazing combination of flavors with all the different dishes she makes with her cheese. Needless to say, we were more stuffed by the end of that shoot than we'd been in a long time.
Never had Syrian cheese? Technically, it's called Jibneh and here's what she says about it:
What is Jibneh? Jibneh simply means cheese in Arabic. Jibneh is made from curd that is seasoned with salt and a unique spice called mahleb. Mahleb is derived from seeds of a cherry stones. Cherry stones are cracked to reveal a seed that is ground into this delicious spice. The combination of salt and mahleb create a cheese that is slightly salty, sweet, and nutty. One piece is never enough!
Did you see that?? CHERRY STONES. Who ever figured that one out?? Whoever it was, I'm happy they did. One taste and you'll feel the same. It melts better than mozzarella, you can store it in the freezer (so convenient!) and it has such a nice balance of saltiness that blends so nicely with the sweetness of an apricot jam or the crunch of a cucumber. It's so versatile. I just know it will be a success here in the States.
Check out her website, Kasbo's Market to learn more.
Have you seen this Huffington Post piece? I did. Along with many, many other moms and I can tell you that we all agree. (At least those moms with young kids do.) We don't want to be schlepped out to brunch. We would be much happier hanging out in our pajamas and slippers, free from any responsibilities, relaxing guilt-free. If you want to make mom really happy, why don't you go ahead and make these egg and toast tartlets. You can then serve them, clean up the dishes, leave a nice box of chocolates, take the kids, and leave the house for a few hours while mom kicks back on the couch eating bonbons in peace. She'll love you so much more for it.
Egg and Toast Tartlets (adapted from the blog Chatelaine)
- 6 slices white bread
- pat of butter
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 6 eggs
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Press a five inch square of parchment into muffin cups and spray with oil.
- Cut crusts off slices of bread, flatten with a rolling pin, and press into the parchment, spray with oil.
- Bake bread in the oven for about 5 minutes.
- Heat the butter in a pan and cook spinach until wilted.
- Place cooked spinach and a sprinkling of salt and pepper in each cup. Crack on egg into each.
- Place in the oven again and bake for about 20 minutes or until whites are solid and yolks are still a bit runny.
This week, I discovered Shalane Flanagan's incredible cookbook for runners, Run Fast Eat Slow, which came at the perfect time as I'm gearing up to run the NJ Half Marathon this Sunday! And as luck would have it, I had a leftover cooked sweet potato and all the rest of the ingredients to make these incredible breakfast cookies. Only problem now is that there's none of them left for the race as we gobbled them up during the shoot! They are pretty irresistible. Overall, a great add to my collection of cookbooks!
Despite the fact that I see piles of snow drifts out my window right now, I know that it's coming. That time of year when we turn off our heat, spend more time outside, start lighting up the BBQ, and...start wearing less. By that I mean no more layer upon layer of clothing to protect you from the cold, harsh winter, but suddenly, as it does here in New Jersey, the weather jumps from blisteringly cold to strangely summer temperatures. And tank tops begin to appear. And shorts. And naked toes.
I remember a time when we had something called Spring. That was nice.
Admitting this often comes along with a shared motivation by so many to get back to the gym, slip into those dusty running shoes, get the tennis rackets out of the back of the closet, promise to drink more water than wine, and finally, really start that healthy eating plan you've been reading about all winter long.
To help you with this, I decided to share one of the many delicious and healthy breakfast smoothies I make each morning. This is the way I start every day. The intention being to at least feel that I've started my day eating right, then, whatever comes after that..well..at least I had a good start.
I hope you enjoy it.
*Some notes about the smoothie:
This breakfast smoothie is easily adaptable. It has lots of protein from the greek yogurt and cashew butter, however feel free to use kefir, or a nondairy milk (if you do not eat dairy) in place of the yogurt and change the nut butter to one you like more. If you are not a mango fan, swap out with fruits you like more. I like the add-ins (and health benefits) of coconut oil, flaxseed, and chia seed, but they are not necessary. I also often add a handful of a dark green leafy vegetable like kale and you will not even taste that it's there. (Even my kids can't detect it!) It's a basic formula: base= yogurt/milk + fruit and veg (kale, if you like) + nut butter + add-ins. Have fun and experiment!
Mango Yogurt Breakfast Smoothie
In a high-speed blender, add 1/2 cup whole milk plain greek yogurt, 1/2 cup coconut milk (in the carton), 1 T cashew butter, 1 T coconut oil, 1 t chia seeds, 1 t flaxseeds, 1/2 cup frozen sliced bananas, and 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks. Add water to desired consistency.
With only four ingredients and five minutes of hands-on time, this warming, cozy, perfect for lunch on that cold winter day, delicious lentil soup can be yours.
I've made this recipe so many times I've lost count. It's a go-to staple for me because it's so easy yet so rewarding. It's not fancy, but it warms you straight to the core.
On your next cold winter day, put up a pot of this wonderful soup. Slowly, all the frosty feelings will melt away.
Winter Lentil Soup
1 onion, diced
5 (yes, 5) cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups lentils (I used brown here, but it's delicious with red as well)
6 cups chicken broth
Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft (about 4-5 minutes.) Add lentils and broth, bring to a boil and then cover and cook on low heat for about 25 minutes or until lentils are soft.
It's hard having a food photographer for a mom.
I thought a great snow day baking project would be these Triple Chocolate Muffins I have made a bunch of times. My oldest was asking for chocolate cake. My middle was asking for chocolate cookies. My youngest was asking for a sweet treat.
I thought these would be great because they are secretly healthy muffins. There is no flour at all in the recipe, (it uses oats instead) and it whips up quick in the food processor. It's easy to make with the kids and they feel like they have a little personal chocolate cake just for them.
The only problem is that I feel compelled to photograph them first. My poor family needs to wait until I'm done in the studio before they are allowed to even get near them.
It's hard being them :)
Snow Day Triple Chocolate Muffins adapted from Dashing Dish
1 3/4 old fashioned oats
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar (or slightly less if you want it less sweet)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
powdered sugar, if you like
Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with liners. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor except for the chocolate chips. Add chips and stir through.Pour batter into liners and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar.
Talk about a fun day.
Suzanne Glatt, founder of Suzi's Gone Nuts paleo nut mix contacted us to photograph her product and we jumped at the chance! Not only was it a super fun job, but her nut mix is exactly what it says on the label, crazy good. For real. We had to show some serious restraint from eating it all before we shot it! Suzanne uses the best ingredients she can find along with her secret spice mix and makes the tastiest snack mix ever. One shot we did was over some yogurt and I'm telling you that 10 seconds did not go by before I ate the entire bowl. The nut mix had so much flavor that my plain yogurt did not need any sweetener. It was awesome.
Did I mention that I love my job?
In the meantime, I'll be ordering a large supply for myself.