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Peaches and Cream Pie with Lovewell Baking Company

 

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I spent about two weeks earlier this month posting only light and bright images on Instagram. I wanted to show people that I could create these images. I’ve had people ask me, specifically if this is something in my wheelhouse.

So I went on this spree of posting all these light and bright and happy photos. I went back through all my archives and found all of them and I’m pretty happy to show them to the world. And to be honest, I kind of hated it because as much as I CAN work in light and bright and happy  photos, it’s not MY happy place.

So as soon as I finished the run of nice and happy images, I (happily) reverted to my dark and moody imagery. It felt better. It felt like ME!

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And I was so very, very lucky to return to the darkness with this beautiful cakes from Lovewell Baking Company – this gorgeous blood orange and olive oil miniature cakes.

They are beyond. I messaged her as I gathered up a few ingredients: What makes them so pink?

“The blood oranges – nothing more.” She responded.

I understood as soon as I squeezed a few of them. Vibrant, intense, starling dark.

This girl is so talented, so bright and loving. It’s amazing she lets me create such moody and evocative pictures that still somehow reflect her light.

You can order these miniature cakes and any of here work by visiting her web site.

And if you need me, I’ll be here playing in the shadows. In my happy place.

 

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Gluten-free challenge + new photos from Cooper

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February is known for two things here in Florida: Beautiful weather and an endless stream of houseguests. It’s lovely on both accounts and after being settled into our house going into our fourth year now, we have everyone’s weeks settled. My mother and sister (and brother-in-law) come in early February to coincide with my mother’s birthday (the 10th if you want to send a card!). My best friend Cydney comes for the Street Painting festival in Lake Worth. And my friend and dog-sitter Anne arrives sometime when the weather is nice and the pollen blooms in Austin.

 

Which means I go out to eat during February. A lot. As in most of the month I went out to eat. And I have two observations about that. The first is that it doesn’t really matter how long your cocktail menu is or isn’t or what your napkins look like (though believe me, I notice such things). What really matters is hospitality. How do you make me feel when I walk into your restaurant? We had one experience where the bartender yelled across the bar “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” when we walked into a restaurant one evening, I kid you not. Um, food and drinks buddy. Food and drinks.

 

Gluten free dishes - a challenging job for restaurants

 

The other thing I noticed, being newly gluten-free, is the difference in how chefs look at the gluten free dishes challenge. Some restaurants told me if I want gluten free dishes I could order one of three salads. And some restaurants took it as an opportunity to really create some amazing dishes, learning how to work with rice flour and make simple adjustments to offer an entire menu of gluten-free alternatives. These are the places that I’ll personally visit again, the places that are my heroes.

 

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On a recent photo shoot with Chef Adam Brown at the Cooper, he started telling me about all the items that are gluten-free or made gluten-free just by not eating chips or naan bread (easy enough to do!) And then there’s items like the General Tso’s Cauliflower – which he purposefully made as a gluten-free dish so that celiacs and gluten-allergy peeps like me could eat it. That’s pretty awesome. I liked it so much and was so impressed I brought my friends back for brunch the following Sunday and of course, we ordered it. It’s so good, guys.

 

So here’s a collection of images from our most recent photo shoot. Many of the dishes are gluten-free or can easily be modified. And they all rely on farm-fresh, seasonal products. Get there stat.

 

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Cheap Eats in South Florida

This winter, I had the opportunity to work on Boca Mag’s annual Cheap Eats food issue. Highlighting inexpensive but delicious food, this is the most amazing team effort. Amazing writer and long-time foodie friend Lynn Kalber and I started brainstorming about the article months before the shoot (we take this job very seriously). From there, working closely with our editor at Boca Mag, we narrowed this list down to five items.
 
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The concept for this year’s Cheap Eats was a super clean, super bright, appealing, almost stark look. To achieve this, I knew we were going to need the help of a food stylist. So I brought in my favorite food stylist, Stacey Stohlman.
Then we needed a studio. I am lucky enough to co-work out of the Social House in Lake Worth, a beautiful, collaborative, lovely space and it proved to be the most perfect set for us.

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The Parched Pig

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For the last few months, whenever I found myself at Coolinary Café, sitting at the bar and watching the chefs, I wondered aloud, “Where are Tim and Dave (Tower)?” Jenny Lipman, adorable redhead and wife of Tim would hold back an involuntary shudder and toss her head directly east just slightly and say: “Down at the Pig."

Ah. I knew it wouldn’t be too long then.

So I was thrilled when they opened The Parched Pig – and in the middle of a busy season, too!

The dream for the Parched Pig started with a desire for a place to have rose and oysters. Jenny and I have had long conversations about bubbles and oysters all day (#oystersandroseallday) – I mean, comeon – what more do you want in a place. Which goes back to my belief that the best restaurants are built around a chef’s true passions, and at its core, The Pig serves up delicious oysters, cold beer, companionship and a killer charcuterie.

And you can feel the love at the Pig. Located just an amble down the strip mall from Coolinary, the Pig has the same warmth, the same intimate setting (and beautiful, covet-able blue walls) that instantly make you settle in and feel at home. It’s a limited-menu with a beautiful charcuterie board and gorgeous oysters with several house made oyster sauces and beers and wines and bubbly.

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It feels like home in there and I’m so excited to see such a comfy, delicious, intimate spot join us in Palm Beach Gardens. And of course, I plan to spend many a happy hour slurping down oysters at the bar.

Because…that’s what you do, amiright?

The Parched Pig: 4580 Donald Ross Rd Suite 100, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

Crab Imperial recipe

This recipe, courtesy of our friends from Cod and Capers,  was created with the idea of a simple but delicious cocktail party. I must admit, I was a little dubious about it at first. Puff pastry tends to have that effect on me. Still, I realized quickly that it comes to quickly and easily and that puff pastry is not to be feared (especially with the addition of puff pastry tarts), ready to go and bought in the freezer section! Ha!

As with all recipes, seek out top quality ingredients. There’s a reason that I trek up to Cod and Capers for their seafood (#notanad), I just think they’re the best seafood available. Plus, I like supporting small, family-owned business.

Enjoy my friends. Enjoy all of it.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Puff Pastry cups or Phyllo cups
  • 8 Ounces Crabmeat  (I used Lump Crabmeat – also called Backfin)
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1 Shallot (diced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Hot Sauce
  • 3/4 Cup Cubed Bread (I used Brioche)
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Old Bay (any seafood seasoning will do)
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Black Pepper

Jessica, the owner of Cod and Capers recommends pasteurized Crabmeat for Crab Imperial recipe; it’s fresh (never frozen) but you could also use truly fresh crabmeat (not pasteurized) if you can find it.  The pasteurized variety comes in a tin whereas the truly fresh crabmeat usually comes packaged in a little plastic tub.  Drain the crabmeat and check for shells or cartilage.

Place the cubed bread in a small bowl (I just tore it into small pieces) and pour the heavy cream over it.  Allow it to sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Jessica recommends the brioche they carry in the store, but you can use any bread you have on hand.  Combine all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl, being careful not to break up the Crabmeat too much.  The soaked bread should be the last thing you add to the bowl, folding it in gently but thoroughly.

At this point, after finishing with Crab Imperial recipe, you can refrigerate the crab mixture for use later or the next day or you can spoon it directly into the cups and bake it immediately.  Bake the filled cups in a preheated 300-degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.  Keep an eye on the puff pastry cups (if you’re using them) because they are already cooked and can brown too pretty quickly.  Everything here is already cooked – you’re just heating it through and getting the slightest bit of color on the crabmeat mixture.

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Kai Kai Suppers Farm event

On Saturday, January 14 we celebrated at Kai Kai Farm with a Farm Supper under the stars.

I got the idea last fall to host this supper out at one of my favorite farms – Kai Kai. It sounded like fun, putting on a supper. So I convinced my old roommate turned wedding and event planner, current confidante and collaborator at the Social House Desiree of Desiree Dawn Events to do (ahem) most of the work and we threw it together at the last minute.

It was, perhaps, a strange event to host as a photographer.

“Why?” my husband asked me. “Why are you doing this?”

I shrugged.

“Because I want something beautiful to photograph.

And beautiful it was.

 

 

Approximately 50 people attended Kai Kai farm for an elegant, intimate supper under the stars at Kai Kai, celebrating the bounty of the harvest and the organic beauty of local designers.

We were greeted under a (Sperry) tent with a cocktail made by Bob Higginbotham from Atlantic Beverage Co. and a table of appetizers: Sorrel Hummus with Diane’s Vegetables, Charcuterie, Cheese, Pickles, Preserves, Buttermilk Crackers, & Pullman Roll’s

As guests munched the fresh veggies and sipped the cocktail, Diane Cordeau, one of the owners of Kai Kai took them for a tour of Kai Kai.

After the first course, they sat down for a feast.

 

 

Chef Jason Stocks from District Table and Bar served a feast.

The first course was Breakfast Radish, Young Lettuce, Pickled Shrimp, Crushed Avocado, Heirloom Tomato, Buttermilk Dressing, Toasted Rye paired with a Brancott "Chosen Rows" Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough NZ 2013 by Sommelier Mariya Kovacheva of Pernod-Ricard.

Second course saw the appearance of Braised Beef, Tokyo Turnip, Glazed Carrot, Parsnip, Cured Yolk,

Bacon Jus, Crispy Roots paired with Jacobs Creek "Centenary Hill" Shiraz, Barossa Valley AU 2008.

For the final course, Mariya worked closely with extraordinary baker Anna Kaetterhenry of Love Well Baking Co. to craft the perfect pairing. Anna used Kai Kai’s bounty and created a Brown-butter pistachio financier with macerated strawberries and sorrel-tainted meringue and Mariya served the gorgeous and popularLilet Rose, Podensac, France NV.

Flowers and vintage rentals were done by Jenny Preston of Port + Palm Co. Additional wedding photography was provided by Jessica Bodner Photography. Rentals provided by Panache Party Rentals.  Media sponsor: Florida Food and Farm. 

 

 

Friends on Instagram:

Planning: Desiree Dawn Events/@desireedawnwed

Florals: Jenny Preston/Port + Palm Co./@portandpalmco

Chef: Jason Stocks/District Table and Bar/@district_table

Baker: Anna Kaetterhenry/ Love Well Baking Co./@lovewellbakingco

Mixologist: Bob Higginbotham/Atlantic Beverage/@higgypop_delray

Sommelier: Mariya Kovacheva/Pernod-Ricard/@mariyasomm

Tent, Seating & Lighting: Sperry Tents/@sperrytents_mia

Rentals: Panache Classic Party Rentals

Photography: LibbyVision.com/@LibbyVision

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