Category Archives: Recipes

On Being Thankful…

Thanksgiving ends up being a reflective time for me. I think about all that’s happened this year, where I was last year, and where I was five years ago at this time. It’s been an incredible journey, and I have so much to be thankful for.

Photography took on a whole new meaning. It’s been a long time hobby – simple snapshots, to learning how to develop black and white film, to having solo coffee shop shows, and participating in group shows with a magnificent group of artists. I hate to admit this, but my camera sat around collecting dust for awhile until the birth of my friends’ son. A beautiful, joyful little boy was born in January and my friends Colleen and Tim asked me to photograph the new addition to their family. The experience provided a much needed kick in the ass burst of inspiration, and for that I’m thankful.

When Pinterest came into our daily social media mix, and I became increasingly inspired by all the beautiful photos of home improvement projects and recipes. Oh, the recipes… I’m not going to qualify for MasterChef any time soon, but I do enjoy creating delicious meals. Why not photograph them?

I began to play – I started to referring to photography as “play”. I discovered food blogs. Holy black hole of time consumption? Nah. I quickly became a regular follower of a few blogs and learned from them, but one in particular changed everything – I followed my gut when a special opportunity arose. Thank you, Diane and Todd! *HUGS*

I’m thankful for the amazing clients I worked with this year. I had so much fun working with all of you and look forward to working with you again! And I’m forever grateful for my parents and friends. Mom, thank you for always being surprised that I’m earning money through photography. (“And they paid you?!?!”) I’m not quite used to it either, and your reaction always makes me smile. (“Yes, Mom – Really – I got paid!”) Jeff, thank you for constantly pushing and encouraging me to take leaps of faith. Amy, thank you thank you thank you thank you for helping me land my first food photography client. And to my “lil’ sis”, Maliha – thanks for keeping me in check and on my toes. 😉

This will be my 10th Thanksgiving that I’ll be working at the TV station rather than celebrating with my family. I’ll be watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade from my seat in the control room rather than a cozy couch. But I’ll celebrate Thanksgiving with both Jeff’s family and my parents this weekend. Not being able to spend the actual day with my family usually bothers me a lot, but this year is different for some reason. While my workplace provides a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner every year (for which I’m incredibly grateful – I can’t wait for apple pie!), I’m prepping a little comfort meal to have when I get home Thursday night.

I have a ton of squash sitting in my kitchen right now. (Yay, sales on locally grown food!) I’ve never cooked a carnival squash before, and need to use up a few things in my kitchen. So a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and ta da – baked squash! What to stuff it with… Oh, I have a ginormous bag of quinoa, leftover dried cranberries from a cookie recipe, some fresh rosemary, and a boatload of other dried herbs. Nothing says “fall” or “Thanksgiving” more than squash, cranberries, and herbs! I tried something new and used a different lighting set up in the photo below – I’m not 100% happy with it, but it was a good experiment. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Carnival Squash

Stuffed Carnival Squash
Author: 
Recipe type: Main or Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
I love this because it's so versatile. Sweet like a butternut squash, just about anything will taste delicious stuffed inside of a carnival squash. If I had some onion or celery on hand tonight, I would have added that in for extra flavor. Instead, I chose some generic veggie seasoning. The ingredient measurements are estimates - I eyeballed it.
Ingredients
  • 1 Carnival Squash
  • ¼ to ½ cup of cooked quinoa, depending on the size of the squash
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut off the top of the squash and take out all the seeds
  3. Coat the inside of the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and toss in a sprig of rosemary
  4. Fill a baking pan with ¼" water
  5. Place the squash cut side facing down in the pan
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes
  7. While the squash is baking, cook the quinoa. Stir the dried cranberries (or other ingredients of your choosing) in when it is completely cooked.
  8. Remove the squash from the oven, stuff with the quinoa mixture, and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1

Food Bloggers Support For Sandy – Roasted Butternut Squash

We watched and waited… A storm so big, weather models tracking it all over the place, and not knowing how bad Sandy would be if or when she hit. So odd that some models showed Hurricane Sandy taking a sharp left hand turn into New Jersey…

I was 11 years old when Hurricane Bob hit Rhode Island. Although the eye of the category 2 storm drifted right over us, I don’t recall the destruction being nearly as bad as what Hurricane Sandy brought. But then again, I was 11, living in the middle of the woods, and we lived without power for a week. Our neighborhood made the best out of the situation – we sat in each other’s garages, listening to battery-powered radios, and cooking on a camp grill. We ate a lot of canned soup and pasta.

I do remember the Coast Guard House being heavily damaged, and how big of a deal that was… It’s a Rhode Island landmark and institution – there is really nothing better than hanging out on their roof deck bar, overlooking Narragansett Bay during the summer. Once again, it has to be rebuilt. The wrath of Sandy stirred up the ocean, hurling the rocky shoreline up into the restaurant and all over the road, causing a lot of damage to what we Rhode Islanders call “The Wall”. But as the owner of the Coast Guard House said on the news, they’ll be “better than ever before”. Rebuilding has already begun.

In Westerly, RI, the damage is much worse. Houses were lifted off their foundations and tossed around like toys. Sand is everywhere. And to think that my little home state was spared the worst…

When I heard about Food Bloggers Support for Sandy, I decided to participate because it’s the least I can do to help my Rhode Island neighbors, and our friends in New Jersey and New York. In times of crisis, we tend to come together, and find some comfort through meals and the loving company of others. Warm, hearty meals are so soothing and satisfying…

Butternut Squash

I chose to share this recipe for roasted butternut squash because squash is so plentiful right now, and it can be roasted in an oven, or on a grill.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash

 

In times of stress, pasta is one of my go-to foods – it’s cheap, quick to make, and it reminds me of home. And it’s so versatile – you can add anything to it and have a wonderful meal within minutes, so adding the butternut squash over a bowl of pasta makes a perfect fall comfort meal.

The worst of Hurricane Sandy could have hit any of us who live on the East Coast. Those of us in New England are incredibly lucky this time around. Please consider donating just a few dollars to the Red Cross to help provide warm meals and shelter to our neighbors who have to rebuild.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash

 
 
Food Bloggers Support For Sandy - Roasted Butternut Squash
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • All purpose seasoning, to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Place the cubes in a large bowl.
  4. Combine the squash with the onion, garlic, olive oil, and salt.
  5. Spread the mixture in a roasting pan, and sprinkle all purpose seasoning on top. (Salt and pepper work too.)
  6. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

 

Chocolate Maple Zucchini Muffins

With an abundance of zucchini popping up in everyone’s garden, who isn’t wondering what the heck to do with them? Roast it, bake it, keep it healthy, or create a little treat that doesn’t leave you feeling guilty? (It’s a vegetable, therefore if it’s in a dessert, it’s good for you, right???)

Chocolate Maple Zucchini Muffins

I decided to freeze most of the zucchini from Jeff’s garden, but wanted to make something a little sweet with what remained. There are tons of zucchini bread and muffin recipes out there, and here’s another one to add into the mix! I’ve seen several different general dessert recipes which call for maple syrup instead of sugar, so I gave that a try. I also love chocolate, so figured a handful of chocolate chips wouldn’t hurt!

I’m usually not a big fan of muffins because they either tend to be overly dry or too sweet, but these are light with just a twinge of sweetness.

Chocolate Maple Zucchini Muffins

 

Chocolate Maple Zucchini Muffins
Recipe type: Snack
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Makes 12. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prep muffin pan with paper liners.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour (I used King Arthur's Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour.)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 packed cup shredded zucchini, patted dry
  • A handful of chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  2. Add the maple syrup, oil, and eggs. Beat together until the batter turns smooth.
  3. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips. Stir by hand until everything is combined. The batter will be slightly sticky.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Insert a wooden toothpick into the center of a muffin to check for doneness. The toothpick should emerge clean.
  5. Cool the muffin pan on a wire rack for a few minutes, then transfer each muffin out of the pan and onto the wire rack to continue cooling.

 

Beet Quinoa Salad

How often do you go to the market for one thing, but end up walking out with more items than what you intended to buy? A few days ago, I went to my local Whole Foods for one thing and came across this gem:

Local Produce Box at Whole Foods

Similar to a CSA box, this local produce share included lettuce, kale, red chard, tomatoes, beets, carrots, zucchini, squash, and cucumbers. Salad in a box! No sifting through items in the produce section! SOLD! (I really hope Whole Foods at Fresh Pond starts to carry these on a regular basis!) This package was a little more than salad in a box though. The fun part about CSA-like boxes is that there may be something unfamiliar in there…like beets.

 

Beet Quinoa Salad

 

I don’t know how or why, but I’ve never bought or cooked beets. All you have to do is clean them, and boil for 40-minutes to an hour. Peel, slice, and you’re done – simple! Not wanting to waste anything in this box, I found a recipe in Béatrice Peltre’s book, La Tartine Gourmande, for Beet Quinoa Salad. Beets, quinoa, onion, tomatoes, lemon juice, and a mixture of herbs combine to make a salad bursting with the flavors of summer. (Not to mention completely beautiful to photograph!)

 

Beet Quinoa Salad

 

 

 

Summer Baked Tomatoes

Baked Tomatoes

 

More often than not, I am a highly unorganized grocery shopper. I pick up random fresh ingredients, having the best intentions of throwing something together once I get home. I had big plans for these tomatoes – an herb chicken and tomato crockpot recipe. But then I realized I wouldn’t be home from dinner for most of the week and, whoops, the chicken was still in the freezer! D’oh! So I found some inspiration from an Italian vegetable cookbook and baked these tomatoes into a delicious side dish. A little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and thyme. Simple, simple, simple!

Baked Tomatoes

Zucchini fritters

The herb chicken I made in the crock-pot for dinner was ready to go. Jeff was on his way over, and I needed a vegetable side dish to whip up in a pinch. Let’s face it – steamed vegetables can get boring really quickly. There’s only so many times a girl can eat steamed zucchini sprinkled with sea salt, pepper, and some Italian seasonings as a side dish. With two zucchinis in my refrigerator, I wanted to create something different with them.  So I found a recipe for zucchini fritters on Smitten Kitchen and modified it a bit to be gluten-free.

Out came my box grater, and naturally a mess resulted on tiny counter top. If you don’t already know, be aware –  zucchini is a very watery vegetable. Zucchini water ended up EVERYWHERE. (I’m not a neat cook.) But the shredded vegetable inside the box grater looked delicious!

As I’ve started reading more about cooking and baking gluten-free foods, I learned that gluten-free flours taste better when they are combined together. So instead of all-purpose flour, I mixed millet and amaranth flour together. The flours added a wonderful nutty taste to the fritters. The recipe I used had extra ingredients for toppings, but we really enjoyed them completely plain. I made another batch to bring to a cookout over the weekend, and they were a fantastic appetizer!

 

Zucchini Fritters (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Makes about 10 fritters

1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium)

1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, extra to taste

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Ground black pepper

1/4 cup Millet flour

1/4 cup Amaranth flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons Olive oil (for frying)

 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Trim off the ends of the zucchini. Using a box grater or the shredding blade in a food processor, grate the zucchini.

In a large bowl, toss the zucchini and salt together. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wring out excess water from the zucchini. As the Smitten Kitchen recipe suggested, I pressed the zucchini against the sides of colander with a spoon. That didn’t seem to get all the water out, so I switched to towels. I couldn’t believe how much water drained out!

Place the shredded zucchini back into a bowl and mix in the egg and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the millet and amaranth flours, and the baking powder. Toss the mixture in with the zucchini and stir until everything is combined.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, drop small spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan. Slightly flatten each spoonful with a spatula and cook 3-4 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Flip each fritter and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Place each fritter on a paper towel to drain, then transfer them onto a cookie sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining batter. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Mousse

After a whirlwind vacation to Los Angeles (more on that in an upcoming post) and a very busy week once I returned, I needed five minutes to just sit and do absolutely nothing for a few minutes. It’s a simple meditation – doing absolutely nothing usually involves sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee or a cold glass of water, enjoying it, then continuing on with the rest of my day. But yesterday I had a hankering for something a little more…something sweet, simple, and containing some amount of chocolate.

 

Chocolate Mouse

 

The only chocolate I had in my apartment was a box of pudding mix. It’s not exactly a challenging culinary project or creation, but it was delicious and fun to photograph!

 

Chocolate Mouse

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Strawberry Muffins

After not seeing a drop of rain in weeks, Sunday’s storm was the perfect happy excuse to stay inside and bake. I found a wonderful recipe for strawberry, millet, and almond cake with buttermilk on Beatrice Peltre’s blog La Tartine Gourmande. This is a gluten-free recipe, which I was excited to try out because I wondered how different the texture and taste would be.

As my boyfriend and I have been discovering, gluten-free products are really expensive. This recipe calls for almond meal, which costs $10.99 for a 2-pound bag. So I got a little creative and made my own. Take 1/2 cup of almonds and 3 teaspoons of sugar, and use a food processor to blend them together – so simple and inexpensive. I ended up adding a little extra sugar because the oils from the almonds made the mixture a little sticky.

Strawberry muffins

Jeff has a brand new muffin pan, so we decided to make muffins with the cake mixture. I usually find muffins dense and heavy, but these came out nice and light  – a delicious spring and summer treat. If you would like to try it out for yourself, click here for the recipe on La Tartine Gourmande.

Gluten-free muffins

Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Salad

As summer approaches, I tend to crave quick, light, and healthy dinners. I can’t say I’m overly organized when it comes to meal planning each week, so this salad is a creation that constantly changes. I bought fruits and vegetables without having any specific meals in mind, but wanted to create something full of flavor. So a little of this, a little of that, some of the quinoa I found in my kitchen, olive oil, and ground black pepper.