Cilantro Lover’s Salad. 1 for now and 3 for later

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Jar salads are all the rage right now. They’re pretty much making pinterest explode. But you know what? They’re awesome! Yes, the salads really do stay fresh all week! No, the lettuce does not get soggy. I like to eat healthy but I can also be a bit lazy. I might end up eating crackers and hummus for dinner rather than put something together. The great thing about these make ahead jar salads is that you only have to do the work once. I take the laziness one step further by purchasing pre-washed lettuce, pre-shredded carrots and pre-cooked chicken strips. Yeah… I know that I can save a lot of money by grilling/shredding/cutting/washing it all myself.  And sometimes I do.  But sometimes motivation is lacking.

So here’s what I bought at Trader Joes

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1. cilantro salad dressing

2. grilled chicken strips

3. grape tomatoes

4. bagged romaine lettuce and spring mix

5. ripe avocado

6. frozen corn

7. fresh cilantro (this is optional but I really like cilantro!)

8. shredded carrots.

To assemble the salads in a jar you just need to start with the dressing and heavy ingredients and finish with the leafy greens. Pretty much the opposite order of how you’d assemble them on a plate.

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I got a little fancy and mixed my corn and tomatoes with a squeeze of lime and fresh chopped cilantro.  I used about a cup of corn (run under warm water in a colander to thaw) and a cup of chopped grape tomatoes.

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I put the avocado in the jar first then poured the dressing over it (about 1/4 cup). By immersing it in the dressing it doesn’t turn brown. Seriously this works. I’ve eaten one of these 7 days after making it and it was still perfect!

Then add the chicken, the corn/tomato mixture, the carrots, the romaine, and end with the spring mix!

When you’re ready to eat it just turn it over, shake the heck out of it, and dump it out onto a plate. You can eat it out of the jar if you want. But the reality of it is that you’ll eat lots of lettuce first and get dressing all over your hands. It’s worth putting it on a plate.

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100% Kauai coffee ice cream with chocolate coconut covered macadamia nuts

 

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I recently took a trip with with some friends to the Island of Kauai in Hawaii. As a lover of coffee and a maker of ice cream any of my friends could have predicted this result.

Lets start with what I brought home from the island. We visited the Kauai Coffee Plantation and took their walking tour. That’s where I bought the coffee. The chocolate covered coconut macadamia nuts came from a gift shop. But when I run out you better believe I’ll be ordering more from Amazon.com where they seem to sell all the different flavors.

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For the ice cream I used The Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Base Recipe. I will never stop praising this recipe! I’ve adapted it into so many of my favorite flavors and creations and I’ve had great success! I scoopable, perfectly textured batch of ice cream every time. If you make ice cream at home you should drop everything you’re doing and buy her first book RIGHT NOW!

To make it coffee flavored I took the 2 cups of whole milk that the recipe called for and heated in a saucepan to ALMOST a boil. Then I removed it from the heat and steeped about 1/2 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans  (using a nut milk bag for easier clean up) in the hot milk for about 8 minutes. After removing the bag of coffee there was still a sandy texture from some of the finer coffee that got through so I poured it through a fine mesh sieve lined with a paper towel.  At this point it was no longer 2 full cups of milk so I put it in a measuring cup and topped it off with more whole milk then proceeded as usual with the base recipe.

After the ice cream was fully churned I added the macadamia nuts. I used about 1.5 cups full of them and chopped them in half. This is not an exact science. Add as little or as many as you like. I also threw in a small amount of regular macadamia nuts with sea salt.

YUM!

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And last but not least I took the photos! Lots of people ask me about my food-photo-set-up and are surprised to find out that it’s really not too fancy. So I’m including a behind-the-scenes look.

I use one of my Canon 580exii flashes with a small velcro soft box and pocket wizards so that the camera and flash “talk to each other” In this case I also had a very subtle orange gel on the light to create that sunset lighting.

The backdrop is a piece of fancy scrapbooking paper that I bought at the craft store (I can’t remember if it was Michaels or AC Moore but they’re pretty much the same) and the tabletop is a piece of cork board.

The flash is placed in the back right to make it look like the ice cream is being lit by the sun on that scrapbook paper. Also backlighting in food photography is just plain yummy. The white cardboard is there to bounce light from the flash back and prevent harsh shadows.

I used the Canon L series 100mm Macro lens which allows me to take really close up pictures with really shallow depth of field. And I did it all on my living room table! Below is a photo of my setup. Enjoy!

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Jessie & Pat’s summer camp wedding 7.21.12

Back in 2012 one of my best friends from high school got married and of course I got to be the photographer.  Aside from the ceremony, you wouldn’t have known it was wedding. It was just a great summer party. The kind that makes you think of 3 day weekends.  It took place at Kingsland Bay State Park  in Ferrisburgh, Vermont.  The food was all prepared by family and the desserts were all baked by Jessie herself. The ceremony lasted 5 minutes and ended with a firm handshake and a quick peck. After lunch Jessie and Pat jumped into the lake in their clothes and were joined by most of the guests for an hour or so of swimming. And later there was a piñata. Because it’s not really a party without one right? 

Also you may notice that some of the pictures are shot from the water. I put one of my cameras in a waterproof bag and floated around in a tube for a while. One of the guests managed to snap a few of me in action!

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The Nephrok Allstars and Pfunk at the House of Blues

On March 7, 2014 The Nephrok! Allstars opened for George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at Boston’s House of Blues.  I’ve been a devoted fan and friend of this band for a few years now and was lucky enough to go to this show as their photographer and document the set. Backstage passes! Media passes! YES!!! Not only did I get to photograph the Allstars but I got to stay and photograph Pfunk! What a night it was!

It’s hard to pick one favorite but this one is really REALLY up there. I hope you enjoy!pfunk-28

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

So I make ice cream. It’s kind of my thing.  If you also make ice cream and you don’t yet own Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home then you NEED TO RIGHT NOW!!! Here’s my version of her Backyard Mind recipe using fresh spearmint leaves and mini chocolate chips. Commence droolingmint-2 mint-4 mint-3

Mishy & DJ’s engagement

When Michelle “Mishy” first contacted me about photographing her & DJ’s wedding she introduced herself like this:

“A little about us! We’re both pretty silly and nerdy. We’re Whovians, Trekkies, Star Wars fans, and everything else under the sun. Our loved ones are important to us, as well as our personal beliefs. So our wedding is a combination of all those things. We really want to find a photographer who can capture our moments. We’re both quite quirky and strange, and have managed to find each other. Which is pretty rad.”

And it is pretty rad. When planning an engagement session they decided that they’d like to shoot at Dali which is the funky tapas restaurant where they got engaged. We arrived half hour before they opened so we started with a few pictures at the worn down  garages across the street. I hope you all enjoy these images which include Mishy & DJ “not” being art, The Janice Joplin coat, tentacle engagement rings (yes! They both have one) and the interior of a super cool restaurant.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I think the title says it all! A yummy baked snack that I guess is a bit healthier than the fried version.spf-5I also made some tasty honey mustard to dip them in!

spf-3spf-2Yum…spf-4Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into fries

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons olive oil

salt and pepper

equal parts honey and a grainy mustard

Directions:

put cut potatoes in a plastic bag with cornstarch and shake until coated.

add olive oil to bag and shake to coat

spread fries onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 450°F for about 20 minutes flipping midway.

mix equal parts honey and mustard in a ramekin for dipping!

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Amy and Steve

 

Here’s another wedding I second shot with Dan Gillan Photography back in October. Amy and Steve’s got married at The Stevens Estate and their wedding had real tears, real smiles, a cake to match the dress, and a high school garage band reunion. Oh… and Steve wore what’s called a party shirt which is essentially the mullet equivalent of formal wear. Definitely one of my favorites this year!A&SBlog-1 A&SBlog-2 A&SBlog-3 A&SBlog-5 A&SBlog-6 A&SBlog-7 A&SBlog-9 A&SBlog-8 A&SBlog-10 A&SBlog-13 A&SBlog-11 A&SBlog-12 A&SBlog-14 A&SBlog-15 A&SBlog-16 A&SBlog-17 A&SBlog-18 A&SBlog-19 A&SBlog-20 A&SBlog-21 A&SBlog-22 A&SBlog-23 A&SBlog-24 A&SBlog-25 A&SBlog-26 A&SBlog-27 A&SBlog-28 A&SBlog-29 A&SBlog-30

Katie, Peter, Jane & Fizzle!

I spent last week staying with friends in Vermont and doing portrait sessions in the Upper Valley area. This is one of the sessions I did while I was there. I love the way Jane runs around with the Fizzle and I especially love that Fizzle doesn’t seem to mind!mans-2 mans-7 mans-1 mans-5 mans-8 fizzle gets a new hair style…mans-12 mans-11 mans-9 mans-13 mans-14 mans-3

 

One Response to “Katie, Peter, Jane & Fizzle!”

  1. Emily Pogo

    What a happy fall family! Fizzle looks like such a sweet, gentle giant. Beautiful images of a lovely day; I’m sure they’re thrilled. 🙂