Combine garlic, thyme and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Rub pork chops with garlic mixture, coating evenly. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops being careful not to crowd them together. Brown lightly without burning the garlic; turn and brown other side. Transfer chops to a platter.
Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet. When oil is hot add bacon. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden. Add onion and red cabbage. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, tossing occasionally, until cabbage is wilted. Add whole cloves, allspice berries, ¼ cup apple cider, red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover pan and cook until cabbage is almost tender. Add additional cider, ¼ cup at a time, if pan becomes dry. Arrange pork chops over cabbage. Cover pan and cook until pork chops are cooked through.
Beth – Perhaps it’s the explorer in me but I find cutting objects in half is one of my favorite ways of looking at a subject. There is something about the mirrored effect I find particularly interesting. This is what prompted us to cut the cabbage in half and to shoot the pork chops side by side.
Beth - When I was in college, I had a photography professor who talked about how the fall was his favorite time to shoot photographs because the quality of the light is so beautiful. I always think of this when I notice the light this time of year. What I love is how long the shadows are due to the sun being lower in the sky. I wanted to create this sense of light in the following photos of cabbage.
7 cups 1-inch bread cubes, made from dried brioche or sturdy white bread
3 tablespoons butter
1 large quince, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch dice
½ cup apple cider
1½ tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking pan.
Toast bread cubes on a large baking sheet in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add quince and sauté until almost tender, 3 – 4 minutes. Add apple cider and simmer until evaporated. Add brandy and brown sugar and simmer until syrupy, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
Scald milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add heavy cream. Whisk eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl; stir in milk mixture. Add bread cubes, quince and cranberries and toss until bread is evenly moistened. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Spoon bread pudding mixture into prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven 40 – 45 minutes, or until a small paring knife inserted into the center of pudding comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Beth – Shapes within shapes- I am always interested in structuring photographs in this way. I loved the scale of this large wood bowl with the few quince nestled within it. Bette was so excited when she brought it in to shoot. Quinces are amazing fruit; I find their wonky shapes and fuzzy outside so inspiring to photograph.
Bette has said it so well- we give thanks for all we have this holiday. The hurricane has given us a chance to pause, help our friends and families and appreciate what is important in life. I wish you all a happy thanksgiving.
Bette – Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is all about family, friends and food. We usually go upstate to our house in the country, and my mother in law, Fortunata, who is from Sicily, cooks. She is a great cook and our home instantly fills with the warmth and scent that only a thanksgiving meal can create. My kids anticipate Nonna’s cooking. Her chicken soup, stuffing and turkey are spectacular, but her Sicilian heritage comes out through her desserts. Stuffed cookies with fig and always her Sicilian version of an American apple pie- crustless, sweet and gooey. AJ’s bread pudding recipe will be included into the mix this year. It is a perfect balance of sweet and comfort, and is incredibly aromatic with the sweet quince. I feel confident that it will stand up to Fortunata’s cooking and be loved by all.
Thanksgiving is also about giving thanks. It supplies us with a pause, and gives us time to reflect on an incredibly difficult time in NY and NJ this year. So many friends lost their homes, their cars and their electricity for days. The rebuilding has begun and I am hoping that this holiday allows those who lost so much, to find pause and peace during this time of family and friends.
A.J. – We’ve decided to offer you an alternative from the usual roast turkey this holiday season. Beth obtained a pair of guinea hens, sometimes known as guinea fowl, from Quatttro Farms, a Hudson Valley game farm that sells at the Union Square Greenmarket. I stuffed, trussed and roasted them until golden brown. You’ll find the meat a little darker and considerably more flavorful than chicken. If you’re reluctant to give it a try, just substitute 2 chickens.
Our holiday menu includes Smashed Vegetables with Roasted Garlic and Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Garlic. You’ll find our shopping list for a comforting holiday dessert in our next post.
Oil a large roasting pan and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
To make the stuffing heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until almost tender. Add apples and sage and continue cooking until apples are tender. Add sausage and stir until cooked through. Remove pan from heat. Add breadcrumbs, parsley, and chestnuts. Season stuffing with salt and pepper to taste and let cool.
Fill cavity of each guinea hen with half the stuffing mixture. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and wrap another piece of twine around each breast section to secure wings. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over each hen, season with salt and pepper to taste and rub to coat entire surface. Toss carrots, turnips, celery, garlic, and sage sprigs with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer vegetables to prepared roasting pan and arrange hens over vegetables.
Roast hens in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue roasting 40–45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reads 160 degrees.
*To roast chestnuts, cut an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. Place them cut side up on a small baking sheet. Roast in a preheated 425-degree oven for 20–30 minutes or until the shells curl up and the chestnut is tender. Let cool, then peel and discard the shells.
Beth - I don’t think there is anything much harder than shooting raw poultry. Quite often people ask me what is the most difficult thing to photograph and this is at the top of my list. What makes this image work is the beautiful graphic cooking dish that the guinea hens and vegetables are sitting in. It dictated that this shot needed to be photographed from above. AJ artfully tossed the ingredients in, carefully tying up the hens so that when they cook they would look beautiful. Bette suggested the simple planks of wood reminiscent of a butcher-block counter. I thought it best to light them with a soft open light avoiding dark shadows, which would have not been flattering to the raw poultry. We wanted to create that preparatory moment just before the pan is to enter the oven.
AJ – This is a favorite of mine that takes me all through the fall and winter months. I make it with any combination of storage vegetables I might have on hand. I sometimes melt butter into the olive oil for added richness. It’s also a great dish to add to your holiday menu as it reheats very well.
8 cups mixed storage vegetables such as butternut squash, acorn squash, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, celery root or turnips, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
¾ pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place garlic, rosemary and thyme on a sheet of aluminum foil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and tightly seal the foil. Place foil packet on a small baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the garlic is tender.
Meanwhile combine mixed vegetables and potatoes in a large pot. Fill with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cook until all vegetables are tender, 20 – 30 minutes.
While vegetables are cooking, peel roasted garlic cloves and transfer to a small skillet with the remaining olive oil. Coarsely mash garlic with a fork and place over medium-low heat just until the oil is warm.
When vegetables are tender, drain in a colander reserving some of the cooking liquid. Transfer to a large bowl. Coarsely mash vegetables with a potato masher or fork. Add garlic mixture and salt and pepper to taste. If vegetables are dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Serve warm.