To keep this Asian flavored slaw crunchy, toss it with the dressing just before serving. I often substitute julienned apples for the radishes.
¾ pound baby bok choy
3 medium carrots, cut into julienne strips
1 cup radishes, cut into julienne strips
2 scallions, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons sunflower or peanut oil
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 teaspoons honey
Sea salt, to taste
Separate baby bok choy leaves and slice crosswise into ¼-inch strips; transfer to a large bowl. Add carrots, radishes, scallions and cilantro.
To make dressing combine sunflower oil, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, honey and sea salt in a small jar. When ready to serve slaw, shake jar vigorously until ingredients are well blended. Pour over vegetables and toss well.
Beth - I am very interested in shooting imagery with objects framed within a space.
Bette handed me this piece of camping cookware and I was in heaven. Two identical pans attached together creating such a great graphic shape. For the recipe, AJ had bought the most beautiful radishes and Bette and I thought a portrait of them would be perfect within the confines of this pan. The obvious choice would have been to continue composing this image with a graphic approach similar to the pan but both Bette and I liked creating the messiness within the two identical shapes, balancing out the geometric feeling of the pans. This approach enhances and shows off the organic beauty of these radishes.
We all thought the copper pan was the perfect frame for the bok choy. As we composed this photo, I imagined this as a botanical etching with all the various stages of the plant. In reality, they are just different pieces of bok choy, pulled and arranged by all of us till we found a composition we loved.
Bette - We started doing these ingredient shots and my writing has evolved within the shot with each photo. This one is written in chalk directly on the slate. Naturally, when I write with my left hand, it inevitably smudges. This is true with ballpoint, pencil and particularly chalk and charcoal. I don’t clean it up because even though it is unplanned, I think it creates an image of casualness, something that I strive for in these ingredient photographs.
AJ – When Bette told me about the tart tin she had acquired, I asked her to send me a photo. After seeing it, I thought the pan would be perfect for a rustic vegetable tart but I was not aware that it was very shallow. On the day of our shoot, I expressed my concern about the pan not being deep enough to accommodate a vegetable and custard filling. Not wanting to disappoint Bette, or compromise the beauty of the shot, I decided to try an old technique I hadn’t used in many years. I left about ½-inch extra dough hanging over the edge of the tart tin. This kept the dough from shrinking and also gave the tart a little extra depth. After the tart cooled, I trimmed away the excess crust. It worked and we got the shot everyone was hoping for. Better yet, I liked the technique enough to keep it in the recipe. Thanks Bette for another fabulous prop and for keeping me on my toes.
This recipe was developed with a dear friend in mind, Dominique Herman of The Kitchen Garden. Dominique farms 2 acres of land in Warwick, New York, producing the most pristine organic vegetables I’ve seen anywhere. Her waxy fingerling variety, La Ratte, and her colorful array of thin-walled frying peppers were the inspiration for this savory tart. To experience Dominique’s magic, look for her at the Florida, N.Y. market on Tuesdays and at the Suffern, N.Y. market on Saturdays. It will be worth the trip. I found a locally produced aged Alpine style cheese called Fairmount at the Union Square Market. Fairmount is made with a combination of both cow and sheep’s milk and is produced by Valley Shepherd Creamery in Long Valley, New Jersey. It was the perfect cheese for this tart. If you need a substitute but want to keep it local, try aged cheddar.
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
8 ounces fingerling potatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
1½ tablespoons mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme, basil, oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces sweet frying peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced
½ recipe Pate Brisee (Basic Pie Crust), recipe follows
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1½ cups heavy cream
1¼ cups aged Alpine style cheese, such as Comte or Gruyere, shredded
Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Place a 9-inch quiche pan on a baking sheet.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, potatoes and mixed herbs; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook mixture slowly, stirring occasionally. If onions begin to brown, lower the heat. When potatoes are almost tender, stir in peppers. Cook until all vegetables are tender and begin to caramelize. Taste for additional seasoning. Let cool.
Roll out Pate Brisee on a lightly floured work surface to a 12-inch round. Line quiche pan with pastry dough. Trim excess dough, leaving ½-inch to hang over the side of the pan; chill until firm.
Prick bottom of pastry dough with a fork; line pan with aluminum foil and fill with baking beans. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans and return pan to oven for 5 minutes more, or until pastry dough is fully cooked. Let cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 375-degrees.
In a small bowl whisk eggs, heavy cream, ¾ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste until blended.
Sprinkle one cup of shredded cheese over bottom of pastry crust; arrange vegetables over cheese. Add egg mixture and top with remaining ¼ cup of cheese.
Bake tart for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden and set. Let tart rest 10 minutes. Trim the overhanging crust. Serve warm.
11 tablespoons chilled sweet butter, cut into small cubes
6 – 8 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Process until blended. Add butter and pulsate until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons of water while machine is processing. If dough looks dry, add additional water one tablespoon at a time, until it holds together when you pinch off a small piece. Turn mixture out onto a work surface and squeeze together to form a ball of dough. Flatten dough slightly and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm.
This makes enough dough for two single-crust pies or tarts or one double-crust.
This dough can be refrigerated 2 – 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.
Bette - I found this pan on ebay. The more beat up, aged and textural, the more I like it. It has a story, it has history. I had told Aj about the pan before I brought it to the shoot and I think she was thinking (hoping..?) it would be a little different.
We laughed about it and then she agreed to try it out. We cleaned it thoroughly and AJ used it. We all loved how it looked.
This is the pan, in all its glory, on a beautiful japanese textile. I wanted to share it without any food in it. It is part of my seasonal table.
Bette - I rarely rent props for the blog shoots. We began shooting it a year ago and I have mostly used props from my collection, and also ceramics made by friends. There are many prop houses throughout the city that rent props for tv, print and film. I have a few favorites and each have a different look and emphasis. I remember everything I see in the prop world (like many stylists do) and when I see something that I think will shoot well or that I love, I remember that prop. This is what happened with this piece of marble. I rented it for this final summer posting. It is worn and matte and photographs really well, I think. I rented it for this shoot and when we put the new Le Crueset skillet on it on this aged wire rack, I felt it was a good balance of the old and the new.
Beth - One of the first images I ever fell in love with was Edward Weston’s pepper image. The amazingly sensuous quality of the shape of the pepper captivated my imagination. I knew when we were working on this particular blog post that it was important to have one photo just of the peppers alone. The inside of a pepper is just as beautiful as the outside- I wanted to capture all those stages. I was wandering around looking for a surface and Bette suggested the brown craft paper and the basket. I placed these peppers on the brown paper, Bette added her ideas, and we quickly created this image.
Beth – When we conceived this blog we decided to begin each recipe with a posting of ingredients. Following this formula has given the blog structure as well as presented it’s own challenges. As you would expect we strive to make each photo as unique and beautiful as possible. Working in our industry we have learned to work within constrained parameters of a layout or requirements dictated by the client.
At this point we have been shooting for a year – we’ve tried many different approaches within our world of shooting ingredients straight down. This photo came together quickly without much fuss. Bette laid out the ingredients and we shot an image. Instead of her trying different options and moving the objects around, I kept saying leave it- it looks great. I cropped the image much tighter so that it feels like there could be possibly more ingredients happening off the frame. I like this photo because of it’s spontaneity and casualness.
AJ – Take a look at my favorite salad this summer. The star here is the amazingly sweet watermelons I bought from Oak Grove Plantation at the Union Square Greenmarket. I became smitten over the unique red-fleshed variety with a canary yellow rind but couldn’t resist adding a small yellow-fleshed melon to my market basket as well.
I had originally planned to use arugula in this salad, forgetting that arugula does not fare well in very hot weather. While searching through the market for a decent bunch I stumbled across a nearly empty basket with a few lively bunches of watercress at the bottom. The peppery greens make a perfect bed for this refreshing salad.
Beth – For years I have been lighting my photographs using tungsten lights. I love working with these lights because I can see exactly what the light is doing. The only drawback to this technique is when I have to shoot anything with motion such as liquid pouring or a hand cutting a piece of bread. Then I have to resort to strobe, which I have always struggled with because I could not see what the light was doing. Recently, I have had shots requiring strobe so I decided it was time to conquer my aversion and try to make the light look similar to the quality of the tungsten I like so much. This shoot was a great time to try something new.
Instead of using a tungsten light in my usual lighting set up, I replaced it with a strobe head. I was happily surprised to see that the light was similar, yet crisper and cleaner allowing the shadows to drop off in a beautiful dramatic way different than tungsten light. The whites seem brighter making the colors of the watermelon pop helping evoke the summer feel that I was looking for.