Beth – Dark objects are always difficult to light. These mussels were particularly challenging because of the white barnacles and streaks on their shell. The more I brightened the exposure, the more blown out these white areas became.
When faced with these types of objects I find the larger, broader and softer the light the better. I pulled the strobe head far from the V flat I was bouncing light into to create this type of light.
Normally I would use a white bounce card on the right to open up the shadows but found it flattened out the shape and dimension of these mussels quickly because of their reflective quality. My solution was to add a small amount of fill, enough to give dimension to the shells furthest away from the light while allowing some to go black in the shadows. It maintained the feeling and look I was hoping for in this photo.
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.
Almost anything you do with regular garlic you can do with spring garlic. The flavor is similar but a little sweet and more mild. Trim the roots, take the first layer off like you would a scallion, and finely chop. You can even use most of the tender green stalks.