Monthly Archives: August 2012

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corn, chowder, soup, summer, corn cob, sweet corn, bacon, cream, milk, roux, onions, paprika, cayenne, parsley, stew, fall, indian summer, thick, creamy, potatoes, clam

Holy cow, how is it almost September?!

I had so many plans for this summer, and I was well on my way to accomplishing them in June. Then July rolled around, and brought with it that horrible heat wave that drove all motivation from me. Then work picked up, and I've been busy designing a logo, a website, business cards, and operating manuals for work. Which means a lot of time spent on the Adobe help website, looking up answers to all of my problems.

I have also been working like a dog on my novel, so that I can get it on Amazon by September (back to school presents for everyone you know? Just sayin').

corn, chowder, soup, summer, corn cob, sweet corn, bacon, cream, milk, roux, onions, paprika, cayenne, parsley, stew, fall, indian summer, thick, creamy, potatoes, clam

So basically my summer has turned into an eyes glued to a computer screen and butt falling asleep in my chair kinda summer. Boo.

I did set aside time to make some fabulous corn chowder though, because it's the best time to find these guys at your local farm stand (try Knickerbocker Farms in Pittsford, NY for the best sweet corn ever!) ...continue reading

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duck, breast, legs, duck fat, skin, crispy, risotto, prosciutto, sexy, date, dinner, two, easy, sausage, andouille, wine, white, broth, onions, simmer, saute, baked, poultry, pasta, rice, arborrio

Duck...duck...sausage! Wait, that's not right. No wonder kids don't let me hang out with them.

While this dish may not have goose in it, it does have 2x the duck, and includes andouille sausage, prosciutto, and risotto cooked in the duck fat drippings. So all in all, it's pretty freaking amazing. Because if there's one thing that's better than duck, it's duck fat. Mmm....

Oh, and if you somehow weren't already drooling over this dish, the recipe comes from Ree over at the Pioneer Woman!!! ...continue reading

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When I made that first meal for the blog last summer, I was embarrassed at how ugly everything looked, and how terrible it tasted. What was I doing wrong?

Well, the answer to that my friends, was everything. 

I've come a monumental way since that ill-fated, barely edible, I-cant-believe-I'm-posting-this-online post, and I've picked up a few tricks along the way.

salad, summer, mixed greens, arugula, spinach, baby, mesculin, spring mix, strawberries, berry, berries, strawberry, goat cheese, chevre, light, lemon, vinaigrette

Mainly, I've become a pretty decent photographer/food stylist (I hope!). This mixed green salad with strawberries and goat cheese is basically identical to the one I made one year ago, but with a nicer camera, better lens, no camera flash, better props, better lighting (THIS is the big one here), and a newfound knowledge of photography.

Here's the original shot:

And now the same salad, but with a year's worth of experience behind the shot:

salad, summer, mixed greens, arugula, spinach, baby, mesculin, spring mix, strawberries, berry, berries, strawberry, goat cheese, chevre, light, lemon, vinaigrette

Mmm....moody. How about another?

Now you might be asking yourself, ok, I get how the lighting, camera, and props make a big difference, but the salad itself just looks so much nicer! What's the secret, Sarah?

Brace yourselves, readers, because I am going to offer you a glance into the world of food styling, and peek at the obsessive compulsivity that must accompany it:

This is nuts. Halfway through washing and sorting through the spinach for the prettiest pieces, in 95 degree heat, I asked my mother if I had lost my mind. She said yes. I accepted this fact and continued to build a beautiful salad.

For the curious, here's the book I've been using as a basic guide to getting my food to look nicer: Food Styling for Photographers.

So that's it, I guess. I could lie and tell you I made a delicious vinaigrette to go with this salad, but I used up my last lemons making the citrus salsa verde for the salmon.

salad, summer, mixed greens, arugula, spinach, baby, mesculin, spring mix, strawberries, berry, berries, strawberry, goat cheese, chevre, light, lemon, vinaigrette

All in all, I'm pretty excited about where I've come in the past year, and looking forward to where the next one will take me. And I'm still waiting for the fame and fortune that I just know is right around the corner.

Original salad

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My next item to recreate from last year's failed first posts was the grilled corn.

When I made this last year, it was my first time attempting to cook corn on the grill. I had no clue what I was doing, but decided to barge ahead blindly and make something up. Well, that something resulted in the aluminum foil leaking out butter, which then caught on fire. Psh...rookie mistake, right?

corn, grilled, cotija cheese, habanero, chives, lime, garlic, butter, summer, sweet, husks, silk

I wish. Pretty much every time I grill corn it catches on fire. I've learned several tricks since that first time though, and these result in actually edible (and delicious!) final products. ...continue reading

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Holy crap!!!

It's been an entire year since I started this blog as a way to document my attempts at learning how to cook. It's been an amazing year, and I doubt I would have come this far if I didn't have the motivation of this blog to keep me pushing forward.

At this point I'd like to clarify that I have never been to a cooking school, class, seminar, what have you. I am a self-taught cook, who picked up everything she knows from the internet, cookbooks, and trial and error.

This means that I have had some fun disasters in the past year, but as a whole, I am proud of how far I've come in just 365 days. To celebrate my 1 year anniversary (let's be honest here, who thought I would keep this up this long?!), I am "recreating" my original disaster meal. My first posted recipes were of an unappetizing looking grilled cajun salmon, inedible grilled corn that caught on fire, and a good salad. Taking the main ingredients, I decided to put everything I've learned in one year into this meal. So enjoy the before and after!!!

Salmon:

Oh god. I shudder when I look at this picture.

I was having issues with my old grill that day. Mainly, the heating was SO uneven that my fish came out burned and undercooked simultaneously.  And then I chose to take an overhead picture, with flash (double shudder), on these horrific plates from the 1970's. If I had any dignity I would take this picture down from the internet, burn all copies onto a CD, shatter that CD with a hammer, and throw the pieces in the microwave. And then bury it, just to make sure it's really dead.

But, I like to look at it every once in awhile, so that when I look at my more recent, and much sexier food pictures, I swell up with pride.

salmon, grilled, fish, summer, giada, food network, recipe, spicy, salsa, citrus, lemon, mint, parsley, salsa verde, green, chilled, tangy, delicious

Now, I know that corn and salmon do not really go well together. But, as I made them together 1 year ago, so I had to pair them again. This made the food styling particularly difficult, but I'm fairly certain the salmon stands out enough on it's own. ...continue reading