Happy New Year

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My goal with the current Chicken feature on newsstands right now was to elevate the humble weeknight meal, with a combination of props, both still, and organic. The combination of wooden cutting boards, worn tin surfaces, old cooking books, and whole veggies, like carrots, onions, lemon skins, and herbs, instantly created a comfy, soulful feel. Photos: Justin Walker. Food Styling: Chris Lanier Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart. “25 New Ways to Make Chicken Dinner a Winner” for @cookinglight magazine is on newsstands now.

November Issue…. Here it is.

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The November Double Issue is out and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Here are some highlights.
Top: Quick and Easy. Fennel and Cumin Roasted Turkey Breast with Thyme Gravy. Sauteed Haricot Verts with Bacon Breadcrumbs, Three-ingredient Cranberry Sauce, Apple-Sage Stuffing Cups.
Second from top: Port-Glazed Pear Tart with Rosemary-Cornmeal Crust. The secret? A part cornmeal instead of all flour crust with skim-milk Ricotta filling that’s topped with pretty port-stained Bosc pears.
Photos: Chris Court. Food Styling Mariana Velasquez, Prop Styling Carla Gonzalez-Hart.

3rd and 4th Pic: New Mushroom tastes features also in our November Issue. Here, a Nameko and Lobster Mushroom Soup, and then Sautéed Black Trumpets with Asparagus and Lemon. With a side of lean Pork tenderloin.

Photos: Justin Walker. Food Styling Christopher Barsch, Prop styling: Alistair Turnbull.
For Cooking Light magazine. November Issue, 2014.

July Issue, Cooking Light magazine.

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Food Glorious Food! The July Issue for Cooking Light magazine is out and we’re really excited by it. The goal was to make our Feature Well vibrant, accessible and fun. Enjoy!

Credits from top: “Blueprint for a Better Sandwich.” Text and Story by Tim Cebula. Recipes by the Cooking Light Test Kitchen. Photographed by Line T. Klein. Food Styling: Chris Lanier. Props: Paige Hicks. Art Direction and Concept: Dimity Jones. Designer: Rachel Lasserre. “1 Cooler, 1 Weekend.” By Phillip Rhodes and Tiffany Vickers Davis. Photographed by Jennifer Causey, Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns. Props: Missie Neville Crawford. Art Direction and Design: Rachel Lasserre. “Fun Foods for a Sizzling Summer.” Recipes by the Cooking Light Test Kitchen. Photographed by Johnny Miller. Food Styling: Simon Andrews. Props: Sarah Smart. Art Direction: Dimity Jones. Designer: Sheri Wilson. “Mastering Your Grill.” Story by Tim Cebula. Recipes by Steven Raichlen, Photography by Brian Woodcock. Illustration by Joe McKendry, Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley. Props: Lindsey Lower. Designer: Sheri Wilson.

Creative Director: Dimity Jones.

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Recipes shown above:
Shrimp and Okra Louisiana Po’ Boys.
Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Cantaloupe-Red Pepper Salsa
Deep Dish Strawberry Ice Dream Pie
Smoked Salmon Barbecue University Style.
Salt Slab Chicken Al Mattone
Subscribe to Cooking Light, click here.

 

 

A trip to Vedge, a Vegan Restaurant in Philadelphia.

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Why would you seek out a Vegan restaurant during Winter, when you know that most of the peak produce available would be more plentiful in Summer?

Yet, here I was, on an speeding Acela train to Philly, meeting up with photographer Jason Varney to shoot a March Story for Cooking Light at Vedge restaurant, in December.

I didn’t have high hopes. As a person who prides herself on trying the medium-rare all-beef burger as my measure for how good a restaurant is, I was expecting to fake pleasure at a cold carrot or oooh phony praise at a curry flavored lentil. I really had no idea.

Photographer Jason Varney met me at the train station. He’s one of my favorite people to work with ever; not least because he is a master at capturing the beauty of natural light, but his foppish, red beard shrouds the endearing qualities of one of the kindest men I’ve ever known.

And how was the food? Vedge restaurant didn’t disappoint, from the first extra strong coffee poured for us kindly by Kate, the co-owner, to the final red-wine soaked mushroom, and you can see the results and get recipes to try at home, in the March Issue of Cooking Light magazine. (On newsstands now.)

Photos: Jason Varney
Art Direction/styling: Dimity Jones

To subscribe to Cooking Light, click here.

 

 

Cooking Light Magazine: Citrus Shoot for the January 2014 Issue.

I’ve now been the Creative Director of Cooking Light Magazine for the last 6 months! I was on set last week shooting a Citrus story for the Jan/Feb Issue. Here are some behind-the-scenes Instagram pics I took. The top pic is the citrus collected by food stylist Chelsea Zimmer. The middle pic was taken half way through the shoot of chopped up pieces of oranges, lemons, etc. (Proof that some of the most beautiful shots are of what’s left on the cutting board!) And the last pic is a sneak view at a recipe that’s running in our Jan/Feb Issue… a sumptuous Meringue with Tangerine Curd…

Look out for the magazine on newsstand!

To subscribe to Cooking Light click here. 

To follow me on Instagram… click here and send a request. 

dimity x

 

 

Memorial Day Cookout: Pork Butt. (And then some.)


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Everyone’s got to have a plan for the butt… 

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We created a cocktail: A Cucumber and Cardamon Gin Fizz. 

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An 8lb Pork Butt with Bone In, roasted at 300 degrees for 7 hours. 

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Asparagus ready to roast.

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S’mores please. Graham Crackers, with a slab of chocolate and soft and sticky marshmallow, from the hot campfire. 

CampfireBeansPotatoes+©DimityJonesCampfire cookout; roasted potatoes, and Boston Baked Beans

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Better than carving in the tree: A tree drawing. 

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Leftover Roasted Pork. 

boysintree_©DimityJonesBoys; they like to climb trees.

PulledPorkSandwiches_©DimityJonesThe next day, lunch; Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Relish, BBQ Sauce, and Cheddar on Brioche Buns. 

PORK TO DIE FOR:
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orial Day Weekend was spent on the Delaware River, upstate New York. I didn’t have a lot of time to figure out the menu, but inspired by a recent shoot I did for the upcoming issue of Cooking Light magazine, I grabbed a pork butt, (bone in) and started roasting… 3 hours at home on in my oven, and then I threw the pork butt, cooled, in a plastic bag and hauled it up the next day in a car with my son and some friends, to the house where we roasted the butt for another 4 hours. We built a fire, and when crackling and hot, roasted both Purple and Yellow potatoes, some fresh Asparagus and in another cast iron skillet some Boston Baked Beans. A perfect impromptu dinner paired with cool cucumber gin cocktails, sprinkled with powdered cardamon. And for dessert? S’mores and Mint and Chocolate chip Ice-cream. The next day we used the leftovers for pulled pork sandwiches with relish, BBQ sauce, and Cheddar on Brioche buns.

RECIPES:

PORK BUTT: Take an 8 lb Pork Butt. Combine 3 tablespoons of Dark Brown Sugar, 2 big glugs of Chinese style Chili and Garlic Sauce, 1 teaspoon of Mustard Powder, 2 teaspoons of Salt, a teaspoon of freshly ground Pepper. Stab the raw pork butt and stud with slivers of Fresh Garlic all over. (Cut the clove in half, then insert). Rub the sugar/chilli salt rub all over the top. Preheat oven to 410, add pork butt in a baking dish, then reduce heat to 300, for 7 hours. Use an internal themometer, and when the inside comes to 135, and the pork is juicy but tender, remove. The pork will be mild in terms of spiciness, and able to stand up to robust BBQ sauces. Good for kids.

STOVETOP BOSTON BAKED BEANS: Start one day in advance. Let 1 pound of dried Pinto Beans stand in water overnight. Drain beans, set aside. Cook one diced slab of Double Smoked Bacon (like Schaller Weber), about 10oz until crisp. Drain bacon leaving fat and in the fat, fry 1 medium Brown Onion, finely diced. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of ketchup, 1/3 cup of maple syrup, 1/3 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/4 cup Dry Mustard, 2 tablespoons of Molasses or Treacle, 2 Bay Leaves, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped Garlic, 1 teaspoon of Salt, 1 teaspoon of ground Pepper. Pour the softened beans, the cooked onions and crispy bacon mixture into dutch oven or heavy based saucepan on the stove top. Pour over the ketchup sauce mixture, and then add 4 cups of Chicken Stock. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, as it becomes evaporated add slowly another 4 cups of Water, or enough water until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, and reduced. About 4 hours. (You can make this ahead and just heat the beans before serving.)

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Pics: Dimity Jones.

 

 

 

Charred Ramps + Asparagus with Baked Eggs + Cream

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What happens when a food stylist and a food photographer get together for breakfast? They decide to shoot what their cooking! Photographer Linda Pugliese and Food Stylist Chelsea Zimmer got together to cook up a breakfast and decided to shoot their Charred Scallion + Asparagus breakfast dish complete with Eggs and Cream. Spring-like and oh-so yummy. A great idea for what to do with Ramps that are currently right in season.Thankfully they shared their shots and recipe with me. Thank you!

Charred Ramps + Asparagus with Baked Eggs + Cream.
1 T butter, divided
4 ramps, cleaned, trimmed + chopped
1 T olive oil
1/2 bunch asparagus, ends snapped
1/2 bunch green garlic, washed + trimmed
6 farm fresh eggs
2 T heavy cream
salt + pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Heat a knob of butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add ramps, a good pinch of salt + pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes until soft. Set aside.
3. Turn heat to high. Coat asparagus and green garlic with olive oil. When pan is smoking, in batches, toss asparagus and green garlic until just render and charred; 1-2 minutes.
4. Throw a knob of butter in the skillet, all the pre-cooked veg and make 6 nests within the vegetables. Carefully crack the eggs into the nests, season with salt and pepper and finish with a drizzle of heavy cream.
5. Cover the skillet tightly with tin foil and bake for 12-14 minutes, just until the egg whites have set and the yokes are still soft. Start checking after 10 minutes.

6. Cut carefully with a sharp knife and serve immediately with buttered crusty bread.

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PHOTOGRAPHER: LINDA PUGLIESE, Click here to see her work. 
FOOD STYLIST CHELSEA ZIMMER, Click here to see her work. 

Rhubarb Margarita, Rhubarb Ice-cream.

rhubarbicecreamHomemade Rhubarb Ice-cream with Rhubarb syrup. 

christopher_testaniPhotographer Christopher Testani wearing my winter hat, because it was pretty cold in my garden. 

rhubarb_margaritaRhubarb Margarita and Pork Terrine. Below: Spring Veggie Salad with Soft Burrata Mozzarella draped over the top.  

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This past weekend, I kicked off the Spring season and invited a few of my friends over. The occasion was Cinco de Mayo. It ended up being really cold in my garden, so we were rugged up like sailors headed to the Antarctic, in blazers, scarves, and sea-worthy caps and thermal jackets, but the highlight of the day was rhubarb. We had it in a lively Rhubarb Margarita, as well as a sweet Rhubarb Ice-cream. Other dishes were a Spring Veggie Salad draped with soft, oozing, Burrata, plump, juicy Italian Sausages, Peruvian Meat Empanadas with a Chimichurri Salsa, (Thanks Carla!) and a Pork Terrine from Stephane Reynauld cookbook called “Terrine”. We also had several Cheeses, and a No Mayonnaise Potato Salad. I guess looking at our menu, we were kind of lame on the Mexican food front, but we definitely embraced the new Spring produce, and the margarita was exceptional!

Welcome to Spring everyone!

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RHUBARB MARGARITA:
from New York Times, from “What I’m Drinking”, By MARIO BATALI
Illustration by Elisabeth Moch.

Cinco de Mayo is perfect for margaritas, and I like mine with a seasonal twist. Chop 6 ribs of rhubarb and place in a saucepan with 3 cups each sugar and water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Once cool, blend until smooth. In a pitcher filled with ice, pour 1 cup each of tequila blanca, fresh lime juice and rhubarb purée, then add 2 oz. Grand Marnier.

Note: We only made a third of this recipe, and it was enough for 6 people.

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RHUBARB ICE-CREAM.
3 stalks of Rhubarb, trimmed and cut into inch pieces. Place in saucepan with a quarter cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and zest of half a lime and  enough water to cover. Stir well, cover and simmer for 10 mins until the Rhubarb is soft, and starts to break down. Turn off heat and stir in a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Set aside. Whisk 6 egg yolks in a bowl, with a half cup of sugar till pale and fluffy, in another pan bring one cup of cream and one cup of milk and a big dollop of vanilla essence or the seeds of one vanilla pod to the boil. When the milk boils, remove the vanilla pod (if you used one), then pour a tiny bit over the egg yolk mixture (you want to temper the eggs, not scramble them…) too much hot milk with curdle them, (and if that happens just add a bit of cornstarch to bring it all together). Pour the milk mixture over the egg yolk mixture very slowly and whisk constantly, till smooth and combined. Return the custard to a low heat for 3-4 mins until it coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the rhubarb and transfer to an ice-cream machine and process according to the manufacturers instructions, Transfer the mixture to a freezer-proof container and freeze until needed. Serve the ice-cream with whipped cream, hot custard or a stewed Rhubarb concentrate. Or a combination of all three!

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SPRING VEGGIE SALAD WITH BURATTA.
Blanch Sugar Snap Peas and Green Peas in boiling salted hot water until barely tender. Add sliced Cherry Tomatoes. Drape Burrata Mozzarella. Pour your favorite vinaigrette over the top. Serve.

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Pics: Dimity Jones

 

Yellow Squash Soup with Cured Strawberries

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This time last year, in early Spring, photographer Grant Cornett and myself, and his artist girlfriend Janine Iversen, were in Kentucky to work on Edward Lee‘s first cookbook, “Smoke & Pickles. Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen.”

 

The budget was tight, there was no money for props, let alone a prop stylist, so for surfaces we ripped down an old wooden fence, flipped over the bottom side of the backyard BBQ grill, stole the perfect blackened lid off a large soy sauce barrel (thanks Matt Jamie!), used the under side of a few stained cookie sheet pans, and propped up an old bourbon box as a backdrop. For plates, cups and cutlery, Edward literally went door-to-door and stole dinnerware items from his kindly friends. (Thank you good ladies of Louisville!)

 

The adventure began and it was incredible. We visited Edward’s pig supplier; a wonderful couple at Red Dirt Farm in Kentucky, we visited a Bourbon Distillery, a garden in outer Louisville, bars, restaurants, including Fried Bologna sandwiches at Wagners. (See my link here.) the city club, and of course his wine studio where we shot 22 shots a day. It was hard work but fun and when we needed a break we would go out the back door, and lay in the garden and stare at the Fedex planes flying, in 10 minute intervals, over our heads, to places far beyond.

 

The food was put together by Edward, and his team; Nick Sullivan and Kevin Ashworth at restaurant 610 Magnolia who also made our daily lunches. (See what we ate here.) 

 

Edward Lee is one of those rare gems; a chef, a cook, a writer, and a true creative. He has an incredible work ethic, and he’s the real deal. I’m so proud to call Ed a friend. We met about 13 years ago when I was hanging out at his restaurant “Clay” on Mott Street, New York. It was a pleasure to work on his book, and I thank him for allowing me to be part of it.

 

To purchase it, go ahead and click here.
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SUMMER SQUASH SOUP AND CURED STRAWBERRIES
As summer is right around the corner this soup is delicious. I love this pic because it was one of the first shots we did, and it was the surface I loved the best, (the ripped down wooden fence). From Edward: This is s refreshing soup that tastes like Summer in a bowl. The curing process here both intensifies the flavor of the strawberries and cuts the tartness. It gives the berries an almost meaty texture. Pair this with a classic French Sancerre. Serves 8. Recipe © Edward Lee, Smoke & Pickles, Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen. 

 

Soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 pounds yellow squash, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Strawberries:
1 lb fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

 

1) To make the soup: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the yellow squash and thyme and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the squash is soft all the way through. Take off the heat and let cool fro a few minutes.
2) Transfer the soup to a blender, add the sour cream and salt, and puree on high unitl very smooth, about 2 minutes. Check the consistency; if the soup is a little gritty, strain it through a fine mesh sieve. Chill in the refiigerator for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight.
3) About 1 hour before serving, make the strawberries. Slice the strawberries into 1/2 inch slices and place them in a glass bowl. Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the strawberries and gently toss them with your fingers—making sure not to crush them. Let them cure for about an hour at room temperature; no longer; or they will get too soft.
4) To serve, ladle the chilled soup into bowls. Top each one with a few cured strawberries. Crack some fresh black pepper over the top and serve immediately.

 

Note: Try the cured strawberries on your next cheese plate, or as an accompaniment to a cured meat platter. Cure only what you need at the time, since they do not hold for very long.

 

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To get the Smoke & Pickles Cookbook by Edward Lee, click here.
(Art Direction: Dimity Jones)