Day 1: Brantôme. The goal is to visit a different farmers market in the Dordogne region of France, daily, and bring whatever I find back for dinner. No supplementing from supermarkets, I’ll eat only what I find at the open fresh farmers markets. So it’s Day 1 and I’m in Brantôme. I find dense White Asparagus from the Farmers Market nestled beneath the cathedral, as well as Cheeses, Butter, Saucisse, Rillets, fragrant Apples. Dinner is Asparagus steamed upright in a little salted water, then served with a soft poached egg. The Brantôme Farmers Market is situated in the heart of the old town. This sign reads Goats Milk, Roasted Chicken.My dear friend Lucie, who lives in Bourdeilles, comes for White Asparagus dinner. (No heat or hot water in the farmhouse but the gas stove works great!) I like the rustic-ness of making do with what I’ve found at the market. Nothing is pre-packaged or processed. It’s just plain, honest food.Day 2: Périgueux. I awake to freezing rain on the farmhouse roof. After Coffee and Marmalade on fried Baguette in fragrant Nut Oil, I head to Périgueux farmers market to find something to roast for dinner. I find a Chicken, some Potatoes. Then some fresh Strawberries, too. This picture is of a butcher in one of the indoor meat markets in Périgueux.Back in the garden the rain has stopped and all is tranquil, except for the rustle of a robin red breast. I’m having a simple dinner of roasted Chicken in Garlic, Herbs… The Potatoes roasting in the chicken-y drippings… till crispy, and golden.. Later, there is Strawberries, Camembert. Lucie joins me again for dinner, her dog, Nusu, sits calmly with us but eyeing the chicken the whole while. Day 3: Bourdeilles. Bourdeilles market is very small with only a handful of vendors. It’s my closest market so I’m able to ride there on my bicycle. An old man drives his truck right up, opens the side window and from it sells everything one could need. I purchased Honey, Wild Onions, a large bunch of Radishes, and some fragrant yellow Apples with blotched, leathery skin. Now it’s back up to the farmhouse to make dinner.Dinner is Radishes, sliced on Baguette, with French Butter and Sea Salt. Honey and Apples.Day 4: Leftovers Such a drab word for what is essentially a most unique and delicious dinner, but there is so much leftovers from the past 3 days that dinner on the 4th night has become a menagerie of past purchases. Plus a sturdy, old (the best kind!) Cookbook, to keep me company. Lucie and Nusu don’t make it over, and the night is quiet except for the plums falling softly from the trees that circle the farmhouse perimeter.
Grant Cornett and I have collaborated on cookbooks and editorial shoots in the past, and it’s always great to work with him!
Here is some recent work I spied of his… These images appeared in The New Times Magazine, March 1st, 2015 in the Eat Column, by Francis Lam. The story was titled “More Than a Name. Learning to cook a Ghanaian Spinach Stew in the Bronx.” The pic above is of Ghanaian Spinach Stew with Sweet Plantains. Photos by Grant Cornett. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop Stylist: Theo Vamvounakis.
After a bitter-cold, snowy, season, every New Yorker I know is looking for Winter to come to an end, and soon! I was actually going to post this story on Saturday, but then it literally started snowing. Small, airy flakes started descending side-ways from the sky. So here, a story about the End of Winter. Hopefully this is our visual good luck charm for hustling Spring in, and sending old man Winter packing. Photographs by Christopher Testani. Styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart. Shot on location in Montauk, NY.
Above: Chicharron, Radish, and Dandelion Green Salad paired with a Pinot Grigio Above: Butter Beans with crushed Tomatoes and Roasted Pork Belly, Beef Bone Marrow with Sweet Cream Butter and Grilled Bread, and Roasted Pigs Head paired with a Beaujolais. Above: Fried smelt with a Garlic Aioli.
I ran into the very lovely and inspiring food writer Melissa Clark last night and she graciously reminded me that I had not posted a single thing in about a year, and where had the blog gone? The answer is this: I’ve had an absolutely insane travel schedule and a thumping great workload which have put me on hiatus from keeping my blog up to date this past year, and it’s true, it’s been neglected and I’m truly sorry. But New Years’ resolutions aside (does anyone make those anymore? And besides… Eek, it’s March, so forget that idea!) I’ve resolved to keep my site up to date with food imagery, tips and cool food ideas and great talent that inspires me, on a much more regular basis. Let’s toast to that!
In that vein, here is a recent shoot from Photographer Justin Walker. It’s inspired by Fergus Henderson’s restaurant: St John, in London. Chef Jay Wolman, who works at Marlow and Sons & Diner, here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, created a memorable Winter Feast celebrating Nose-(or head!) to-tail eating, that involved crispy pig skin, beans and wonderful bone marrow. Inspired from Fergus’ 2013 book, which is not entirely a new concept, but certainly a reminder of the continued importance of eating the whole animal, and looking for ways to wrestle with the ugly bits, to ultimately not waste a single piece.
Justin Walker is a commercial and fine-art photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. He specializes in food, travel, and conceptual still-life photography. A native of Durango, Colorado, he grew up hunting, fishing, camping, snowboarding, and spending most of his waking hours outdoors. His childhood always involved a family adventure in the making; from commercial salmon and halibut fishing in Alaska to ranching in southwestern Colorado. The natural world is a foundation of inspiration in much of his work. He now splits his time in between Brooklyn, NY and the Catskill Mountains. With a background in graphic design, his photographic style encompasses a similar clean cut graphic aesthetic.
Want to see my most recent work? I now have a separate section devoted to just this. Click Here. Or on the page tab at the top marked ‘Recent Work.’
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?
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.
PORK TO DIE FOR:
Memorial 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.
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.)
Pics: Dimity Jones.
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!
salt + pepper