Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spring Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment

This weekend, a friend of mine got a head start on a photography project for school. We had some fun in the kitchen photographing fresh produce bought the same morning at the farmer's market. Asparagus, fiddleheads, radishes, celeriac and salmon were all on the menu. I'm still amazed with how lovely the photos turned out. Who knew a sprig of dill could look so amazing?! It was interesting working with food from a different perspective. As a cook, I tend to focus predominantly on flavour. Seasoning, tenderness and quality ingredients are my game. If it looks nice on the plate for the 8 seconds before my brother eats it...that's a bonus! Vicky on the other hand was concerned with things like lighting, exposure and depth. She was a pro at telling me how to hold a knife for the camera, how to turn the veggies so they looked textured and interesting and how to light the food so it looked delicious to the audience. We used a lot of butter and oil to keep each component of the dish glossy and "fresh" looking. All in all, we had a delicious lunch and I couldn't be happier with the photos. Talented friends are a blessing.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tasty Travels: New York, NY

Authentically eating one's way through Manhattan is a brilliant way to experience the diverse culture and see the "nooks & crannies" otherwise unvisited by tourists. Okay... so pretty much every corner of the island has been trodden by foreign feet but that doesn't mean you can't join the select few who have experienced dishes which exist off the beaten path. Deek into the corners of the upper west side and you'll find legendary mexican food at "Noche Mexicana." Their burritos or mini-platters are out of this world tasty. Fresh-made salsa and spicy mole were a treat. Spending a day in Greenwich/Soho, we came across "Peep," a New York Times "Eat Out" award winner. It's mod interior and east-Asian cuisine were hip and fresh and the prices were more than affordable. I had a quatro of fresh soup, tender pork dumplings with sweet sauce, ginger-y spout salad and crispy-skin white-fish nestled in a pool of (insert mystery sauce worth a thousand words, here).  A mother/daughter tradition is eating at Mario Batali's "Lupa" on our first night in. We ordered the usual primi course... perfectly al dente pasta with cracked pepper and salty pecorino cheese. On our last night, we continued our Batali food-tour and checked out "Babbo," which was equally delicious and a touch more expensive. Also on our trip, we checked out neighbourhood speciality food shops, Artichoke Pizza and Mamoun's Falafel (which is rated number one for their crispy, chickpea fritters & accompaniments). It's a good thing mom loves quality food as much as I do. ...And that we're both willing to walk 36 blocks to justify the gain.