It’s our July food photography and styling challenge – already! I can’t believe half the year has already gone by. Back in January, I was fortunate to stumble upon a group of ladies that were forming a group with the purpose of improving their food photography and styling skills and it’s been a wonderful journey so far. Everybody brings something different to the group which we all learn and benefit from.
This month’s challenge is to style and photograph a BBQ dish (or grilled). Did I mention that I don’t even own an outdoor grill? Or that I’m not a fan of BBQ in general? Now I know how the group participants last month who didn’t like fish felt! To not own a grill seems almost unAmerican I guess. Sure, we had one, but the Florida salt air finally did it in a few years ago. In addition, living in an elevated home means one spends their time running up and down stairs and being separated from family or friends if grilling is underway. So……long story short, we just never used it much and subsequently didn’t feel any strong need to purchase a new one. I broil and roast. I roast and broil. No smoke. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I just don’t like smoky tasting food. I don’t even want smoked turkey deli meat in a sandwich.
To that end, I did however put a lot of energy into this month’s challenge! Some of the California participants in our group were able to meet up and complete this month’s assignment together which sounded and looked like a lot of fun. As for me, I decided to work on my “indoor” grilling skills. I really couldn’t decide what to make even as the days dwindled down to our deadline (which is right now). I wasn’t loving the idea of meat…..so I decided upon shrimp, radicchio, and hearts of palm skewers, as well as a dessert component. I also made a fresh salsa to go along with the skewers (yum). Styling it all, however, was another big component of this challenge. I knew I wanted to shoot outside in late day light to give it that “outside BBQ” feel and look. I didn’t, though, want a classic July 4th hamburgers and hot dogs appearance either, because that wasn’t representative of the story behind my dishes.
I was looking for upscale casual. Sort of like casual Fridays in the office when you get to wear something less conservative but not jeans or shorts? Do companies still do that?
Starting off with the salsa……made with mango, pineapple, kiwi fruit, red onion, orange bell pepper, jalapeño, and cilantro. I used to
hate dislike cilantro immensely but have somehow come to enjoy it in recent years. This salsa is soooo good with a nice spicy kick which you really kind of need when making a fruit-based salsa.
All recipes follow at the end of this post.
Then on to the appetizer – or small plate dish – skewers of jumbo shrimp, hearts of palm, and radicchio and lime wedges. I love hearts of palm. Did you know that hearts of palm come from the sabel palmetto or cabbage palm? That is Florida’s state tree.
A nice addition to round out this dinner would be a grilled pork tenderloin with rice pilaf.
On to dessert! This is Carla Hall’s recipe from The Chew – and it’s aptly named Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Sandwich. Oh yeah, oh yum. You can find the recipe HERE. The raspberry sauce was my little addition. I also included a pullback of how I took the photo – it was brilliantly sunny so a diffuser panel was a necessity….however, the pop-up storm brewing just off camera left definitely was NOT a necessity to the shoot.
I shot the dessert first and because of the storm, wasn’t sure if I would be able to shoot the appetizer course or not! Luckily the sun came back out just in time for the sunset, and enough light to get my shots. It was a beautiful set within a stormy sky.
Please continue on through our blog circle to see what everyone came up with for their BBQ/Grilling dishes this month. Next up is Allison Jacobs of Allison Jacobs Photography and I can’t wait to see what she posted!
mango pineapple kiwi salsa
- 1½ cups diced pineapple
- 1 mango, peeled and diced
- 2 kiwi fruit, peeled and diced
- 1 small orange bell pepper, diced
- ¼ red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- pinch of sugar
- Combine the pineapple, mango, kiwi fruit, bell pepper, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro in a bowl and gently toss together. Add the lime juice and pinch of sugar and stir to combine.
shrimp, radicchio, and hearts of palm skewers
- ¾ pound jumbo shrimp (approximately 15 shrimp to one pound), cleaned, deveined, and tails left on*
- 1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, patted dry, and cut in half
- 1 small head radicchio, cut into 4 wedges
- 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and coarse ground pepper
- Prepare a grill with medium-high heat.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, toss to combine, and let marinate for 15 minutes.
- On each of 4 metal skewers thread 1 shrimp, 1 hearts of palm half, 1 radicchio wedge, 1 lime wedge, 1 shrimp, and 1 hearts of palm half. You will have extra hearts of palm to nosh on, or add to the grill as is.
- Place skewers on grill and cook for 2½ minutes per side or until cooked through.
- Serve warm as an appetizer, accompanied by Pineapple Mango Kiwi Salsa
Serves 4 as an appetizer
*Use whatever kind of shrimp is available or that is on sale. Add three to each skewer if you would like if they are smaller in size.
- 1 pint fresh raspberries, rinsed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Combine ingredients in a saucepan and heat until raspberries become soft, using a wooden spoon to crush and stir the berries, about 10-12 minutes.
- Strain mixture through a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth.
- Let cool and serve.
Makes about 1 cup