Although I love the photo sessions that I do with the many folks and families from across the country who visit Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island each year, it is equally as nice to be contacted by and to work with a local family. This session was a blast – we started off at Durante Park on beautiful Longboat Key (where it briefly started to rain) and then ventured to the beach where we concluded the session.
I all too often seem to grab a small sub for lunch because it’s easy and convenient (and also gives me the license to add a few potato chips to the sandwich) but I’ve really started to notice just how “ick” I feel after this type of lunch, even in spite of “healthier” sub options and choosing whole wheat bread. The culprit? Sodium.
I like salty things. I’m not a sweets kind of girl……don’t try to ply me with cookies and cake. But the sodium issue is something I’ve really started to take seriously, in spite of my (fortunately) low blood pressure. Who says it will stay that way? High blood pressure ran rampant on my dad’s side of the family so I don’t consider myself exempt.
So……time for some changes. To do away with all that sodium that is unfortunately present in processed foods such as deli meats, breads, cheese, and condiments means giving up those subs and deli meats in general. I know there’s plenty of low-sodium alternatives, but I want to take this to another level where I actually crave something different for lunch.
Welcome to the Power Salad. It’s delicious. It’s gluten-free. It’s low-calorie. It packs a protein punch from the egg and pine nuts. It is high in antioxidants thanks to the arugula, spinach, and radishes. I didn’t realize that radishes pack quite a free-radical eliminating punch which decreases cancer risk!
This salad can easily come in at under 500 calories – pine nuts do have calories ( 190 calories for 1/4 cup) and fat (good fat). A hard-boiled egg is 70 calories, and one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil comes in at 120 calories. This salad really benefits from a good-quality oil and a nice little pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. I’m still getting my little salt fix without those gross amounts of “hidden” sodium in the processed lunch foods.
Stacey’s Lunchtime Power Salad
This session was a gift to the dad from his three adult children, and what a special session it was! With the sun setting so late here on the west coast of Florida, it was not in the cards to keep the sweet twins waiting for the “golden hour” before sunset, so everyone braved the bright afternoon sun and donned sunglasses when necessary. I should also probably mention that the twin girls didn’t want anything to do with me……which is usually the case with anyone under the age of one. And sometimes under the age of three. Or even five. Sometimes the bright sun, the “big” water, and the heat are a bit too much for even the hardiest of little souls. (And even some grownups, too…..)
It was a pleasure to meet everyone and thank you for choosing me as your photographer.
Back in January, I joined a circle of photographers who wanted to hone their food photography and styling skills. It’s an awesome group to be a part of – an amazing circle of encouragement and support, both personal and professional. These ladies rock.
Each month we tackle an assignment and post our results on our respective blogs on the 20th of the month (21st for this month). This month’s challenge is to recreate a food magazine cover that inspires you. Ha!!! I’m a magazine junkie and thought it would be easy.
But….I love what I chose and it involved little to no styling props and lots of bright light and a white background which I lean towards. And I already had a similar plate upon which the magazine food was presented. So far so good. *wink*
I finally got down to the business of making and shooting the dish late yesterday afternoon. Nothing like the last minute??? The dish is a main course salad from the Spring 2012 issue of Cook Fresh which is a supplemental publication by Fine Cooking magazine and published by Taunton. The recipe – Grilled Asparagus and Steak Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette – wasn’t difficult, but it had a lot of steps and then trying to replicate all the little bits of watercress and microgreens WAS trying, lol. I started to feel a little cross-eyed needless to say. Here is my result:
And that’s my watermelon, too, in the top corner. A farmer’s market purchase on Saturday and delicious as well.
This was a good and interesting challenge – some of us (especially me) weren’t sure how closely to copy the magazine cover or not. I felt I wanted to copy as closely as I could with of course giving the magazine credit. It was really up to our personal interpretation this month.
Would you like to see my version and the magazine’s side-by-side? Here you go……
I *think* I came pretty close – what do you think? It was fun creating the sidebar titles but it took some time trying different fonts. The bar code was a free clip art download.
Here’s a pull back of the scene and settings were shutter 1/80, ISO 320, and f/4.5:
Whew, I’m glad I manged to get through this month’s challenge! Next up is Laurie Vengoechea | Southern California Food Photographer.|. She is an amazing food photographer and heads up our group and rightfully so! Please click through all of our blogs – they are linked as a circle. Enjoy.
Ready for another challenge assignment from ladies of The Inspired Plate? I can’t believe it’s already venturing into the latter part of April….I’m not sure where the heck time went.
Anyway, this month is all about styling and photographing a pasta dish. I looove pasta as most folks do so I was looking forward to this assignment. But what to make???? And what would photograph well?? Since it’s spring and has been consistently in the 80s here in Florida for weeks, the thought of a heavy or rich pasta dish didn’t seem quite appealing, so I developed an easy recipe – Ditalini Caprese – which can be served warm or at room temperature and is light and fresh in taste. And – it’s KID-FRIENDLY which is (unfortunately still) an important feature at our house. There is ALWAYS fresh mozzarella in our fridge – yes, always. I made the mistake of running out once or twice and it was not a good thing according to my 12 year old son. You see, I somehow managed to get him to try it way back when (and he liked it!) and it’s part of the reason that he warmed up to eating salads. So now if it’s left out of a salad, uh-oh. Oh he’ll still eat it, but it’s not quite the same.
Okay, on to the recipe and photos….
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a hefty pinch of salt, and add the ditalini pasta and stir. Cook according to package instructions, approximately 9-10 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the past cooking water. Set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute. (Don’t let it burn) Add the tomatoes and cook until just heated through, about a minute or so. Add the cooked pasta, toss to combine, and add a bit of the reserved cooking water to moisten. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, basil, coarse salt, and freshly ground pepper.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 6-8 servings
It’s really delicious for lunch, a side dish, or a take-along to gathering.
Here is a pullback of the final shot:
My settings on manual were f/4.0, shutter 1/125, and ISO 250. I was in the shade in the front area of my garage, with my diffuser panel handy to diffuse the strong mid-morning sun. In hindsight, I feel the green of the plate clashes with the green of the basil, so another lesson learned. As always, things look different in different types of light!
Do you use a garlic press? I had one years ago and then at some point they didn’t seem to be “cool” anymore. I don’t know what happened to mine – it probably got sold along with all of my *ahem* valued food props when my husband commissioned an estate sale for much of the contents of our NY house, along with the contents of his parent’s house . I still don’t think I’ve quite gotten over that! Although I generally mince my garlic with a knife, I did pick up a new press at some point in time.
As always, our blogs are linked to form a circle. Please continue on to see what pasta dishes the rest of our group styled and shot, starting with Jennifer Olson | San Luis Obispo, CA Photographer. She’s darn good at making food look scrumptious.