Our California Food Photography Workshop, Sebastopol edition, was tons of fun! If you’re interested in future workshops, email CAFoodPhotography@gmail.com to be added to our workshop mailing list.
A few weeks ago, Sarah, Gerry, and I (with a ton of help from the amazing Carla) hosted our first food photography and styling workshop in Sebastopol, California. For three days, we cooked, taught, styled, shot, and nerded out on all things food photos, from prop styling to making your food shine (literally) on set to composing dynamic frames to becoming a Lightroom wizard. We also ate our weight in delicious food! I knew going into the workshop that it would be an intensely rewarding week. But what I didn’t know is that I’d make 12 new friends by the end, and come out of it more inspired than ever to take pretty pictures of food.
A handful of surprising yet simple ingredients lend big flavor to these meatless smoky lentil tacos, adapted from Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton.
I bought Sarah’s book especially for these smoky lentil tacos. After following her beautiful blog My New Roots for nearly a decade, I had the pleasure of hearing her speak about her new book Naturally Nourished: Healthy, Delicious Meals Made with Everyday Ingredients at Omnivore Books a few months ago along with my friend Mere. This turned out to be a momentous occasion for a variety of reasons, the first being that spending time in an all-cookbook bookstore is my heaven on earth. The second is that Sarah KNEW WHO I WAS before I introduced myself. The third was meeting Laura, a friend of Mere’s who fosters kittens, and I realized that kitten fostering is likely what I was put on this earth to do, being both obsessed with cats and having zero maternal instincts when it comes to human children. I’m hoping to start this month!
The fourth was, as you’ve probably guessed by now, these tacos, which Sarah cited as a favorite from the book during her talk. Sarah is an incredible public speaker, her smart, witty self shining in front of a crowd (unlike certain people who get so nervous they feel as though they’re babbling incoherently in gibberish and suddenly can’t recall a single recipe in the book they lived and breathed for two solid years). A certified nutritionist, Sarah knows a thing or two about healthful cooking, and she does a compelling job explaining kitchen science as it relates to health. Now I think about her every time I (guiltily) reach for a bottle of olive oil for sauteing (a poor choice, according to Sarah, with its low smoke point – coconut oil and ghee are best for high heat) and when I forget to soak my grains and lentils (as I did today when making these tacos, and, let’s be real – every time).
This pie is inspired by one of my favorite people in the world, my niece Cierra, who’s about to enter her senior year at Marymount Manhattan where she’s studying musical theater. My sister and I visited NYC this past spring and one of the highlights was seeing the musical Waitress, written by and starring Sara Bareilles. My sister and I were so moved by the music, plot, and characters that it took us a good 15 minutes after the lights came up of dabbing our eyes, looking at each other and laughing, then bursting into tears again, before we could get up and leave.
But phenomenal singing, dancing, acting, songwriting, and production quality aside, the thing that impressed me the most was when Sara Bareilles MADE PIE CRUST ONSTAGE. This gifted goddess casually rolled out the dough, pressed it into the pan, trimmed and crimped it, all while reciting lines in a southern accent in front of hundreds of people.
Sometimes you just need a classic cheesecake. This small batch cheesecake with elderflower peaches comes together in a snap and makes an easy, elegant summertime dessert. Adapted from Sweet and Simple: Dessert for Two by Christina Lane.
“Can I send you my next book – the one with all the gluten, dairy, and sugar?” Christina messaged me earlier this year. My response was a resounding yes! Even though I go easy on the gluten, I’m an equal opportunity cookbook collector and get most of my inspiration from traditional baking. Plus I’ve been a huge Dessert for Two fan for about as long as I’ve been blogging, both for Christina’s tantalizing food photos and her genius methods for scaling down batch sizes of baked goods, which is no easy feat.
Creamy chocolate and date chia pudding and an easy coconut caramel sauce make the most lusciously healthy Vegan Salted Caramel & Chocolate Swirl Popsicles free of dairy and refined sugar. Adapted from Glow Pops by Liz Moody.
A bourbon cocktail that gin drinkers will love, too, the Honey & Hearth Cocktail is bright, herbaceous, and boozy with notes of smoke and spice. Adapted with permission from The Daisy in New York City.
This morning I woke up from an anxiety dream in which I was in a New York City elevator trying to get to the 45th floor, but because it was such a tall building, instead of the regular buttons going up to 100+, it only had buttons from 1-9 that you had to push in sequence. I was trapped in the elevator going up and down, up and down, until a kind soul entered and showed me the way out. Was this dream a metaphor for my life? Perhaps. It wasn’t until I shot (and drank too many of) these cocktails this afternoon that I remembered getting trapped in the confusing elevator at the New York Times building when I visited last month during a two-week trip to the East Coast. It probably didn’t help that I’d drunk a few delicious cocktails the night before at The Daisy. Turns out NYC is a good town for cocktails; elevator systems, not so much.