Category Archives: fresh

Lunch-March 11


 The last of the celery and radishes pulled straight from the dirt during a farm location shoot last week. A simple salad dressed with lemon infused olive oil, white balsamic, and a sprinkle of parmesan was a very satisfying lunch.


Celery and Radish Salad

Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

I’ve been working with the wonderful and talented Selina Maitreya to complete my portfolio.  After going through all of my current images, we decided that I needed at least 15 more. One missing category: soup.

After our last meeting, we decided that I needed two soups: one creamy and one chunky. Today was creamy soup day. I spent the afternoon peeling and roasting carrots and then pureeing and straining.

The end result was very delicious. Think I need to work on the styling a bit more though. My cream swirls need some practice :)

Food photography is much more than shooting beautiful food. So often we need to be the chef and stylist too. It’s fun to wear so many hats!


Chili Grilled Chicken Skewers with Pickled Slaw


Here’s a healthy fresh dinner from grill to table in about a half hour. Start with the slaw while the grill heats up. Brush the chicken pieces with the chili sauce. Enjoy a few sips of your favorite chilled beverage while the slaw marinates a few minutes. Assemble the lettuce or cabbage cups with the slaw and grill the chicken skewers. Top the slaw with the grilled chicken and enjoy. This recipe can be made with pork too.  The white balsamic vinegar in the slaw is less acidic and tart than regular vinegar. If using white vinegar, add a teaspoon or so of fine sugar.


Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine

Chili Grilled Chicken Skewers with Pickled Slaw
  • 3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise or use the bagged shredded carrots found in the produce section
  • Sea Salt
  • ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
  • ¼ cup Thai Chili Sauce
  • Large leaf lettuce of Chinese cabbage leaves
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Lime Wedges
  1. Toss the carrot strips with a pinch of salt and the vinegar. (if using white vinegar, dissolve 1 tsp of sugar in the vinegar before adding the carrots)
  2. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cucumber strips and mix well.
  4. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and brush with the chili sauce.
  5. Preheat a gas grill or grill pan on high heat.
  6. Cook the chicken about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  7. Fill the leaves with the pickled slaw and top with the skewers.
  8. Serve with fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

More Summer Tomatoes – Heirlooms

When I was a girl, our family summer vacations were usually spent in NC with my Mom’s side of the family – on the family farm. So many fun memories :)

One of my best food memories revolved around a big juicy tomato sandwich. White bread, gobs of mayo and thick, juicy slices of home grown tomatoes. Heaven in every bite. But alas, I am nowhere near NC or Uncle Fuzzy’s garden, so heirloom tomatoes will have to suffice. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Summer Tomatoes

My favorite summer taste…

A Perfect Sunday Morning and Breakfast at the Beach

It’s storming out right now. Rain pelting the windows replete with thunder and lighting – a real Florida thunderstorm. But earlier this morning it was just right. Just right for breakfast on the beach. A little overcast, some lovely sea breeze (ok, it was windy and I had to tape down the place mats :)). And the sun peeking through the clouds just enough…

Ft. Lauderdale Beach July 2012

Spiced Chicken Thighs

Here’s some more summer grilling goodness. If you can’t find boneless chicken thighs, ask your butcher to debone them for you or do it yourself (

Oh, and don’t leave the grilled thighs alone on the kitchen counter while you’re setting up your photograph. Especially if you have a cat. Apparently cats love them too :)

If you’re eating Paleo, just skip the yogurt on the side.

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay magazine.

Spiced Chicken Thighs
Recipe type: Main Dish, Chicken
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp finely shredded lemon zest
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 2 tsp each, paprika, ground cilantro, ground cumin
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • Fresh spinach leaves and greek yogurt to serve
  1. Combine the oil, lemon zest, juice, garlic and spices in a small bowl.
  2. Heat your grill or grill pan over high heat.
  3. Brush the chicken thighs with the spice mixture and grill over high heat about 4 minutes per side or until done.
  4. Lightly grill the lemon halves.
  5. Serve the chicken with the grilled lemons, fresh spinach leaves and greek yogurt.
If you're eating paleo or on a diary restricted diet, just skip the yogurt. It's delicious without it too.


Zucchini Pineapple Slaw


Find yourself with more zucchini in the summer than you know what to do with? Here’s a fresh summer salad and another way to enjoy your bountiful summer harvest. This slaw works equally well as a light lunch or as a tangy side for your favorite BBQ. A wide vegetable peeler or mandoline makes the slicing task a little easier.

Zucchini Pineapple Slaw
Recipe type: Salad
  • 2 Carrots, peeled
  • 2 Apples (Granny Smith or other crisp, tart variety)
  • 2 Zucchini
  • ½ Pineapple, cored and peeled
  • 1 small head cabbage, cored
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mustard (dijon or spicy brown)
  • 2 tbs white vinegar (white balsamic or champagne)
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Slice the carrots and zucchinis lengthwise into very thin strips.
  2. Slice the apples into thin rounds.
  3. Slice the pineapple into thin rounds or half-moons.
  4. Slice the cabbage into thin wedges and separate the leaves.
  5. Mix and arrange the slaw ingredients on a serving platter.
  6. Top with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with dressing.
  7. Serve with additional dressing on the side.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey together until mixed.
  2. Add the mayonnaise and whisk until blended.
  3. Whisk in the mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Use a wide vegetable peeler to slice the carrots and zucchini into lengthwise strips or use a mandoline. You can leave the core in the apple as I did or core it before slicing with a knife or mandoline. This slaw recipe makes a very beautiful presentation but it must be cut into bite size pieces to eat it. For a more user friendly and portable version to serve and eat, try cutting the carrots, zucchini and apples into matchsticks or shredding them. Cut the pineapple into very small wedges or small dice. Shred the cabbage or buy it already shredded in a package. Make the dressing and then toss everything together and garnish with the basil.

Kayaking and Fruit Tarts – A Perfect Sunday

You know – every morning when you walk through the garage past the screaming green neon kayak…

Well today, we finally got her in the water again. We spent a very peaceful, albeit, hot, morning paddling through mangroves just off the Inter-Coastal waterway. It’s been a while since we paddled and my shoulders feel the love. It’s that “feels so good it hurts” love – and that’s ok.  And I have just a hint of sunkiss on my face and arms. Another reason to love Florida – even in the depths of summer.

And speaking of summer – oh the lovely fruit! It’s the end of rainier cherry season (so sad) and blueberries are fresh all over. I’ve been experimenting lately with tart crust and decided to try some fruit tarts.  And violà, cherry and blueberry tart with streusel topping. Oh, and a little thyme in the streusel and some lemon zest in the blueberries – yum!




Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

David Lebovitz’s post a while back for a French Tomato Tart inspired me to try my own version of the tomato tart with the wonderful tart crust I learned from Madame Paule Caillat in her Promenades Gourmandes class. In class, we made a sweet dessert tart, but Paule assured us that the crust would work with a savory filling too.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart (Adapted from David Lebovitz, A Culinary Journey in Gascony, and Paule Caillat’s family crust recipe)

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart
Recipe type: Savory
For the tart crust
  • 90 g (3 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil (I used lemon, orange and herbs de provence infused olive oil)
  • 3 tbs water
1/2 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 g (about 1 cup) flour
For the tomato filling
  • Dijon mustard
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes sliced into thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme and parsley snipped from the garden)
  • 8 ounces (250 g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese
For the tart crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).
  2. Combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt in a large glass measuring cup or oven safe bowl
  3. Place the butter mixture in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the butter is boiling and just starts to brown.
  4. Remove the butter mixture from oven and add into the pre-measured flour. Stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. If needed, add flour a spoonful at a time until the dough pulls away form the side of the bowl.
  6. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and line it evenly.
  7. Use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough for patching any cracks.
  8. Pierce the bottom with a fork and use the back of the fork to line ridges around the sides of the dough.
  9. Bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is light brown and shows light cracks.
  10. Let the shell cool before filling.
The Tomato Filling
  1. Keep the oven hot at 410º F.
  2. Slice half of the goat cheese into rounds and store in the refrigerator until tart assembly.
  3. Place the other half of the cheese in a small bowl to soften.
  4. Finely chop the herbs.
  5. Combine 1 tbs of the chopped herbs and ½ -1 tsp dijon mustard with the softened goat cheese.
  6. Carefully spread the cheese mixture over the bottom of the tart.
  7. Place the tomato slices in concentric circles over the cheese.
  8. Drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Sprinkle the tomatoes with some of the herbs.
  10. Top the tomato slices with the reserved goat cheese rounds.
  11. Sprinkle on the remaining chopped herbs.
  12. Bake about 30 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the cheese is nicely browned.
When I made this tart, I only had 4 ounces of goat cheese, so I sliced some rounds from about ⅔ of the roll and substituted cream cheese for the rest in the spread. It was very creamy and delicious. Add dijon mustard to the spread to taste. It does add a lovely tang, but can overpower the tomatoes very easily. The crust is very flaky and crumbly (yum) so the goat cheese can be a challenge to spread. I used a spreader rinsed in hot water to spread a bit and then rinsed and spread until I had a nice even layer over the bottom of the crust.