Oct 29, 2010

A Little Friday Work Love

Mick Hastie of the Magic Bullet is my FAVORITE client. I couldn't make it to his shoot this week because I was writing, so the girls sent me these pictures. Now I'm even more jealous! How fun is this job!?

Capital Brands will have a really neat new product coming out soon, so keep an eye out on TV!

Have a great weekend and once again, Happy Halloween!

Tiffany's First Kit!

As precious as baby shoes.

Our UBER intern, Tiffany, has graduated with flying colors to assistant food stylist.  We wanted to document her very first kit, which she put together with the help of (shameless plug) The Food Stylist's Handbook.

Onwards and upwards, Tiff!  We adore you!

Kids Halloween Party Ideas

From chocolate eyeballs, to witchy table tops and haunted craft ideas, we have your childrens Halloween party covered!

Bowl of White Chocolate Eyeballs:  Donut holes dipped in white chocolate and decorated with a Lifesaver pupil.  Draw broken blood vessels with red food coloring.  Can also pierce with a skewer for an “eyeball on a stick” treat.

Ghostly Pancakes:  Ghost-shaped pancakes with licorice eyes and mouth, served with blood-red raspberry syrup.

Earthworm Ice Cream Cake:  Chocolate ice cream in a loaf pan mold with gummi worms and broken Oreo “dirt” pieces.  When the “cake” is cut, it reveals the dirt and worm guts inside.

Mini Jack O’ Lanterns:  Each guest gets their own mini pumpkin in a black bag along with a variety of decorating items (plastic eyes, fake fur, pipe cleaners, stickers, black Sharpie markers, etc.).  They can decorate and take home.

Trick or Treat Goodie Sacks:  Buy or dye pillowcases black, one for each guest.  Kids can decorate with glow in the dark fabric paints, glitter glue, etc. to make their own personalized bag for their sweet loot.  To make decorating easier, cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside each case.

Halloween Place Settings:  Use inexpensive orange hand or kitchen towels with some sort of harvest or Halloween motif on them as placemats.  Set place with black plastic plates and utensils.

In addition, here a couple recipe ideas for the grown ups and children alike:

Blood Orange Caramel, anyone? Can't think of a more perfect Halloween treat.

Or perhaps a stuffed pumpkin?

Happy Halloween Everybody!

Oct 28, 2010

Just another day...styling in a garage...

We can go for a bike ride on our lunch break!

Loving the apron, Cindie!

Oct 27, 2010

Boo! Cake

 Here's an easy Halloween treat.  Start by baking (or buying) your favorite cake. Can be an Angel food cake or any two-layer cake.

We made a simple buttercream frosting and colored it with orange food gel from Surfas.  Professional cake decorators swear by the colored gel dyes in place of the grocery store sets (if you don't know about Surfas...you have to go there).

The BOO Ghost is a pyramid of marshmallows that we glued together with more frosting.
Cindie made his face out of tootsie roll pieces. I love the way he looks.

BOOOOO to you! Happy Halloween.

We made a similar cake for a Food Network star, but it wasn't nearly as scary as the morning we arrived at her house and we had to see her without her hair, make-up and push-up bra! What were those nasty things hanging down?!

Serve the cake with cold milk. Meow....

Food Styling Demo and Book Signing at Rosti Tuscan Kitchen November 21st

Bring your Food Stylist's Handbook, your camera, and your appetite!  Denise will be styling pastas and signing autographs from 2-4pm.

Click here to view the flyer more betterer.

Rosti Tuscan Kitchen
16350 Ventura Blvd.
Encino, CA 91436
RSVP by November 15, Amy Levy 310.444.5250

Your Best Body Now, by Tosca Reno

This is a diet and exercise book I can actually get a little excited about.  Why?  Author Tosca Reno started her quest towards health and fitness at 40!  Gives us all hope.

I love how she completely takes us through her journey from unhappy housewife and mother of three to amateur body builder at 42.  Here is an excerpt I found particularly inspiring:

"And I noticed that Eating Clean- eschewing sugars, fats, cheese, ice cream, soda, bread and so on in favor of lean protein and complex carbohydrates-made me feel and look younger.
My doctor noted my transformation in my blood work during my yearly physical- my blood chemistry was amazing.  I was lean.  My hair was thick and shiny.  My skin was taut and glowing, and it showed few fine lines."

Sign me up (except for the no cheese or sugar or bread part)!

The book covers everything from diet, fitness plans, health and beauty advice.  It is also packed with real-life "before and after" stories with pictures (I love pictures).  Tosca provides recipes, shopping lists, and even space to journal.

Most diet books I don't pay much heed to and honestly, don't believe.  Tosca, on the other hand, is not selling any gimmicks, the nutrition is sound, and her voice is one I believe (and she's super hot...and over fifty).  Check it out!

Creating a Meal You'll Love:

Notable Chefs and Food Writers on Their Unforgettable Dining Experiences, 
by Mark Chimsky-Lustig

I (Blog Mistress Mandy) couldn't put it down, and it got me through a few sleepless nights when junior decided to dance the macarena in my belly 'til the sun came up.  I loved reading it because the chefs and foodies talk about exactly what they want to talk about, free of agendas.  Refreshing.  Some share recipes from their childhood or culture of origin, others share a personal food memory, dining with royalty...there is something for everyone.

Denise is a featured author, and she tells of her first engagement dinner at the tender age of twenty!

This really is a must read by the fire on a chilly day.  You'll laugh, you'll cry...and you'll get really hungry.

The Spain Gang

Where Denise will live when she runs away to Spain!

We had an incredible time in Tarragona, Spain and beyond!  We went to speak and hold workshops at the Food Photo Festival and were absolutely blown away by the level of passion and talent.  Truly inspiring and I must say, European food photography is very different from American, in a great way.

Adventuring with Britta and Sasa Asanovic

We met old friends and made new friends, and we quickly bonded camp-style and became what I like to call "The Spain Gang."  A motley crew indeed, including Silvia Baghi, Petra Schmidt, and Mans Jensen, and former students Britta and Sasa Asanovic.

Cindie's Sandwich Shoppe
Each morning, we were served a beautiful, abundant breakfast.  After having her fill, Cindie would make some type of sandwich to take with her on our daily adventures.  Eventually, she began making sandwiches for everyone.  Always helpful, that one.  And the sandwiches were delicious!  And free!

Book signing. How much do we love Cindie's buns?
After a few days at the festival, we explored other cities in Spain.  Of note was our train trip to Valencia.  We thought we had tickets on the express train (fast, serves food and drinks) and instead we had purchased tickets for the "milk train", meaning we stopped every few minutes and there was no refreshment to be had (not even milk).  As you can see from my Spain photo album, we did not starve.

The beautiful train station in Valencia.

We can't wait to go back!  Spain left me feeling very spunky.  I've still got it.  We're hoping to teach some food styling classes there...

New Zealand Culinary Tour, hosted by Chef Stephanie Hersh

I met Stephanie Hersh at an IACP conference some years ago.  We were seated next to each other at Charlie Trotter's. She is one of the wittiest women you will ever meet.

She worked closely with Julia Child and the night Julia died, Stephanie came to my home and I made her a turkey burger.  I tried my best to comfort, but her mentor and best friend had just passed on.  Her heart was broken.

She's a brilliant woman and this culinary tour in January sounds amazing (if only I wasn't teaching).  What are you waiting for?

Check it out!

Turkish Culinary Tour

I first met Aliza Green many years ago when we were both speaking at a conference in Philadelphia. I immediately  thought she was terrific! So full of food information and  knowledge.

I really got to know her was when we were on a trip to India together. Like survivors of the Titanic, we are bonded forever.

Aliza is leading a culinary tour in Turkey, which sounds fabulous. I'm only sorry I can't join her, and thought the rest of you might want too know about it.

Aliza is a pro at whatever she tackles. Sign up if you can!

Fragrant Fields and Turkish Delights Highlights
May 25 – June 8, 2011
Hosted by  Culinary Authority & Cookbook Author Aliza Green

We begin on the Greek Island of Chios, just seven miles from Turkey in the Aegean Sea, to learn about the production and culture of mastic resin, a two-thousand year old artisanal craft.We’ll be staying in a medieval castle. Our guide will be Vassilis Roulas, a young farmer, walking guide, and founder of Masticulture, specializing in ecotourism. We’ll visit the groves, cook with local herbs, and see the Mastic Villages, known for  Xesta, the decorative patterns inscribed onto the facades of the houses.
We take the short ferry ride to Cesme, Turkey where we enjoy a dinner cooked at the home of Aliza’s friend in their garden surrounded by Mediterranean pines. The next day, we will have lunch at the home of another friend with the authors of a wonderful book about the Sephardic cuisine of Izmir.
We visit Tire, a 5000 year old town with its old quarter a lively Tuesday market influenced by the Roma (Gypsy) population of the surrounding villages.

For the history buff, we’ll visit the world-famous Ephesus Museum to see its many ancient artifacts and the ruins of Pergamum and its Acropolis along with Troy, the city of Homer.

At the Adatepe Olive Oil Museum,  we discover the steps of producing olive oil and enjoy an olive oil tasting. Next, a chance to shop in Yesilyurt renowned for its hand-made silk, cotton and wool textiles.
Then it’s on to Mt. Ida to gather herbs with a chef/owner Erhan Seker followed by a cooking demonstration and lunch with dishes made from these ingredients at Zeytinbağı Restaurant where he produces some of the best cooking in Turkey.

On nearby beautiful Bozcaada Island, we’ll be honored guests at the Corvus winery for a tour and tasting followed by dinner at the winery.

Then, it’s on to Istanbul for four nights starting with a special visit to the Topkapi Palace with its colorful Harem, the private domain of the Sultan’s family, and the spectacular palace kitchens. Dinner is at Karakol Restaurant, inside the Topkapi Palace.

The next day, we take a private boat across the magnificent Bosphorus to the Asian side of Istanbul for a very special cooking class on Ottoman Cuisine at the Ciya Restaurant, one of Istanbul’s most famous restaurants and its renowned chef, Musa Dagdeviren. The adventure of Ciya Restaurant is “built on passion, keen desire, research and love through the world of food.”

Of course, while in Istanbul, we’ll be visiting the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, the Grand Bazaar, the Beyoğlu open market and the Blue Mosque. For the early risers, Aliza will be making a visit to the colorful Kumkapi Fish Market where you find a huge selection of sparkling fresh fish loved by locals.
Land Package Price:   $ 5995.00* per person based on two sharing
Single Supplement:   $ 1359.00* (Limited availability)

Tour Includes the following
•    13 nights’ accommodation (hotels listed or similar)
•    Daily breakfasts, 10 lunches and 7 dinners
•    Welcome coffee and snacks on first day
•    Limited local alcoholic drinks (some meals) or non-alcoholic beverages lunches and dinners
•    13 days of sightseeing in a deluxe air-conditioned vehicle with a professional driver
•    Herb gathering from Mt Ida with a professional chef
•    3 special cooking classes
•    Licensed professional guide in English language
•    Wine tasting by Gulor Vineyards
•    All transfers and baggage handling
•    Entrance fees to museums and sites
•    Bottled water provided throughout the tours
•    VAT and other taxes
•    Welcome package
•    Hosted throughout by Epicopia Experience Director, Aliza Green

For reservations contact:
Epicopia Culinary Journeys – specialists in food & wine travel experiences
5042 Rabbit Ridge Court
Rockwall, Texas 75032
Tel:  972.771.3510 or 877.661.3844

For information contact:
Aliza Green
215.635.0651 (office)
215.740.9905 (mobile)

To listen to an interview with tour host Aliza Green, click here.

Oct 1, 2010

650 Best Food Processor Recipes by George Geary & Judith Finlayson

Everything you ever wanted to know about your food processor, but were afraid to ask.  The 650 Best Food Processor Recipes is not a book, it's an encyclopedia, and a wonderful way to utilize that $200 piece of equipment gathering dust on your counter top.  They cover everything from sauces to yeast breads, and give you step by step instructions on how to use the processor to make culinary magic.

Because it is Fall, and Miss Mama Mandy thinks soup is a great excuse to eat more bread, she selected George and Judith's Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup to try at home.  It did not disappoint.

You will see that Mandy took a few liberties (frozen broccoli, and Mexican shredded cheese instead of cheddar).  She also added extra broccoli which made a thicker soup.  She likey the thick soup.  This would also be amazing on a baked potato.

The Goods

Before The "Process"

Ready To Eat!

 Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup

1 onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp oil
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch freshly ground pepper
1 can (10 oz) condensed Cheddar Cheese soup, undiluted
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 cups broccoli florets
8 oz Cheddar cheese

In work bowl fitted with metal blade, pulse onion and garlic until finely chopped, about 10 times, stopping to scrape down sides as necessary.

In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add cayenne, and black pepper, to taste, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add soup and mustard, stirring, until smooth.  Gradually stir in broth.  Add broccoli and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a clean work bowl fitted with shredding blade, shred cheese.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside (you can also use pre-shredded cheddar; you will need 2 cups).

Replace shredding blade with metal blade.  Place strainer over a large bowl and strain soup.  Transfer solids to work bowl and add 1 cup of the liquid.  Puree until smooth.  Return pureed solids to saucepan over low heat and stir in remaining liquid.  Add reserved cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until smooth, being careful not to let the mixture boil.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Ladle into warm bowls.  Serve piping hot.

To top it all off, when George stopped by the studio he not only left Denise his book, he brought these unbelievable cake pops.  After a light lunch of chicken, avocado and buffalo mozzarella sandwiches, and an entire bag of potato chips, Denise, Cindie, and Miss Mandy could NOT stop eating them.  Mandy has the excuse of eating for two...Cindie and Denise are still trying to come up with a good reason.  Delish, George!  Don't ever give us the recipe, or we'll have to buy a bigger studio.