Mar 27, 2013

Huffington Post: Letting Go Of The Rope

I grew up the youngest of three girls. Naturally, we share our family memories, often differently, and when I'm with my sisters, long forgotten remembrances will crop up: My mother hanging the bunch of bananas on a string in her kitchen because when you hang the bananas, they don't bruise as easily. Or the yellow and brown Yuban coffee can filled with bacon grease under the kitchen sink, saved for seasoning when cooking (never refrigerated). Or the indelible two-car caravan we all survived every summer so we could spend a month at the lake, both cars so full we didn't need seatbelts, which was good because we didn't have any.

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Mar 21, 2013

Spending a Day with a Food Stylist

Photo courtesy of Pam Rauber

We were fortunate to have Pam from Tasty Comforts of North Georgia join us for our Seafood styling class. She captured the day perfectly.

 For a while now, I’ve been following the famous comedic food stylist, political ranter, whose candid writings appear on Huffington Post and more so on Facebook. To get an idea of what Denise is made of, just follow her on Facebook. Request to be her friend, she’ll confirm your request. She confirms everybody.

Her right arm, Cindie Flannigan, was equally humorous and always had a comeback to anything Denise threw out.

The workshop was on styling seafood. I cook great food. I’m not a learned culinary school graduate, just 40 years in my home kitchen. I never measure, just taste and season. I’m also a good photographer. Making food look great, however is not my strong suit, and I thought I could use some help from an expert. I decided to give myself a birthday present and attend one of many workshops Denise and Cindie put on.

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Mar 14, 2013

Make It Or Fake It?

"The reason we have food stylists." Ha! Photo courtesy of Pass The Salt.

Love that title. Thank you, Anna, for the fabulous recap of our Food Styling Technique Intensive in Sydney. Was wonderful to have you!

I arrived back from Australia a few days ago with my head reeling from a weekend workshop at the Sydney Cooking School. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it but I discovered a side of the food business that has nothing to do with creating good tasting food – food styling is all about making inedible stuff look tasty. And man, there is such an art to doing it well!

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Mar 2, 2013

Beef Goulash

Beef Goulash

Makes 8 servings

You can buy already roasted red bell peppers in most markets. Or you can roast your own by placing the bell pepper directly over the flame on a gas stove-top and let sit until skin blackens, turning with tongs to cook all sides. Wrap pepper in damp paper towels and let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse blackened skin off under cool running water, discarding seeds, core, and membrane.

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds small white or yellow potatoes, cut in half
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and diced
1 pound white or brown mushrooms, cut in half
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream for garnish
Fresh dill for garnish

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown half the beef well on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer meat and juices to a large bowl.
  2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and brown
    remaining meat. Transfer meat and juices to bowl and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add a tablespoon of oil and onions, and cook until soft and lightly golden, about 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  5. Place beef broth, flour, paprika and tomato paste in a large bowl, whisking until flour is incorporated. Pour into pot, stirring to combine. Add beef, potatoes and carrots and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, place a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add half the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and loosely cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and mushrooms.
  7. Add mushrooms and peppers to pot, stirring to combine. Let simmer over medium low heat until meat is very tender, about 1 hour 20 minutes.
  8. Garnish with sour cream and dill and serve hot with crusty bread.