Ramen Noodles : Sardines : Dried Anchovies : Sriracha : Quail Yolk

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Sometimes, you just throw whatever you find in the fridge in a pot and magical s%@# happens. THAT… happened to me last night. I didn’t bother checking seasoning or temperatures, pretty careless about the whole thing actually. I was just not in the OCD mood and literally threw this meal together last second almost angrily, well kinda, actually not angrily at all, I was in a pretty good mood.  But usually proceeding this way ends up in disaster. I got lucky this time I guess. Pinch of this and that,  boiled some water, 15 minutes later I was done.

L I B E R A T I N G.

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I guess that feeling went away right around the time I had to place that egg yolk on top of that noodle mound, whatever, it was fun too. Anyways, for this post I tried a few new things photography-wise. I just got a gopro camera and a Knog LED light bank for it. Gopros are these tiny basic looking cameras. They’re super powerful tho, serious high tech stuff. They’re literally a cubic inch in size. They can do a lot of things. Time lapse photography is one of them. Wish they could do dishes too. I posted one video here, compressing about one hour into 50 seconds :) Also, I used that Knog LED light bank instead of my speedlite flashgun for the main photography. It was super fun and I hope you enjoy the pics and vid. Ah right, the food… here is the recipe!

Pork Chop Sous Vide 134F 2h : Cucumber and Pineapple Salad : Inspired by The Things We Cook

 

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I couldn’t resist the urge to pair a fat juicy pork chop with that beautiful salad from: The Things We Cook. Last week I wrote an article about this cookbook. If you missed it, check it out here!

I love pork. I hated pork chops for the longest time. Dry meat, tough texture, like where the f!@# is the gravy… yeah, I was doing it all wrong for as long as I can remember.

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I’m trying to improve the way I cook things these days. Pork chops might have a mighty appearance but they are very delicate and lean meat, similar to a chicken breast to put it someway. Sous vide gives us the control we need to nail the proper doneness and a good quick sear finishes off the job nicely. I don’t mess much with the seasoning. Salt. Let the salad and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction do the rest.

The Things We Cook : Pineapple and Cucumber Salad

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The Things We Cook. This is the title of the book I’m writing about today on my blog. The things We Cook is a beautiful book about food, about life in the kitchen, family and friends, it’s about cooking with the freshest ingredients, it’s all about farm to table, sustainability and it’s also about the experience of being a farmer. Green Hope Farm. A family owned farm in the state of New Hampshire. In its kitchen, Molly Sheehan, the cook, the author and the farm owner, has concocted countless recipes and this book is a compilation of all that hard work and a recount of the wonderful memories . 

Steak and Eggs : Poached Egg : Sous Vide Sirloin Tip 53.3C 24h : Red Chimichurri

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Isn’t frosted flakes the best thing in the world? It has to be, followed closely by steak and eggs. I can’t think of a better breakfast treat. I love this stuff. I love rare meat and runny eggs… yep. This is basically what I did here today. My take on Steak and Eggs. Bloody sirloin tip, a poached egg, and a drizzle of homemade chimichurri sauce. What can I say, I felt like treating myself today, deal with it.

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Sirloin Tip Sous Vide 53.3C 24h

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Grilling season is here. Deep frying season is also here, at least in my house. I just got a deep fryer.  I can’t express how happy I am that I did. I should have done this years ago. I cook a lot of meat at home and I like a good sear on it. I usually rely on my cast iron pans and lots of oil to do the job. The smoke, smoke detectors going off all the time…  and the oil splatter drives me nuts… the cleaning, the nightmare… but that’s just a bad memory now. Deep frying is all I’ll be doing from now on when I need to sear any meat. Deep fryers have a bad reputation in the world of healthy eating I guess. I’m gonna disagree. I think some of the foods cooked in a deep fryer could definitely be on the unhealthy side but I couldn’t blame deep fryers for making them unhealthy any more than I would a pan and some oil. Deep frying meat is not that different from pan frying it or pan searing it, same basics, get oil hot enough to brown it quick. More or less the same amount of oil will end up on the meat anyways and you can always remove the excess with paper towels. Meat is mostly water (about 70%), and really bad at absorbing fat which is great.

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Sirloin tip, not to be confused with top sirloin. Sirloin tip tastes like top sirloin but it’s a lot tougher. Probably too tough to be cooked rare, the way you would a top sirloin steak for example.  The result would just be too tough.    Sous vide is the only way around this issue, otherwise you’d get tough meat or overcooked meat. I don’t like either. By allowing meat to cook slowly at a low temperature, the required breaking down of connective tissue takes place and the final ideal doneness is achieved,  rare for this recipe. I love this stuff.  I love how sous vide cooking can transform protein. Amazing texture, amazing colour. And then….  I deep fried the whole thing and it was awesome.

12h Saline Brine : Sous Vide Cornish Hen 62.3C 3h : Yellow Mustard

 

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What the hell is a cornish hen and why are they not more popular? At least not in the parts of North America I’ve been to, and that’s Los Angeles and Vancouver. The cornish hen they sell at supermarkets is a hybrid chicken, a cross between two chicken species and I’m gonna guess that one of them is really tiny. A cornish chicken tastes pretty much like chicken, no surprise there right? but it’s a lot smaller. About half the size, maybe smaller than that.  They cook at the same temperatures a regular chicken does so no extra training required.

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Why aren’t they more popular…. no idea, maybe they are, but not where I’ve been. I guess yield is probably a factor, and also price, they tend to be a little more expensive per pound. Anyways, it was ridiculously good. I will be making this in the future for sure. If you wanna know how I prepared it, keep on reading! … oh, and happy 4th of July, US of A! 

8 More Tips to Take Your Phone Food Photography to the Next Level!

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Window Lighting. Cropped in post. A fair amount of post processing in snapseed to get the shot looking more interesting.

A week or so ago I posted the first article of this phone food photography series in which I covered what I consider to be the 5 areas everybody with an interest in improving their photo skills should get pretty good at. I’m trying to keep these tips as short and concise as possible and I hope you find them helpful. Based on these first 2 photos and the ones on my last post, you probably think I live at a burger joint. I do.

In this article I will go over a few more concepts equally simple,  stuff you can start applying right away. No gear or software needed maybe a free app here and there ;)  Actually, on this post I kept my photo post-editing to a minimum, sun light did all the hard work for me. The sun is the best light for food photography. Also, these tips relate to DSLR shooting or any kind of camera gear you own really.  Let’s dive in again!

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Same deal as above. Cropped in post and some color correction done in snapseed to get the shot looking better.

Pan Roasted Halibut : Chorizo and Caper Buttersauce : Kale Summer Salad

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Dinner tonight consisted of a really fresh and beautiful piece of halibut I found at the store. The rest of the dish simply highlighted the goodness that was already there. The kale salad I didn’t bother making. I bought it. It looked very fresh and I was too hungry to sit down and julienne carrots and cabbage for half an hour, that’s forever sometimes. Whipping a butter sauce and cooking some fish, that’s usually fast. Anyways, just wanted to catalog my dinner as I sometimes do and share it here on my blog tonight.

Standard Omelette and Canned Sardines : Roasted Leek

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Ahmm… yes, It finally happened. A canned product on this blog. I have zero problems with that. I love canned food. It is frowned upon, right? I know that in some places it’s actually well respected and quite a treat. Spain for example has a canning industry that is famous worldwide and extremely popular to locals as well. Their canned seafood is super high quality stuff. When I get canned food at the store, whenever possible, I try to get the stuff imported from Spain or Italy, they just know what they’re doing, period.  I love sardines. Not everybody does. Canned sardines in tomato sauce.. canned heaven. Canned octopus, canned chapirones, canned cod, canned anything. Ah! all so good! ok, stop me. 

5 Tips on How to Improve Your Phone Food Photography Now

Window lighting only, no tungsten contamination, phone held with 2 hands, sharp enough photo.
Window lighting only, no tungsten contamination, phone held with 2 hands, sharp enough photo.

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a long time. I frequently get asked about photography tips and how to get nicer pictures of food. Over the last few years I’ve found 5 areas that need to be understood in order to take a good photo (This is part 1 of my Food Phone Photography series, check the next one here). Specially a food photo. I’m working on a food styling post as well and can’t wait to finish that one, but food styling and plating without some basic photo skills is kinda pointless so I figured I’d start with this article.

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Another example of sunny window lighting, with the window behind the dish. There’s some tungsten contamination from some lightbulbs too terrible. Some post color editing done.

I will assume you don’t own any fancy gear (maybe you do and that’s cool too) and do most of your shooting using a phone camera (these tips apply to any digital photography). Phone photography is extremely popular these days and phone cameras have come a long way. I remember when they used to suck. These days, some amazing photography can be done with just a simple camera or a phone camera but to do so, understanding a few basic concepts of photography is indispensable. I’ll go over some basic stuff here that can easily be learned and applied right away!