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In the studio—Culture Magazine shoot

In this age of ever-growing demand for digital content for Web sites, e-publications, and mobile media, it’s still very satisfying to see my work in print. So when I was contacted to shoot for the Fall issue of Culture Magazine and get to collaborate with my talented foodie-friends Elaine Khosrova and Emily Gold, I couldn’t wait to get started.

The photos were used for a wine-paring insert into the Fall issue, and the five recipes that Emily prepared were:
Spicy Roasted Tomato Dip with Chévre;
Sweet Potato, Chard, and Alpine Cheese Croquettes;
Savory Mushroom and Cheese Panna Cotta with Apple Salad;
Crostini with Pecorino, Pear, Hazelnuts, and Rosemary;
and my favorite—Ham, Manchego, and Fig Twists.

The studio never smelled so good!

storyboard001 storyboard002 storyboard003 storyboard004 storyboard005Wine Culture insert

Comfort Food—Mac and Cheese

I just finished back-to-back, all-consuming photo projects. One of which was a recipe booklet for foods paired and created with Rioja wine, with a dozen delicious and creative recipes by Jill Paradiso.

So when I looked down the list and saw the mac and cheese recipe, I couldn’t wait to start. My wife Colleen and I like to experiment in the kitchen with homemade pizzas, and her mac and cheese is always evolving as we try different ratios and types of cheese and other ingredients such as bacon and fresh veggies.

In addition to the wine pairing, this recipe may not be for the younger kids—due to the kick of the cayenne pepper and onions—but for us big kids on a cold winter’s day, there is nothing like a nice Crianza and a warm kitchen filled with the smells of melting cheese and onion. A special thanks to Colleen for agreeing to “model” while I turned our kitchen into a photo studio 😉

More food shots and recipes to come from this tasty project!

Mac and cheese

A sample page from the Rioja "At Home" recipe book

Yield: serves 8 as a side dish
Ingredients:
1 lb elbow pasta
¼ onion, finely chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
1 ¼ cups grated manchego (5 ounces)
1 ¼ cups shredded white cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
2 slices white bread
sea salt
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put large pot of water to boil and salt well. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, and stir in flour to coat onion well. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes minutes, stirring frequently. In a steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.
2. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until mixture in thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, cayenne or paprika and 1 cup of each cheese. While sauce is reducing cook pasta for 8 minutes. Drain and reserve.
3. Toss pasta in cheese mixture and transfer to a 9×13 baking dish. In a food processor, pulse bread until large crumbs form. Toss together with remaining 1/4 cup each of cheddar and manchego, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top pasta with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.
Rioja Pairing:
The creaminess from the cheese and the spice from the paprika or cayenne would do well with an aged red, whether it be a Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva.