Sunday, July 26, 2009

Deliciously Askew

Oh sweet imperfection. When you spend 10 hours a day consumed by the minutia of everything, it is a wonderful respite to enjoy the beauty in things that have not been fussed over.  When it comes to food at home, I don't care if every morsel is in an aesthetically pleasing place, I just want it to be delicious.  I want it to wrap me up in warmth and say "welcome home."  This muffin, made for me by a friend, is the epitome of homemade splendor.  Good old fashioned comfort food.  No one spent hours placing each chuck of chocolate into position or painstakingly perfected the golden brown hue on the top.  The muffin was just born beautiful.  The chips are perched on top in a wonderfully random order and have a glorious glisten from the heat of the day.  What could be better than coming home to find one of these little beauties waiting for you?  (finding 12!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Garden Junkie

Mother Nature is truly amazing.
Everyday when I pick through my garden, I find something more intriguing than the day before.  The textures, shapes, and colors are specimens of pure beauty. Unparalleled. 
Each detail is so deliberately functional and yet aesthetically divine. I could spend 
hours investigating the intricacies of the garden, and usually I do.
I am pretty sure I'm addicted.
(Admitting you have a problem is the first step.)  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Project Zucchini - Part 3

Ok, so I've grown them, harvested them, and now I am cooking them. I've made zucchini lasagna, sauteed zucchini, grilled zucchini, baked zucchini, and I've even tossed it in my spaghetti.  This weekend, I tried my hand at zucchini bread. Aside from the tiny flecks of green in the loaf, you would never even know about the veggies in this deliciously moist bread.  Everyone has their own way of making this standard but since I am a rookie, I started with the internet and pieced together my favorite elements from different recipes.  I took the basic ingredients from and then added lemon zest and a crumb topping after reading several different iterations.
I left out the walnuts in the bread but added chopped pecans to the crumb topping.  I think my next experiment will be chocolate zucchini cupcakes, thanks to 101 Cookbooks. Hmmmm, could I count a cupcake as a serving of vegetables?  I think so.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Love

There are an infinite number of reasons to love summer.  My cause for bliss is the delicious fruit that grows here in Michigan, namely the blueberries. If there is such a thing as absolute perfection, this fruit is it. Plump, juicy, and sweet as can be. They are not too big, not too small. I bought the berries seen here at a roadside stand and every single one was just as delectable as the next.  I always have good intentions of baking a cobbler or a pan of muffins but the berries never seem to find their way into any recipes. They do, however, find their way directly into my stomach.  I love summer.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A nod to Nemcosky

What comes to mind when someone says "food stylist"?  Tweezers, tools, and kits. What they represent is precision control. While tweezers are extremely handy, sometimes I feel like my fingers work just as well as any utensil. Yes, you get sticky, gooey, and sometimes even smelly when you use your fingers rather than utensils but there is something hypnotic about actually feeling the food that you're working with.  So often as a stylist I get disconnected with what I am preparing and get completely consumed by the exact placement of every tiny element. That leads to overworking the shot. Lately, I have been trying to relax my styling. I have found that starting the process with a loose gestural approach and ending with just a few decisive strokes leads to a more honest looking outcome.  It is very reminiscent of drawing class. "Start loose and then tighten up" my teacher would always say. The only difference is that now my hands are left with a coating of olive oil and parsley rather than graphite and eraser dust.  Thanks for the advice Professor Nemcosky, I am trying to loosen up!

photography by Nathan B. Harrmann © 2009 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Project Zucchini - Part 2

Well, here it is...the first crop of zucchinis!  They are gorgeous and delicious. I gave the first one a quick flash in a skillet with some olive oil, onions, and broccoli.  Then I put the warmed up veggies on top of an arugula salad from the garden and it was the perfect dinner. Since there are several that are almost ready for harvest, I smell a batch of zucchini bread coming soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sorting It All Out

I was recently given a large plastic tub full of broken tiles, plastic scraps, and beach glass. It has been sitting in the garage for about a week so tonight my husband and I decided to start sorting.  We discarded several shards of glass and tile that amounted to nothing more than junk and picked out the soft, worn pieces that were glorious shades of blue, brown and powdery white.  These are some of my favorites so far. I am very excited to get to the bottom of that bin, but I have a feeling it will take several evenings on the back stoop to sort the whole thing out.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Antiques on the Bluff

"Antiques on the Bluff" is one of the many reasons I love St. Joseph, MI.  On the first Sunday of each month (May through October) dozens of vendors set up booths all along the park overlooking Lake Michigan.  It is a stylist's dream.  Gorgeous props strewn about along the tree lined sidewalk.  Vintage glass milk bottles, cast iron skillets, primitive bowls, tea towels, and the list goes on.  Today I scored 3 small antique spoons.  At only $1 a piece, how could I pass them up?  I can't wait to use them in a shot. I also found myself lingering over a bowl of keys for quite a while.  Perhaps I will come up with a purpose for them if I just buy a bunch. Well, there is always next month!  

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Test Shoot - Part 2

This was the other half of today's shoot.  I wanted to balance out the frozen vegetables with the natural beauty of fresh ones.  I kept the propping to a minimum and let the veggies do all the work.  Thank you Mother Nature!  And of course, many thanks to the photographer.

photography by Nathan B. Harrmann  © 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Frozen Veggie Exploration

Today I spent the morning 
doing some testing with a wonderful photographer named Nathan Harrmann.  We had discussed the idea of frozen vegetable blocks, and I knew I wanted to arrive at a graphic image with a humorous undertone.  I was pleased with the overall outcome and it was a great exercise in visual brainstorming.  I did have to refreeze the peas because they were not formed into a block like I had hoped.   The broccoli, on the other hand, came out if the package just as you see it.  Thanks for a fun day of shooting, Nathan!

photos © 2009 Nathan B. Harrmann