Monday, January 21, 2013

My Favorite Winter Food, and My First Giveaway

Wandering the stalls at the farmers market, I see sturdy, toothsome, bulbous and gnarly veg fill most bins to overflowing. I could be frustrated by the lack of bright & juicy flavors, but rather than knock these quiet players, I admire the the substance they provide to tide me during the pantry days of winter. I hope you will fall in love too, and hurry yourself with your cold-weather layers to get to the market and make a similar, sublime meal.

(for all recipes, scroll to bottom)

Very roasted ruby turnips & chiogga beets

Maple syrup glazed delicata squash rings

Quince jelly, sage, pine nuts, and garlic-stuffed pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables

And, a little bit of fun as I perfected my shot....

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As time has gone on and my blog has grown, a number of wonderful food writers and cookbook authors have sent me copies of their latest musings on food to share with my readers. I am excited to share with you the first in a series of giveaways! 

Renowned raw foods chef, with a masters in Holistic Nutrition (is is the new year, after all, and we all want to eat what's good out there), Mark Reinfeld has put together The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe, with 150 plant-based delicious recipes. In it includes selections such as Dutch Stamppot, Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce, Six-Herb Botanical Juice, Bocadillos, and Buckwheat Galettes with Tarragon Cream. He shares the details on specialty items which help convey the deep flavors meat would otherwise impart, as well as options to include in place of dairy for a rich texture and satisfying flavor. For anyone who seeks to broaden their repertoire of plant-based eating, this is a great find. The recipes are easy to follow, with ingredients that are widely available, and Reinfeld offers wine and beer pairings to boot. 

To win your very own copy of this new book, either: subscribe to my blog and leave a comment on how you would like to eat with greater consciousness at the end of this post; follow me on Twitter - @melinaphotos - and leave a comment there; or, like my Facebook page - Melina Hammer Photography - and leave me a note there! I will put your names into one of my favorite hats and pull one at random. Chances to win this giveaway end at midnight EST, Sunday February 3rd, and is available only to United States participants. I will alert who the winner is shortly after and then get your shipping address to send along the book. Good luck everyone!!! 

Update - February 10th: the winner is "Unknown," from the comments below. Please send me your name and address via email to so that I may send you your cookbook! 

Winter Food Recipes - 

Very roasted ruby turnips & chiogga beets

a good handful of each turnips and beets - you can substitute other variations of each, if these specified are unavailable in your neighborhood
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Scrub the turnips and beets and trim any bruised surfaces. Quarter smaller turnips, and cut into similar-sized wedges the larger ones. Slice beets into half-inch thick disks. Place everything onto a baking sheet. Pour some olive oil into a small bowl and brush onto surfaces with basting brush, then scatter sea salt and pepper onto all. 

Roast on bottom rack in oven, turning after 15 minutes or so (once bottom surfaces become golden). Turn again after another 15 minutes, or until sides become browned and lovely. As ovens vary, check the roasting at 15-minute intervals and remove from oven once and for all when a slice/wedge, pierced with a fork, gives way easily. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack and transfer to a serving platter. Season again with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Maple syrup glazed delicata squash rings

2 delicata squash, cut into (1/2-inch - 1-inch) thick rings, seeds and stringy bits gently scraped out with a spoon
1/3 cup good maple syrup - I used Crown Maple Syrup 
1/3 cup good olive oil
sea salt & freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Place squash in a single layer on one or two baking sheets as needed. Combine equal parts syrup and oil in a bowl, and using a basting brush paint mixture onto top surfaces of the squash. Sprinkle sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, and place into oven to roast. Check after 20 minutes, using a thin spatula to lift squash from tray surface: the undersides should be somewhat crisp, caramelized, and golden. Replace in oven to roast if squash is not yet done, checking at 5-7 minute intervals until caramelized. Scrape the glazed bits from the pan to add to the delicata rings and transfer to a serving platter. Great as a snack, over pasta, and as a side to accompany roasted meats.

3 large, ripe quince
4 cups water
2 cups cane sugar

Wash quince, scrubbing off any fuzz, and trim the stems. Core the fruit by chopping around the cores. Place the quince in a large saucepan and pour the water over. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking until fruit is mushy-soft, about an hour. Mash the cooked fruit with a potato masher. If quince is on the dry side, add more water. The ideal consistency is like a soupy applesauce. Place a fine-meshed sieve over a large bowl and ladle the quince mash into the sieve. Leave to drain for 2 hours, saving the remaining mashed quince for compost or to make membrillo.

There should be about 2 cups or so of juice drained into the bowl. If you do not have that amount, stir a little more water into the mash in the sieve and allow to drain through. Sterilize a canning jar in a boiling water bath. Measure the quince juice and pour into a large saucepan. Add just over 3/4 cup sugar per cup of juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly at first, to dissolve the sugar. Stir occasionally after, until the jell point is reached. More on finding the jell point, here.  

Ladle jelly into the jar, leaving a half-inch head space, and after screwing the lid on tightly, process in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and allow to cool completely. The jelly will set as it cools and be completely jelly in 2 days. Yummy deliciousness - great aside roasted meats, paired with cheeses, spooned onto rustic crackers, over yogurt, and more.

Quince jelly-sage-pine nut-garlic-stuffed roasted pork tenderloins

4 tbsp quince jelly
12 fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pork tenderloins, trimmed and butterflied - if  you have a good butcher, he can do this for you 
sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
good olive oil 
kitchen twine

Slather the inside surface of the butterflied tenderloins with jelly. In a small bowl, combine the sage and garlic with s & p, and enough olive oil to hold the ingredients together. Spoon that mixture along the center, down the length of the tenderloins, and top with a sprinkling of pine nuts. 

Cut a number of lengths of kitchen twine to thread underneath the pork. Wrap left and right sides of meat together, forming a roll, and then tie twine into knots at intervals, securing the stuffing inside. Generously season tenderloins with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Heat a large cast iron skillet until hot at medium-high heat, pour a good glug of olive oil in and see it shimmer, then sear the tenderloins on all sides until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer tenderloin bundles to a baking sheet and roast in oven for 10-15 minutes. The center should be rosy when cut into with a knife. Allow meat to rest on a carving board for 5 minutes, and then cut tenderloins into half-inch thick medallions on a slight diagonal, discarding twine as you go. Place on a serving platter beside roasted veggies, and have extra quince jelly available to spoon on top. 

If your saliva has got going and you find yourself hankering for more, remember this story as you add to the mix.... Hearty, sweet, delicious eating.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Work Out Now

There are some wonderful projects I have been very fortunate to collaborate on, available online and in stores now.  Many of my favorites from these shoots can be seen in my updated portfolio. I welcome any feedback you may have!

I mentioned ReStyle Source in the recent My New York post. They are the newest addition to lifestyle & home goods online, and they organize - in oh-so-pretty a way! - where to find unusual-delicious-beautiful things from great, local producers nationwide. I am a style scout and photographer for their NY projects; here is one of the first of my picks to be featured.

Sergio, making the magic at Bkln Larder

Another nice add, here is my very own source page, with more goodies soon to follow....

In other news, towards the end of fall, I flew down to the (incredibly beautiful) Southern Living headquarters to shoot a story featured in this month's magazine. Called "What to Eat Now" I spent a great day shooting the story with the truly awesome photo staff - thank you Erin, Heather, Julie, and Hunter! - and the fabulous food stylist Tami Hardeman and prop stylist Lydia Purcell. You ladies rocked!! Available on newsstands now, be sure to check out this yummy story, complete with a variety of crowd-pleasing recipes.

If these images delight but you can't get your hands on the magazine for any reason, the recipes are also available here. (scroll towards bottom and you'll find 'em)

I am so grateful to work on projects like these with such talented people. This is my passion. Hardworking people, beautiful objects which tell a story, and *fresh-fresh* gorgeous ingredients to bring everything together. Look for more soon!  (:-)