Thursday, October 31, 2013

More! Delicious Bites and Scenes from Southern Living

With the holidays approaching, there's been a lot of glitter on set, along with ample china finery and general mayhem. This beautiful floral scene features in the current issue, as do most of the images which follow. Celebrating Thanksgiving elegance and good eating,  the November issue is sure to please. 

Delectable jambalaya. With this mix of ingredients, you can't go wrong...

Curried chicken and veg chowder with toasted coconut - totally yummy. Try it out, here.

A sausage-grits quiche-style dish. Surprisingly tasty....

There's so much happening right now. These morsels are a keyhole to satisfaction, as I prepare the next great thing.... 

Some highlights looking ahead: a chef in the garden story we're shooting, right-around-the-corner, a gorgeous French rustic Tart Tatin feature, a fall picnic fantasy, and more. :) Thanks, as always, for your continued enthusiasm and support. xoxo

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Sausage Cassoulet

Recently I discovered the wonderful cuts from Mountain Song Farm, and in an effort to help keep a local and ethical farmer in business, I wanted to share his product with you. Farmer Brad raises Berkshire pigs in their traditional woodland environment, giving them full opportunity to live as hogs should, not confined, fed chemicals, and grown on GMO grains. This heritage pork is juicy, so tender and flavorful - worlds tastier (and healthier) than supermarket pork. Your support aids in the longevity of a small family farm! Please show your love for Mountain Song Farm by purchasing a farm share today. Cuts include rib racks, thick-cut bone-in chops, hickory smoked bacon, smoked jowl, bratwurst, chorizo, and andouille sausages, and more. Call or email farmer Brad and let him know which option you would like, or visit him at Pepper Place Market.

I made a wonderful dish adapted from a (always playful) riff from Jamie Oliver, and well, it was so good that we ate two plates-full and seriously contemplated returning for thirds.

Sausage Cassoulet

6-8 sausage links - I used Mt. Song chorizo (killer flavor) and andouille
5 rashers bacon, cut crossways into 1/2-inch thick slices
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a good handful of mixed fresh thyme and rosemary, tied in a bunch with kitchen twine
2 bay leaves
a large handful dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled into small bits
2 cans cherry or plum tomatoes and their juices
2-3 cups cannellini beans (soaked and cooked, or canned)
1/2 loaf day-old good crusty bread, torn into chunky pieces
good olive oil
2 tbsp duck fat
1/3 bottle red wine
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Boil 1 1/2 cups water, remove from heat and add porcinis, covering to rehydrate. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until brown on both sides. Add garlic, shallots, carrot, celery, and herb bunch and sauté for a few minutes further. Strain mushrooms from their liquid and add to the pan, stirring occasionally. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). After a few minutes with the porcinis sauteeing, pour in red wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add in the tomatoes, the beans, and the porcini liquid and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium sauté pan, melt the duck fat (or simply use a good glug of olive oil, if no duck fat can be located) and brown the sausages on all sides over medium heat. Just a couple minutes a side should do it, as the greater cooking will be done in the oven. Pour bacon-bean mixture into a roasting pan and push the sausages into the stew, allowing most of their surfaces to remain exposed so that they crisp up in the oven. In the remaining fat from the sausage sauté, toss the bread pieces with to coat, and then place atop the roasting mixture. Place into oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the bread and sausages become golden brown. Remove the herb bunch and serve with a crisp green salad or lightly wilted greens, such as spinach or chard.

Enjoy, and support your local farmers!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Feature at Anthology: Muscadine Marbled Goat Cheese Cheesecake!

The time has arrived again for my monthly feature over at Anthology. This time I decided on a dynamite dessert that's sure to please everyone. With a twist! Because that's how I do things. Think of it as the perfect marriage of grapes and cheese....

I hope you'll love the story (and recipe!) as much as we do.  Happy Friday everybody!!!

I would also like to use this dreamy dessert story to offer a giveaway of two prized possessions. The fantastic rubber spatula used in making this cheesecake crust - from none other than the inventive folks at GIR (thank y'all for such a solid product!) - and, the Clean Plates Cookbook, by Jared Koch and Jill Hough. Their savvy recipes are for people interested in sensible, sustainable, and delicious eating (that means YOU).

In order to qualify: 1. Share this story with your friends and social community, and include why my work has inspired you (even in the eensiest bit), and 2. Link your share back here with a comment, or on my Facebook Page or Twitter stream, and include one thing that inspires *you* day-to-day. With each entry, you are entered to win. The more the merrier! Continental US residents only (for shipping purposes, sorry), though I love y'all far out there in the world! You have until October 27th at 11:59pm, CST to add your piece. I cannot wait to see what you all share, as my inspiration list is a long one! Have fun!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Food: Bites from Southern Living Magazine

Though you don't necessarily see it on my blog, I have been shooting more than ever before. The rate at which stories are produced, edited, processed, and turned in to the grid to be put into production is dizzying. The pace is certainly different from the freelance life!

Here are some of my favorites from the past little while. I hope you enjoy....

From a series called "Quick Fix Suppers" - these, from the September issue.

Some images - like these - have plentiful empty space for copy in the layout. Below is the way these apple hand pies ran in print -

Here is another kind of work I often produce. Shot on white, they are cut from the background and dropped into one or another layout....

Here's another from the QFS series, which ran in October's issue. We did two versions - which do you prefer?

Some recipes are available online, like thisthis, and this. And, this and this! Search SL online if something intrigues you here and you want to find out more. :)

Here is another story which ran in September's issue. My favorites -

These are part of a brunch story. The veggie hash recipe is here, and the fantastic breakfast pizza (who knew?!), here.

Maybe by now you're hungry. That means we've done our job well.....

Look for more of my work at the magazine, soon. November's issue and Christmas (yes, already) are *right* around the corner!

And..... please look out for more personal work. I realize more now than ever how precious my own voice is, even in the midst of producing impressive and varied work for one of the longest-running magazines around. Stay tuned. xxx