Category Archives: Food Photography

Vegetable and sauce stuffed fresh rolls on a plate

No Mess Salad for Dining Al Fresca

A crisp chill may be in the air, but I still have some grilling days left in me. So, for the many opportunities to eat al fresca through the fall, plus the abundance of a late season harvest, I figured a light I would share my tricks for making a no mess vegetable side dish to accompany outdoor dining – Fresh Roll Salads. It is sort of like a tidy, little, portable salad in the palm of your hand.

Dry_WrapThe secret is spring roll skins. They are sometimes called fresh roll wrappers, rice paper wrappers or some combination of all those words, and, in our opinion, they are an often overlooked culinary item. You often run into fresh roll wrappers at Thai or Vietnamese restaurants where they are filled with noodles, leafy vegetables, thinly sliced scallions and other vegetables and shrimp then finished off with a peanut or soy-based sauce.

At 15 to 30 calories per skin, they are lower in calories than most tortillas or breads. Skins are made with tapioca starch, rice flour, water and salt, so they are gluten free. Wet_WrapThey come dried, so they store nicely and keep for a very long time. And they are a fun and unique way to add a salad to a barbeque, picnic or lunch. Fresh rolls salads are also perfect to make ahead so you can be busy enjoying the sunshine.

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Throwback November 1981: No Turkey Gourmet?

For a Food Photography class with Nina Gallant, I selected the November 1981 issue of Gourmet Magazine for a throwback assignment. The goal? Write a short piece on the issue considering the era, then recreate and photograph a recipe. To update the cover story, I recreated the cover photo as a concept related to the accompanying Celery and Herb Soup recipe. It is adapted slightly for what I had on hand. Enjoy!

The cover of Gourmet’s November 1981 issue is a grey monotone, dour image of squared-off, interlocking logs. The weathered texture and deep cracks allude history and age, but nothing about this cover feels ‘gourmet’ or November.  Imagine this issue nestled on a rack between the turkey shown with a knife at mid-carve on the cover of Bon Appetit and the Thanksgiving cake decorated with pecans and set atop a delicate plate and lackey doily on the cover of Food & Wine. It is pretty bold and admirable for a food and lifestyle magazine to forgo the traditional Thanksgiving cover in November. However, while out shopping for the holidays, I am not sure I would be intrigued enough by this radical expression to pick up a copy.  Of course, looking back a few decades, outside of the holiday mindset, the cover was actually compelling enough for me to look into it.

side by side

Rather than a gloomy stack of logs, the photograph intends to portray workmanship and craft. “On the Cover” explains that the image is of the corner of a historic house in New Harmony, Indiana. New Harmony is a blip on the map. It lies on the banks of the Wabash River which runs along the Illinois-Indiana border. The house in the photo was built when the town was originally founded as Harmonie. That is better than 150 years ago and the house is impressively made without any nails. My engineering self says, “Wow that is pretty impressive.” My food studies self says, “Wow that still isn’t Gourmet, food or Thanksgiving.”

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