Monday, September 30, 2013

On food styling and photography. Oh, and a little blogging update!

Color me excited, because I totally just splurged on a seminar about food styling and photography at Boston University next month.

It will be held by none other than Sheryl Julian, food editor at the Boston Globe.

Although I've had this blog open since 2007 and active since 2009 (with a high resurgence in 2012), I have decided to take things to another level and try to make it into the food blogosphere.

I am very motivated and think that this would be a perfect first step in the right direction. Once I know what I'm talking about, I will invest in proper equipment (such as lighting, a softbox, perhaps an umbrella...) and might even ask Santa for a new camera.

I've also been contemplating attending a conference for food bloggers. Has anyone ever been to one of those? If so, please let me know if you have any advice such as which one to attend, what to expect, etc...

Finally, I want to apologize for the sluggish output of recipes this past month. I'm currently busy with revamping the blog and organizing recipes in pages so as to allow for more practical browsing. I really hope you'll like the new pages. They should be ready in a couple of weeks!

Talk to you all very soon!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Oven-dried tomatoes

There is literally nothing simpler than making oven-dried tomatoes. And the good thing is that for about 5 bucks, you'll have a ton more than a can of store-bought sun-dried tomatoes :)
Those tomatoes are so versatile! You can use them in salads, as a base for a tomato sauce, chopped up in pasta, on a pizza, or if you're like me just as a snack...

The only drawback is the cooking time: it will take about 5 hours in the oven and a few more to cool down, but you do this once and you're set for a couple of months!

Here's a golden tip for you: set up your tomatoes in the morning and forget about them while you clean your house, vacuum, laundry, etc... Kill two birds with one stone ;)

- tomatoes (however many you want, of whatever species you want: I used about 2 lbs of Roma)
- salt, pepper
- extra virgin olive oil

- turn on your oven on the lowest setting (about 200F on mine)
- line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil (parchment paper would be fine too), place the tomatoes on the sheet, spaced evenly (try not to pack them too close to one another, they need to dry), cut side up

- sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil

- put the tomatoes in the oven and forget about them for about 5 hours (but do check on them every once in a while to make sure things are going well, but do not turn them)
- after 5 hours, turn off your oven and leave another 3 hours in the closed oven; the tomatoes are now shrivelled and packed with concentrated tomato-flavor!

- when the tomatoes are at room temperature, put them in a jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil

- store in the fridge and use at your convenience :)
- enjoy!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Zucchini, chevre and spicy cured sausage quiche

This recipe is a tweaked recreation of a quiche my sister made and told me about yesterday. It sounded so good that I just had to try and make it for myself.

She used real spanish chorizo, a spicy cured sausage, but unfortunately it is very difficult to procure this kind of chorizo where I live. Same thing goes for the goat cheese that she used: she used an aged french chevre, but that is not readily available here either... *insert sad face*

Oh, one more thing... You'll notice that in the ingredients picture, there is a roll of pie crust. Ahem... ok, well I failed Like A Boss at blind baking mine, so I adapted my regular quiche-to-be into a crust-less one. As annoyed as I was at the time, it also shows you how I actually proceed in the kitchen and how it is important to be able to adapt when things don't go as planned :)

Hope you'll like!

INGREDIENTS (for 4 people as a side dish, 2 people as a light dinner):
- 1 large zucchini, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 small brie-like goat cheese, or any aged goat cheese you like (or can find), cubed
- about 1/2 cup hot dry sausage of your choice (spanish chorizo or sopressata would be best, but I used hot italian sausage that was available at my supermarket), diced
- 2 large eggs (i know only 1 is pictured, but I ended up adding another one, mid-recipe)
- 1 cup of light cream (only 1/2 cup is pictured, but I added another 1/2 cup mid-recipe)
- optionnal: 1 pie crust (i was planning on using it, but failed miserably... you'll get the details further down)
- salt, pepper to taste
- a sprinkle of smoked paprika (not pictured, but added mid-recipe)

- preheat your oven at 350F
- crisp up the diced sausage in a dry pan on high heat, until it has rendered a little fat and is golden, reserve on the side

- saute the onion and zucchini in the drippings and a sprinkle of smoked paprika, cook for a few minutes on medium heat and let cool on the side

- in a bowl, mix the eggs and cream

- add the cheese, sausage cubes and zucchini, pour in a dish sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little smoked paprika

Note: this is where you would have used your pie crust, pre-cooked for 15 minutes at 350F, but as you can see in the picture below, my pie crust was a super-fail! so I improvised and did without!
- bake in the oven at 350F for 35 minutes, or until firm

- let cool for 10 minutes before serving with a side salad (I used fresh spinach, lemon juice and olive oil)

- enjoy!