Sunday, November 29, 2009

From Nads' Studio

It's become a monthly routine for me to shoot photos of featured seafoods for one of our clients. The amount of work that it takes to get one beautiful shot of a plated dish is very labor intensive. And that's even before I get my hands on it to take the pictures!

The more and more I learn and gain experience in food photography the more I learn that everything has to be... PERFECT. Photoshopping only goes so far. But when you get a beautiful shot.. it makes all that worth it.

I showed this to my brother expecting him to say something like, "Wow! You took that?? It's sooo good!"

But what I got was, "Yeah? So?"

It's rare that I boast about the things I do but... this looks like it should be in a magazine dang it!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This past Sunday was our church's annual Thanksgiving potluck lunch. Everyone signs up to bring a dish and we celebrate together a pre-Thanksgiving dinner as we share in fellowship. I was in charge of taking sign ups and decorating. We resued some decorations we've accumulated and this is what the general table layout looked like.

Simple. I liked how it turned out.

I signed up to make mashed potatoes but I HAD to make dessert.

Thinking about pumpkin desserts I thought it would be cool to make some pumpkin cookies. When I used to work at Ralphs I remember absolutely loving the pumpkin cookies that I had to put out in the bakery section. It was moist and cake-like with semisweet chocolate chips.

I found this recipe on the Food Network's website. It got an average of 5 stars and really great comments so I was pretty sure it was going to be good.

It was... ok. Lots of people at my church loved them but it wasn't the same as what I was expecting. The recipe said not to use semisweet chips.. but I did anyway. Most of the cookies came out really flat. Maybe it would have helped to refrigerate a bit before baking... or maybe adding more baking soda...

... or maybe I'll go to Ralphs and pick me up some pumpkin cookies in the bakery section.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An Early Present

I know it's a bit early for Christmas baked goods but I haven't done too much baking these days so I wanted to post
something before another week goes by.

Some ladies at our church will be going to a place called Mary's Shelter to do a scrapbooking and baking workshop in early December. We're trying to get to know our community better and Mary's Shelter is one that caught my eye. It's a shelter for teens who are pregnant and/or have children that they can't afford to take care of on their own. The residents' age range from 12-18 years old. The image I get whenever I think of a pregnant teen is Juno..

Anyway, I digress...

Here's one of the cupcakes we will be teaching how to do during the workshop. It's an idea that I got from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book.

When I make cupcakes I usually try to bake it so the dome falls just short of the cupcake liner.
This makes it easier to decorate as opposed to having spillage and it looking a hot mess. When you go to ice the top it's nice and even with just the icing showing.

I used these sour belt candies called Rip Rolls.
You need about 8 inches per cupcake so each of these 40" packets will make about 5 cupcakes.

Cut one piece that's 6".
All you do to make the cute ribbon is fold the belt on top of itself on both ends.
Then use the remaining 2" to wrap the center to finish off the bow.

It's best to make the ribbon first then to place it on top of the iced cupcake. Trying to do it directly on the cupcake makes it sloppy and just plain hard.

Monday, November 9, 2009

More Food That I Sea

This past week was quite busy. Mostly fun busy. For work, we went to do some recipes and photos for a client of ours that is a seafood purveyor.

I'm still having a hard time getting comfortable with my fancy shmancy camera but the results have been satisfactory.

I'm on their website! Haha kind of funny.. I'm washing dishes in the background. So glamourous!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy (belated) Halloween!

Last week I baked a lot... which also means I took pictures... a lot.

During and after my coconut cake post I knew I was missing one more thing that I made. As Halloween drew closer I realized it was these Halloween cookies I made.

Every year our family... rather I, have either written a note on the door saying that we don't celebrate Halloween or have left a bucket of candy saying to take one outside the door. We're not mean people but just people who like their own space. This year, I thought it would be a nice gesture to our neighbors if we did something that we don't normally do.

I found these cute mini cookie cutters at Michael's. Cute decorated sugar cookies would be cheap in cost though high in labor. It was a fun side project I decided to do.

In total one batch of cookies made about 150 mini cookies which made about 50 bags of cookies with 3 cookies in each.

Normally when I make sugar cookies I'd do the outlining all the cookies first then come back to flood them but the mini ones are so small you don't have to do that.

What I do is cut the hole in the pastry bag big enough to do some flooding but small enough to outline.

Then I go from left to right. I don't know why that way always works better but whenever I try to go from right to left it gets ugly.

Then I fill it in right away.

Here they are! The eyes on the bat are painted with luster dust (a super shimmery powdery color mainly used for sugar flowers) and alcohol... but you can't really tell.
The skulls and Frankenstein didn't turn out quite the way I had envisioned... but I did get a couple compliments from some of my church members. There was a lot left over so I took them to church today.

There was about 1/2 left. Ours is a small complex. I should have known all the parents would take their kids to richer neighborhoods to go Trick or Treating!