A Cupcake Nursery

January 19, 2010

A family friend recently had a baby, and my youngest daughter decided she needed to make some special cupcakes for them.   With the aid of her brother and sister and my wife, this is what they made.  Pretty impressive!


December 22, 2009

I’ve been crazy busy with work and getting ready for the holidays, so today, I am just offering you a photo that I suspect you’ll enjoy.

That’s some bacon made by Ashley Christensen.  Yum.

High-Speed Photography of Food

October 13, 2008

I love high-speed photography, but it’s way cool when it involves food.   Weburbanist has a great piece that includes a ton of incredible shots.  Check it out.

Dining with the Bears

July 27, 2008

We’re back from our 2-week Alaska vacation, and what a trip it was!  I’ll spend the next week or two posting mostly about some unusual culinary aspects of Alaska, with some occasional scenery thrown in for good measure.

Today, I’ve provided a picture of our group eating lunch at Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park and Preserve, the area of Alaska that required us to land in the ocean surf in a sea plane to view Alaskan brown bears (also known as grizzlies or Kodiaks).  I’ll write a LOT more about this trip, which might be the single most memorable day of vacation I’ve ever experienced, but for now, this will suffice.  We packed our own lunch, consisting of turkey wraps (which minimize crumbs, as you don’t want to leave ANY food for the bears to find, as we don’t want them to establish a link between humans as a food source).

Anyhow, this is what we watched while we dined.  Click on the photo for a higher resolution shot.

Chicken Thighmaster — A Pictorial

July 8, 2008

I think the single greatest “convenience food” conceived of in the last several years is the boneless chicken thigh.  We all know that thigh meat is so much more flavorful and juicy than the breasts, which are prone to dry out and have little flavor.  However, mainstream America loves the ubiquitous breast because they’re easy, particularly when they’re of the boneless variety.  It’s easier to eat a piece of meat when bones aren’t involved, and that goes double for thighs.  For many (or even for most), it’s too much of a pain to eat a chicken thigh, as the meat to bone ratio isn’t all that great.

Then came the boneless thigh.  Hallelujah!

Boneless chicken thighs are flavorful.  They’re easy to use and eat.  And they’re also damn cheap.  Hell, even Whole Foods charges only $3.49 a pound for these, and they’re often on sale.  If you buy in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco, you can get them for less than two bucks a pound.  I’m not sure if there’s any other meat that’s as cheap as this. Read the rest of this entry »

Clinical Dining

May 28, 2008

Shortly after my first child was born, my wife gave me a video camera. C’mon, every dad has to have a video camera, right? I used that sucker quite a lot, early on, but after a year or so, it got used less and less. I haven’t touched that camera in 10 years or so, primarily because I realized that I was no longer participating in the action. I was documenting it, trying to get the “perfect shot.” Those perfect shots often took 5-10 minutes at once, where you were more focused (no pun intended) on keeping the camera in frame and not really paying attention to what was truly going on.

The exact same thing happened to me with dining and the internet. I would go out to eat, taking my camera along. I ultimately found myself more concerned with taking lots of food porn, so that I could share my experience with my “friends” on eGullet. I paid less attention to my dining companions — my real, honest to goodness friends — than I did with my camera and the lighting.

That pretty much stopped a couple of years ago, however. As I spent more time with bloggers and the like, I realized that the people who spent so much time on the photographs weren’t all that fun to be with. It’s not that I didn’t like them, but they weren’t enjoying the meal itself. They weren’t engaged with the others at the table. I asked myself, “Am I like that?” and the answer was a resounding “Yes.”

Sitting at the table, sharing a meal with friends and family, is an activity that in many ways defines us as human beings. Our events of celebration and sorrow typically revolve around food. Every culture has their food-specific holidays, and the evening dinner is still considered to be the highlight of our daily family routine (although it’s certainly on the wane). The meal is incredibly important to us, socially and nutritionally.

But when the meal loses that social dynamic, I lose interest in it. The foodie with the camera makes me feel the same way as the person who has to tell me how many grams of fat are in every dish I eat. They take the fun out of it, turning my meal into a clinical exercise.

Yeah, I’ll still take food pictures now and then, and I’ll even chronicle every dish in a meal occasionally. But I’m glad that’s the exception and not the rule, as I truly love to interact with those around me and to appreciate the food that’s before me. Boy, meals are so much more fun now.

Buttermilk Pie

April 22, 2008

When strawberry season hits, I first think of strawberry shortcake, then Belgian waffles. But right after that, buttermilk pie comes to mind. Buttermilk pie with fresh strawberries. OH MY GOD!!!!

Most Southerners understand the glory of buttermilk pie, but others would choose any other dessert in the world before this classic dish. It’s really nothing more than a simple custard pie, with a touch of lemon and nutmeg to round out the flavor profile. It’s also very light and is very good with fresh berries or a berry coulis. I last wrote about buttermilk pie several years ago on eGullet, and I’m resurrecting the pictures from that time to show you how simple this dish is. Even if you don’t know how to make pie crust (and you MUST learn), you can always use a store-bought version.

I use Bill Neal’s recipe, which is lighter than a typical version because egg whites are beaten and folded into the custard. The tanginess of the buttermilk and lemon offsets some of the egginess and cuts through the richness, so this is really perfect. I also use really fresh, local buttermilk from Maple View Farm. This stuff is a bit richer than what you typically find in the grocery store.

When you take your first bite of this luscious custard treat, be sure you thank me. Yes, it’s that good. Photos and recipe are after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »