The Holidays are Here!

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Just wanted to post a little holiday teaser table setting to inspire us for our holiday gatherings and get togethers. Happy Holidays!

table design: kelly oshiro (sbchic.com)

photography: yours truly!

Farmers Market Beauty

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The beauty of the farmers market is spectacular! Not too many words need to written about these photos. Just enjoy!

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Wedding Drool-Fest

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So, as most of you know, I am a event & wedding photographer by day and a food blogger by night. Actually, reverse that. I shoot almost all my events in the evening and blog during the day!  I’m inclined to feature some of my wedding work since it is chock full of table decoration ideas and FOOD! This weddings was at the unimaginably beautiful Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and my couple was beyond delightful to work with. No bridezilla’s here! The event was designed and planned by Claudia Hoste and can I just say that I’m in LOVE with what she did. With shades of blush, pink and cream, this weddings design was romantic, dreamy and delightful. When I saw the set up I had to literally pick my jaw up from the ground because it was so breathtakinly beautiful. And to top it off, the purple wisteria that only blooms for literally a WEEK a year was in full force. I loved this wedding and hope you do to. Have napkin on hand because you may need to mop up some drool after viewing…

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The view from on high

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Fancy shmancy silver wedding shoes 😉

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To die for champagne wedding dress!

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The wedding ceremony took place in the gorgeous Hacienda Courtyard at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. I love the oak tree!

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Wedding ceremony aisle flowers. I love how romantic and drapey they are….

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Congrats to the Bride & Groom!

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Purple wisteria in full bloom over the reception

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Crystal chandelier hanging over the wedding tables

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The Bride & Groom’s special chair covers. Love!

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I’m obsessed with this birdcage centerpiece.

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This cake was not only beautiful but delicious! It had this super interesting tangelo filling and was oh so scrumptious…

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Gotta love the menu of course….

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Old books tied with twine were used to create levels on the tables and add a nostalgic element.

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Hanging wisteria. Ah…so romantic…sigh

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Wild arugula salad with beets and shaved parmesan

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Cast iron chicken with citrus sauce

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Market vegetables

Cheers to the happy couple and thanks for having me be apart of your spectacular day. 😉

Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows (Food Shoot)

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Sometimes there is nothing better then a steamy cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. But homemade marshmallows and Jessica Foster Confections hot chocolate really takes this over the top. Styled by Kelly Oshiro of Santa Barbara Chic, this photo shoot was a MAJOR high. (sugar high that is… 😉

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Chocolate Deliciousness (Food Shoot)

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Jessica Foster Confection chocolates are so to die for and I had the pleasure of eating AND photographing them. Styled by the fabulous Kelly Oshiro for SB Chic this set up was such a fun party (I mean photo shoot).  Deliciousness squared…. 😉

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What to do with all that extra eggnog? (Photo Shoot)

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My friend Kelly Oshiro came up with this fabulous concoction and asked me to photograph it for her website, Santa Barbara Chic. So if you have extra eggnog your trying to figure out what to do with it, try this eggnog float. I promise it won’t disappoint!

Here’s to “scoop”-

– Two scoops of ice cream

– Pour the eggnog over the ice cream

– Toast some sliced almonds and sprinkle on top.

To toast the almonds: 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until you can smell the almonds, watch them closely, they’ll burn if you’re not paying attention.

Thanksgiving Table Top Ideas

The amazing Kelly Oshiro of sbchic.com styled this spectacular Thanksgiving table and I had the privilege of photographing it. All the rentals came from Town and Country here in Santa Barbara. I’m excited to use the persimmons from this shoot to make persimmons cookies… Hope you all have a fun and festive Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays!

Duck Duck (Food Shoot)

I love doing food shoots. The amazing Duo Catering created this DELICIOUS duck breast with panisse crouton, bloomsdale spinach and blood orange and sage demi glace. And of course it was styled by the incredible Kelly Oshiro of sbchic.com. One of the perks of shooting food is you get to EAT once you are done! Its awesome…. Enjoy!

Let’s get started:

Ingredients:

6 7-8 oz Duck Breasts (source from a reliable butcher or specialty market)

*****

2 cups Panisse (Garbanzo Flour) – Polenta is a good substitute

6 cups water or chicken stock

2 Tbl of chopped shallots

1 tsp of picked thyme leaves

*****

6-8 cups washed spinach (roughly 2 bunches)

2 cloves garlic (sliced)

Zest and juice of 1 small lemon

2 Tbl Olive Oil

2 tsp of Butter

*****

1 cup Veal or Duck Demiglace (homemade or sourced through a specialty grocer)

2 Tbl diced shallots

1 clove sliced garlic

6-8 Sage Leaves

½ cup of Blood Orange Juice (Pomegranate Juice would also work well)

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Serves 6.

Procedure for Panisse:

  1. Sauté shallots in 2 tbl of olive oil in a large saucepot until translucent (2 minutes).
  2. Add 6 cups of chicken stock (or water) to the saucepot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add Panisse and reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Stir in the chopped thyme.
  5. Cook until Panisse is thickened and pulling away from the pan.
  6. Pour the mixture into an oiled baking pan and allow to cool.
  7. After cooling, cut the Panisse into 1×4 inch rectangles.

Preparing the duck:

  1. Score the skin of the duck breast. (Cut a crosshatch pattern into the skin of the duck taking care not to slice into the flesh of the duck).
  2. Heat a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Season the duck with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the duck into the pan skin side down.
  5. Reduce heat to a medium low flame and cook until the skin has darkened to a rich brown color and has crisped somewhat (this may take 4-5 minutes).
  6. Flip the duck and continue to cook for 2 minutes more (be careful not to over cook the duck- you are aiming for medium rare).
  7. Remove the duck from the pan and allow to rest while you prepare the remainder of the dish.

Preparing the Duck Sauce:

  1. Immediately after removing the duck from the pan, reserve all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered duck fat (this will keep several weeks in your refrigerator).
  2. Add 2 Tbl diced shallots to the pan and sauté until translucent (1-2 minutes)
  3. Pour the blood orange juice to the pan (this is called deglazing) and reduce by half.
  4. Add the veal or duck stock (you could also use chicken stock in a pinch); add a garlic clove and the sage leaves.
  5. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to combine while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Cooking the Panisse:

  1. Heat 2 Tbl of olive oil in a pan until it shimmers in the pan (just before it reaches the smoke point).
  2. Place the Panisse croutons in the pan and cook until browned on all sides, remove from pan and set aside.

Wilting the spinach:

  1. In the same pan that you prepared the Panisse in, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Add the cleaned spinach and allow it to begin to wilt.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the sliced garlic and Lemon.
  5. Finish with 2 tsp of butter (optional)

To Complete:

  1. Slice the duck breasts into 5-6 slices on a bias.
  2. Place two Panisse croutons in the center of each plate.
  3. Top with drained spinach (draining on a paper towel prevents the spinach liquid from running across your plate- ruining your presentation).
  4. Arrange your duck breasts over the spinach in a fanlike pattern.
  5. Spoon 2 Tbl of sauce over each breast (about midway up).
  6. Enjoy with your favorite bottle of wine.

Watermelon, Lime & Basil (Photo Shoot)

This post is a yet another lovely shoot styled by Kelly Oshiro of sbchic.com and created by the amazing chef’s over at Duo Catering. I was the humble photographer merely capturing the brilliance of these great artists. The original post can be found HERE.

Today we’re continuing our food series with Duo Events and this time they’re putting a spin on a classic summertime treat, watermelon. For this recipe you will need:

-1 Small Watermelon

-6-8 Black Finger Limes (Caviar Limes) – available at specialty groceries and area farmers markets

-1 Bunch Thai Basil (can substitute lemon basil, opal basil or Italian basil)

-2 Tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

-1 Tablespoons, Flaked Sea Salt (we use Maldon Sea Salt)

To begin, Start by removing the watermelon rind and reserve for another use (makes great pickles!):

  1. Cut the watermelon into 3/4 inch thick slices.
  2. Cut slices into bite sized portions (a small pastry cutter works great for this)
  3. Roll each finger lime under the palm of your hand on a cutting board to loosen the “beads”.
  4. Slice the limes in half and squeeze into a bowl.
  5. Drizzle limes with olive oil and spoon 1 tsp onto each watermelon segment.
  6. Top with a basil leaf and 2-3 flakes of sea salt

Enjoy as an hors d’oeuvre on a hot afternoon or serve as a first course for a summer dinner.