Masthead header

iphone Moments | WWLLT (What Work Looks Like Today)

Lots of good things happening of which I am eager to share as soon as I can, plus a sweet ‘unveiling’ that I am so very excited about.
For today, here’s a small peek at some of the beautifully summer inspired dishes I was photographing yesterday…which will be out in a couple months ~ via my insta
Thank you
French Crust Cafe, Salazar, & The Anchor OTR for providing me with the loveliest of foods to photograph.iphone april blog

Homemade Ricotta

Do you remember the very first time you tasted a spoonful of fresh, creamy, silky, mildly sweet ricotta cheese? If not, it’s time you did. It’s easy to make, and nothing you buy will ever compare to a batch of fresh homemade ricotta. Nothing.


Ricotta Recipe
Adapted from Donna Hay
Yields 1 Cup


6 cups full cream milk (not ultra pasteurized) ~ I used Snowville Creamery Whole Milk
2 Tblsp white vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice (I prefer a little tang of lemon in my ricotta)


1.  Place the milk and a candy thermometer in a saucepan over medium heat and heat to 176 degrees F.
Remove from the heat, add the vinegar and lemon juice and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until curds form.

2.  Line a colander with three layers of clean cheese cloth and place over a deep bowl. Use a slotted spoon
to carefully spoon the curds into the colander leaving as much of the whey behind as possible. (Save for another use.)
Don’t rush as to not break up the curds. Allow to drain for 5 minutes.

3.  Gather the ends of the cheese cloth and tie around a wooden spoon, suspend over the colander and bowl to allow
for  more drainage. I left mine in this state for a half hour for a thicker ricotta.

4.  Spoon the ricotta into a glass or ceramic dish and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up
to one week.

Now that you have your freshly homemade ricotta, what will you do with it? I made this with some of mine:
A Potato, Brussels Sprouts, and Ricotta Focaccia. You can find the recipe on page 106 from our
513{eats} Summer 2012 Issue.


The Aunt Sassy Cake ~ A Honey Vanilla Buttercreme Pistachio Cake

Bake me a Cake, but please, not just any cake. Yesterday I posted a photo of A Honey Vanilla Buttercreme Pistachio Cake, made for our photo shoot about CAKES for the 513{eats} Summer Issue by professional baker (and professional photographer) Karyn Hlad Miller.

The recipe is from Baked, a pair of rustic-chic bakeries owned by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito in Brooklyn, New York, and Charleston, South Carolina. Lucky for us, Karyn owned one of their cook(bake)books, and chose this cake for her spread – of which you can read Ilene Ross’ entire story here (pages 52-61).

The aromas that filled her home that day were of the baking in heaven kind. The ‘care packages’ we left with made Karyn our best friend forever. Thank you Karyn for sharing the origin of this cake and therefore, the recipe, for all of us.

Baker: Karyn Hlad Miller
Painting by Jen Wood



The Aunt Sassy Cake
Created by  Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito Of Baked
Servings: Serves 12–16
  • 1 1/3 cups shelled pistachios
  • 2 1/2 cups cake cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract | Get the recipe!
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • 3 large egg whites , at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy heavy cream
  • 24 Tbsp. (3 sticks) unsalted unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract ***Karyn substituted one whole vanilla bean, scraped, instead of the 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Note: This recipe is for a classic, one-tiered layer cake.

To make cake: Preheat oven to 325°. Spread pistachios on rimmed baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes, until lightly toasted. Let cool.

Grease 3 (8″ x 2″) round cake pans with butter or cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper and dust pans with flour, tapping out excess.

In a food processor, pulse 1/3 cup pistachios until chopped. Remove and set aside for garnish. Pulse remaining 1 cup pistachios until chopped; remove 2 tablespoons and set aside in a medium bowl. Process remaining pistachios just until finely ground to a powder. Sift cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into the bowl with the 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios. Stir in pistachio powder.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, scraping bowl, about 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. With mixer on low speed, beat in eggs one at a time until well blended. Beat in flour mixture, in 3 additions, alternating with the cold water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until blended, scraping bowl; then beat batter 15 more seconds. Scrape into a large bowl.

In a stand mixer with whisk attachment (and a clean bowl), beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. With mixer on medium-high speed, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat just until soft peaks form; do not over beat. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold whites into batter just until no white streaks remain. Divide batter between prepared pans and gently spread evenly. Stagger pans on oven racks so pans are not directly above one another. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool 20 minutes. Run a knife around sides and turn cakes out onto racks. Remove parchment paper. Flip cakes again and let cool completely.

To make buttercream: In a heavy, medium saucepan, whisk sugar and flour until well blended. Add milk and cream and whisk until smooth. Set pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in cream-flour mixture, about 1/3 cup at a time, beating until blended with butter. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in honey and vanilla. Refrigerate until buttercream holds its shape and is thick enough to spread, about 20 minutes.

To assemble cake: Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread top with 1 cup buttercream. Repeat with another cake layer and 1 cup buttercream. Add last cake layer, top-side up. Spread sides and top of cake with about 3/4 cup buttercream to crumb coat. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Frost with remaining buttercream. Garnish cake with reserved chopped pistachios. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes before serving; cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days. If cake is refrigerated for more than 15 minutes, let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving.

The Anchor OTR

I am still playing catch up and although I have already shared a few images here and there on facebook, Chef dos Anjos and his restaurant, The Anchor OTR, deserve a full on post!

From our very first conversations about photography for his website (which you can see right here) and marketing materials – what to capture, and ultimately, how to use the images to visually convey the feel, voice, brand, and story of his restaurant -  we were completely on the same page.
From the location of his restaurant (across the street from Washington Park) to taking the time to hand select interior accessories and artistic elements that represent his vision, to cooking up beautifully plated and flavorful dishes using the freshest possible ingredients, Derek’s personality is imprinted everywhere.
It was fun hanging out at the restaurant for an afternoon, tasting, photographing, people watching, mingling with his amazing staff and catching the nuances of what makes The Anchor OTR, The Anchor OTR. Below is what I saw.






This gorgeous, artisan crafted glass chandelier was created by artist Ashlie Beal of The Light Factory. You can find her here.