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{Baked} A Cherry Basil Ginger Clafoutis

Yes, I’ve been recipe perusing again. How could I pass this one up? A Sweet, Plump, Juicy, Summer Cherry, Basil, Ginger, Almond via Kimberley Hasselbrink’s new book, ‘Vibrant Food.’…the recipe is already in my ‘keeper’ binder.
Maybe next time (and there will be a next time) I’ll give it a proper photo shoot rather than these quick images from my instagram feed, even the colors were so yummy and rich.

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Gluten Free Cherry Clafoutis

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 16 ounces sweet cherries, pitted and halved. *next time I will quarter them.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup almond flour *love the almond taste and texture – try not to substitute this ingredient
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour (or all purpose but then it won’t be GF)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger *if you like ginger, add more
  • a handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped or shredded *I used small leafed cinnamon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan with unsalted butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  2. Arrange the cherries in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, remaining sugar, almond flour, brown rice flour, vanilla ginger, and salt until smooth. Pour evenly over the fruit.
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and set in the center. Test by inserting a toothpick in the center—if it comes out clean, the clafoutis is ready.
  5. Allow to cool slightly, then dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

I served warm with freshly whipped up vanilla cream.

{A Workshop Story} A Vintage Apron and Strawberry-Lemon Tart Kind of Afternoon

It was a beautiful summer morning to leisurely browse the stalls of the flea market, but I was on a specific mission. I was on the lookout for something that would inspire me to put together a little photo shoot.
I knew something would catch my eye, but on this day, I struck vintage apron GOLD in the very first booth I stepped in to ~ it was the worn cotton blue/green floral apron you see below that I quickly spied, but, what I didn’t know, was that it was resting in front of another pile of fabric of which a sweet faded red/orange polka dot with blue trim apron was trying to hide in. Then, two steps further in, was a monogrammed ‘B’ (hand stitched in pink crewel) on a baby pinstripe towel, PLUS a small, vintage oval blue trimmed plate sitting on a table next to it. Score.

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During this time, I was also working on the content for my online food photography workshop that was coming up in a month, of which story telling was an integral part of. After covering all the aspects of shooting for a story, the final assignment would be to photograph a food story. I gave myself the very same assignment to show how I would go about it, and then to share the final presentation with the group. The vintage aprons were what gave me the inspiration for my entire shoot. From there I created a story around them, choosing to incorporate a Strawberry Lemon Tart. The next steps were to gather all the necessary elements (props, supplies, surfaces…) needed to produce the shoot. I talk a lot about being prepared. Below is a shot of most of the elements that I pulled for my shoot. The overall theme was to have a light summer and worn, vintage feel. I also took this opportunity to push myself a little further and create images that were a bit brighter and lighter in look and feel than what I am more naturally drawn to. Something I spoke of in this past post, about working on your craft.

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So, below is a little story about vintage aprons and a Strawberry Lemon Tart, on a summer afternoon.

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As part of the lesson plan for this topic, I added a video showing various parts and set ups from the actual shoot day and about how important it was to be organized and prepared. I think it’s only fair to share a few developments from the shoot day here, as I shared it with my workshop, because I believe in keeping it real: The recipe called for crushed pistachios, which I had, but somehow forgot to add; it got warm enough in my studio that my (hero) tart started to melt and fall apart (if you look closely, you’ll see) before I was finished shooting it; AND, the sweet blue flowers that I picked on the side of the road and brought in for the shoot, died by the time I got to them. My biggest lesson, freeze my tart next time I’m shooting in my warm studio. The point – stuff happens and you just go with the flow and improvise. That’s real life;)

x~gretchalina

Summer Soup

While I was working the other day…I took a little pinterest break. Somehow, I invariably end up in the ‘food aisle.’ That’s where I found this recipe.
So, yesterday, I walked outside, picked some flowers, herbs and a radish from my garden, took the additional few ingredients out of my fridge and pantry & in 15 minutes – well, 25 minutes if you count the time I took to photograph it -
SB and I were sitting by the open windows listening to Melody Gardot, enjoying our cool summer soups on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
It really is the simple things in life…

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Cold Avocado Soup
Original recipe from the lovelies over at Green Kitchen Stories,
but, of course, I made a few small changes;)

2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 med sized cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into smaller pieces

2 cups cold water
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 drops tabasco (feel free to add more or less)
a handful of cilantro
a splash of sherry vinegar
2 ice cubes
1 tsp salt

Top with:
a splash of olive oil
1 radish, sliced as thin as possible – I used my mandolin
a small handful of baby basil leaves
3 stems bronze fennel fronds
1/4 cup toasted raw pepitas
flower pepper

Toss the pepitas with olive oil and a pinch of salt and broil in the oven till just turning brown. Shake a time or two and keep an eye on them, it won’t take long.
Add all the ingredients in a blender. Mix it until completely smooth. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve immediately in glasses or bowls or keep it chilled in the fridge until serving.
Top with a splash of olive oil, toasted pepita seeds, sliced radishes, herbs and pepper.

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a lunch/dinner

Grapefruit + Olive Oil + Thyme Pound Cake

Here’s a light, citrusy, thyme scented little pound cake recipe that I came across and made last week. I love starting with a basic recipe and knowing that I can change the flavors in and out to my liking, such as adding thyme.
The grapefruit really comes through and next time, I may go a little lighter on the thyme. Maybe.
Happy Thursday.

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Grapefruit + Olive Oil + Thyme Pound Cake
{adapted from FROM THE LOVE OF THE SOUTH}

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups (190g) of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons (30ml) of grapefruit juice, plus 1/3 cup (80ml) for syrup
1/3 cup (80ml) of buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons of freshly grated grapefruit zest (from 2 medium-sized grapefruits)
½ cup (100g) of granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for syrup
½ cup (95g) of raw cane sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup (120ml) of olive oil (choose a mild olive oil, not extra virgin)
2 eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×5” loaf pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a glass-measuring cup, combine 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice and buttermilk (or yogurt). Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the grapefruit zest, ½ cup of granulated sugar, raw cane sugar, and the thyme. Rub the zest and sugars together with your fingertips. Whisk in the oil until combined. It will be course in texture. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk until combined and smooth. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the cake batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and tap the pan on the counter a few times, releasing any bubbles in the batter. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1/3 cup of grapefruit juice in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
When the cake has finished baking, let it cool for 10 minutes and invert onto a cooling rack with a tray underneath. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick and brush the grapefruit syrup over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely while it absorbs the syrup. (I omitted this part and made the simple glaze instead.)
Serve the cake all by itself or create simple glaze to pour over the top.
Using 2 medium-sized grapefruits for this recipe usually makes enough leftover juice and zest for a simple glaze. Just whisk ½ cup of powdered sugar while slowly adding the leftover grapefruit juice until you have a smooth, thick glaze. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and serve!

Makes one loaf.

Keep Working on your Craft

You would think this should go without saying, but I have found it to not be so obvious.

In talking with so many of my artist friends, we have collectively admitted that there is far too much time being spent online, looking around, comparing, complaining, reading, bookmarking, intending….than doing. I have been just as guilty of this and I rarely walk away from an outlandishly long session of looking around online, feeling bettered. Sometimes, it’s quite the opposite, and I feel like I want to throw the towel in. Not to say I haven’t learned much, or have not been incredibly inspired by someone’s story or art or process, and, I do believe it’s great and fine, and, perhaps, even gives us a starting point, but then it’s up to us to go, out, and create something of our own from that spark. That can’t happen if you don’t do the work. If you don’t work on your craft, you’ll never know what you are capable of, or what beautiful art is just waiting inside you to be created. I wholeheartedly believe this, as I have seen it happen in my own art/career, what pushing myself and creating my own projects has done for me personally ~ as an artist who is driven to create, and, inevitably, professionally.

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I have been creating new content for a workshop I am holding at the end of the month. If you’re interested, you can find all the information here. As I was writing about this very subject for one of the lessons, some of the specifics of the article reminded me that there are areas in my own work that I avoid, push aside, generally don’t like to tackle, or am simply just not that good at. So, yesterday morning, I decided to make a short list of some of those things, go to my studio, turn the music way up, tune the rest of the world out, and work on my craft. I will admit, it was hard. In fact, really hard. I wasn’t liking what I was creating. I was using all the same kinds of elements, but it wasn’t coming together, like usual. I know it was because I wasn’t working in the exact same way that I am accustomed to. I was pushing myself outside my comfort zone, a bit of new territory. New lighting, and emotion, if that makes sense. Honestly, I hate creating crap. It’s not worth it to me. I felt it was crap. But I refused to give in. Somewhere in the day, I started to settle in, and little by little, I was making progress.

In the end, not only did I push through some of my self imposed barriers, I created some of my very favorite images, to date. I feel that most people may not see the differences in the specifics of what I was working on, but I do, and I am proud of the mistakes and progress I made. This is how I (we) learn.
The point is, you can’t grow, overcome, push yourself, create new pieces of work or even see what you are capable of, if you don’t do the work.

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I encourage you to regularly set time aside to work on your craft, step far outside your comfort zone and delightfully surprise yourselves.

xo~gretchalina

 

 

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natalie stonelake - 3 July, 2014 - 10:31 am

What a great post! So true! I know for me, if I can’t create and teach I start to really get depressed! Thanks for the reminder!

Amy @ A Healthy Life For Me - 3 July, 2014 - 3:48 pm

Great post Gina really hit a cord with me. The internet can be inspiring and intimidating. Glad I am not the only one. We are always learning no matter how much we know. xx

gina - 8 July, 2014 - 9:47 am

Thank you Natalie and Amy. I think, as in most things in life, it’s all in the balance. The balance of finding/looking for inspiration without getting overwhelmed, and then, in executing our inspirations and ideas, consistently, to both create new work and to learn from. ;)G

[…] During this time, I was also working on the content for my online food photography workshop that was coming up in a month, of which story telling was an integral part of. After covering all the aspects of shooting for a story, the final assignment would be to photograph a food story. I gave myself the very same assignment to show how I would go about it, and then to share the final presentation with the group. The vintage aprons were what gave me the inspiration for my entire shoot. From there I created a story around them, choosing to incorporate a Strawberry Lemon Tart. The next steps were to gather all the necessary elements (props, supplies, surfaces…) needed to produce the shoot. I talk a lot about being prepared. Below is a shot of most of the elements that I pulled for my shoot. The overall theme was to have a light summer and worn, vintage feel. I also took this opportunity to push myself a little further and create images that were a bit brighter and lighter in look and feel than what I am more naturally drawn to. Something I spoke of in this past post, about working on your craft. […]