Food Blog

KIPlog cooks, eats (and drinks)

Entries from December 2004

Food Photography II

December 30th, 2004 · Comments Off

For more on Food Photography, every food blogger must go to professional photographer Michael Ray’s Food Photography blog. He gave me his link awhile ago and I lost it. But I found it again, and urge you all to go learn the professional tricks he shares with us. Food bloggers are serious about their food, so they won’t be spraying glycerin on their dinner, or spending an hour getting the lighting right, but his tricks will help us. His tricks of the trade post includes those things a stylist uses to make food look better, including Fun Tac. I remember using Playdo and Silly Putty to position food as an intern in a photo studio many years back, but I eat my food now, so I like mashed or pureed veggies to get food to stay where I want. I’ve also discovered peanut butter is a good glue for deserts.

Also on Michael’s site is a Food Stylist Directory, a valuable link for anyone in the professional photography business.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools

Food Photography

December 30th, 2004 · Comments Off

Becks & Posh had a post on correcting photos about a month ago. Color casts and exposures are usually easily corrected with a few moves. Photoshop has an array of auto color correction tools which usually work well, but if the photo is badly under-exposed or lack a full range of values (typically what happens in a dark restaurant) the auto controls may not do enough or may give you some weird effects, sometimes hallucinogenic polarizing or posterizing. More precise control can be done in the levels or curves controls.

I’m afraid I don’t have Photoshop Elements and I’m aware not many are going to spend $600 or more to get the full version, but from what I gather, Elements has these controls.

Here’s the original photo of some Poached Skate Wing; Marinated Green Papaya; Lobster-Cardamom and Harissa Emulsion, shot at Le Bernadin last week.

Yicky isn’t it?

I opened the curves control (this procedure is similar to what can be done in the levels control, but the curves control give you many more options), clicked on the middle eyedropper (1), which is the gray point eyedropper and clicked on the image, on a point I thought should be the middle gray, probably somewhere on the shadows of the plate. The image instantly shifts to the correct color casts.


Didn’t work for you? That’s common if the photo is badly exposed in the first place. Truthfully it didn’t work quite right in this case. But now, using the individual color channels, and the curves, I could correct it if it went to far. Sometimes the curve is modified at the midtones, making an arc, with an anchor point, sometimes at the highlight point, shown here, in the blue channel by (2). Small corrections can be made by moving this anchor point. Be aware that if you move one in one color channel, you’ll probably have to move it in another channel.

These corrections can get complicated quickly and there are many advanced techniques you can learn, but you can start by using the auto controls (see the auto button?) and make small moves on the curves and achieve dramatic improvements.

By the way, the skate was excellent, but blown away by the skate I had later at Oceana. Recipes will be posted after I retouch the rest of my awful shots.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools


December 24th, 2004 · Comments Off

As many bloggers know, there’s a full frontal assault of comment spam going on Web-wide. I’m away from my broadband connection for the holidays so I have to wait a few days before I do some repairs. So I’ve turned off comments for a short time.

UPDATE: I did a quick fix that will stop the majority of spammers -the automatic ones- and it seems to be working, so I turned them back on.

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Tags: Uncategorized

Chicken Sandwich

December 19th, 2004 · Comments Off

pankochicken2.jpgI haven’t posted any food pictures recently, so I thought I’d put up what I had the other day – Panko-breaded chicken sandwich on Calamata olive bread. Sounds fancier than it is. The bread is from Dominick’s (a supermarket).

Panko is a Japanese bread-crumb, I had some left over from my last trip to Mitsuwa. I breaded a few butterflied chicken breasts using the method I learned from Alton Brown: dip the meat in flour, shake, then into an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water, shake, then into the breadcrumbs. Let sit for ten minutes.

I fried the breaded-breasts in about a half cup of oil in an iron skillet.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

More food blogs

December 13th, 2004 · Comments Off

Yet even more food blogs to add to the list.

Arthur Hungry “Basically, the point is for me to take pictures of everything I eat, post those pictures online, and talk about the food. I want to show you what the real food looks like.” He does a good job, with tasty photos. “exploring the reach of chinese food”

Extra MSG “a culinary blog and Portland, Oregon, food guide” who recently had a Chicago Eatathon with pictures including lots of pictures from Charlie Trotter’s kitchen table

The Fanatic Cook

The Impetuous Epicure By a 15-year old in Brooklyn

KuishinboMeow “Kuishinbo is a Japanese word means a gourmand. Meow is onomatopoeic word for a cat. Mainly this is a site talking about foods by a girl from Kuching (which means cat in Malay).”

This Mama Cooks I like this blog, but it commits the Cardinal sin of opening links in its frame.

A British food blog with a very tough challenge – ” For one year I am not allowed to eat the same dinner twice.” He has several ammendments and rules including a week of pork chops, a vegetarian week and “in apology to my American friends for previously being quite rude, I shall spend a week cooking nothing but traditional American food.” That should be interesting since he makes puttanesca with ketchup. Apparently following this sort of regime has a serious effect on judgement.

Pinkcocoa Tabetai “Tabetai: a Japanese term exclaiming i want to eat” “Brunei girl’s food-fun adventure in sydney and occasionally from other parts of the world.”

World Class Cuiscene A collection of Filipino and other recipes enjoyed all over the world

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Tags: Food Blogs

Food blog awards

December 12th, 2004 · Comments Off

Food Blog awards!!
A few years ago I might have begged for nominations, but there’s so many more worthy food blogs done by people who spend much more effort then I do these days. So go nominate your favorite.

The seven month requirement for most of these categories is a real factor in cutting off many excellent blogs. I’ve watched many blogs of all types come and go over the years, and 7 months is about when most blogs reach the threshold. The writers have either exhausted their time, content or enthusiasm, or they’ve perfected their style and have built an audience and will go on to improve for many years to come.

Many blogs have a life-expectancy, and food-themed ones can be short, since you can’t be expected to spend every meal for the rest of your life taking notes and pictures before you sit down to eat. Your enthusiasm will go cold as fast as your dinner will.

But 7 months is a good cut-off for an award since it signifies a certain achievement in dedication. I’ll post my own little award list by the end of the year.

On another note, I’ll be sure to talk to Nikolai next time I see him about adding a food category to the Bloggies. I know he has to have some food appreciation since last time I saw him he was at Mitsuwa.

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Tags: Uncategorized

More food blogs

December 4th, 2004 · Comments Off

More to add to the list of food blogs.

18thC “18thC French cuisine as a habitante in Nouvelle France may have cooked”

baking sheet “the most important thing in the kitchen. except possibly the oven… and ingredients.”

Blue Jean Chef “comfort writing from the kitchen”

Brownie Points “a good girl’s notebook of her culinary world”

Eating Cleveland

Grab Your Fork “One foodie’s gastronomic journey throughout Sydney, Australia and the world.”

I heart bacon


The kitchen crusader

words to eat by “thoughts on food, writing, and everything else”

World On A Plate “cultural musings and explorations around the world of food”

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Tags: Food Blogs

Drink links

December 3rd, 2004 · Comments Off

A break from my east coast reviews with some drink links.

A Beginner’s Guide to Malt Liquor Funny, but incomplete. The description for St. Ides says “Strictly for professionals. Never drink alone. Psilocybic. Liquid antimatter. Never mind about operating heavy machinery, you’ll have trouble lighting a cigarette. Good thing, too, cause St. Ides is flammable.”

Juice Taxonomy

Red Bull is running an Art of the Can contest

Downloadable beer logos

Metromix has a short, incomplete list of bars with fireplaces. If my beer-addled memory serves me right, several other Irish Pubs have fireplaces, such as Black Rock, Irish Oak, and Johnny O’Hagan’s. My local, Tommy Nevin’s, had a crackling fire going the other night. Nevin’s recently underwent a bit of a renovation, getting a tin ceiling to replace the nicotine stained white drop ceiling, mini-chandeliers for lighting, new bathrooms and new big screens to replace the hanging TVs in the pool/dart room. They’ve revamped the old Nevin’s Live space a few months ago (which means no more cheap live music), by putting in a new bar and 2 huge TV’s.

Unfortunately the tin ceilings make it painfully loud whenever big groups or hordes of college students invade, the chandeliers are glaringly bright and they’ve done the worst thing possible by installing an enormous Golden T video golf game. Fortunately the tin ceilings have a benefit – they serve to keep the bar relatively cell-phone free since it screws up reception.

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Tags: Drink

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

December 1st, 2004 · Comments Off

The barn – the windows are the kitchen.

Certainly one of the best meals I’ve had, Blue Hill at Stone Barns offers a unique opportunity to eat food about as close to the source as is possible. It was a bit of a trip up to get there, but it’s definitely worth a couple of hours to get there. We took the train, because the weather was gray and rainy, and to avoid the day before Thanksgiving traffic. Of course we got to experience Penn Station, the Subway and Grand Central at peak human capacity. A train trip up the Hudson and a fairly quick cab ride got us to the stone barns, built by John D. Rockefeller Sr., early enough to hang around before the doors opened. The farm and grounds are probably nice to walk around on in nice weather, but I only traipsed in one empty pasture, peaked in the greenhouse and looked at the ‘doorway garden’ in the drizzle. There’s a small cafe with hot cider for such days.

In the doorway garden.

In the garden.

The interior of the restaurant

The restaurant itself is inside a renovated stone cow barn.

Blue Hill has a unique menu style, allowing you to choose 2, 3 or 4 courses from anywhere on the menu which is divided into food groups, not appetizer or entree
categories. In other words, you could choose a soup for your main course, and a meat dish as a starter. If you choose 4 courses, the items come in larger and larger servings. There’s also a Farmer’s feast, which I think consisted of 7 courses. 3 savory course – $62, $4 savory courses – $75 – Farmer’s Feast $125.

The food grouping are labeled: from the field, foraged mushrooms, our pasture, Hudson Valley pastures. Our server gave a nice explanation on how to order, with some nice descriptions on what was offered and how they were grown acquired or prepared. Unlike most servers who read off a memorized special’s list, she had some passion for what she was serving, and how could you not be, when your offering seafood right off the day boats, and veggies and meat from right outside. She implored us not to dismiss the turkey because the next day was Thanksgiving, since this was a heritage turkey, closer to the wild bird, the way turkeys used to be before mass production created the morbidly obese birds delivered frozen all over the country. A table nearby did not get such treatment, and one of the diners advised everyone else at the table “whatever you do, don’t get turkey today”. Unless they were picking up one of the birds you could have reserved, they’ll never know what they missed.

I ordered four courses, basically a soup and four meats. For the first course I had the parsnip soup, with apples and american caviar. I intended to make parsnips with apples the next day (Thanksgiving) so I wanted to see how they did it. It was smooth and mellow, not to sweet with that nice parsnippy snap.

Crescent duck

My second course was a Crescent duck with romaine and a stew of napoli carrots with toasted spices, and a side of fromage blanc spaetzle. The duck was buttery soft and pink, those of you who shudder at rare fowl might object, but this is the way such fine meat should be prepared, slowly poached, instead of broiled until dark and stringy. The carrots were bursting with carrotness, and had to be at the absolute peak when added to this dish. The spaeztle, while tasty and comforting, was a sidebar, almost forgotten about next to the duck.

Berkshire Pig

My choice for the third course was the braised bacon and roasted Berkshire pig, red ace beets, braised red cabbage and cotechino. The bacon, made in the style of Guanciale, is from the jowl, not the belly. There’s something special about eating a cube of fat, and not feeling the least bit guilty about it. Cotechino is a fresh pork sausage. The sweet beets and red cabbage were as special as the meat on this plate.

My final choice was of course the poached Bourbon Red turkey breast, served with
farro with roasted carnival and kabocha squash. The turkey breast was slow cooked, like the duck, very soft and tender, with a distinct wildfowl taste that makes the best Butterball seem utterly tasteless. The Bourbon Red is the most common heritage breed of turkey. Farro, also know as spelt, is an italian grain. Kabocha is also known as Japanese pumpkin.

Pumpkin Souffle

I choose a pumpkin souffle with cinnamon ice cream for desert. It’s rare that you can taste pumpkin that doesn’t come from a can these days, and you really can taste it.

While the farm atmosphere certainly helps to put you in the mood to make you feel closer to your food, the dishes at Blue Hill get you about as close as you’re going to get without growing it yourself.

The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture has a calendar of events and some downloadable PDFs of recipes.

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Tags: Restaurants