AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: An Honest Thank You DATE: 3/02/2010 09:28:00 AM ----- BODY:
My friend Steve Dunn started a new blog, Oui, Chef about 6 months ago – about teaching his kids to cook. I have enjoyed his blog for many reasons, but I think top on my list is his photography. His photos are clean, crisp and always make the food look mouthwatering. After receiving an “Honest Scrap” award, he admitted that his plating skills are lacking, so he uses a macro setting on his camera to compensate, or hide, for his perceived deficiency.

I have the opposite problem. I’m actually pretty good at plating. I just can’t take a good photograph. The photos always look a bit out of focus – I’m sure my number one problem is lighting. Number two: I need to learn more about the settings on the camera, so I can use them to my advantage.

Case in point: This picture.

I had wanted to share with you a great technique for creating a beautiful presentation for salads.

With a vegetable peeler, shave long slices of English cucumbers. Be sure to get the entire width of the cucumber so there is peel on both sides. From a single cucumber, you should be able to get a dozen or more slices – so you have plenty to practice with enough leftover to still serve to your guests.

Line the inside of a ring mold with the cucumber. Make sure the ends overlaps by at least one inch. The cucumber has enough moisture that it will hold its shape when unmolded. With the cucumber still in the ring, fill the inside of the cucumber ring with dressed mesclun greens. Be sure to tuck any ends into the cucumber, letting only the leafy greens poke out. You can fill it pretty tight. To remove the ring, gently hold the cucumber in place and pull the ring off.

This salad was served with seared foie gras and paired with a 1986 Chateau Climens Sauternes.

Thank you, Steve, for the Honest Scrap award. I’m honored to receive it and flattered to know that you’ve been inspired by my blog. The feeling is mutual: I think your design and photos are clean and beautiful. And I’m always interested in hearing about the stories of you and your kids in the kitchen. They are so fortunate to have you as their dad.

I, too, have been inspired by many blogs, and would like to recognize just a few here.
T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types for being a wonderful story-teller.
Dan at Casual Kitchen for culling out such interesting stories and resources about the way we eat.
Lydia at the Perfect Pantry for being a wonderful friend and mentor.  And I always learn interesting tidbits form her posts.
Melissa at Alosha's Kitchen -- your style of cooking is just a few degrees off what I cook for myself, and you always inspire me to try new dishes.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:3/02/2010 12:02:00 PM Julia - many thanks for the shout out! And just for the record, I think the photo of the salad presentation looks beautiful! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger R. DATE:3/02/2010 04:47:00 PM Your plating IS gorgeous :) Lighting is always an issue, as whoever makes dinner in broad daylight?! Try the Lowell EGO lights. They are pricey, but if you use one with a bounce, it helps a lot! Great blog! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:3/02/2010 10:33:00 PM Many thanks! You've taught me far more about cooking than I've taught you about blogging. But I'll be happy to give you a bit of help on the photo front the next time we get together. Photography isn't my strong suit, but I'll gladly share what I know. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Melissa DATE:3/03/2010 01:59:00 PM Ah, Julia. I do so adore you. Thanks for the nod and for your continued friendship and encouragement. And in my opinion, your pictures in this post look lovely. ----- --------