Sunday Family Dinner

February 29, 2012

This weekend I was back in Syracuse spending time with the family. Sunday was the perfect winter day with crisp blue skies, a few inches of freshly fallen snow, a fire in the fireplace and the aroma of my father’s Northern Italian dish for dinner filling the house. We started with a couple fresh loaves of Columbus Bakery bread, followed by an antipasto platter with lettuce, tomato, greek olives, cucumbers, salami, ham, provolone, blue cheese and topped with a white balsamic vinaigrette. The main dish was homemade marinara sauce with tomatoes, chicken stock, fresh garlic, onions, zucchini and a touch of sugar. After simmering for a few hours with the chicken breast and thigh meat, it was poured over fettucini and garnished with parsley and parmesan cheese.

Marinara sauce with chicken and fettucini

 

Antipasto platter

 

Columbus Bakery bread dipped in olive oil

 

Grating parmesan cheese and Columbus Bakery bread

 

Antipasto platter

 

Bread and Pasta

 

White balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

 

Pasta and bread

 

Antipasto

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A Dish for Grandma

February 3, 2012

I’ve spent the past few weeks Upstate with my grandmother during her final days, and with my family once she passed away. Now that I’m back to work, I’m looking forward to getting my food shoots up and running again. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off my return than with a tribute to the amazing woman she was. One of her favorite meals was pasta and meatballs, an Italian classic that happens to be one of my favorites as well. I had so much fun pairing the vibrant red sauce with some old B&Ws of my grandmother and her sisters on their 4th of July holiday in the city circa 1941.

My Aunt Nici and Grandma sightseeing in NY

 

Aunt Flory, Aunt Nici and Grandma getting off the subway

 

Grandma, Aunt Nici, Aunt Flory in the park

 

Aunt Nici, Grandma and Aunt Flory strolling down Broadway

It’s that time of year for my second seasonal themed dinner party. For autumn, I decided to go with a rustic outdoor picnic, inspired by my family’s leftover Thanksgiving food and style inspiration from my great grandfather’s fishing gear. For the ingredients I couldn’t find in the fridge, I spent the morning in the quaint village of Cazenovia getting fresh, local food from Troyer’s, a general store opened by the Amish (I have a whole other post on this I’ll share soon).

The Menu…

Drinks: Pellegrino Sparkling Orange Drink and Saranac Craft Beers

Appetizers: Maple Popcorn,  Roasted Edamame, Vegetable chips and Homemade Trail Mix from Troyer’s Country Store

Main Course: Roasted Turkey Sandwich with homemade toasted bread, lettuce, tomato, basil infused mayonnaise, provolone and caramelized onions

Side: Saratoga country fried potato crisps seasoned with oregano

Dessert: My mother’s chocolate Italian roll cookies and homemade banana bread

Styling Tips…

• Pack each meal individually in a small cardboard to-go box for an easy transport to your great outdoor picnic location. Cut gift wrap from Anthropologie in thin strips and adhere to the sides of the box and label the menu on a strip of tape on the top of the box

• Birch bark as name cards and propped up at each place setting with one of my grandfather’s fishing lures

• Brown paper bags folded over, tied with ribbon and a burlap bow make for great serving bowls for snacks

• Sprinkle the center of the table with leaves and pine needles

• My great grandfather’s blanket from World War I as a table cloth

• Centerpiece floral arrangement, dried hygendra with a plume from ornamental grasses

Roasted turkey sandwich

Table setting and packed lunches ready to go

Homemade Trail Mix from Troyer's

Floral arrangement

Roasted Edamame

Country fried potato crisps with oregano

Boxed meals and Saranac Craft beer

Maple popcorn and birch bark place cards

Dried vegetable chips

Roasted Turkey sandwich

Drinks and cookies

Chocolate Italian cookies and banana bread

A Year in Review

November 18, 2011

A Camera in the Kitchen turns 1 tomorrow! I cannot thank you all enough for your support and enthusiasm you’ve expressed to me. It’s been such an amazing year capturing and sharing the art of dining. I’ve dug through my archives to compile some of my favorites that I think best reflects this. From tasting California’s fresh fruit while dancing at the Coachella Music Festival, to chowing down on a burger in Montana after a day of snowshoeing in the Beartooth Mountains, or grilling Wahoo from Aruba’s local fish market in celebration of a friend’s birthday. It has been such a learning experience for me, and I only hope to bring more exciting things to the site in the year to come.

Above all, I’ve learned a meal is more than just satisfying your hunger, it’s about the experience, the culture, and most importantly the people you are surrounded by. Whether grabbing take out for an evening home with the roommates, or sitting at a cafe in Reykjavik with new friends, I always make the most of the moment, and the meal, and that’s what I aim to capture here. I hope my photos inspire you to take time in your own life to appreciate the moments shared over that dish. You may get too full for that last bite of pasta, but you can never be too full of great memories.

 

 

Some of the dinner parties we've hosted-- big and small

Travels to Iceland, Montana, California, Miami, Beacon and Newport

Travels continued through New Jersey, Montana, Iceland and Brooklyn

Oktoberfeast

November 2, 2011

My friend Donna and I cooked up a seasonal menu the other day featuring some of our favorite ingredients like pumpkin, sage and cranberries. It was one of those quintessential autumn days with crisp blue skies and cool temperatures, so I enjoyed my afternoon outside making my way to the farmers market and then taking the ferry over to Long Island City to relish in the beautiful day.

Cranberries and Maple Sugar Candies

Butter & Sage Pumpkin Ravioli

Farmers Market Ingredients: Ardith Mae Fresh Chevre and Bread from Hot Bread Kitchen

Pumpkin Nut Bread

Butter & Sage Pumpkin Ravioli

Cranberries, Apples & Pears with Bread & Fresh Chevre

Pumpkin Nut Bread

Bread & Fresh Chevre dipped in Pumpkin Bisque

Cranberry Chutney on Bread

Lunch in Miami

October 26, 2011

I escaped the cool weather this weekend and spent my time soaking up the rays at Miami’s beaches and rooftop pools. My friend, Victor, and wonderful host, was kind enough to prepare lunch on Saturday. My new favorite snack, fried plantains, are delicious topped with anything from goat cheese and mint, to pico de gallo and queso blanco. We also had tasty hard boiled eggs with paprika, cayenne pepper and curry powder, and he whipped up some seasoned ground turkey wraps. Certainly enough to keep us filled until dinner and give us a taste of that local Miami flair.

Fried plantains with goat cheese and mint

Plantains

Fried plantains with Pico de Gallo and Queso Blanco

Hard boiled eggs with paprika, cayenne pepper and curry powder

Onions

Cilantro

Seasoned ground turkey, goat cheese and pico de gallo wrap

Seasoned ground turkey and Queso Blanco


Bakkabrim

September 26, 2011

Last but not least from my tour of Iceland, this organic cafe in the town of Eyrarbakki might possibly be my favorite place to start your morning– or spend your afternoon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open the day we were there, but I was able to explore. The entire surroundings were so amazing, just untouched natural beauty with a small, welcoming organic cafe dropped in the midst of it all. I could have sat out on the deck all afternoon. Like taking a step out of reality, it’s as if you’re entering a children’s fort in the backyard, a place to forget about your worries, breath in some of the freshest air possible and take it all in, realizing how exhilarating and beautiful life really is. I wish so badly I could have tried one of their drinks, but as my father has always told me, “You’ve got to save something for the next time.”

Because I was so intrigued by this place, I did some research, and here’s a great article about Bakkarbrim from a very cool Icelandic website. Check it out!

Organic Cafe

The deck

The view