Last week was an incredible week full of laughter and many hours of learning. I faithfully follow many blogs and as I read, I usually create a picture in my mind of what that person is like. Obviously it is based largely on what the writer allows the reader know and then my imagination kicks in. I knew Helenis an amazing photographer and pastry chef with a wonderful sense of humor and meeting her only increased those opinions of her. She is also incredibly quick witted, confident, an extremely hard worker, and a blast to be with (she also makes the strongest coffee known to man, the spoon can literally stand in the cup). I’ve always wondered how food photographers do what they do, so insightful to sit back and watch her. I saw her play with the light each day depending on what the sun was providing. I’ve known that lighting is crucial when taking pictures of food, but watching her showed me different light can play different roles and change the whole feeling of a photograph. Helen shooting the photography for my cookbook feels like winning the lottery, and that usually only comes around once in a lifetime.
Helen editing on her computer
I learned a few tips that I’m going to be trying in my photography. The first one is to slow down! The food isn’t going anywhere. The second is to have a little bowl with olive oil and paint brush near-by when taking pictures. If there is a certain part of the food you want to highlight you can simply “paint” it with a little olive oil so that it glistens when the light hits it. Another huge tip I learned is to let the food cool a bit before taking pictures, otherwise the food will move while the pictures are taken. This entire time I’ve been taking pictures of piping hot food! No wonder my garnishes never stayed where I wanted them to stay. What a revelation!
When Helen shoots her photographs there is a moment when she knows she’s gotten the shot because she gets a huge Cheshire-cat grin on her face. We are similar in the fact that I also have a “look” about me when I nail the flavor for a recipe. I do this little dance that involves moving my head back and forth and shaking my hips.
Checking the light and choosing a cake stand before shooting. What you can’t see is that I’m having to squat because I was way too tall for the table (I’m 5’10”). By the end of the shoot my legs were shaking terribly.
Even her sweet dog gets caught up on the latest cookbooks
I’d never been to Charleston and was very taken by the town. The downtown area is beautiful and rich in history. Helen’s husband is a history professor so we had our own personal tour guide.
I was so enchanted by this entryway
After a week, I arrived home exhausted, but with a smile on my face and craving some comfort food. Pasta is my ultimate comfort food that I spoon into large bowls for the family on Sunday evenings. I went for the standard spaghetti with fresh marinara for years until I came across this garlic noodle recipe that quickly became our Sunday evening ritual. The noodles are creamy and sweet with loads of garlic in each bite.
I usually use rice pasta because I try to avoid gluten where it’s easy to do so. Gluten is not necessarily a bad thing but takes quite a bit of energy for the body to digest so if I can easily substitute wheat pasta with rice pasta then it’s an easy alternative. I usually use Tinkyada or Trader Joes pastas. Both brands taste just like white pasta which is always a bonus!
- 12 ounces Capello’s Grain-Free Pasta
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups green onion, chopped
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (can be found in the “Asian” section of the grocery store)
- 2 tablespoons tamarin sauce (I prefer Nama Shoyu because it’s raw and fermented)
- 1 tablespoon organic whole cane sugar or Sucanat (to read more click here )
- 1 tablespoon water
- Sesame Seeds (optional)
- Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain noodles and set aside.
- Melt 5 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Stir in garlic and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant and onions begin to soften. Stir in fish sauce, tamari sauce, whole cane sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add noodles and toss until coated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Serve immediately.