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True Portland

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Hello friends!

Last fall I had the honor of shooting a Portland guidebook – True Portland – for Japanese tourist. We photographed restaurants and food and interesting folk all over our fair city. I thought I’d share a few pages from the book. It was a whirlwind shoot and these bad ass Japanese publishers (Bridgelab) and writers, wrote, designed, published and launched the book within 7 months. No joke. And I hear it’s been the #1 selling guidebook on Amazon Japan since it hit the shelves. If ever you find yourself in a Japanese market – or in Japan, for that matter – take a peak at the bookshelves. You may see our book.

The next month or two will be extremely busy for me with shoots for another Japanese publication – Popeye Magazine – as well as a spread for Travel + Leisure (!!!). Looking forward to sharing those images with you in the coming months!

Cheers!

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La Cucina Italiana © Dina Avila

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©dinaavila (1 of 3)La Cucina Italiana © Dina Avila

La Cucina Italiana © Dina Avila

La Cucina Italiana © Dina Avila

Her name is Jackson Pollock :)

La Cucina Italiana © Dina Avila

All images © Dina Avila 2013

If you subscribe to La Cucina Italiana, next month (October issue) you’ll find a big ol’ juicy spread I shot for them. Last October, I had the honor of photographing an annual fall dinner Chef Cathy Whims (of Portland’s Nostrana) throws for the farmers who supply many of her ingredients. Among the farmers were the folks of Ayer’s Creek Farm; an idyllic organic farm, that I photographed this summer, who supplies Cathy with polenta made from their corn. This farm, oh lord, is it gorgeous. It’s a gloriously beautiful drive about an hour’s west of Portland on, yep, Farmington Road. Windows rolled down, Amos Lee on the stereo, I almost wept overwhelmed by the beauty of Oregon’s farm country. I thought I’d share some of the published photos, as well as some of my favorite outtakes from the farm.

Cheers!

 

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Morels with Asparagus © Dina Avila (1 of 2)

Morels with Asparagus © Dina Avila (2 of 2)

All photos © Dina Avila

Happy Sunday, all! A wee bit busy today, so photos for now, and recipe to follow tomorrow.

Cheers!

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Siri and Sons

Siri and Sons

Siri and Sons

Siri and Sons

Siri and Sons

Siri and Sons

Siri and Sons

Siri and Sons

 All Images © Dina Avila 2012

Just thought I’d share a handful of my favorites from a shoot I did for Organically Grown Company a couple of weeks ago. The setting is a bell pepper and cucumber farm in Aurora, Oregon, the folks are Siri and Sons (and wives), four generations of proud, beautiful, very hardworking farmers. Including wildly adorable 2 1/2-year-old twins. It was such an honor and a privilege to be invited into their world to document the work the defines their lives…and fills our bellies.

Cheers!

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Blog post with recipe coming very soon but I thought I’d share one of my favorites from a little jaunt to Sauvie Island yesterday….

Sauvie Island

© Dina Avila 2012

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Spring Herb Salad with Fava Beans

Borage Flowers

Asparagus and Fava Beans

Those of you who know me know that I have a weakness for fava beans. So much so that I recently told a local chef that “fava beans make me weak in the knees”. Not sure how he took that comment (I think we’re still friends), but it’s the truth. My adoration of fava beans began in my childhood, thanks to my dad, and has only gotten stronger and more pronounced as I’ve gotten older. Some people go crazy for ice cream, I go crazy for fava beans.

When I wandered into Pastaworks yesterday afternoon, I had barely an inkling of what I wanted to make for you. I had spring and fresh herbs on my mind and thought it would stop there. What I walked out with, was an armful of young asparagus, arugula, fava beans, sorrel (tastes like a young lemony lettuce) and fresh mint. Oh, and let’s not forget the borage flowers! How could I possibly walk away from borage flowers? I’ve only ever seen them growing wild during wildflower season in Texas and I always thought about  harvesting them for their natural and medicinal oils, but never did. It’s moments like those that I thank goodness my path brought to the Pacific Northwest where we have farmers like Viridian Farms growing and harvesting such an abundance of wonderful and unique produce. I feel spoiled living here, and I’m OK with that.

Cheers!

Spring Herb Salad with Fava Beans, Young Asparagus and Fresh Mint

This dish hardly needs a recipe. Find whatever fresh, local
herbs turn you on and toss! I listed the borage flowers as optional,
but they are definitely worth hunting down. Their taste is fresh with a hint of earthiness from their natural oils. 

Ingredients:

One bunch baby arugula, stems removed if tough
One bunch fresh sorrel, torn into bite sized pieces
A handful of young asparagus
A pound or so young fava beans, hulled
Fresh mint
Borage flowers, optional
Olive Oil
Coarse Sea Salt
Fennel Pollen, optional

~

Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside.

Break the asparagus in half and place in boiling water for about three minutes.

Using tongs, remove asparagus from water and place in ice water bath.

Place fava beans in boiling water for about two minutes, just until their skins start to burst.

Remove favas from boiling water and place in ice water bath.

Drain the asparagus and fava beans.

Remove skins from fava beans, if you like. When they’re young I eat them skin and all.

Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of fennel pollen.

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I had an early morning shoot today and not thinking ahead, I arrived fresh from the shower with sopping wet hair (tucked into a tidy bun), to St. Jack’s patisserie. It’s 29 degrees out. I know that’s not cold for some of you…but it’s pretty cold for us. While shooting the outdoor environmentals, (hoping that my hair won’t freeze and that I couldn’t possibly get pneumonia, right?), I thought about this soup waiting for me at home. Thick with hearty beans and bursting with winter vegetables, brothy enough warrant the pleasurable need for crusty bread to sop up the juices. A perfect soup to come home to on a brisk winter’s day.

© Dina Avila

I had more food pictures for you, I really did. But something happened and I haven’t quite figured out what. I was in a hurry yesterday and I either uploaded the images to a strange and remote location, or not at all. Instead, I offer you a glimpse into yesterday’s Christmas tree hunting adventure with Adam’s folks, and, fortunately, at the very least, the soup.

© Dina Avila

Cheers!

Kale and Pumpkin Ministra

Inspired by a recipe in Food and Wine

The original recipe calls for butternut squash pasta and gently wilted kale. I decided I wanted a heartier and richer flavored soup, so I used some of stash of fancy Peruvian Christmas Lima beans in place of the pasta and roasted the veggies in the oven.

What you’ll need~

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 small pumpkin, or squash of your choice, seeds rinsed and reserved and cut into quarters

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

4 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper

1-2 cups beans, cooked

Parmesan for shaving

Heat the oven to 375.

Toss the pumpkin and onion with half of the olive oil, a generous pinch of salt, a couple of grinds of pepper and the crumbled dried sage. Place on half of your baking sheet.

Place in the oven and bake until the pumpkin is tender. About 30 minutes. Be sure to stir the onions here and there so they don’t char too much.

Toss the kale with the rest of the olive oil, the reserved pumpkin seeds and sliced garlic.

After about 15 minutes into cooking, add the kale to to the other half of the baking sheet.

Stir the kale every 5-10 minutes until it’s nice and crisp. About 15 minutes.

Once the kale is cooked and the pumpkin is tender, remove from the oven and set aside until the pumpkin is cool enough to handle.

In the meantime, warm chicken broth in a large saucepan and add the beans. Add the kale and onions.

Scrape the pumpkin meat out of its skin, and cube up the meat as best as you can. Toss into the broth.

Let simmer gently for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

Serve warm with a generous serving of parmesan shavings on top and some crusty bread for sopping on the side.

© Dina Avila

© Dina Avila

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