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Archive for the ‘food’ Category

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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Choclate Hazlenut Honey Pavlova © Dina Avila

All photos © Dina Avila 2014

I decided that since it’s been MONTHS since I posted a recipe here on Leek Soup that I would make up for lost time and make something epic for you. And by epic I mean a visually stunning dessert that has the potential for an epic fail. Who doesn’t like a challenge in the kitchen? It’s been snowing for three days here in Portland and today we are in the middle of an ice storm. Perfect weather for attempting a stacked pavlova. It’s really not a difficult dessert to make, but SO many things can go wrong. For example, fishing out an egg shell from the egg whites with your oily fingers? Bad. Any amount of residual oil or butter clinging to the side of the mixing bowl? Recipe for disaster. A high humidity day? Forget about it. No really, don’t do it. But freezing temperatures outside and cozy warmth in? Perfection.

I’ve been doing mostly editorial and restaurant work for the past few months or so and this is first food shoot I’ve done in our new home. Our old apartment was directly across a narrow alley from a warehouse that was painted a putrid shade of pale peach. That color would bounce into our kitchen around mid-day giving me approximately 4 hours of good daylight to shoot with. Even in cloudy weather. I now have multiple windows to shoot near (no ugly warehouse anywhere in sight), plus a basement that is slowly being transformed into a studio (and hopefully darkroom at some point). I expect this new arrangement will afford me some creative flexibility that the old place didn’t and I’m excited to see what lays ahead. I hope you are, too :)

Cheers

Chocolate Hazelnut Pavlova Drizzled with Honey

The recipe is simple enough, but give yourself enough time to make it. At least 3 hours from start to finish.
Feel free to use whipped cream or marscapone instead of crème fraîche.

 

Ingredients:

For the meringue:

9 egg whites

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons dutch cocoa powder

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar, plus more for cleaning

For the topping:

3-4 cups crème fraîche, whipped until fluffy

1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Dark chocolate, grated

Honey for drizzling

Instructions:

Warm your oven to 375

Line the bottom of two baking sheets with parchment paper and, using an inverted 8 inch bowl draw three circles.

Wipe down your beaters, bowl and large spoon with white vinegar to remove any potential grease. Do not skip this step as oil, even from your hands, is the arch-enemy of meringue.

Beat your egg whites at medium speed until frothy.

Increase the speed to medium-high and add the powdered sugar, one large spoonful at a time.

Add the brown sugar one large spoonful at a time.

Continue to beat the eggs until stiff peaks form. About 10 minutes.

Beat in the vinegar for a few seconds.

Sift the cocoa powder over the egg whites and using your large spoon, fold in. No need for it to be completely blended. Streaks are fine.

Spoon the meringue into the your parchment circles and use an offset spatula to spread evenly.

Bake for 5 minutes at 375 and then lower the temperature to 250 for an hour and a half. Until the meringues are dry to the touch.

If you’re using both oven racks, rotate the meringues half way through the baking time.

Remove the meringues from the oven and let cool completely on wire racks.

To assemble the meringues, spread whipped crème fraîche on top of each layer, sprinkle with grated chocolate and chopped hazelnuts. Drizzle with honey and gently stack the layers.

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Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-9

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-5

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-8

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-10

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-11

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-2

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-12

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-13

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila

Le Pigeon © Dina Avila-4

All images © Dina Avila

As promised, here’s the second installment from my spread, including a few outtakes, in Art Culinaire. Meet Gabriel Rucker, Chef of Le Pigeon.

Cheers!

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Spiced Cauliflower Soup © Dina Avila

© Dina Avila 2013

I picked up a copy of Donna Hay’s Winter Issue a few weeks looking for inspiration, and boy did I find it. Simple soup recipe after simple soup recipe. As the temperature dips here in Portland, I suspect you’ll see a line of soups and stews on the blog in the coming months inspired by this gorgeous magazine from Oz.

This cream-based soup is a breeze to throw together. I, of course, took some liberties, adding a bulb of fresh fennel to the pot, beefing up the spice ratio and I substituted hemp milk for the cream. My tummy just doesn’t like warmed milk. Feel free to use cream instead.

Cheers!

Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Inspired by Donna Hay Magazine

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 leek, trimmed and sliced

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1-1 1/4 lb head cauliflower, chopped. Reserve a couple of handfuls for topping the soup.

1/2 pound Yukon Gold, or other, potatoes

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup hemp milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Spiced Cauliflower:

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic, chopped

Reserved cauliflower

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

In medium saucepan or soup pot, warm the olive oil and butter over medium heat.

Add the leeks and fennel and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes until softened and golden.

Stir in the garlic, cauliflower and potato and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the stock, hemp milk, three generous pinches of sea salt and a several turns of black pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on stirring occasionally.

Use either a blender or an immersion blender to purée soup until creamy.

Spiced Cauliflower

Warm butter and oil in a small skillet.

Add the garlic, cauliflower, cumin, coriander and a pinch or two of salt.

Saute for about 10 minutes over medium heat until the cauliflower is golden and being to crisp.

Sprinkle the spiced cauliflower over the soup.

Serve soup warm with a rustic, crusty bread.

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Luce @ Dina Avila

Luce

Luce @ Dina Avila

Chef/Owner John Taboada and Stylist about Town Anne Parker at Luce

Luce @ Dina Avila

Luce

Beam and Anchor @ Dina Avila

Gorgeous Wares at Beam & Anchor

Anne Parker @ Dina Avila

Spread with Beam & Anchor Wares at Anne Parker’s Home

Broder @ Dina Avila

Broder

Broder @ Dina Avila

Broder

Broder @ Dina Avila

GM Joe Conklin at Broder

Sweedeedee @ Dina Avila

Sweedeedee

Lincoln @ Dina Avila

Lincoln

Lincoln @ Dina Avila

Lincoln

All Images © Dina Avila

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Adam and I are house and kitty sitting in the country. Three cats (one is ours), a big house, a view of a hilly pasture where horses run, great herons stoically stand, and where we watch hawks and kestrels hunting and playing in the wind. There’s a beautiful garden here that I’ve bonded with while watering her, and several very territorial hummingbirds constantly buzzing around the backyard feeders or chattering to each other high up in the treetops. Hummingbirds are noisy little beasts. I’ve been chased by a queen bumble bee. Twice. Buzzed by a Paper Wasp or two, and watched a female kestrel watch me watching her through binoculars. And on more than one occasion have almost run though giant webs, hosted by giant garden spiders. There is a jungle of tomato plants, behind the raised bed of flowers vibrating with bees and hummingbirds, where I harvest seemingly hundreds of cherry tomatoes bursting from the vine daily.

This summer is nearly over with the autumnal equinox barely a week away. This morning is quiet as a Sunday morning in the country should be. Cool, grey and damp. The clouds seem ready to burst with rain. It feels like the perfect morning to catch up on and update my blog. I thought I’d share some of the published photos of a shoot I did this past June for Elle a Table Japan. You may be able to find this magazine in a Japantown, if you live near one, or a shop that sells international magazines. Otherwise, it may be difficult to find. Of course, the text is almost all in Japanese, except for the occasional subtext or article title in English, but the magazine is so visually stunning that it’s worth it to pick it up to simply look at the photos.

The shoot spanned over five days and involved a team from Japan (Hi Taka and Yumi!), Travel Portland, me and fellow photographer about town, Dave Reamer. Two teams, five day, nearly 30 locations. It was bliss. I made new friends, shot Portland like crazy, ate amazing food, and simply had a blast. This issue is the first of three to be published in Japan. A series on “Why You Want to Go to Portland “. Cool, right?  I’ll be sure to share more images as the the next two issues are published.

Cheers!

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Rosemary Plum Tart © Dina Avila

© Dina Avila 2013

Take one look at this tart and you can see that I’m craving fall. Dark, warm colors, hints of rosemary. We’ve been having an endless summer here in Portland, and while the city is alive with folks geeked out to the gills in vitamin D giddiness, I’m ready for cooler weather. Long sleeves, the smell of damp earth and bowls of warm, root-laden soup.

A couple of weeks ago a colleague and fellow food photographer about town, David Reamer, sent me an email inviting me to collaborate on a side project he has called Catching the Ox. Basically, we pick a subject somehow related to food, ours being stone fruit, and shoot it as we see fit.  Enter this tart. It is incredibly easy to make and will absolutely knock your socks off. I took it to a BBQ and had strangers stop me in the kitchen praising this tart. This is the tart that impresses your friends and makes you new ones. No kidding. I’m almost considering not sharing the recipe with you and keeping it as my secret tart recipe.

I kid :)

Rosemary Plum Tart

Adapted from Epicurious

The two changes I made in this recipe was the addition of fresh rosemary,
and a generous hand with the lemon juice and zest.
Oh, and I halved the recipe and used black plums instead of Italian.

Ingredients:

For the pastry dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut in to chunks and placed in the freezer

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Zest from one lemon

2 egg yolks

For the filling:

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

2 lbs black plums halved, pitted and sliced

Juice from one lemon

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

Instructions:

For the dough:

Combine all of the dough ingredients, except for the yolks, in your food processor and pulse until the mix becomes a coarse meal. Pulse in the egg yolks and process until the dough begins to clump into a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and cut into two portions.

Using the heel of your hand , smear each portion forward to distribute the fat.

Bring the two portions together in to a ball.

Depending on the type of tart pan you’re using, line a tart pan with parchment paper up the sides with corners sticking out (see photo), butter and lightly flour it.

Using lightly floured fingers, press the ball of dough into the tart pan and spread evenly on the bottom and up the sides. You want it to be about 1/4 inch thick and go up the sides of the pan about 1/8 of an inch.

Place the tart in the fridge and chill for about 30 minutes.

For the filling:

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch.

Gently stir in the plums, lemon juice and fresh rosemary.

Set aside, for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Warm your oven to 425.

Place the plum halves, skin side down, in the tart pan in circular rosette pattern.

Tuck in any remaining plum bits into any gaps you see.

Pour the juice from the bowl evenly over the plums.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375, cover the tart loosely with foil and bake for another 40 minutes until the juices are gently bubbling and the plums are tender when poked with a knife.

Brush the juices over the plums and cool the tart completely on a rack before removing from the pan. If you used parchment paper, you can just pull up on the corners of the paper (gently!) that are sticking out of the pan.

Serve at room temp with an optional dollop of creme fraiche.

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La Cucina Italiana © Dina Avila

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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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