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True Portland

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©dinaavila (12 of 12)

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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Castagna © Dina Avila (1 of 4)

Castagna © Dina Avila (4 of 4)

Castagna © Dina Avila (2 of 4)

©dinaavila (3 of 7) ©dinaavila (4 of 7)

Castagna © Dina Avila (3 of 4)

©dinaavila (1 of 1)

As promised, here’s my third spread in Art Culinaire Magazine’s 108th volume. Eating Justin Woodward’s food at Castagna is a must for any Portland visit. Fresh vegetable heavy – as in grown the restaurants garden out back – Justin’s food is precise, modern, delicious and, lest we forget, absolutely gorgeous.

I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season and I will see you all in the New Year!

Cheers!

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Beast © Dina Avila (2 of 6)

Beast © Dina Avila

Beast © Dina Avila (5 of 6)

Beast © Dina Avila

Beast © Dina Avila-4

Beast © Dina Avila

Beast © Dina Avila-5

Beast © Dina Avila (1 of 3)

Beast © Dina Avila (2 of 3)

All Photos © Dina Avila 2013

I cannot express how honored I am to have my work included in such a phenomenally beautiful magazine. If you’re not familiar with Art Culinaire, it’s an oversized, hard-bound magazine packed with gorgeous food photos, talented chefs and exquisitely written articles. Hit your local specialty bookshop and you should find it on the magazine shelf. My spread includes three of Portland’s most talented (and well-known) chefs and their wares: Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, Justin Woodward of Castagna and Gabe Rucker of Le Pigeon.

I hope to have a recipe post for you very soon. Adam and I just moved (as in I unpacked my computer about 30 minutes ago) to a larger space with lots of beautiful light. Looking forward to getting my props organized and making some photos for you. In the meantime, enjoy the first batch of some of my favorites, as well as a few outtakes, from Art Culinaire, Volume 108. Part two and three will be posted in the next day or two.

Cheers!

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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

DinaFlourish (1)22

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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Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Beam and Anchor © Dina Avila

Well, it’s been super busy around these parts and Leek Soup, as usual, has been neglected. June was packed with magazine shoots including 5 days of shooting with Elle à Table Japan (!). I wish I could share some of those images with you, but we’ll both have to wait until they start publishing in August. In the meantime, I’d thought I’d share a few images with you from a shop/artisan warehouse here in Portland that I am absolutely in love with called Beam & Anchor. I could live in this space. Owned by Jocelyn and Robert Rahm, its bottom floor is chock-a-block with meticulously curated artisan goods that will make your toes curl with desire. Upstairs is devoted to artisans such as soapmakers and woodworkers creating their wares. I had the honor of shooting the space a few months ago and have been meaning to put a few of my favorites up on LS.

I have every intention of posting a recipe or two for you soon! The weather has been crazy hot here in Portland and, even with the AC, our apartment is way too toasty to turn on the oven. As soon as it cools down I promise to get cooking!

Cheers!

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Pickled Fig Tarts © dinaavila

All images © Dina Avila

DinaFlourish (1)22

Well this was interesting. Did you know phyllo dough and puff pastry are not the same thing? Similar, of course, but not necessarily to be used interchangeably as I learned this morning. It was one of those early mornings of chopping onions with weeping eyes wondering why I got started before having enough tea. These crazy warm summery spring days we’re having in Portland means the light changes so quickly – beautiful soft light turns into harsh sun in a flash in my kitchen – which means I need to crawl out of bed fairly early if I want to shoot for the blog. So here we are, after a mildly shaky morning with a paring knife wondering what the heck Saveur is talking about, with these, shall we call them ‘rustic’?, savory tarts.

Oh, but they’re good. As we know, rustic is my style, right? So let’s call the whole thing intentional. Julia Child always said to never apologize for your mistakes in the kitchen. So here you go. I made them this way :)

Cheers!

spoonhome

Pickled Fig Savory Tarts with Kale and Fennel

Adapted from Saveur

I used a fig spread that I received as a gift for Christmas (thank you Heather & Brett). 

Feel free to substitute the figs for 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 medium fennel bulb cored and thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 bunch kale, chopped in to bite-sized pieces

1/3 cup sheep’s milk feta, crumbled, plus more for topping

1/4 cup picked figs

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

1 170z box phyllo dough, thawed

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Coarse sea salt

Instructions:

Warm oil in a large pan over medium heat.

Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown. About 5 minutes.

Stir in fennel and garlic and cook for about another 5 minutes.

Lower heat to medium low and stir in chopped kale.

Add a splash of water, cover and let cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and fold in feta and parsley.

Season with a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Warm oven to 375.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Lightly flour a large work surface and lay thawed phyllo dough down.

Divide the phyllo in half, laying the two halves side by side.

With a paring knife, cut about 9 squares out of each half of phyllo.

Take each square and slice an L shaped slit that’s about an inch long onto each corner.

Fold the corners toward each other so they overlap – Trust me, it’s hard to explain which is why I had so much trouble this morning. Fold them in a way that makes sense to you, but you basically want to create a pocket for the filling to rest in.

Using a large spatula, place six of the tarts onto each baking sheet.

Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of the pickled figs into the center of the tarts.

Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of the kale mixture on top of the figs.

Crumble a bit of feta on to each tart.

Place the pans in the oven on two racks and bake for about 30 minutes rotating the pans halfway through.

Serve warm with a bit more crumbled feta and a dusting of coarse sea salt.

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