Archive for the 'food photography' Category

22
Sep
11

Kosher Revolution


It looks too traif to be true, but Geila Hocherman and co-author Arthur Boehm have really pulled it off with their new cookbook Kosher Revolution. Inside you’ll find the most exciting new recipes adapted from the finest in worldwide haute cusine, photographed by the extraordinary Antonis Achilleous.  Geila and her genius ability to exchange un-kosher ingredients with kosher ones while still fundamentally maintaining  the look,  texture and – never to be confirmed – taste, of its original counterparts are more than praiseworthy, yet the outstanding photography  makes your mouth water with possibility.

Delicious recipes, superb photography

Geila’s gifts, mastery of taste chemistry and ingenious ingredient substitution, broaden the breadth and spectrum of cooking kosher. Her very elegant presentation is more than worthy of a cordon bleu Chef.  Anthonis Achilleous‘ extraordinary talent for lighting, color, texture and capturing the most tantalizing angles of his composition, clearly illustrate that he is at the top of his art form among the best food photographers out there. Geila’s not a snooty chef either, if there is a way to save time or make a recipe user friendly, she does so.You’ll find her palate of adaptable ingredients refreshing and versatile as she looks to give an expansive kick in the pants to the sometimes mundane nearsightedness of traditional Jewish cooking.

Duck Prosciutto (page 24), Grilled Figs With Balsamic Gastrique (page 26)

“Duck Prosciutto

serves 4

When people challenge me to “make trayf safe,” they usually mention ham. This breakthrough recipe began with that dare—and my realization that what makes ham taste like itself has less to do with the meat than its cure. My quest for kosher prosciutto—nothing less!—led me first to smoked turkey leg, which is hammy all right, but hardly like the Italian specialty. I went to work, and, happily, scored a triple bull’s-eye by giving duck breast a really easy salt cure—just fifteen minutes of prep followed by a “set-it-and-forget-it” refrigerator stay. The resulting “prosciutto” is so much like the real thing, but with a special character all its own, you’ll be amazed. I pair this with grilled figs (page 26), a traditional prosciutto accompaniment, but that’s just the beginning. Try it wrapped around asparagus spears or, diced and sautéed, as a salad garnish.

Geila’s Tips

To achieve paper-thin slices, I use an inexpensive electric slicer, a great kitchen investment. The very ends of the cured breast over-dry. Save them to put in soup. If you can’t find the Moulard breast, place two regular breasts together and cure as one.

  • One 6- or 8-ounce package of muscovy duck breast
  • 4 cups kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  1. Over a burner flame, singe away any remaining pinfeathers from the breast. Rinse the breast and dry it with paper towels.
  2. On a dish just large enough to hold the breast, make a 1-inch bed of the salt. Place the breast on the salt and cover it with another inch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, fennel, and pepper. Holding the breast over the sink, rinse it with the vinegar (to remove the salt), and then under cold running water. Dry the breast and rub it all over with the spice mixture. Wrap the breast in cheesecloth and knot it at both ends. Using sturdy household tape (duct tape works well), attach one end of the cheesecloth to the top of the refrigerator interior, or hang the breast from a high refrigerator shelf, and let it cure until the breast feels firm but not dry, about 2 weeks. Start checking after a week. Thinner or smaller breasts will take less time.
  4. Using an electric slicer or a sharp carving knife, slice the breast paper thin or as thinly as possible. Place 3 melon slices on serving plates, drape with the prosciutto, and serve.”

Especially now around holiday time, go grab your own Kosher Revolution, hit the supermarket for some of the recommended stock items for your pantry and start putting some magic into your dishes.  Once you get the hang of the revolutionary ingredient exchanges, Geila so deliciously demonstrates, nothing will prevent your launching your own kosher revolution.

SYR

16
Sep
11

A Conversation with Geila Hocherman


Last evening on the The Kosher Scene at 8:00pm (Eastern Time), I had the privilege of talking to cookbook author and Cordon Bleu trained Chef Geila Hocherman. Her book, Kosher Revolution is coming out on the 23rd of this month, but can already be pre-ordered on Amazon.com. Having examined an advance copy I can testify that not only is the photography a delight for the eyes, but the quality of the recipes will make even the most casual observer’s mouth water.

Having met Ms Hocherman on previous occasions, having heard her talk about food and life and general, her passion for those subjects is obvious. If you look at her picture on the right, taken from her book,  her joie de vivre, her love for her work is all too apparent. In real life she comes across just as lively and vivacious as in the photo, with an infectious joy and dedication to everything she does.

Next week we will post our review of her book including one of her recipes with a beautiful accompanying photo. Meanwhile, you can listen to our archived interview from last eve with Chef Geila here and our Wednesday interview with David Mintz, here.

CS

24
Aug
11

Leah Schapira from CookKosher.com


Our guest this evening (at 8:00pm Eastern Daylight Time) on The Kosher Scene Radio Show, will be Leah Schapira. Not only is her site cookkosher.com a work in progress, but so is she.  Her site best describes her accomplishment concisely, thus:

She has co-authored the popular kosher Silver Spoon cookbook, acted as Food Editor for Mishpacha magazine from 2007-20010 and is currently Senior Food Editor for Ami magazine. Her new cookbook is due December 2011.

cookkosher.com is an attractive and informative with good food photography, that makes your mouth water in anticipation. Leah Shapira is a foodie who’s told other interviewers she’d rather have a new recipe than a new pair of shoes. Unusual lady, indeed!

Browsing through her site, reading her prior interviews, makes it very obvious that her love for creating new dishes and feeding others, are innate parts of her mental and emotional make up.

French Roast with Caramelized Sugar - Photo from: cookkosher.com

Leah will talk to us this evening about her upcoming cookbook, her website and what it offers, she will also share some anecdotes that will help us better understand the person behind the voice on on this BlogTalkRadio.com conversation.

Applesauce - Photo from cookkosher.com

If you missed last week’s great show with Shoshanna Raff from koshershopaholic.com you can hear it here

Please, don’t forget to tune us in this evening’s for our conversation with the charming, Leah Schapira, at 8:00pm (Eastern Time). I know you will enjoy this segment! We’ll be wait’n for ya…

CS

04
Mar
11

Snapshots of a Master at Work


Those who have been following this blog know that we love good photography. I was delighted, therefore, when the opportunity arose of attending two shoots Irving Schild was doing for Kosher Inspired Magazine‘s upcoming stories to appear in their Pessach issue

Looking for the best angle...

I’ve known Irving Schild for a number of years and have always admired his work, always marveled at his wonderful eye for detail, his eye for the unusual. I’ve seen his photos from a pilgrimage to Reb Nachman Bratzlaver‘s kever, a trip to Morocco, and to the wilds of Africa, etc. In each case, one not only sees an image, one experiences the soul behind it.

In a black and white shot of a quickly improvised shtibl in Uman you can feel the fervor, you can almost hear the words and the lilt of the heartfelt prayer; you anticipate the rhythmic shockle of the participants at each sound. As you look at his photos of Zulu warriors, their fierceness grips you, the piercing eyes cut right through you. When I saw the images of his Morocco trip, I was suddenly transported to the Mellah where the street sounds and the aromas were in my ears, in my nostrils.

Assessing the best strategy to tackle a difficult lighting situation... Photo by: Barbara Hornstein

Who is Irving Schild? What makes him click? He was born in Belgium, but in 1939 the family had to flee at the approach of the Nazis. They moved from country to country; with the liberation of Rome – by the Allies – in 1944 the Schilds were part of a 1000 carefully selected refugees invited to the US by President Roosevelt, as guests of this country. When WWII was over, the family opted to apply for immigrant status rather than return to Europe.

Irving served in the US Marine Corps and was trained as a combat photographer at the Army Signal Corps School in Monmouth, NJ. After the army, he attended Cooper Union in NYC where he studied graphics design. He went on to become art director at various well known advertising agencies. Eventually he decided to take advantage of his army training. He opened a commercial photography studio in Manhattan and soon his photos graced the pages of Life, MacCall’s, Esquire, Paris Match and more. For the last 40 years he has traveled the world on assignment for MAD Magazine. He recently retired from teaching at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology where he served as Chairman of the Photography Department. During his tenure at FIT he trained many students who went to become much talked about luminaries in their field. Though partially retired, he indefatigably continues to do commercial photography for various clients. His work has been recognized through numerous awards.

He has done food photography for major magazines including Bon Appetit, McCall’s and most recently Kosher Inspired. He often does his own food styling, applying the lessons learned during his four decades in professional photography plus his experience as an art director. He is currently hard at work on a collection of photographs celebrating the renaissance of Jewish life around the world.

A good photographer does not content himself with the camera’s result; certainly as he shoots he tries his best, but the work continues after the camera is packed away…

The original shot...

...the final composition

Some may find the above sample all too easy, but there were many other shots during these two days where the final result was not so obvious at first, yet in every instance the finished product was a true work of art.

Following Irving Schild for two days, as he conquered the problems of lighting, as he toiled on finding the perfect composition, as he took memorable photos, as he post processed the shots, was truly an education. He taught me how to see and how to feel my subject, I hope I may yet prove a worthy student.

CS

28
Nov
10

We Have a Winner!


Since we posted The Contest, So Far…, until this past Thursday at midnight, we received 19 additional photos. Some were quite good, some mediocre. None of these photos were shot by professionals, none spent hours food styling and we certainly didn’t aexpect such, the three top ones are quite good. Before we show you the winning picture and the two runners up, here is one photo that I wish could have been at least a runner up. The colors are beautiful, it is very sharp but the lighting is uneven, distracting and there is no definite overall pattern…

Extreme closeup of Rainbow Salad - Kosher By Design Kids in the Kitchen, page 42

While the specific angle of the picture avoided harsh shadows, it was obviously shot with flash as opposed to available or natural light. As a result there is some glare which greatly detracts from the photo. It could have been a very good shot… It was taken by a teenager in Providence, RI. We truly thank you for your efforts and interest!

The second runner up, took the following:

Braised Turkey - Kosher By Design Lightens Up - page 140 (Photo by: Chani U; Brooklyn, NY)

Sharp with no unseemly shadows and taken with available light; the turkey definitely looks inviting. It could have used some colorful garnishing to make it stand out, but it is a good shot.

The First runner up took what seems like a very busy tablecloth and used it to enhance the look of the actual subject of the photo…

Pastrami Burger - Kosher by Design Teens and 20 Somethings, page 104 (Photo by: Chezky R; Queens, NY)

The tablecloth picks up the colors of the pastrami, directing the eye to the food itself. What could have been a very distracting item on the photo actually gives it a warm tone and makes the pastrami burgers look mouthwatering. The flower like pattern of the pickle slices effectively breaks up the almost monochromatic tones of the rest of the photo as it adds interest. Well done!

And the winner is…

Cauliflower "Popcorn" - from Passover by Design, page 197 and Kosher By design Entertains, page 225 (Photo by: Zivah A; Lakewood, NJ)

This particular recipe, by itself, has no interesting colors, in fact it would be boring. The photographer compensated for this shortcoming by putting it in a red glass bowl, contrasting it against a deep blue multi-tone background, and a tablecloth that complements the colors of the food. Putting the photo at a roguish angle makes it truly interesting. Definitely a winner. Mrs. Zivah A. a copy of Susie Fishbein’s latest cookbook, Kosher By Design: Teens And 20 Somethings, will arrive soon at your doorsteps in Lakewood.

We are very grateful to every single one of the 33 people who submitted, thank you for your interest!!!

CS

14
Nov
10

The Contest, So Far…


We’ve gotten only 14 entries, so far, for our photo contest on your interpretation of any one of Susie Fishbein’s 900 plus recipes. Some were shot from afar, centered on an otherwise empty table (thus it was hard to see the actual dish). Some were shot directly from above giving the food a very flat, uninteresting look. Some were out of focus, but two pictures actually stood out. Both came from Lakewood…

Cauliflower Popcorn, from Passover by Design

Why do I like this photo? Though the photographer obviously did not spend time food styling the shot, nor hours setting up the lighting, the shot is interesting because of the choice of colors which only enhance the actual dish and direct the eye to the food itself. The shadows are soft and the photo was obviously shot with available light rather than flash. The colors of the cauliflower popcorn lack contrast on their own, but the surroundings add interest, so does the slanted angle which brings considerable drama to the shot. Well done!!

Another interesting shot, taken by my granddaughter Leah after she baked it…

 

Confetti Cake from Kosher By Design - Kids in the Kitchen

She opted for a more traditional angle and relied on the cake’s own colors for interest, resisting the temptation of adding unnecessary elements in the foreground or background.

By the way, I was in Lakewood for the weekend, she made the cake on Thursday evening and I got to enjoy its moistness and great taste on Shabbos. It may not have looked fully professional but it was truly delicious, a great testament to Susie Fishbein’s cookbooks and Leah’s dedication to producing a delectable cake for her zeydeh. She knows I have a sweet tooth!! Very nice!

Is there no one in the 5 New York boroughs capable of taking a memorable food shot? There is still time, we’ll extend the deadline from November the 18th to the 25th (one additional week). Please send us your best photos of any of Susie Fishbein’s 900 plus recipes to:

kosherscene@gmail.com

Meanwhile, let me repeat a few pointers about food photography:

  • Try to get as close a shot of the finished dish as possible.
  • If your photo will include something other than just the dish you prepared, make sure that the main object of attention in your composition still remains the item you made from one of theKosher by Design recipes.
  • Make sure the lighting (available light, flash, etc.) does not give off some ugly, distracting shadows. If at all possible try to photograph your dish during daylight hours, by a window letting in natural light. If you are using flash bounce it off the ceiling or a wall, as that will balance out the light and diffuse harsher shadows.
  • Prepare your settings in advance. Food looks its best during the first few minutes of preparation and its looks deteriorate as the clock ticks. Colors may change, the way you stacked it up may collapse and so on.
  • Remember, when you photograph food you want to make it inviting, you want the viewer to imagine and taste it with the mind’s eye. As you put the food on the dish, pay attention to the colors, the shapes and the positioning of each piece.

Look at the photos in some of your cookbooks, or look at line at some great food photography by the pros: Lou MannaChristine PetersDiana DeLucia, or Michael Ray. You’ll find these photographers have different styles, yet all presents their subjects in mouth watering ways.

Look at how the pros do it, and get ideas. We know you will neither spend hours adjusting the light nor doing heavy food styling. We do not expect professional photos, but we do expect a little bit of imagination and interesting shots. Download your free recipe index, cook up a storm and send us your best photos.

CS

18
Oct
10

Contest!!!


We are hereby announcing a contest… What does it involve? Cooking and photography. You may download the Kosher by Design whole 900 recipe index at: http://bit.ly/KBDrecipeindex. Find a recipe you like – from that index – prepare it, photograph it and send us your best photo.

A few pointers about food photography:

  • Try to get as close a shot of the finished dish as possible.
  • If your photo will include something other than just the dish you prepared, make sure that the main object of attention in your composition still remains the item you made from one of the Kosher by Design recipes.
  • Make sure the lighting (available light, flash, etc.) does not give off some ugly, distracting shadows. If at all possible try to photograph your dish during daylight hours, by a window letting in natural light. If you are using flash bounce it off the ceiling or a wall, as that will balance out the light and diffuse harsher shadows.
  • Prepare your settings in advance. Food looks its best during the first few minutes of preparation and its looks deteriorate as the clock ticks. Colors may change, the way you stacked it up may collapse and so on.
  • Remember, when you photograph food you want to make it inviting, you want the viewer to imagine and taste it with the mind’s eye. As you put the food on the dish, pay attention to the colors, the shapes and the positioning of each piece.

Look at the photos in some of your cookbooks, or look at line at some great food photography by the pros: Lou Manna, Christine Peters, Diana DeLucia, or Michael Ray. You’ll find these photographers have different styles, yet all presents their subjects in mouth watering ways.

The Prize…

The best photo will win a hardbound copy of Suzy Fishbein’s Kosher by Design – Teens and 20-somethings.

Wake up that award winning photographer inside. We can’t wait to see your entries!

CS

RELATED POSTS

A Talk with Susie Fishbein

Maple Roasted Pears and Sweet Potatoes and More




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