When I heard from the photo editor at People Magazine that The View's Sunny Hostin had her own chickens, I thought: I'm going to get along with this woman. And that I did. Sunny and her family are gracious even when you interrupt their Sunday goings-on for a photo shoot for the Hollywood at Home issue of People. The issue is out this week--enjoy Sunny's 1920's Tudor starting on page 76!
I love when projects allow me to the chance to craft a brand story through lifestyle, still life and interiors photography. It’s even better when everything takes place in an enviable Brooklyn townhouse location. My recent collab with The Working Assembly for Zola was all of these things and with a great creative crew to boot! Production by Northern Spy Productions, prop styling by Martha Bernabe and grooming by Susan Phear.
I just got back from a jaunt to Holbox, an island that I chose quite specifically not only for its weather and ceviche, but also for the lack of things to do. I’ve been tired. I wanted to feel the sun on my shoulders, to wander aimlessly, to not have to make decisions for a few days. Holbox surely delivered that, along with some surprising food (gluten-free empanadas at Luuma!), and refreshed my eyes and spirit with its perfect breeze, vibrant color and lack of viable internet. Some of my favorite things are pictured and captioned below. The images center heavily on my base camp, Casa Las Tortugas, where I spent at least half of each day reading on a comfy beach bed under the palapa. Dreamy, dreamy. Oh--and though not pictured, I would highly recommend an eating tour of the carts around the main plaza, coffee and smoothies from Tierra Mia, and quesadillas, tamales, and lovely service from Abominable Maria.
From left to right, top to bottom: 1. Palomas on the roof at Mandarina // 2. The beach dining area at Mandarina // 3. Breakfast at Mandarina // 4. The beach at Casa Las Tortugas // 5. Guacamole and Shrimp Tostadas at Los Pescaditos // 6. The courtyard and pool at Casa Las Tortugas // 7. Tacos and margaritas at Barba Negra // 8. The beach at Casa Las Tortugas // 9. Details at Casa Las Tortugas // 10. The view from Casa Las Tortugas' entrance // 11. Detail of one of the many murals on the island // 12. Seashells and dreamcatchers for sale in town // 13. The pool area at Casa Las Tortugas // 14. Aguachile and more tacos at Barba Negra // 15. Murals and bikes in town
One of the perks of my work is that I get to see the back of house of some of the best restaurants out there. It’s a nostalgic love of mine too--being in a restaurant kitchen--having grown up in my family’s own. The ever-greasy, squishy mat-studded floors that I now find underfoot at work are enough to take me back to being four feet tall, admiring the smells and skills before me.
It never ceases to amaze me, a self-professed slow and messy home cook, to watch the staff do their dance--so focused and efficient. And yet, all this bustle is well hidden behind the serenity and curated interiors of the dining room. I recently photographed both Danny Meyer and Marcus Samuelsson in the art filled spaces of two of their respective restaurants: the new Union Square Café and the southern-inspired Red Rooster in Harlem. Both men are fun and gracious and fed me well (best collard greens I’ve ever had, Marcus!) It felt wonderful to connect with two of the greats in the restaurant biz, all in a month’s work.
It’s been really satisfying to work with Parents art director Emily Furlani on their "Supper is Solved" food section over the last several months. As the magazine moves into its full redesign, I've been tasked to contribute in evolving the section and we couldn't be having more fun experimenting! The latest feature included a lightened up array of grilling options with a family-friendly vibe and some very summery light, which I love!
Summer is all about shooting things in season: peaches and tomatoes, lush trees, people with their feet in the cool water of a placid lake. Naturally, it’s always slightly torturous for me to wait an entire year for these editorials to hit the newsstand. I’m excited to finally share an idyllic fish fry story I shot in Alabama last summer for Country Living. It was damn hot and the sprinklers turned on on my gear, but we all got to jump in after we wrapped, immediately erasing any challenges from our minds! Recipes by Dawn Perry, food styling by Marian Cooper Cairns, and prop styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas.
When Garden & Gun suggests a quick hop over to Bermuda to document the local scene for a summer travel story, there is only one option...pack your suitcase, find a cute assistant, and get on the plane!
The weather had plans of its own (all in all there were only 5 hours of sunshine to work with!) but the amazing views, healthy GF breakfasts, and colorful towns made the trip totally worth it. Favorite moments included a taxi-ride around the island that brought me unexpectedly to the hotel where my parents honeymooned, the steady stream of delicious meals courtesy of sous chef Paul Higgins at Marcus’, and the stunning water of Horseshoe Bay.
Pick up the current issue of Garden & Gun for the full story!
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with one of my dear friends, Rob Goodman, to record an episode of his new podcast called Making Ways. Rob and I have been buddies since our first day of college at Syracuse University, where we found ourselves living on the same floor and bonding over art and music. On Making Ways, Rob chats with creative professionals about the unexpected paths they took to get to where they are now. Rob and I discuss how I grew up in a food-obsessed family, the random way that I got my first job out of college at Martha Stewart, the truth about travel photography, and how it’s really good to do the things that scare you. Listen to the episode here! Also, please check out an accompanying article that PDN ran here.
Illustration by Rob Goodman
I’m admittedly obsessed with minimizing waste in the kitchen. It’s immensely satisfying to me on both environmental and culinary levels. My favorite two games in the world are: figuring out what to make with the week’s fridge remains and figuring out what to make with random grocery leftovers from shoots. Yes, I compost too. I just can’t see all of that possibly useful food waste and potential energy sitting in a landfill taking way too long to decompose.
I understand that composting might feel too daunting or may not be an easy thing to do in your area. I mean, I totally want you to reconsider because I promise it’s not hard, but I get it. On this Earth Day 2017, perhaps you might consider an alternate method of veggie scrap reincarnation: save them up and transform them into a healthier broth than you’re buying in the store! It’s so easy, basically free, and you’ll be making more delicious risottos, soups, and sauces than you were before. Win-win-win.
I like to save my veggie scraps from the week in a gallon Ziplock bag in the fridge. Almost anything is fair game here and onions, carrots, and celery are a great base. I have often read that it’s not good to use cruciferous vegetables but I’ve found that a little bit is fine and not overpowering, especially if you have enough sweet things like carrot and sweet potato peels or bits. I love throwing in onion skins and beet peels, but just know that can affect the color. The most important thing is to make sure that the stalks, leaves, and ends that you are using are clean because you don’t want dirt in your broth!
Here’s a typical mix of what I’ll include along with the holy trinity mentioned above: bits and ends of leeks and ginger, fennel pieces and fronds, peels of sweet potato, garlic including the skin, mushroom stems (the best for depth of flavor!), carrot tops, spinach, kale, or chard that’s on its last legs, plus herbs like parsley and thyme, a bay leaf or two, and peppercorns. It’s always good to consider how you’re going to use the broth and whether you want to include things like fennel, garlic, and ginger which have such strong notes. You want to avoid anything moldy or rotten, obviously. If you think it’ll take you longer than a week to collect the scraps or make the stock, pop your storage bag or container in the freezer instead.
The process is simple: wash off any dirt and roughly chop your veg. (You want about 4 cups of veg and that will yield about 2 quarts of broth.) Throw them in a big stockpot and cover them with water, but not so much that you can’t stir the pot. Add any herbs, bay leaf, or peppercorn. Bring to just under a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer on medium-low for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Strain and store, letting the broth cool completely before putting in the refrigerator or freezer. I don’t usually salt the broth until I know what sort of plans I have for it. Remember to mark the storage containers, especially if you’ve included something of note like ginger! The broth will keep in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for three months. You can also experiment with sautéing the onion, carrots, and celery before adding the rest of the veggies and water or by roasting all of the veg first too.
Spring is finally here and for a lot of us that means allergies and inflammation. If you're feeling me, look no further than this take on traditional golden milk by Monica Pierini. Turmeric is known for it's fantastic anti-inflammatory properties and it's such a treat paired with coconut milk! Happy sipping.
1 cup dairy-free milk of choice (coconut milk is best)
1-inch piece turmeric, peeled and sliced
Bring coconut milk to a simmer. Add turmeric and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour through a sieve and serve with a pinch of freshly ground pepper and agave, to taste.
Make your own variation by adding additional spices such as cardamom, cinnamon or clove.
This is the sort of meal I love because it fits my own shopping habits. Instead of requiring a complicated grocery trip unto itself, I can use pantry staples like grains, eggs, and yogurt that I tend to always have on hand, making it a perfect stress-free, healthful choice. This recipe is the brain-child of my friend Monica Pierini, who is a fabulous food stylist, and an easy go-to meal that uses a few simple ingredients to tremendously delicious effect.
1 cup forbidden rice
2 cups broth
1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
1-inch piece turmeric, peeled and finely grated
salt and pepper
1/2 head radicchio or other chicory, torn into bite size pieces
4 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs such as chives, parsley, and mint
1 lemon, supremed
In a medium pot combine rice and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. Flake with a fork and set aside. In a medium pot bring enough water to cover the eggs to a boil. Add eggs and simmer for 6 minutes. Peel and set aside. In a small bowl combine yogurt, turmeric, salt and pepper to taste. Serve turmeric yogurt topped with rice, radicchio, herbs, lemon and eggs. Serve with additional salt and pepper.
Every food person I know is obsessed with Tara O’Brady’s recipe for Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies. Their photogenic nature (roughly chopped chocolate and an adornment of flaky sea salt) is surely what drew me in and inspired me to play with creating a gluten-free version. And not that Tara’s recipe isn’t perfect as it is, but I wanted to go a bit beyond simply replacing the regular AP flour with a gluten-free one because, well, I like stuff in my cookies. So, I rearranged the flour measurements, used the King Arthur gluten-free mix (without gums) along with some oat flour, and added rolled oats and hazelnuts. My gluten-eating neighbors asked for the recipe, which I think is a good sign. Here it is:
makes about 28 cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, chopped
2 1/2 cups gluten-free AP flour
1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces, semi or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chips)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
flaky salt, to finish
Preheat the oven to 360°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over the lowest heat possible, stirring occasionally. Make sure the butter does not sizzle or bubble which means it's losing moisture.
In a bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until just combined. Stir in the vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients until barely blended. When things are still looking a bit floury, stir in the chocolate and hazelnuts until all of the ingredients are just combined.
Roll the dough into balls, about 3 tablespoons each, and arrange them on the prepared pans, leaving 3 inches between each cookie. (At this point you can refrigerate the dough, loosely covered, overnight.)
To bake, sprinkle each cookie with a bit of sea salt and bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden, 12-14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes, the move to a wire rack to cool completely.
Last month I had the chance to visit New Orleans for my friends at The Kitchn, and while it was not my first encounter with this magical city, I’m never bored with it. NOLA has a special way of making you enjoy going with the flow and creating new experiences. What started off as a trip with goals and plans ended with my flight back home being grounded, extra time in the Crescent City, and a masquerade ball and dinner hosted by Mario Batali for the Link Stryjewski Foundation (an organization that supports local youth empowerment groups). I scrambled to find something to wear, but it was totally worth it as the Bal Masqué featured an amazing array of dishes by some of the best chefs around the country. My favorite dish of the weekend was a boozy, citrusy, Baked Alaska type thing called “Satsuma Business,” born from the minds of Babbo’s Rebecca Deangelis and Nick Morgenstern. In typical over-the-top New Orleans style, The Kitchn’s Managing Editor and I stole a whole one from a nearby table and dug in with spoons after finishing our own slices. And though I may not rock an evening gown with high tops again for the foreseeable future, I’m grateful for another wonderful trip, surprises included.
I love eating in season for different reasons, chief of which are a more delicious flavor and minimizing my carbon footprint. In winter in the Northeast, it's a bit tough with fruit of course--it's just not being grown nearby. In order to get my vitamins from real food, I'll make some concessions and eat things from a bit farther way than I do during the rest of the year. California and the South offer some of the winter fruit in this story I shot for Parents Magazine, which in winter is pretty much the best I can do! Check out the issue for more info on why these fruits are good for you as well as how to shop for and prepare them. Prop styling by Nidia Cueva and food stying by Jerrie Joy.
Welcome to the second installment of favorites from my fall trip to Europe with prop stylist Martha Bernabe! Check out some of our Barcelona finds--captions are below the images.
From left to right, top to bottom: 1. Cortados from Satan's Coffee Corner (they also have great chia pudding if you’re in the mood for a healthy breakfast) // 2. Architecture in el Born // 3. The original tile floor in our room at Casa Bonay // 4. Catedral de Barcelona // 5. Pastries from La Colmena in el Gótico // 6. Razor clams and pimentos de padrón at Casa Ricardo in Barceloneta // 7. Treasures at the Encants flea market // 8. Snacks from el Mercat de la Boqueria // 9. Figs from a shop in Barceloneta // 10. Fruit from a shop in Barceloneta // 11. Architecture in el Gótico // 12. Tapas from El Xampanyet // 13. Interior of Gaudí's la Sagrada Familia // 14. Detail of flowers placed over a Miró mosaic on la Rambla // 15. Gaudí architecture at Park Güell
I'm excited to share my latest travel story in the current issue of Afar Magazine. This was my fifth time in Jamaica, which never ceases to inspire me with its robust culture. The colors, textures, smells, and sounds of the island continue to layer on top of each other during each visit, and the sum always keeps me wanting more. In this article, writer Mark Byrne is shown a new perspective on Jamaica by one of the island's most famous proponents, Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell. Chris gets Mark out of the resorts--which is what I too would recommend to anyone wanting to visit this island nation. There's so much to discover from the mountains to the sea and honestly, the driving isn't any worse then on the BQE. You know you've gotta get out of here in February or March, so perhaps a Jamaican road trip? There's plenty of great coffee to keep you fueled.
I enjoyed four beautiful fall days in Amsterdam last month with my travel buddy, prop stylist Martha Bernabe. Here are some of our favorite discoveries, with captions below the images. (Definitely rent bikes--it's the fastest way to see all of the neighborhoods!)
From left to right, top to bottom: 1. Architecture along the canal, The 9 Streets // 2. Our room at The Hoxton (ps—they have the good coffee, from Lot Sixty One Roasters) // 3. Bar Bukowski (they have gluten-free beer!) // 4. Coffee at Ree7 // 5. Gluten-free date bars and other goodies at Pluk // 6. Bicycles in the 9 Streets // 7. Healthy lunch from SLA // 8. Architecture along the canal, City Center // 9. Picnic supplies from Marqt, enjoyed in Vondelpark // 10. The cozy bed at The Hoxton // 11. Croissants (not gluten-free!) from Petit Gâteau // 12. Globes and plants in a window, City Center // 13. Pigments at Rembrandt House Museum // 14. The Rijksmuseum // 15. Dessert at Bak // 16. Tabletop goodies at Shuka // 17. Vintage clothing mixed with new stuff at The Darling // 18. Bike riding in Westerpark
If you’re anything like me, dreams of having a fireplace come into play this time of year. Lean into that by opening up the latest issue of Country Living and check out a fantastic 200-year-old New Hampshire saltbox I shot last fall.
I had a really fun time collaborating with Beardwood + Co. on my latest branding and packaging project. Little Secrets are candy-coated chocolates that come in really nice adult flavors like Sea Salted Peanut and Toasted Coconut. They're made with fair-trade chocolate, fruit and vegetable extracts for coloring, and don't contain corn syrup. My kind of treat! Our images showcase each flavor with fresh ingredient cues and are being used across all packaging and Little Secrets' new site.
Food styling by Cyd McDowell