Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a photo stage & sugared sage

I was recently given a marvelous opportunity to be part of a luxe publication promoting female entrepreneurs nationwide!
This December, the first CRAVE Fort Worth guide will be unveiled full of fearless female business women all over the area. I am honored to be among many of these ladies I have admired for years.
In preparation for my Linguine and Dirty Martinis photo spread, the fabulous photographer, Kari Crowe, arrived to my tiny shoebox apartment to photograph some of my food styling efforts.
To prepare my menu, I focused on texture, color, taste and the types of dishes that truly define Linguine and Dirty Martinis. Below are personal pictures from the shoot. Professional shots to come!

These cocktails are bright, bold and have a subtle kick of my favorite autumn herb. I served these in chic, vintage martini glasses with a ribbon of plum. Highball glasses would be beautiful as well.

Berry and Sugared Sage Martinis

yields approximately 4 martinis
1/2 c fresh blueberries and/or blackberries
1 c sugar plus 1/2 c to sugar sage
1 c water
8 fresh sage leaves
1 bottle off-dry champagne

Mix 4 sage leaves in a container with 1/2 c sugar. Let sit for sugar to adhere.

Simmer berries, water, 1 c sugar and 4 sage leaves over medium heat approximately 30 minutes until thickened. Let cool then chill completely in refrigerator.

To mix cocktail, mix one part chilled berry syrup with two parts champagne. Garnish with a sugared sage and berry skewer.

While simmering this tangy simple syrup, I also simmered a bold mixture of aromatics perfect to shine in a photo. These aromatics are ideal for a spiced cocktail or to naturally fragrance your abode with an intense, spicy scent.

To mix, combine:

2 c apple cider
2 c water
1 c brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
citrus rind
citrus slices
1 sliced red jalapeno for a fiery addition!

Simmer and enjoy!
The following appetizer is simply beautiful. Assembly-only preparation creates intense ease.

Blood Orange, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto Baguette and Pistachios

Delicately layer:

baguette (I used prosciutto black pepper baguette)
with goat cheese,
fresh thyme,
a segment of blood orange
and chopped, toasted pistachios.

Drizzle with fine honey (I used lavender honey).

This salad is elegant and refined. For the shoot, I served the salad chilled but a warmed version would be a perfect rustic alternative for chilly autumn evenings.
Sausage and Fennel Salad with Dried Cherries, Pecans and a Warm Rosemary Vinaigrette

Serves 2.

juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 T fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 c fine olive oil
salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
2 links organic turkey sausage, browned and sliced on the bias
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 celery stalk, sliced on the bias
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
2 T dried cherries
2 T walnuts, toasted and chopped

Combine lemon, rosemary, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil to emulsify. Toss with warm sausage then toss with fennel, celery, red onion and parsley. Garnish with toasted pecans and dried cherries.

Fig and Plum Tart

For this tart delicacy, perfect for breakfast, dessert or an afternoon snack, I chose glossy, bright plums and plump, green figs for a color contrast.
For crust:

1.5 c AP flour
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and cold
1 t salt
8 T ice water

Fruit filling:
4 plums, sliced uniformly
3 figs, sliced uniformly
2 T turbinado sugar
1 egg, whisked and thinned with 1 T water
1/2 c apricot preserves, heated and thinned with 1 T lemon juice

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. With fingertips, cut in butter into dry mixture until butter is pea shaped.

One tablespoon at a time, add cold water until a homogenous dough forms. Knead dough several times, careful not to overwork, and form into a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill one hour.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush flour onto a cool, dry surface. Roll out chilled disk into a larger circle-- about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough circle to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Chill on sheet for 5 minutes to firm up dough.
To assemble tart, arrange plums in a decorative pattern leaving a 1/2 inch outside border to later fold over. Finish with scattered fig slices. Carefully fold over edges to seal tart around fruit. Add your egg wash-- brush whisked egg mixture atop crust. Finish by sprinkling crust with turbinado.

Bake approximately 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown. While tart is cooling, brush tops of fruit and crust with heated apricot preserved to add sheen and sweetness. Cut into wedges and serve.

Speaking of tarts....along with candies, compotes and jams galore, please keep posted for upcoming news from Linguine and Dirty Martinis:
In a seasonal rut?

go Homemade for the Holidays
with Linguine and Dirty Martinis!

Delicious details coming soon...


love in the windy city

I've been on a blogging hiatus for
perfectly wonderful reasons the past weeks.

leaving on a jet plane to free my troubles

30 degree drop in a blink of an eye

rich coffee in the mornings and warming wine in the afternoons

high arches, blown glass, illuminated ceilings

benedicts, brandades, confits, sous vides

bright florals, leaves and streets

macarons, flans, empanadas and panna cottas

sea urchins, belugas, penguins and king crabs

Chicago was love at first sight.