Like many people, we are always taking pictures of our food in restaurants and they usually turn out quite well, even though we just use our phones. Then we come home, recreate a recipe from someplace that we’ve traveled and take photos of the dish that we’ve created. We almost always dislike the pictures of our own dishes. We have read about different techniques from using a south facing window, how to plate the dish, color contrasts, etc., but still they just don’t seem to photograph well. Obviously, we don’t expect our food to necessarily look like it was prepared by a chef, we are only home-cooks and not classically trained.
We have heard that people don’t expect photographs of food to look perfect, like those from a magazine, and that a little messy can be just fine. No one has ever complained about our food pictures, other than ourselves, but we find that we are forever trying to improve at it. Maybe we are trying too hard, perhaps we should just sit down with our dinner and take a picture with our cell phone instead of taking them with our camera.
If anyone out there has some great advice, we would love to hear it. Just like we aren’t professional cooks, we also aren’t professional photographers, so if there are some simple tips, we would love to hear it. Maybe we are just being too hard on ourselves, but want to continuously improve what we do. Do any of you struggle with taking photographs of food or anything else?
We try to have some sort of seafood every week and tilapia is a mild fish that is easy to prepare and typically inexpensive. We cooked this as a weeknight dinner because it is quick and easy, but also very tasty. Because tilapia has such a mild flavor, there are plenty of options to serving it, from sauces to cooking techniques such as baking, poaching, and pan frying. Asparagus is also very versatile, but oven roasting it is one of our favorite ways of preparing it as it gives it a robust flavor and is very easy, especially for a weeknight dinner. We’re providing the recipe that serves four people, but we did half of this recipe since it was just the two of us. Enjoy :).
1 lb Fresh Tilapia Filets
1 cup Panko or Bread Crumbs (we used Panko)
1/4 cup Milk – optional
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Spanish Paprika
1 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped
6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 lb Fresh Asparagus
Salt and Pepper to taste
Toss the asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, ensuring that they are not crowded, and put into a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the asparagus begin to caramelize. On plates or in shallow bowls, prepare the breading ingredients. In the first bowl, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, tablespoon of salt and half tablespoon of black pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together the eggs and, if desired, milk. In the third bowl, combine the Panko or bread crumbs and the rosemary. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dredge the tilapia in the flour and then coat with the egg mixture. Finally, completely cover with the Panko and place the fish in the frying pan. Cook the fish until golden brown and thoroughly cooked, about 4 minutes per side. Squeeze some lemon juice over the fish and serve with the asparagus.
We have very specific meals that we have on special occasions and lamb is our Easter tradition. There is something about having lamb that is very emblematic of the coming of spring to us and we look forward to this meal every year. It doesn’t have to be a leg of lamb, but that is our preference when we are able to get it. Surprisingly, lamb isn’t as easy to find here in Colorado and it is often expensive, which doesn’t really make a lot of sense to us. Oven roasted red potatoes is definitely our favorite starch to serve with lamb and sautéing spinach made for a light and refreshing vegetable.
5 lb, Bone-in, Leg of Lamb
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove – finely minced
1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary – chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Water
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Place the lamb, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub the herb mixture over the top of the lamb. Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the pan. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees and place the lamb on the middle rack in the center of the oven. Cook for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Continue cooking for an hour and thirty minutes (approximately 20 minutes per pound) or when an instant-read thermometer reads 155 degrees at the thickest part of the lamb, but not near the bone. Remove the lamb from the pan, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes to rest. Using red wine or water, deglaze the bottom of the roasting pan and pour the drippings into a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the flour and water to make a rue. Once the pan drippings are hot, slowly whisk in the flour mixture until the gravy is at the desired consistency. Be sure to add the flour mixture when the drippings are nice and hot to avoid lumps in the gravy. If desired, roast red potatoes that have been quartered with olive oil, garlic powder, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper, in an oven at 450 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown. In a sauté pan, add olive oil, spinach, red pepper flakes, stone-ground mustard, salt and pepper and cook the spinach over medium-high heat until wilted. Enjoy with a nice glass of wine. 🙂