Red Potato Salad – Recipe plus Food Photos Behind the Scenes

Red-Potato-Salad wirh Red Onions and Green Peppers (1)Today’s the day. Our annual Labor Day Barbecue. The smoker and grill fill the air with that tangy sweet aroma you can only find at food barbecue. And good friends will devour it all, along with the side dishes I prepare. A favorite tried and true red potato salad. Also a new one this year – Southern-Style Collard Greens with Ham Hocks.
Both recipes and food photos follow (with some behind the scenes extras for other fellow food photographers at the end of this post):

Red-Potato-Salad wirh Red Onions and Green Peppers (2)

Red Potato Salad

Prep Time:
5 min
Inactive Prep Time:

Cook Time:
10 min

Level:
Easy

Serves:
8 servings

Ingredients

12 cups cubed red potatoes
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Cook potatoes, covered in boiling water, 10 minutes, or until tender; drain well and cool.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bell pepper and onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

Food Photography Section:

I photographed this near my usual north facing window – it’s very cloudy today so I needed to warm the temperature and the cloudy setting worked quite nicely.  Especially with a white plate, it looks too blue if you leave it on Auto White Balance (or custom white balance if I have the time, but the Canon T4i does a pretty good job of figuring it all out.

For this shot, I wanted to get in close and show detail.  These are the settings I chose for the photo above:

 

For handheld with my lens (18-135mm), I want to achieve a 1/125 shutter speed.  The red potatoes in the background seemed kind of dark and too contrasty.  I used my silver reflector – I could have used the white, but I think it would work better on a sunny day – the light was already diminished by the clouds.  At a 5.6 light meter reading, I had some more flexibility to up the shutter speed and choose 4.0 if I chose.  Using a light meter is my personal teacher that’s always handy to teach me about the relationship between light sensitivity (ISO), shutter and aperature.  And I choose to shoot in manual most of the time (or AV / TV).  I’m the boss, applesauce!  It’s too much fun!

Red-Potato-Salad wirh Red Onions and Green Peppers (7)

Red-Potato-Salad with Red Onions and Green Peppers (6)  These photos are straight out of the camera with very very minor editing, if any, on contrast.  In this final photo below, I chose to leave it just as it was.  I would dig in!Red-Potato-Salad (5)

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Lemon

Brussel sprouts as a a kid never did anything for me. They were usually frozen and boiled, with no salt. Blech.

Fast forward and I am now on a major veggie kick. My family loves trying out new recipes. I love photographing and styling it. and then eating it. Roasting vegetables is just one of the ways we prepare them, and we try to always do something different, whether its roasting, grilling, different spices, temperature. The possibilities are endless. Brussel sprouts have been a winner ever since we started roasting them in the oven. This recipetakes it to a whole new level with garlic and lemon.

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 lemon
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Serves 4

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Zest the lemon and reserve. Squeeze the lemon into a bowl for the next step.
  3. In a bowl, combine Brussels sprouts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss well.
  4. Spread mixture on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, when sprouts shrink slightly and appear slightly charred. Taste test for soft firmness and flip them over for more even doneness
  5. Garnish with lemon zest.
  6. Serve hot or cold. They won’t last long!

For even doneness, make sure to select similarly sized brussel sprouts. If you like them small, keep them small. I like mine a bit more full-bodied.

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When slicing the brussel sprouts, be sure to go down the center. Any leaves that fall off will become great for well-done snacking chips right out of the pan.

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Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper go in the bowl over the brussel sprouts with EVOO and lemon juice.  I like to crush the peppercorns on the medium grind setting.

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Place sprouts in the pan, making sure they are evenly spaced. I usually cook mine face down first, but either way is fine. It depends on what you like.Roasted-Brussel-Sprouts-with-Garlic-and-Lemon-6

Then I give them a quick flip and put them back in the oven.  My family likes them a little more charred – especially the snack chips from left over leaves!
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Now comes the fun part, where you get to garnish the brussel sprouts with lemon zest reserved from earlier.

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On vacation this week, I have some time to devote to this blog that I wanted to get off the ground. I was excited to get to try out a new tripod adapter (Phottix Varos II Umbrella Holder). This was my first ever true 90 degree food photo. It’s impossible to hand hold really sharp food photos, and especially a high awkward angle. This is me behind the scenes in my new mini food studio set up, taking this with my iPad. If there’s something you’d like to see here, tweet me at @vickiesicnj or post your comment here.

Behind-the-Camera-Roasted-Brussel-Sprouts-with-Garlic-and-Lemon-1

Tomato Arugula and Feta Cheese Omelette

Tomato Arugula Feta Omelette - Digifood BlogThe secret to my cooking is taking leftover ingredients and whipping them into something special.  I don’t go to the store to get elaborate ingredients for my recipes – it’s just not my style.  I love the challenge of coming up with something different and unique each time I cook.  The leftover ingredients are still fresh, they might just be a small amount leftover from the last time they were used in a recipe.  Gotta use it up – it’s just who I am.

This time, my leftover ingredients were tomato, arugula and feta cheese.  I also had a lonely shallot in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator.  Still fresh, just leftover.Tomatoes and Arugula - Digifood - Blog

I love fresh arugula, and I love arugula in a cooked dish – not enough to wilt it, but to still keep that nutty crisp freshness intact.  An omelette is a perfect vehicle for that.

Not, there’s not much of a recipe for an omelette, it’s just an egg in a pan that you keep lifting around the sides to create a flat eggy wrap for your center ingredients.

I chopped the tomatoes in advance, and I also chopped up some shalloty goodness in there as well.  I could have used onion, but I had a leftover shallot – adding a nice sweet flavor to the mix.  I might just use it now on in my eggs, after all!

I cooked the tomatoes and shallots in the pan first, to soften them and caramelize the shallots.  Then I removed them from the pan and put them in a small plate to hold for my next step.

Cook the eggs in a pan – I used egg beaters, but if you want to just mix up a couple of eggs in a dish, you can do that, too.  Your call.

When the egg is still a little wet in the center so the ingredients will stick to the egg, I added my ingredients.

Tomatoes, first, then shallots.  I had a box of crumbled feta cheese that I just poured on.

Arugula I always add last – this way, it’s on top, and will peek out of your omelette.

Salt and pepper to your liking, and season with your favorite herb.

My favorite herb to use with eggs is dill.  It just goes together so nicely, and with the arugula’s nutty crunch, this omelette is sure to be a hit any time of day.  Enjoy!Tomato  Arugula Feta Omelette, Opened - Digifood Blog