Blog

Blueberry Crisp with Candied Lemon Peel

Blueberry Crisp with Candied Lemon Peel and Ice Cream

Blueberry Crisp with Candied Lemon Peel and Ice Cream

Blueberry Crisp with Candied Lemon Peel and Ice Cream

Blueberry Crisp with Candied Lemon Peel and Ice Cream

Summer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania means you’ll find us at our local orchards and farm markets loading up on the irresistable seasonal fruits and vegetables we’ve been craving all year. In July we get especially excited about blueberries and just can’t stop eating them right out of the cartons, which is a problem since we’d ideally like to have enough left for smoothies, desserts and cocktail recipes.

Solebury Orchards in New Hope has a wonderful pick-your-own blueberry field and we’ve found no better relaxation therapy than spending an hour or two getting lost in the rows of bushes, focused on nothing but the task at hand. Also there is the added and unexpected entertainment of listening to other people’s hilarious or inappropriate conversations. Cracking up every time we hear the same kid call out again, “Dad, look at this blueberry I found!” Listening to two siblings reviewing each other’s baskets to decide who picked more. Overhearing another couple’s spat about who’s not picking the ripest berries, and do they really have to go to that party tonight at what’s-her-face’s house?  I may already have enough material for a short story compilation called Conversations Overheard While Blueberry Picking which, once it’s published, you will want to read while enjoying one of Paul’s blueberry cocktails currently in development.

This past weekend was hot.  Heavy, humid and 90-degrees-in-the-shade hot. But we stuck with it until we netted over eight pounds of juicy blue gems, and presented them to the cashier who was truly impressed with our bounty. Much of the berries are frozen now, in suspended animation for future recipes not yet written, but two whole pounds ended up in a crazy-easy Blueberry Crisp, which was so pretty of course we had to photograph it.  Natural light through a large diffuser, and two black fill cards on either side gave this setting the look we wanted without any hot spots from the direct afternoon sunlight that was pouring through the window.

Crisps are great recipes for berries and other fruits because number one, they are very easy to make and, number two, they allow the fruit’s fresh flavor to take center stage while adding just a bit of cookie-like crunch on top.  We especially like ours with an oatmeal cookie like crunch.

Adding candied lemon rind as a garnish adds a fun tart flair to this dessert and a complementary, almost necessary, splash of yellow that looks great with the purple berry juices.  You can skip the ice cream if you want but really, you shouldn’t.  The recipes for all are below, except for the ice cream – that’s for another post.

Blueberry Picking - Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking – Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking - Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking – Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking - Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking – Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking - Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking – Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking - Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking – Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking - Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking – Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking - Solebury Orchards

Blueberry Picking – Solebury Orchards

Recipe

Blueberry Crisp with Candied Lemon Peel
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Blueberry Crisp with Candied Lemon Peel
Ingredients
Filling
  • 2 lbs fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Topping
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
Candied Lemon Peel
  • Peels of 2 lemons, sliced into strips, pith removed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F
Filling
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the filling ingredients until evenly coated, and then pour into a 9"x9" baking pan. Set aside and prepare topping.
Topping
  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together all the topping ingredients, until well incorporated, using your hands to break up any brown sugar clumps if needed.
  2. Drop the topping mixture onto blueberry filling in the pan, evenly covering the top.
Baking
  1. Place pan into the preheated oven, and cook for 45 to 55 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the filling is bubbling.
  2. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving, and top with ice cream or whipped cream and candied lemon peel (recipe below).
Candied Lemon Peel
  1. Fill a medium sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Add sliced lemon peels and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove lemon peels from water with tongs, and place on a paper towl temporarily.
  3. In another saucepan (or the original saucepan you just used, with the water removed), add one cup of water and one cup of sugar, and bring to a boil. Then, add the lemon peels into this boiling mixture, and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove peels from the pan and lay out onto a cooling rack for about 45 minutes to an hour cool, and get nice and sticky.
  5. Pour the other cup of sugar into a bowl or a wide plate, and then sprinkle the cooled lemon peels over top. Using your hands or a fork, gently coat all the peels with sugar, and place on a separate plate to set up. Use as a garnish, or just eat straight up as a candy.

 

French Blonde Cocktail

French Blonde Cocktail

French Blonde Cocktail

The French Blonde is a beautiful cocktail featuring French liqueur Lillet Blanc, elderflower liqueur and dry gin accented by sunny, freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice.  We like to use St. Germain elderflower liqueur paired with Broker’s dry gin and the resulting drink is a lovely mixture of floral, fruity, citrus and oh là là!

French Blonde Cocktail
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 1
 
French Blonde Cocktail
Ingredients
  • ½ oz. Elderflower liqueur (we use St. Germain)
  • 2 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 1 oz. dry gin (we use Broker's)
  • 2 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 2 dashes of lemon bitters
  • 1 spring of rosemary and 1 lemon rind for garnish
Instructions
  1. Shake all ingredients (except for garnishes) together in an ice-filled cocktail shaker for about 25 seconds, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with a lemon rind pierced with a sprig of rosemary.

Baked Eggs with Tomato, Goat Cheese and Thyme

Baked Eggs with Tomato, Goat Cheese and Thyme

Baked Eggs with Tomato, Goat Cheese and Thyme

We probably eat more eggs than anyone we know, so it’s lucky for us that we live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where we have no trouble finding farm fresh and organic eggs wherever we go.  Just two minutes up the road is Rick’s Egg Farm and our local grocery store Kimberton Whole Foods carries a wide variety of local eggs including Meg’s Eggs from pasture raised hens which produce the most beautiful multicolor eggs.  Alderfer organic eggs from Montgomery County, PA are also readily available in our area.

Baking eggs is a easy way to enjoy farm fresh eggs and keep the yolks just a little underdone and velvety so you can appreciate all that went into making them.  As with assembling savory tarts, the egg base here again gives us another savored opportunity to be creative as food photographers and stylists and paint our palette with herbs, vegetables, cheese and anything we want in the interest of art and good taste.

For these eggs we used sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, goat cheese and a little minced garlic and thyme but we often experiment with other combinations depending on what we have around and what’s in season, like fresh chives for instance.  It’s worth noting that these are the ultimate Dippy Eggs, so get your favorite toast ready for dipping!

To finish these eggs right before the photoshoot, we sprinkled them with some adorable and peppery micro-arugula from our good friends at Blue Moon Acres in Buckingham, PA.

Scroll down below to get the recipe and photography notes!

 


 

Food Photography Notes:  Natural light at a 12 o’clock position was filtered through a white diffuser.  Two large black foam core boards were used on either side of the setting to provide more depth to the shadow areas.  The camera system is a Leica S Medium Format with a 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S lens.

Food & Prop Styling Notes:  We custom painted this tabletop surface with distressed white crackle paint to create a high key, light and airy feel.  Ingredients were dispersed around the setting in an energetic pattern to create a visual rhythm and provide a sense of organic liveliness to the shot.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Eggs with Tomato, Goat Cheese and Thyme
Author: 
 
Baked Eggs with Tomato, Goat Cheese and Thyme
Ingredients
  • 4 farm fresh eggs
  • 4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese
  • 1 pint of fresh heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves pulled off and stems discarded
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • Microgreens (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Prepare two small baking dishes by buttering them lightly.
  3. Break eggs into prepared baking dishes, 2 eggs per dish.
  4. Sprinkle the eggs evenly with the heavy cream, 1 tbsp per egg.
  5. Sprinkle the eggs next with minced garlic and thyme, and place the tomato halves on top as well, as many as you like.
  6. Crumble the goat cheese evenly over all the eggs.
  7. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes until whites are set, and yolks are just starting to firm up.
  8. Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Sprinkle with more thyme, some chopped parsley and microgreens if you have available.
  10. Serve with freshly toasted bread and a medium bodied red wine.

 

Black Velvet Cocktail

Black Velvet Cocktail - Guinness and Champagne

Black Velvet Cocktail – Guinness and Champagne

The Black Velvet Cocktail was created in 1861 London at the Brooks Club after the death of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert.  The country was in mourning and they decided that the champagne should be in mourning as well and so dark Guinness stout was added.  In Germany the cocktail is also known as a Bismark, but the recipe is the same – a stout beer poured with a dry champagne.  A variation that uses a dry hard cider instead of champagne is called a Poor Man’s Black Velvet.

Today the Black Velvet has become more of a novelty cocktail enjoyed during celebrations and, because it’s decidedly Irish, on St. Patrick’s Day as a way to toast the occasion in an extra special way.  It’s great as a showy party starter, or as an alternative brunch cocktail to the traditional mimosa.  Allowing the drink to settle for a minute or two after pouring allows the Guinness and champagne to separately due to their different specific gravities creating an attractive layered look, but many mixologists prefer to mix the two together.

Whether the beer and champagne are blended or layered is truly a matter of taste, as is the cocktail itself not surprisingly.  Some hard core Guinness fans may find the addition of champagne to their beloved stout a sacrilege, but others find the cocktail to be a heavenly mixture and enjoy how the champagne brings out a surprising fruity side of the beer.  Personally, we have to admit we prefer our champagne and Guinness to be in separate glasses altogether, but we do love the look and appreciate the history of the cocktail which is why we truly enjoyed photographing it.  Scroll down below for the recipe and photoshoot notes and also check out our animated Instagram video of this cocktail!  Be sure to follow our Instagram feed for more behind the scenes posts.

 


 

Drink Photography Notes:  Lighting provided by 1 strobe with a grid, placed at a 2 o’clock position at about five foot elevation, to create dramatic detail.  Using strobe lights also allows us to capture the beautiful bubble details as the drink is poured.  A reflector card was added at a 9 o’clock position.  The camera system is a Leica S Medium Format with a 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S lens.

Drink & Prop Styling Notes:  Real Guinness and champagne were used to keep the subject matter authentic, as most of our photoshoots tend to be.  The story boarded concept was to have the cocktail poured and captured in various stages, with the final shot being an overflowing glass.  Several takes were done before the final photo session, to ensure that the cocktail would overflow over the side of the glass that we wanted, which can be a be a tricky accomplishment requiring patience, experience and pouring finesse.

Click on the video below to see the pouring in action!

 

Black Velvet Cocktail
Author: 
 
Guinness and Champage
Ingredients
  • Guinness Stout Beer
  • Champagne
Instructions
  1. Fill a champagne flute or highball glass halfway with Guinness.
  2. Top off with champagne.

 

Black Velvet Cocktail - Guinness and Champagne

Black Velvet Cocktail – Guinness and Champagne

Black Velvet Cocktail - Guinness and Champagne

Black Velvet Cocktail – Guinness and Champagne

Black Velvet Cocktail - Guinness and Champagne

Black Velvet Cocktail – Guinness and Champagne

Black Velvet Cocktail - Guinness and Champagne

Black Velvet Cocktail – Guinness and Champagne

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart

We love savory tarts and quiches.  Not only are they a satisfying and easy to make dish, but they are great fun for us as photographers and food stylists.  The egg custard base provides a beautiful golden canvas allowing us freedom to decorate and style it with vegetables, herbs, meats and cheeses.

This is a pretty simple mushroom and chorizo tart, but other addtions we love to use include goat cheese, roasted red peppers, sweet onion, spinach, kale, ham, bacon and gruyere.  Scroll down below to get the recipe and photography notes.

Be sure to also check out some of our other savory tarts including our Heirloom Tomato Tart and our Shallot, Mushroom and Smoked Sausage Tart.

 


 

Food Photography Notes:  Natural light at 12 o’clock position was filtered through a white diffuser.  The camera was a Nikon D800 hand-held, with a 24mm-70mm F2.8 VR lens.   The main shot was taken from straight down to show off the tapestry of ingredients and the irregular shapes of the cut tart pieces.

Food & Prop Styling Notes:  The tabletop surface was custom-made for our food photography and was painted with distressed white crackle paint.  Extra mushrooms and peppers were sautéed seperately to use for final styling after the tart was baked to create more dimension.  The tart was cut in an unconventional grid pattern, instead of the usual radial pie cuts, to create a more interesting geometry.

Click here to see our behind the scenes Instagram video!

 

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart – food styling

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart
Author: 
 
Mushroom and Chorizo Tart
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen pie crust, thawed (or pâte brisée - see recipe here)
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • Assorted mushrooms sliced (we used cremini and shiitake)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ lb. chorizo sausage, diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium bunch of thyme
  • Mixed spring greens for garnish / side salad
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Prepare the pie crust in a pan by blind baking - (see recipe here on our Shallot tart feature).
  3. Lightly sauté the mushrooms, chorizo, shallots and red peppers in butter and set aside.
  4. Whisk the eggs and cream together for a minute until slightly frothy.
  5. Add a couple strands of thyme leaves to the egg mixture, puliing the leaves from stems and discarding the stems. Add ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of pepper, and whisk everything together for a few seconds.
  6. Pour egg mixture into crust, and place the mushrooms, chorizo, shallots and peppers around evenly, so it looks pretty.
  7. Bake at 400F for 15 or 20 minutes, or until the top begins to lightly brown.
  8. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and either sprinkle with fresh salad greens, serve with a side salad.

 

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart

Mushroom and Chorizo Tart