I love Thanksgiving and I will readily admit that I love it for one sole reason. That reason is this, it is an excuse to break the rigidity of routine, to step outside the confines of our everydayness and shirk gleefully those habits we practice, mostly out of necessity and for the sake of efficiency, every other day of the year. It is an excuse to make those familiar routines take a back seat – if only for one day and only for one meal. At its core, Thanksgiving is the simplest of holidays – no strings attached, no pressure around gifts or the like. It is a day reserved simply to step outside the familiar and celebrate the everydayness of the everyday : one table, one meal and perhaps a few (or many) guests to share it with however and with whatever food feels the most appropriate in that moment. And the meal can be one as complex or elementary as one chooses and need not conform to any rules or practices (other than the fact that I do very much like to think about those things I am grateful for and thankful for and practice kindness – but ideally that is everyday not just one) -so for the love and poetry of food and gatherings, we celebrate Thanksgiving. continue reading
Bread is my desert island food.
As in if I had to choose one thing to eat forever, should I find myself alone with only one food source on a desert island for the rest of days – It would be bread. It is one of those foods that nourishes not only my body but my soul. That sound of thick crust cracking as you tear off the end of a baguette or slice into well baked boule has a sort of magic about it.
On a recent rainy autumn weekend I found myself on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. Surrounded by the waters of the Sound and the colors of autumn. Hues of amber and ocher just beginning to dot the dense evergreen forests and a welcomed chill in the air, just right for lighting fires in the wood stove and layering on a cozy jumper. The smell of slowly baking bread ensnaring us all in our little weekend home.
So, there I was on my island just south of Seattle, not marooned or alone nor in a climate that could be called tropical or considered desert but happily there was plenty of delicious bread. Beautiful La Brea Bakery bread baking away in the oven as six members of the food blogging community and I cooked up a storm. Armed with a handful of newly developed recipes and a curated selection of fresh artisan La Brea Bakery breads (in the most stunning array of shapes, colors, textures) we made a little magic together over that weekend.
In the course of three days we prepared meals, styled tables, gathered, ate, gleaned inspiration, cultivated conversation and photographed it all. Each of the seven of us prepared a recipe for the weekend – mine, for a Smoky Aubergine Spread can be found lower down in the post and you can find the other six amazing recipes from our meals through the links here – Natalie’s Coconut French Toast with Poached Apples and Pecans. Sasha’s recipe for Fall Panzanella with Roasted Squash and Creamy Lemon Pepper Dressing, Shelly’s recipe for Roasted Grape Crostini with Chevré and Rosemary,Trisha’s recipe for Shakshuka with Chevré & Fresh Herbs. Alanna’s Golden Vegetable Chickpea Minestrone with Lemon Parsley Oil and Eva’s Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Drizzle.
It was a weekend full of camaraderie and living well. Taking the time to savor the simple, to be intentional and find the elegance in the everyday- elevating it beyond the mundane and repetitive. For me a huge part of living well revolves around good food and being together at the table. Good foods start with intentionality and its one of the things I love most about La Brea Bakery breads – they are crafted according to slow-process artisan methods. They take the time needed to let the breads develop using honored tradition, the original starter – circa 1989! and a slow rise – it takes at least 24 hours for each bread from start to finish. And the result is all that thick crunchy crust goodness you could ever want in a loaf of bread.
For my Smoky Aubergine spread – it is best served with La Brea Bakery’s Cranberry Walnut loaf, a slightly unexpected pairing but I love the hint of sharp sweetness from the cranberry in the bread and it’s gorgeous closed-crumb texture is a perfect counterpoint for this heartier spread. If you don’t have a grill you can still make this recipe by roasting the aubergine over the flame on your gas stove top or placing them on a baking sheet and putting them under the broiler.Just watch them carefully and remember to turn them frequently.*Thank you to La Brea Bakery for sponsoring this weekend and making this post possible. All opinions are my own
Smoky Aubergine Spread
- 2 loaves of La Brea Bakery Cranberry Walnut
- 2 medium-sized aubergine (about 250/300g each)
- 1/2 cup tahini + 2 tbsp
- 3/4 cup Crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic (paste or grated on the microplaner)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp shallots
- ¼ cup each parsley and dill
- ¼ tsp honey
- salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp toasted pepitas roughly chopped
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 Tbsp Za’atar
- 1 Tbsp dill fronds
- Preheat the oven to 375F (190C)
- Prick each aubergine a few times, then char the outside evenly by placing them directly on hot grill, turn them until the eggplants are uniformly charred on the outside.
- While aubergine are charing add shallots, garlic, sour cream and Crème fraîche to a small bowl and let stand with a light pinch of salt
- Slice aubergine in-half the long way, salt lightly and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until they’re completely soft and most of the liquid has evaporated; a poke from a paring knife poke should meet no resistance. Remove from the oven
- While the aubergine is cooling, place tahini and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and blend on high about 30 seconds. Then add Crème fraîche mixture and honey and blend another 30 seconds.
- Add the dill, parsley olive oil and blend 30 seconds more or until the olive oil is incorporated
- Scrape the pulp from the skins. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients – it should be relatively smooth but still with some texture to the aubergine and all ingredients should be incorporated into the mix.
- Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Let is stand at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator or make up to a day ahead before serving.
- To serve sprinkle with chopped pepitas, sumac, Za’atar and perhaps some additional herbs
- Serve with quarter slices of La Brea Bakery Cranberry Walnut Loaf and/or Olive Loaf
lately I have been feeling a persistent restlessness
when I’m in the city, I long for the country but when I find myself among the fields and gardens of the farm, I yearn for that urban hum and bustle
In the company of others I imagine a sublime solitude and in those moments of separateness, I find myself seeking the company of others – jovial conversations and long drawn out dinners with friends.
The thing with old properties is you are part of their story as much as they are a part of yours. It is a matter of stewardship rather than ownership, of learning how to live with them rather than in them. And you must get comfortable with the traces of other people’s lives, other people’s stories – for they are part of the story of the house. There is a kind of soulfulness in these traces they are part of what gives the house the depth, and that palpable personality I gravitate toward. continue reading
There are certain things synonymous with summer. A mixture of childhood rituals, nostalgia, ideas I’ve collected and things I’ve lived along the way. Many center around activities like swimming in cool green salty water and the rest, unsurprisingly, around food – looking up from sandy beach seats to watch bi-planes pulling banners white against pure blue summer skies; the cooing of morning doves in the hot dawn; blueberry muffin making and black raspberry ice-cream in hand rolled sugar cones after dinner. continue reading
Join us this August (23rd – 26th) for four days of photography, styling, foraging, creativity and exploration. Together Olivia @Adelasterfoodtextures & I will be hosting an intimate workshop on the charming Swedish island of Gotland.
Here in this historic Swedish holiday destination, we will spend our days exploring the creative process, the basics of camera mechanics, food styling, and the visual narrative. We will be joined by guest teacher Linda Lomelino for an afternoon tea. She will share her beautiful expertise of baking, styling and creating a cookbook over the course of the afternoon. There will be a hands-on styling demonstration with Linda and a Q&A as we enjoy a leisurely time at our ‘afternoon tea table’. In addition to spending time creating at our rambling Swedish farmhouse, we will make an excursion into the world heritage town Visby, lunch at one of the island’s restaurants and an afternoon wander at the island’s herb farm.
As we explore the local food and cultural landscape of Gotland, there will be ample consideration and guidance in the art of the photographic narrative and the composition of the lifestyle photograph. With photo-rich opportunities abound, Olivia will guide us through an afternoon of making herbs and flowers into tonics, teas, scrubs and skincare to use at home. She will also lead attendees who share an interest of wild food on a walk identifying wild plants and keeping a watchful eye for the unique and “only native to Gotland’, Salma berries.
We are also incredibly excited to offer an optional yoga session each morning to further cultivate a space for personal reflection, and stillness. Weather you this will be your first time or you have years of experience, we hope it will bring another dimension to our time on Gotland. Yoga has been a part of Krissy’s life and creative practice now for 5 years and she could not be more delighted to be able to share some of the joys of this style of bodywork with participants. Sessions will be taught in English by a Swedish instructor.
With days packed full of inspiring opportunities for creativity, styling, cooking and photography; mornings and evenings will focus on the simple joys of gathering, sharing meals and the camaraderie of conversation. Sharing plant-centric meals, together round the table, this will be a time to reflect, relax and ask questions about everything from social media to pitching freelance work. This will also be a time to explore the needs of attendees, whether you are just starting out and looking to focus on developing a personal style and learning how to find work or are more experienced and looking for new opportunities in the industry, with a focus on working from anywhere in the world.Olivia and Krissy are also presenting attendees with the very unique opportunity to have a preparation call before the workshop and to have our week’s work followed up with a 4 month portfolio review. Krissy and Olivia will review your work four months after the conclusion of the workshop via skype should you like. Giving you time to address those questions as you continue creating at home.
We hope you will join us in Gotland, Sweden this August! We look forward to meeting you.
– Dates: 23rd – 26th August 2017
– Gotland, Sweden
– price in usd:
- $2600 private bedroom
- $2100 king bed, shared room with one twin bed
- $1950 single bed, shared room with one king bed
- $1950 twin bed, shared bunk room with four beds
Please know that all baths in our farmhouse are shared
– 11 participants
– 4 days of food and lifestyle photography and instruction
– 3 breakfasts/brunch
– 3 dinners
– all entry and tickets for activities
– 4 month Follow up Portfolio Review with Olivia & Krissy
Materials, meals and three nights accommodation covered in the cost of the ticket
Nearest major airports are Gotland, Malmo, further afield Stockholm
Daily ferries from the mainland to the ferry
Please note, airfare, ferry and transportation to the workshop is not included in the ticket price
Deposit of 50% is needed for registration and a final payment will be due August 1, 2017.
There will be no refunds or cancellation. So please ensure you are able to attend before registering
For reservation or more details please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can attend:
Anyone with an interest in food, photography or visiting Sweden. Anyone looking for inspiration, a chance to immerse themselves creatively or steel a few days away and shore themselves against a bucolic coastal landscape. Photography beginners and advanced photographers will enjoy this experience equally. For the more advanced photographers and stylists we can angle it towards professional development and industry opportunities in Sweden.
- Olivia has worked as a photographer and stylist in Australia and upon returning to her native country Sweden hosted a restaurant pop up in nature. She also continued to work with photography and has exhibited her non food related photography in Australia and Sweden. Much of the food she makes has some elements of wild ingredients.
- Krissy O’Shea is a freelance photographer and stylist. After receiving her MFA in Photography from San Francisco Arts Institute, she moved to London and worked in editorial and events. She now resides in New England working as a freelance photographer, stylist, recipe developer and event designer. She is passionate about food and design and writes about it all on her popular lifestyle blog, CottageFarmblog.com.
There is something to the austerity of winter that makes the bounty of spring feel indulgent. With its relentless cold dark days, heavy wet snow and endless parade of root vegetables, those first few bright green things of spring seem positively fanciful. Vivid colors abound, curls, tendrils, feathery tips, sweet delicate flavors spring, unsurprisingly, is very bewitching indeed.
We put the screens in the windows and doors at the farm the other day. A simple gesture, albeit not a simple task, signaling a time of year when days are spent with the windows flung open and the cool (often still downright chilly) clean air rushes through the house; working its way into all the corners and blowing out the last cobwebs of winter. continue reading
On a particularly early morning, I found myself sitting in one of London’s east end restaurants working through details of a fast approaching and fairly high pressure event. I must have been the only person in the restaurant at that time and I distinctly remember waiting outside in the drizzle for someone to unlocked the door and let me inside. This particular space is one with the most inspired light even on this misty wooly grey morning and I took a few minutes to admire it as it fell softly over the backs of minimalist birch chairs and polished concrete floors. Being so early, the space was just a hair shy of warm, the ovens having only just begun their day’s labor and coldness from the night before still hanging around ankle level. A familiar conversation ensued soon after and I ordered a cup of black coffee – it felt perfectly austere given my surroundings and I imagined it would also be hottest thing on their early morning menu. continue reading
Join us in the land amid the streams for three days of exploration, creativity, photography and learning on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
This May (19th – 21st) cookbook author, food52 contributor and island resident Sarah Waldman and I will be hosting an intimate workshop in the charming island village of Chilmark. Known for its rolling hills, breathtaking water views and rural charm, it is home to some of the island’s most beautiful and bountiful working farms and food stories.
Our home base for two nights will be one of the island’s simple but quintessential shingled, white trimmed farmhouses. With bucolic views out over fields, a little brackish pond and the wild Atlantic, it will afford the perfect position for daily expeditions. We will travel to a historic harbor-side fishing village, nearby farm stands, cheesemaker, flower farm, charming in-town restaurant and beautiful beaches. continue reading
Some of my earliest memories are sitting with my mum, gram and aunt drinking tea; always bag in, never sugar possibly a splash of milk. There wasn’t anything fancy or particularly ceremonial about it, no sliver tea pots or cups and saucers and certainly not a crustless sandwich in sight, but still it always felt exceptional. The four of us together in one of our kitchens chatting and thumbing through recipes and design magazines with steaming hot cups of tea in hand. Overtime, these tea filled afternoons together have become a ritual; our ritual. continue reading