Let's talk food photography for a minute...It's the reason I enjoy blogging and the reason I hate it! Yes...I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. But...Of course I wouldn't keep doing it if I didn't enjoy it...and the most stressful part and my favorite part...taking pictures of food. I learned quickly that every light in the kitchen and dining room produced the most terrible brown icky looking food pictures. I think every food blogger has experienced this...right? And it really sucks cooking dinner at 3 o'clock in the afternoon so you can have beautiful natural light photos. Natural light is the way to go...it's just not always possible!
Now let me step out there and say PICTURES DO NOT MAKE THE BLOG...the person writing it does. And I am not saying my pictures are all that great...I'm no professional, but a lot of people have asked me about taking better food photos lately...and I've been telling them use natural light...and it is the best tip ever...just not possible most of the time. Good lighting makes good pictures...not an expensive camera!
Most of my cooking happens in the evening, after I get home from work (so much for natural light)...So not long after I began blogging, I invested in a set of $$photo lights (soft boxes). I guess the results were decent, and they served their purpose. But it was awkward falling over lights in the kitchen...and when friends come over for dinner...saying ignore that big photo light in the corner of the dining room. It was just too much work...made blogging not so much fun. So I simplified things...started only using a combination of natural light/ plain old kitchen lights, a diffuser, and a mirror for reflecting light...much easier...less stressful, but very limiting!
So I ordered a pair of Lowel Ego lights...they are very small (about the size of a shoe box)...and affordable (about $100 each). This was my first experiment using them...well I actually only used one of them...attached it to my tripod so I could swivel it around where I needed the light...and the I thought the results were good...I will not win any awards for these photos, but good enough...very good for just a $100 investment! So if you're a fellow nighttime food blogger struggling with your photos...these are worth looking into. (I've only had them for 3 days, so I can't speak for how long the bulbs last or anything like that.)
OK...I've chit-chatted long enough...you have probably even forgot what's cooking...Mediterranean Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus...a recipe I stole from Lyndsey(The Tiny Skillet). She posted this recipe earlier this week and it just sounded too good not to try. I did tweak it a little...that's just my style.
And a pasta dish with the flavors of the Mediterranean...that's my style too. And don't you just love those little baby bottles of wine? They are perfect for cooking with...especially if you don't drink wine. Oh, but I do drink wine...I just think the bottles are cute...That's why I buy them! but...
It's an easy/great tasting pasta dish...that comes together in about 30 minutes. Just add a salad and some bread for one fine dinner.
Mediterranean Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus
adapted from The Tiny Skillet
2- 9 oz packages fresh angel hair pasta (1lb dry would be fine)
4- boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1- bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1- shallot, finely chopped
4- garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped oil packed sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
a handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
4 oz crumbled Feta cheese
salt and black pepper, to taste
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken and saute until browned. Add the asparagus, shallot, garlic, and oregano. Saute for a couple minutes, until the shallot is translucent. Add the sun dried tomatoes and olives, then the wine. Allow the wine to simmer for a minute or two. Then add the cream. Allow the sauce to cook for a minute or two; season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain the pasta reserving a cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce, along with the Parmesan and basil. Toss together until the pasta is coated, adding as much of the reserved pasta water needed to create the consistency you desire. Top with the crumbled Feta just before serving.
Serves about 6