Extra, extra large blooms this week…
Yesterday evening I tried to make the meatball hors d’oeuvres I mentioned in a previous post, and did. It took much longer than I thought, but that’s fine. I stilled learned more about the Kitchen Aid and using a camera while I’m cooking. It’s hard and something to get used to.
The ideas I came up with were to stage the ingredients and use a tripod and reposition the camera around the kitchen as things “get done” or prepared. The tripod comes in to the picture (pun intended) for the next recipe.
The Metro Beater Blade works awesome on this stuff as well, didn’t need a spatula and clean-up was a breeze. The meat grinding attachment doesn’t do well with fat, so trim off as much as you can before you grind it into ground beef. Your mixer will have a much easier time and you won’t waste 15 minutes trying to clean out the die before you can even wash it. The mixer still did an outstanding job.
My phone ended up taking the photos below and the face of the phone is quite gross as well, but it did do the trick
I’ve got a few different channels I listen to when it comes to music. I once was a huge Pandora fan, but now I’m just a fan. I still like the randomness of Pandora, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. A little serendipity in music is always nice for sure. Lately it’s been some links provided by some of the folks I follow and that follow me on WordPress, and Spotify. One interesting share from someone was the “Mug and Brush Sessions“. A barbershop opens up to record audio and video of a band, and provides post-production support as well, then hosts them on YouTube. Pretty cool, huh? I watched a few of the videos and there’s this one with a guy laying it down with a harmonica in one of the R&B videos. Just killer!
Then there’s my girlfriend whose a huge soccer fan, so we have a lot of FIFA chatter in the house. The only thing close to soccer for me was kickball in grade school – soccer wasn’t ever part of my life but it’s amazing how the world is wrapped around this sport. And with it comes the music attached to FIFA. A few of the players have playlists up on Spotify for what their listening to as this event progresses. There’s so much awesome music in these lists – and yes, it would be worth getting a freemium subscription if you’re curious so you can hear it for yourself. Oh, and the best part of Spotify (IMHO) is I can keep copies of anything I listen to on my iPhone, Windows Phone, iPad, MacBooks, or PCs for those times when Wi-Fi isn’t available. And most of the roads I ride have more water towers instead of cell towers – so this helps out in a pinch.
I’ve always been a fan of Brazilian music, but more in the vein of Stan Getz, Juan Carlos Jobim – these guys were Brazilian Jazz giants back in their day, and probably one of the reasons we have so much fused music today. The FIFA music is much more contemporary but the beats and rhythms beneath the music still share the same stuff the Jazz giants gave us. Very cool, and awesome for my ears anyway.
Then, there’s the music I listen to when I’m not coding, or drawing shapes and lines on paper and grease boards – this is the music that’s pumping into my ears while I’m on my motorcycle. And of course it has to be loud enough to drowned out the pipes. Recently I found another playlist in the blues channel on Spotify called “Funky Heavy Bluesy” – this playlist actually makes my bike go faster I think. It’s interesting enough to listen to and not distract from the task at hand, handling the bike in traffic and turns on the back roads. I had a lot of blues exposed during high school and played so much of it with friends, and managed to mix it in with my own playing style, subtle but still noticeable.
This is what’s playing now for me, at least for now.
PB&J == Peanut Butter and John – I love peanut butter so how could I go wrong with something like baked peanut butter!
I thought I start with something simple and see what I could learn. So I started with a peanut butter cookie recipe from the Kitchen Aid recipe book that came with my mixer. And after reading some reading some reviews about this new whiz-bang mixing beater blade, I tried that out as well.
The recipe was straight forward but I realized quickly that organizing the ingredients before production was something I needed to figure out rather than just stacking the ingredients on the counter and adding them as I go. So that was the first lesson.
After that, things started to flow. Here are a few images from my adventure last night. I did get one “hidden-mickey” out of this batch, so that was kind of cool as well but it was thanks to my large hands. The recipe calls for 1″ balls of batter – not so simple for me so some of the cookies turned out kind of large. I only managed to eat about 8 of these treats so the rest of them are going to work today for meetings and breaks.
The next project is some homemade meatball hors d’oeuvres and chocolate chip cookies at the same time to see how switching between two different types of recipes works out.
A few months back I saw a clip on a YouTube channel I subscribed to regarding food photography. It was another angle on composing photos in a controlled area, with a subject that doesn’t move. Although the photographers were using quite an elaborate set for a simple place setting where the utensils were the subject of the photo and not the food, I realized that the props in the photo were given as much “focus” as the utensils were.
The plated food enhanced the need to use utensils and glassware as much as the food made the viewer hungry for the food. There was a nice collaboration of items for this composition – clothe napkins and placemats with carefully chosen colors and patterns; plate settings which helped the food look more appealing; just the right amount of sweat on the water-glass and a subtle background and surface to frame the picture.
I’d like to think I put this much thought into my photos, but usually, I’m just shooting from the hip, and trying to capture the image in my mind’s eye of what I want my subject to say after the picture is taken. And this all happens (for me) in the space of about 5-15 seconds. Not long after that, the subject has moved, lighting has changed, or there’s an obstructed view. I usually just walk into these moments and see a frame with the subject close by and start taking the photo hoping that one or two of the frames I capture are the ones that were in my mind’s eye.
This week I’ve got a bit of a break and I’m going to try my hand at cooking some recipes that I’ve been cataloging through social channels and recipe books I’ve picked up over the last few months with this in mind. Then, I remembered the food photo shoot on YouTube – why not take the time to build up some food pics for my collection to share as well. More in the way of lighting and composition – but also trying to create something in the kitchen worth capturing in a frame, and hopefully something that will be edible as well.
My day job has me creating technical recipes other people use and execute for a solution that provides a value to a business unit – sometimes I participate in the creation sometimes its done for me. Now, instead of creating the recipe now, I’m trying to capture the recipe’s outcome – capture it, and then (hopefully) consume it.
I have about 9 or 10 recipes I need to create in the upcoming months at work, most from scratch – and to balance the demand of my day job I thought injecting two of my favorite hobbies into my daily mix could add some balance and forward motion to both of them. We’ll see.
I recently took on the task of getting back into all of my favorite hobbies, and photography has been at the center of the this recently as well. I used a SLR for years and have zip-locks stuffed with a hundred or so rolls of film developed years ago. I mainly used them to figure how what was wrong (in my mind) with the picture. But after starting to use DSLRs, this kind of changed. The camera wants to think for me, and allow me to do some on-board manipulation of the picture. For me, this is kind of hard b/c I get caught up in the moment I hit the shutter button – there is nothing else going on around me except what I see TTL.
Like any great word or spreadsheet processor, we only figure out how to use 20%, maybe 30%, if it’s something we don’t use everyday. But we use that 20-30% to accomplish whatever our task is without looking for a simpler way to finish a task. This was me with my current camera. I needed to fix this.
I was out on a bike ride one afternoon and decided to walk in to a book store and find a book that talks only about my camera. And to my huge surprise, I found one. Got through the first three chapters and learned so much about this little black box. Based on what I learned, I was able to take a few pictures yesterday at a neighborhood dance recital. The book doesn’t help me take better pictures, but it does/did help me setup the camera to my liking with some bracketing worked before the event, in and out of decent to lousy lighting.
So, I think I’ve made it beyond the crawling stage again with photography, and I’m walking again. Hopefully, I can keep working on this little black box a day at a time to at least get back to the place I was.