Delectable Food, Great Photographs from Rob Davidson

Posts tagged “elegant

A light late summer dessert: zabaglione and berries

I’ve been totally revelling in the wonderful variety of fresh berries at our local farmers market, so I thought I’d share with you my favorite summer dessert. Zabagloine (or sabayon to the French) is a very traditional Italian dessert made from egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet wine all whipped into a light frothy foam. In Italy it’s often served over fresh figs, but I love it over assorted berries.  For this particular recipe we used a sparkling wine, which makes it even frothier and more fun to eat. This makes a perfect dessert to finish off the Egg in Phylo Brunch.

Although this looks fairly fancy and intimidating, it’s actually a very easy dessert to whip together at the last minute (Especially if you happen to own an electric whisk). It’s a great way to impress your guests!  By the way, a “double boiler” can simply be a metal or glass bowl sitting on a pot with water boiling in it.  Here’s the recipe:

Zabaglione (Sabayon) with Berries

Ingredients

  • 6
    Egg Yolks
  • 1/3 cup
    Sugar
  • 1 Cup
    Sparkling wine, Ice wine or Marsala
  • Fresh Berries

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients over a double boiler and whisk ingredients together.
  2. Whisk until the consistency resembles lightly whipped cream. Be careful to not over heat the eggs, as they will scramble.
  3. Remove from heat when it reaches a foamy whipped consistency and serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.
  4. Place berries in a heat proof serving glass. Spoon sabayon over the berries and carefully torch (brulee) the sabayon until till its lightly browned.
  5. Enjoy!
This shot was also one that we did as part of my summer workshop...

You can read more about how the shot was created here.


Venturing out of My Comfortable Studio

Chocolate Dessert at Tiara

 

Chocolate Dessert at Tiara

I realized lately that I’ve been getting a lot of requests to shoot food on location for restaurant menus and websites. So I thought I would post a selection of some of the shots and talk a bit about what goes into them. Without all the tools, toys and tricks of the studio I find it’s best to keep the shots very simple and clean and resist the temptation to put too much stuff into them. I also find that restaurants tend to want very straightforward photographs of their menu items so that they can be used for a variety of applications.

Striped Bass at Crush Wine Bar

Beautifully Grilled Fish at Tiara

 

Crusted Rack of Lamb at Millcroft Inn & Spa

 

 

 

 

I love to find a bit of natural light to work with, and since most restaurants have big windows, this makes my job easier.  I also like to work closely with the chef, making sure that each dish is lovingly prepared for the camera.  I always remind them not to apply any sauces until the last minute as I’m ready to take the shot.

Grilled Tenderloin at Crush Wine Bar

 

Seared Tuna at Crush Wine Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, it’s always important to work quickly and efficiently, so as not to tie up space and staff in a busy enterprise!  Keeping these points in mind, it’s possible to create appealing food shots that really capture the essence of the restaurant’s menu.  And the best part is you get to eat the results!

 

Trio of Chocolate at Crush Wine Bar

Dessert at Escabèch


Fish en Papillote… an elegant dinner made easy

This is my favorite recipe for emergency entertaining!

This elegant dish, with its oh-so French name (that simply means “in paper”) is deceptively simple to prepare and freeze in advance, ready for your next impromptu elegant dinner. I keep an assortment of these delicious packets frozen in Ziploc bags, so if a friend or two drops by unexpectedly I can glibly offer them a dinner, knowing that I can present a beautiful (and healthy) meal with no effort at all!  If you feel intimidated by the idea of cooking fish, this is a simple, delicious and virtually foolproof technique.

The next time you’re shopping, pickup an assortment of fish fillets (any fish you like!), some of your favorite vegetables and fresh herbs, rice, Parchment Paper and some Ziploc freezer bags.   Start by steaming the rice, and meanwhile slice the larger vegetables into a julienne (that’s another fancy French word for thin slices).

I like to use a random assortment of carrots, green onions, shallots, zucchini, snow peas, tomatoes or whatever else I might have around. Asparagus is a nice touch. I really like jasmine rice, though if you’re feeling particularly healthy brown rice is a good choice. This will also work with couscous or wild rice.

When the rice is ready let it cool a bit and place a nice portion on one side of a large square of parchment paper. Place the fish fillet on top of this and then arrange some of the vegetables on top of that. Add a few sprigs of fresh herbs or some of your favorite spices… Be playful!  If you feel decadent, add a bit of butter or a sprinkle of olive oil.

Now fold the parchment paper over and tightly roll the edges together to form a tight package.

At this point they’re ready to be frozen, and I have a great tip for you. Slip one or two of the packets into a Ziploc bag and seal it. Then slightly break the seal and slip in a plastic straw. Hold the bag around the straw with your fingers and suck all the air out of the Ziploc bag, then pull back on the straw and seal the Ziploc. This works just as well as the fancy countertop bag sealers, and a plastic straw is a lot cheaper!

Toss your creations into the freezer and you’re ready for unexpected dinner guests. To prepare your dinner, pull out one package per person and put them in a 375° oven for about 40 minutes, or until the parchment paper starts to brown up. To serve, simply place the packets on a plate and tear them open. A delicious, elegant and extremely healthy meal!

See how the lighting was created for this shot, Click Here!

Photo Credits:  Photography by Rob Davidson
Food Styling by Linsey Bell
Assistants:  Chris Hazard and Amber Scott