Signing up for a camera class was one of the best ideas I never had. I did so much complaining about being an inadequate photographer to my husband that he finally got tired of hearing it and he bought me a gift certificate to the Atlanta School of Photography. His not-so-subtle gift was just the nudge I needed to get myself the help that I needed to improve my photography skills.
I hesitantly signed up for the most basic level workshop that the school had to offer and and invited a friend so I wouldn't have to endure the class alone. If I was going to look like a complete incompetent, I needed to bring along some emotional support. Even though my friend and I were confident that we were about to make fools of ourselves, we packed up our gear and headed to Atlanta for our 5 hour, intensive, hands-on camera workshop. What did we have to lose - except our pride?
Much to my surprise, we were not the most unknowledgeable students in the class. Our class was made up of 6 other inexperienced camera users just like ourselves. The instructor was amazing and at the end of the day our heads were swirling with terms like aperture, focus points and metering mode. Feeling overwhelmed with information, I feared that it would all be forgotten unless I started to practice right away. So, Ben and I spent the next several weekends practicing my newly discovered camera skills.
We scoped out the most picturesque places in Georgia. We visited majestic waterfalls and beautiful gardens - all in the name of experimenting with my camera. My family was SUPER patient with me while I honed my camera skills. They carried around all my gear and patiently waited 4-5 minutes for me to make all of the necessary adjustments to my camera to set up a single shot.
I had a great time snapping pictures of landscapes and people but I still feel most comfortable with food photography. There's no wining, squinting or moving from a cheeseburger. I've been doing it so long that I know how to put the product in the perfect lighting to avoid shadows and over exposure. With any luck (and lots of practice) someday, I'll be just as efficient at landscape and portrait photography as I am at food photography.
Today, I'm back in my comfort zone. Capturing the colors, the textures and the juiciness of this Brandy Chicken. I only wish that my photographs could capture the amazing aroma and intense flavor of this dish.
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon brandy
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Spread onion mixture around chicken and sprinkle with parsley to serve.
Clearly, brandy chicken isn't the most photogenic of food subjects. Even though the colors are monochromatic, this chicken is anything but bland. The rich brandy, onion sauce really takes this chicken to a new level.
It's corn season in Georgia!! 🌽 I grew up in Northeast Ohio where corn is at its peak towards the middle to the end of the summer and it took me a long time to get used to corn season happening in early May. Quite honestly, the first couple of years that I lived in Georgia, I missed out on eating any of the fresh Georgia corn. I assumed that the corn that was in the bin at the produce stands in May had been shipped in from somewhere warm and tropical. Clearly - I'd never make it as a Georgia farmer.
Now that I KNOW that May is Georgia corn season - I take full advantage. I'm buying fresh Georgia corn everywhere that I see this month - produce stands, grocery stores, gas stations. I'm not kidding. There's actually a little produce stand attached to a nearby gas station with fresh, locally grown produce.
My latest corn creation is a scrumptious little side dish with a kick. This fresh corn dish pairs perfectly with halibut. If it's not corn season in your part of the world, save this recipe in your email inbox or make it with frozen corn if you have to.
Chile Lime Orange Roughy with Corn Saute
4 Orange Roughy filets
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon canola oil
2 2/3 cups fresh corn
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 teaspoons chopped jalapeno
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro. Serve with fish.
While there's an abundance of fresh corn available this month, there seems to be a shortage of fresh fish in my little town. There are a couple of stores that sell fresh seafood but I can't always depend on the selection. This recipe was originally intended to be prepared with halibut but since there was no halibut to be found, I opted for the freshest fish that I could find in the seafood case. Orange Roughy turned out to be a perfect substitute. If you try this was another type of fish - send me a comment - I'd love to hear your thoughts.
We eat a lot of chicken. I can't deny that. There have been weeks when we've eaten chicken 5 or 6 days in a row because it was on sale that week at the grocery store. What can I say? I love chicken and I'm a sucker for a good sale. My family starts to get suspicious after the third consecutive chicken day though. 😂
If you ask my kids, they will tell you that we eat chicken "All The Time". The truth is, we normally eat it no more than once or twice a week. (Unless it's on sale of course.) I have a meal schedule that I follow to plan our meals every week. I've published this before but for those of you who might be new to the blog - here it is again.
Monday - Fish
Tuesday - Chicken
Wednesday - Soup, Salad or Sandwiches
Thursday - Beef or Pork (Vegetables for me)
Friday - Pasta
Saturday and Sunday - anything goes
To a lot of people it might seem a little rigid to plan meals like this but if you know me at all - you know that I thrive on (over)planning EVERYTHING. 😂I've been menu planning like this for years and it works great for me. And those unplanned weekend meals - even though the uncertainty gives me anxiety sometimes - they often turn out to be the best.
There are times when I make things on the weekend that we've been craving and sometimes I just pull together a meal based on the leftover ingredients that are already in my refrigerator. Last week, I had a package of chicken in my refrigerator, more than a dozen leftover hard boiled Easter Eggs, a few slices of turkey bacon and a garden that was absolutely overflowing with home grown lettuce. Throw in a ripe avocado, a few tomatoes and I had everything that I needed for a delicious Grilled Cobb Salad.
Grilled Cobb Salad
1/4 cup blue cheese
1/4 cup + 2 T. olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 romaine lettuce hearts, cut in half
2 avocados, halved
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
4 hard (or soft) boiled eggs, halved
6 slices turkey bacon, diced
Top with bacon and drizzle with dressing.
What do you have growing in your garden this month? I've got lettuce, parsley, basil, rosemary, strawberries and 1 raspberry plant. I started some pumpkin seeds in pots on the porch last month and they're already starting to sprout. I have plans to move them to the garden as soon. I can hardly wait to see how many pumpkins I end up with this Fall. 🎃
Are there foods that you like in one form but not another? Do you like the flavor of almonds but dislike almond extract and or prefer almond extract to whole nuts? I raised 2 children who adore ketchup and salsa but have an extreme dislike of fresh tomatoes. 🤷🏻♀️ It defies logic but sometimes there's no rational explanation for why we like the foods that we like.
As for me, I love the flavor of bananas but I don't like to eat them plain. 🍌I crave banana bread, banana muffins, banana ice cream, frozen bananas, banana pancakes, banana smoothies, banana oatmeal and banana cookies but I don't ever eat plain bananas. There's no good reason why the brilliant yellow fruit doesn't appeal to me. (pun intended) It's a potassium rich food that's naturally protected from germs and it doesn't crunch - it should be my favorite fruit! 😂
I will never stop buying fresh bananas even though I don't like to eat them plain. I actually enjoy watching them ripen to perfection in the fruit basket on the counter. They're the perfect natural sweetener for my baked treats and they give everything a nice soft consistency.
These Cinnamon Banana Oatmeal Cookies are one of my new favorite ways to use those perfectly ripe bananas. The combination of bananas and cinnamon chips is absolutely amazing. I could go on and on but I'd rather have you just try them for yourself.
Cinnamon Banana Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup mashed banana
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups quick oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips
I would like to tell you how long these cookies stay nice and fresh but they didn't last past day two in our house. They really are delicious and a great way to use up that extra banana that's sitting in your fruit basket getting dark spots. Remember, the darker the banana - the sweeter it is.
Have you noticed that more people than ever are snapping pictures of the food that is served to them at restaurants before they dig in? People are also posting the meals that they make at home and tagging their photos with #homemade and #healthyeating on instagram. Even if you haven't yet crossed over into the world of food posting, I'd be willing to bet that at one point or another, you've created or been served something so exquisitely beautiful that you've considered getting out your phone and taking a picture of it with the intent of sharing it on your social media account.
I've got to say, it makes me actually feel better about the ridiculous number of photos that I take of my food when I see other people photographing their food. When I started this whole food blogging gig 9 years ago, I felt completely awkward about pulling out my camera in a restaurant. Now I almost feel like I'm insulting the chef if I neglect to post a picture of a meal that was so artfully and beautifully crafted.
I've also heard from many of you that don't really appreciate all of my food pictures - especially when scrolling through their instagram account late at night. I get it. It's hard to look at all those incredible chocolate dessert recipes when I'm trying to avoid sugar or eating after midnight.
I take your criticism as a compliment though - my goal of making my food look appetizing and appealing is working. Some foods are easier than others to make look beautiful and some days the lighting is just right for photographs and some days it just stinks. I'm no food stylist but you can be assured that your recipe will turn out looking just like mine if you decide to create it at home.
Greek Meatballs with Sweet Potato "Noodles"
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons fresh mint
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2 pound lean ground beef
2 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated sweet potato spirals
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Top with meatballs.
Sprinkle with pepper, feta or lemon juice prior to serving.
If you decide to make this delicious meal (or any other of my recipes for that matter) post a picture and be sure and tag me. You can post it in the comment section of my blog or tag me on instagram. (@delicious.monroe) Post it on my facebook page, my twitter account @deliciousllc or share it with me on Pinterest. (Delicious)
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