Category Archives: Food Photography

Homemade Gift Idea: Candied Cinnamon Pecans & Almonds

This year we’re really blessed to have lots of great gifts to share with our friends and family for Christmas. Just walking by our little tree in the corner with presents overflowing underneath reminds me of how much we have, and we’re so lucky to be able to give it away. By now, the day before Christmas Eve, I’ve done plenty of shopping, but some of the gifts I’m most excited about sharing are the ones I’ve made: little pint mason jars of candied cinnamon pecans and almonds. They’re a perfect treat for snacking and sharing; they’re salty and sweet; they’re easy to make, and with a bright little bow on top, they’re a super sweet gift for anyone you know, so I thought I’d share the recipe with all of you, too.

Here’s the disclaimer: this is not my original recipe. In fact, I should probably call these Sweet Aunt Briggett’s Cinnamon Pecans & Almonds, but, well, that takes so much more energy. My Aunt Briggett sent me the recipe so that I could make favors for my cousin Katlyn’s wedding, and Marlin and I couldn’t stay away from them. They’re completely addicting. I wish they were more difficult to make; knowing how quick and easy they are is really dangerous.

Okay, here goes:

1 cup sugar (you could use white or brown)

1/2 cup cold water

3/4 teaspoon salt (I like kosher, especially for sprinkling over the top at the end)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (this is no time for cheap substitutes–the real deal is irreplaceable)

4 cups pecan halves & almonds (or any mix of nuts you prefer)

Combine the sugar, water, salt & vanilla in a small saucepan. Boil to 24o degrees or about 4 minutes (whisking intermittently).

Remove from the heat and pour over the pecans & almonds in a large mixing bowl; add cinnamon.

Stir until the syrup forms an even sugar coating. Spread the nuts out flat on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper for cooling.

Try not to eat them all in one sitting. Easier said than done.

Copyright Ashley Terry 2011

Copyright Ashley Terry 2011

The warm cinnamon makes these perfect gifts for Christmas and any winter holiday. Small glass jars and a big red bow make them a beautiful little gift for anyone on your list!

Copyright Ashley Terry 2011

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Filed under Food Photography, Recipes

A little farm to table love

This weekend I made plans to check out the new farmers market near my house; well, new to me anyway. When I got back I was so excited about my finds that I pulled out the camera before I put everything away and took it outside for a little photo love. I’m sure the neighbors think I’m a real loon.

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

These are some of the most beautiful cherry tomatoes I’ve ever seen, and they made for a delightful pasta sauce with a few other roasted summer veggies!

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

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A barbecue road trip…without forks. Or sauce. But there was cobbler!

A couple of weeks ago Marlin and I took the day off for his birthday to take a day trip out to Lockhart, Texas. Rumor has it that Lockhart has the best barbecue in the state, and some say it’s best in the country. Either way, Marlin was determined to find out.

Of course you know there was research involved. We couldn’t just pick up and go, no way. This little town is full of barbecue joints, so how on Earth do you decide which one you’ll visit? Well, that’s a no-brainer. You consult an old episode of Food Wars, which airs the showdown between two competing styles; seriously, it’s like the Capulets against the Montagues. These people are serious.

The show was enough to convince Marlin, so we made the hour drive or so and found ourselves in front of Kreuz Market, which has been there since (get this) 1900.

Ashley Terry 2011

Look at him, he’s like a man on a mission. Anyway, y’all, I wish that someone had been videoing us at this place, because it was like walking into Man’s Land. Seriously, there should have been a sign on the door that said, “No Girls Allowed.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy good barbecue, but I’m not a major carnivore. The first thing I do when I walk in is check out the menu…and realize there’s no turkey. Now every good Texan will tell you that brisket is barbecue, not turkey, but well, what can I say? Born and raised and I still prefer turkey, so deal with it. I think Marlin thought I was joking, but I couldn’t find it. Okay, I said, this is my husband’s day, not mine. I’m okay with brisket, so I’ll try some and be a trooper…but I insist on lean (and I think this is the point where I’ve lost any male readers, if I ever had them at all).

Next we get closer to ordering (there is a long line on a Friday, which does attest to the staple this place is in the local scene) and I remember that this place doesn’t do sauce. Um, no barbecue sauce? That’s the only reason I eat barbecue, is so I have an excuse to slather it with barbecue sauce. Really, no sauce. That’s not how it’s done here.

And then I see the sign that basically reads, “Ashley, you are out of your league.” Okay, it didn’t really say that, but it did say, “No forks. No kidding.” No forks? Are they really kidding? I take a quick scan of the dining room and everyone is eating with their hands. I’m pretty sure Marlin’s favorite part of the day was the look on my face when I realized I’d be eating smoked brisket with no utensils. You guys, I usually eat pizza with a fork so my hands don’t get greasy.

You’ll be happy to know that I dug in and decided when in Lockhart…eat with your hands…at least there’s no sauce.

Ashley Terry 2011

Now to show that this was no ordinary road trip, we had to stop at one more barbecue place just to say we did. So next, it was on to Black’s Barbecue, which I’m happy to report, does serve sauce (and forks)! Only we were too full to try the barbecue, so that’s for next time. Instead, my husband rewarded my efforts with peach cobbler and Blue Bell…totally worth it!

Ashley Terry 2011

As a side note, to those who are wondering: No, my husband was not on a Texas Longhorns recruiting trip in these photos. He dresses like this every day.

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Filed under Food Photography, Personal

Recipe: Potato Basil Frittata (Inspired by the Barefoot Contessa)

This recipe is from yesterday’s post. I got the idea for a potato basil frittata by looking up a brunch menu from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I say my frittata is inspired by because, as usual, I got the basic idea and then I made the dish myself and added my own special touches. That’s actually how I use most recipes, except for anything that involves baking, because that’s got to be exact.

So for this frittata I started with a 400 degree oven and the following ingredients:

Eggs

2 tomatoes

2-3 red potatoes

Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

Salt & Pepper

Milk (I had soy in the house, but you can use any kind you like, or even a cream for a more decadent meal)

Basil, chopped

 

I chopped the potatoes into bite-size chunks and fried them like I would hasbrowns, in a skillet with a very shallow layer of canola oil, then I set them aside to cool. I diced the tomatoes to sprinkle on top just before putting the frittata in the oven, and set those aside too. Before I diced them, I used a spoon to clean out the tomato and take all the extra juices and seeds out.

In the bowl with the potatoes, I pour my eggs (amount depends on how many people you’re feeding; I used the equivalent of four eggs to make one frittata that fed three people and left plenty of leftovers). I add the cheese and a splash of milk and a few dashes of salt and pepper. Then I add the chopped basil and stir it all together.

Pour the mixture into a nonstick skillet (or one that’s been greased) and sprinkle the tomatoes all over the top. Then I pop it in the oven just until the frittata is firm all the way through and the sides are just starting to brown up a little. If you want to test it, you can stick a toothpick or a knife in the middle like you would a cake.

For serving, I carefully slide it out onto a nice big plate with a couple of spatulas and then sprinkle a little extra basil or parsley on top to make it extra pretty.

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

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A barefoot brunch

Brunch is an important meal in Austin, Texas. I didn’t really grow up eating brunch (at least we weren’t fancy enough to call it that), but since moving here, I’ve garnered a real appreciation for it. It’s typical Austin, with its laid back style and decadent menus, and it’s the perfect way to catch up with family, friends, or even strangers around the table.

This morning we made brunch in the Terry house with a menu inspired by the Barefoot Contessa:

Spicy bloody Marys (sans the vodka, because I thought we had some in the freezer…turns out, I was wrong)

Potato basil frittata, garnished with tomato and herbs

Whole wheat spicy cheese biscuits

Black pepper turkey bacon

I’ll post the recipes soon, but for now, some eye candy:

One very important thing to note about brunch: You must protect your plate, because you never know who might be sneaking around waiting for the perfect moment when no one is watching…

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Food, Family & Margaritas

It’s about owning the time you spend with loved ones. I believe that’s what photography is all about. Taking the time and the effort to take a picture tells us that this moment, no matter how big or small, really matters. I love knowing that, by using my camera, I can turn the most routine activities into family keepsakes (or in this case, a blog post) so we can relive the moment over and over again. Photography matters, people.

Last night my father-in-law drove into town to fix Marlin’s sister’s truck. Don’t you just love dads? He drove 270+ miles to make sure his baby girl has a safe and reliable mode of transportation, and to make sure she saved a few pennies in the process. It makes me smile because my dad and my grandpa have done the exact same thing for me, many times.

In return, all he asked is that she make him a home-cooked meal or two, so last night she and Marlin made enchiladas with green tomatillo rice, and it was quite scrumptious. Since they had everything well under control, I took a night off from the kitchen and grabbed my camera instead. It was a night of good food, family and margaritas…that’s as good as it gets.

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

My handsome husband…look at those eyes!

Ashley Terry 2011

The ever present iPhone. These two would lose their minds if they lost their iPhones. Honey, thank you for still loving me even though I am about as tech savvy as a rock.

Ashley Terry 2011

What a face. He’s always in denial when I say he’s addicted to the iPhone.

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

What a show-off with the knife skills.

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

Ashley Terry 2011

I really loved this photo, but at first glance I wasn’t exactly sure what was so striking about it. And then I realized it’s my husband doing the dishes…what’s not to love? Marlin likes to say, “A man has never been shot doing the dishes.” I’m not sure if he feels like he needs to hint around, but I do know that he’s got to be right.

Ashley Terry 2011

We’ll end with this one, because it made me laugh. This is what you get for sneaking a taste before the sauce has been seasoned.

Ashley Terry 2011

Happy Saturday!

 

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Butter, Sugar & Vanilla…Oh My! / Food Photography

My favorite thing about photography is making the most of the simple moments; taking the everyday and making it something special.

Baking brownies is not something that seems overly exciting (unless you’re me), but at just the right angle the camera can turn the simple ingredients into something beautiful and intriguing. This is not the type of photography I really focus on, but it’s fun to experiment (especially when the brownies are done!).

All photos copyright Ashley Terry 2010

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