Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Taylor Family | Lifestyle

Seriously now. Where did 2009 go? It's been quite a busy year and there's so much to blog about but I couldn't help skipping ahead to this Lifestyle Session. Allow me to introduce the Taylor Family (who by the way really know how to work the camera!). They live in Point Richmond near my neck of the woods. We caught a little break in the rainy weather and walked over to Marina Bay for some portraits. Afterwards we returned to their home for a little session with 5-month old Camryn. Isn't she adorable? Erica and Loren - thanks for allowing me to hang out with your family :)

Before I stick my own foot in my mouth - many thanks to my clients for an awesome 2009 and here's to a splendid 2010!

Now onto the highlights:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monica in Bloom | Lifestyle Session

I couldn't be more happy for my friends Monica and Carlos who are expecting a baby boy next April. We had a quick Lifestyle Session at their home in Concord. Doesn't she look beautiful?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chicago Nights

Chicago is so cool at night. This mild winter is letting me stay out later and later in the evenings...

skyline from Roosevelt St.

Shedd Aquarium

ugliest fish I've ever seen

it's not a tumor!

view from State St.

Lou Malnati's deep dish with coworkers served by our ever-entertaining waiter, Esteban

I got caught in very cold rainy weather in a legitimately desolate Chinatown wearing only a t-shirt and vest jacket

Orange line above Wabash

Monday, November 30, 2009

Avec Passion

I finally had a chance to try Avec Restaurant tonight in Chicago's West Loop. Avec prides itself on food that is healthy, local, and sustainable; not to mention - super creative, delicious, and memorable. I know I'll be back!

Chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce - easily my favorite dish of the night

Pan-roasted Faroe Island salmon with house-cured salmon, roasted cauliflower and salmon roe

Roasted sunchoke crostini with shaved Brussels sprouts, radishes and truffle vinaigrette

Wood-oven braised pork shoulder with Prince Edward Island mussels, braised tripe, tomato and savory streusel - I could never imagine a dish with pork and mussels together

Monday, November 23, 2009

Say What Momofuku?

My early birthday present courtesy of Heather and James wholly inspired me to set out and recreate ramen from scratch - specifically ramen broth; which is typically concentrated pork broth. David Chang, founder of Momofuku and co-author of the book by the same name described such a deep passion for ramen early on in his culinary career. I kinda regret not taking the opportunity to try any of his restaurants on my recent trek to NJ/NY but that just means I'll have to take another trip!

The first part of the book outlines the gory arduous details of making proper ramen broth and I tried to find all the key ingredients to get all the core flavors - roasted pork neck bones and chicken backs, dashi, mirin. I didn't look hard enough to find kombu - which is essentially kelp but I think I got most of the flavors in there. I've always used pork bones to make soup but it was amazing to see how much deeper the broth flavor got from roasting the bones first - good stuff. After about 3 hours simmering on the stove I let it sit overnight.

The next day I further reduced the broth and added bonito flakes to enhance the meaty flavor and give some richness.

I prepped some chasu, shitake mushrooms, scallions, and bean sprouts. Next time I'll try to make my own ramen noodles.

I feel pretty good about my first try:)

and blog posts with Nat are just always more fun! Nat decided to dress herself and celebrate Halloween nearly a month late.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Matano Family | Lifestyle

Doris and Darren reached out to me a few weeks ago to do a mini-Lifestyle session in their home while Darren's relatives were in town. Baby Audrey also had her 1st Birthday that same weekend. Happy Birthday Audrey!