Dear Blog, I apologize for my absence

Dear Blog, I must sincerely apologize for my prolonged absence. Last year I promised you that I would be diligent about posting weekly and then I just disappeared. I have an excuse, I swear. Whether it’s a good one or not, I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

You see, just days before my last post, I found out I was pregnant. Yay! Cue the excitement. Cue the nerves. Cue the overwhelming nausea. I always thought that I would love being pregnant. I looked at the beautiful women with their rounding bellies and couldn’t wait to be one of them. Turns out, pregnancy actually kind of sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little guy growing inside me. He is the true dream. But that doesn’t negate the everyday awfulness of the past seven months, it just makes it worth it.  At least, that’s what every woman I’ve spoken with that has survived this process has told me. I have to believe it’s true.

I’m now 29 weeks and at the beginning of my third trimester. I never experienced the promised ‘energy boost’ of the second trimester, instead it’s been a constant flood of morning sickness (seriously the cruelest misnomer in the history of the language…unless ‘morning’ means all waking hours), aches and pains, and all around tiredness since the beginning. Still, the worst part for me is how pregnancy has changed my relationship with food. I used to love food (heck I even have a food blog!), but since I’ve gotten pregnant, I’ve learned to resent it. Food is now a necessary evil that I must manage properly or suffer the consequences. Eat too much, nausea. Eat too little, nausea. Eat the wrong thing, nausea. I never win.

This of course has put a bit of a damper on my food photography hobby. I was forced to stop posting when I went to edit some images I took pre-pregnancy and couldn’t even look at them without gagging. In fact, I have two shoots sitting in my Lightroom catalog just waiting to be shared.

Someday I’ll get back to them; for now I make no promises about the future of my posting. After all, it’s hard to make promises when you’re not entirely sure what the future has in store. I fully expect (and hope beyond hope) that I will love food again. But will I have time to cook, style and shoot any dishes? Perhaps not for a bit. I’ll continue to shoot portraits and explore the world with my camera (soon with an adorable model at my side!) and I’ll check in now and again, but probably no weekly posts. Someday I’ll be back. hopefully sooner rather than later.

For now, I’ll leave you with a few self portraits at 28 weeks. I took these in a moment of remembering that despite my whining this is still a time I want to document and cherish :)

Thanks for understanding, my dear Blog. I’ll see you when I see you. – Leah

pregnant-self-portrait

pregnant-self-portrait

pregnant-self-portrait

Mocha Panna Cotta

And finally, the closing post on our dinner party…Mocha Panna Cotta

Although it looks pretty good, I have to admit that we haven’t quite perfected the dish. We of course attempted it the nerdy way, with a Panna Cotta recipe from the Modernist Cuisine at Home book.  After three tries, it still hasn’t set properly…. but the flavors are all there!

mocha panna cotta

Happily, we got a chance to delve into some of our favorite pantry items to complete the dish. On top of the Panna Cotta we poured a touch of Woodinville Whiskey’s Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup. (As a Vermonter, whose family has been making maple syrup her whole life, I consider myself something of an expert on the subject and this absolutely makes the cut). For the final touch, we sprinkled on some Espresso Salt (A delectable item which we came across while killing some time in Portsmouth New Hampshire. Every flavor at The Salt Cellar was pretty amazing, but I think the Espresso was my favorite).

mocha panna cotta

Check out these previous posts to view the other courses from our dinner party:

Fried Goat Cheese

Chilled Tomato Soup

The other courses

Chef Steps 200-hour Beef

Although this is the last post for this specific dinner party, there are many creations to come. Please follow the blog to keep up with our culinary adventures!

 

 

A Chef Steps Inspired Dinner Party

For the last week I’ve been posting a great deal about a dinner party we had the other weekend. You may be wondering why I’ve been making such a deal over this particular gathering, after all, we cook for friends all the time. Well I’m happy to finally post the star dish of the night; Chef Steps 200-hour beef (or Pastrami Plate).

Chef Steps 200 hour beef

Although cooking this ourselves would have been pretty nifty, what makes this dish extra special is that the great crew at Chef Steps actually did all the work for us. We were lucky enough to take part in an experiment for Chef Steps. We stopped by their offices in Pike Place Market (such a cool space, full of awesome people!), picked up a box of vacuum sealed prepared foods and brought it home. The kit included instructions on how to finish off each piece and then plate it…leading to the most beautifully presented dish we have yet to create. A huge thank you to Chef Steps for helping us serve such a high-quality dish in our own home.

Chef Steps 200 hour beef

Check out these previous posts to view the other courses from our dinner party:

Fried Goat Cheese

Chilled Tomato Soup

The other courses

Next up, the final course; Mocha Panna Cotta!

 

 

 

The Other Courses

For today’s post, I present you two of our fabulous courses from last week’s dinner party: Fried Vegetables and Tuna Bruschetta.

For the fried vegetable dish we took oyster mushrooms, zucchini, and goat cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms, coated in panko and fried them. Served with a Peanut Soy Sauce.

The other courses

The Tuna Bruschetta was made by one of our guests. I don’t have the inside track on what was in it, as he arrived with is mostly prepared, but I can tell you that it was delicious!

The other courses

Check out these previous posts to view the other courses from our dinner party:

Fried Goat Cheese

Chilled Tomato Soup

Next up, the reason for this elaborate dinner party; Chef Steps Pastrami Plate. With a twist!

Chilled Tomato Soup

chilled tomato soup

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll know that last week the Husband and I hosted a dinner party. In my previous post, I showed a preview of the meal, with our Fried Goat Cheese bites. This week, I have another course to share;  Chef Step’s Chilled Tomato Soup. Happily this Chilled Tomato Soup is was quite easy to make and simply delicious.

Keep reading to see a few images of our process. For the original recipe, head on over to Chef Steps.

chilled tomato soup

We created this dish with farmer’s market tomatos, garlic, shallots and some homegrown basil (sadly, our own tomato plant has yet to produce a significant harvest). We then placed the mixture in a vacuum-sealed bag, sous vide for 10 minutes and then blended. Voila! Chilled tomato soup.

basil oil

Although the soup was quite good on it’s own, the addition of basil oil made it shine. For this dish we made the basil oil suggested in the Chef Steps Chilled Tomato soup recipe, which involved blanching the basil, mixing with oil and pureeing it. However, next time we’d prefer to infuse oil with basil flavor, rather than make this mix. How would we do this? Another Chef steps recipe of course!

chilled tomato soup

I’ll be posting the remaining four dishes from this meal shortly (I promise!). If you missed last week’s preview, check out my previous post on Fried Goat Cheese bites.  And be sure to follow the blog if you want to see more of our culinary adventures!

Thai for two

Instead of working in my own kitchen last week, I headed to a friend’s house to collaborate on a project. We picked up a few dishes from a local Thai restaurant and went to work styling a delicious looking spread. Here are a few images from our “Thai for two” shoot.

Thai Food

We had a coconut soup, curry and of course spring rolls! Thank you to Thian Thai for providing us with these great dishes.

spring rolls