Monday, June 24, 2013

Extra! Extra! (Virgin) Read All About It!!

Things have been kind of crazy around here - but in a good way.  Alison Attenborough, the AMAZING food stylist I worked with for Johnny Iuzzini's cookbook, called me and asked if I'd be interested in working on another cookbook.  

This was for Gabiele Corcos and Debi Mazar's (Yes, from Entourage) first cookbook.  I was enthralled!  They have a wonderful show on the Cooking Channel (Make sure you check it out!) featuring mouth-watering recipes created by Gabriele.  The show is fun and the recipes are simplistic and feature authentic Tuscan cuisine.

As an assistant food stylist, I was responsible for preparing the components for each recipe. I work with Alison, the photographer (Eric Wolfinger, who deserves a blog post of his own.  Super talented, super cool guy!) and Gabriele and Debi to ensure we're all on the same page and that everything goes smooth.  Along with Jo, Alison's other assistant, we banged out over 10 recipes a day.  

One of the dishes I styled.

Sometime shoots can be chaotic and stressful, but this was the total opposite.  We were like a well-oiled machine, everyone working in harmony.  Eric's assistants Ally and Nicola were awesome, too.  Aside from being a lot of fun to hang with, they were always in the kitchen helping us out.  

Gabriele made us coffee every morning.

As far as Gabriele and Debi, they're just amazing.  The treated us like family and I am honored to call them friends.  They are extremely passionate about food and have stories linked to all the recipes.  The food is RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!  (We got to eat everything for lunch and sometimes dinner.)  If you love Italian food - good Italian food - you NEED THIS BOOK!  It should hit shelves in the spring of 2014.  Don't worry, I'll remind you! 

Eric signing my copy of Tartine Bread

Ally determined to get the perfect shot of Lampo.

Nicola trapped behind the stove.

For more info, check out...

Friday, June 21, 2013

To Love You S'more

So, yesterday when I woke up and started making cupcakes for an event my mother was holding, I didn't really know what I was going to make.  Time was of the essence to it had to be something quick and I was determined to use only the ingredients I had in the house.  At least I was able to stick to one of those things...

I was low on butter so that was a problem right off the bat.  I decided to make chocolate cake because it's easy, tasty and uses very little butter.  I had a bit of time to plan my next move while the cupcakes baked and cooled.  What can I make with no butter?  It was a toss-up between ganache and marshmallow frosting.  Anyone who knows me knows I am addicted to marshmallows so it wasn't a difficult decision.  Then it hit me - S'MORES! 

My only concern was the graham cracker.  I didn't have any on hand which isn't a big deal; I'd rather make my own.  Thankfully, I had everything I need to make them!

I made little rounds and piped lines of milk chocolate on top.  Garnish, check.

As I was about to make the meringue for the marshmallow topping, I thought it might be fun to fill the cupcakes with chocolate ganache.  So much for quick and easy, but we all knew that elaborate is my middle name...

I didn't realize how many people are addicted to s'mores.  I'm getting a lot of inquiries about these bad boys. 

By the way, DELISH!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


While I was waiting for my Blue Bottle coffee a few weeks ago, I noticed a postcard advertising the upcoming release of Caitlin Freeman's latest cookbook.  I was curious as to why they would be pushing it, but nonetheless, the concept - Cakes, Cookies, Confections and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art - intrigued me enough to order it.

Chef Caitlin, who is well-known as one of the owners of Miette in San Fracisco, sold her shares of the company when she married her husband - creator of Blue Bottle Coffee.  It all makes sense now.  She is now the Pastry Chef for the company.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) approached her husband; they were interested in having a Blue Bottle Cafe onsite.  He jumped at the opportunity.  He asked Caitlin to make desserts for the cafe and she decided that the desserts served should be inspired by the art within the walls of the museum.  Brilliant!

I am in awe with this book.  Freeman shows pictures (with descriptions) of the artwork that inspired the dessert and it's both whimsical and genius.  Some are straight-forward such as Wayne Thiebaud's Display Cakes, while others are more suggestive - Andrew Kudless' P_Wall.  She also explains how, with her sous chef, the final products came about.

Display Cakes, Thiebaud

Freeman's Version

Kudless' P_Wall

Freeman's Version

I've already tried a couple of times from this book and am sure I will check out a few more, but I look forward to creating a series of blog posts inspired by art here in New York City!  Stay tuned - and BUY THIS BOOK!!