Gettin’ Figgy With It


Our fig tree is 10 years old now. It took 4 years before it started bearing fruit. Since then we have had a decent harvest every year…except this year.


We actually have lots of figs on the tree…unripe ones that is. For some reason this year the tree didn’t start setting fruit until late in the season and now there aren’t enough warm, sunny days left to ripen the fruit.


I wanted to make a cake I saw in a magazine so I decided to buy some Kadota figs. They are the yellowish green ones laid out on the table above.



And since my own figs won’t ripen I decided to cut a few branches and have a little photo play with them.


I actually feel a bit of a kinship with this fig tree. This year I too am feeling like I’m a bit late to the party. My photo skills have developed to what I would consider professional level, finally. But, what to do with these new skills beyond amusing myself? Maybe that’s okay. Maybe I’m just in a feeling old funk. Maybe it’s my current state of health. I’ve had a relapse of the ear ringing, dizziness, and nausea I thought I had left behind several weeks ago.


I need to take my cue from the fig tree that hasn’t given up yet. I found these three ripe figs on the tree yesterday and it looks like I might get 3 or 4 more before the first frost.


Not enough for the cake that I did wind up making with the Kadota figs, but will be a nice snack!


Here’s the recipe for the cake

Cornbread Coffee Cake with Fresh Figs & Walnut Streusel

adapted from the recipe printed in Saveur Magazine, Summer 2016 issue and by Vivian Howard

For walnut streusel:

  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces

For cornbread cake:

  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter + 2 teaspoons room-temperature butter
  • 3 cups figs, stems removed, divided
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  1. Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, toss together all the ingredients but the butter, taking care to distribute them all evenly. Add the butter and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a web crumb.
  2. Make the cake: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and butter a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with 2 teaspoons butter. Cut 1 cup figs into eighths. Cut the remaining 2 cups in half lengthwise and set aside.
  3. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together 8 Tablespoons butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure the first egg is fully incorporated before adding the second. From this point forward, make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically with a spatula. Add the cornmeal, roughly 1/2 cup at a time, until it’s just incorporated. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another smaller bowl, whisk the buttermilk and vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the sifted flour and buttermilk alternately in three batches, ending with the flour. Using your spatula, fold in the sour cream and the cup of figs cut into eighths.
  4. Spoon half the corn-cake mixture into the bottom of the skillet and spread it out with a spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top and finish with the remaining batter. Press the halved figs into the top, pink-flesh side up, taking care not to cluster them together at the center. Bake uncovered, in the middle of your oven, for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely and serve with whipped cream, if using.

This tasted super good and I must confess Brian & I over-indulged a bit on this! If you give it a try please let me know what you think.

Well that’s pretty much it for me. My last blog post was on 9/28/16 and I’ve been away from social media for almost two weeks as well so I kind of feel like this was a big accomplishment for me!

Hope you are all doing well. Thanks so much for stopping by.


Posted in Cooking, food photography, Gardening, Lifestyle | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Garden Glimpses and Ice Cream Too!


We are coming to the end of the season here in Seattle. The hops growing up the trellis is still pretty green, but I’m seeing bits of brown on the tips of the leaves. Won’t be long now before it starts dying back.


As I clean up the beds and pull vegetable plants that are spent, I take note of the things that are still going strong and what I may want to do with what I have left, like this lemon verbena, which smells heavenly. A Lemon Verbena Sorbet perhaps? Maybe a pesto. I will need to make a decision soon before the first frost.


We have been enjoying the last of the blooms.


Fortunately more of the tomatoes have ripened, but I fear there are others that won’t.


The chard is still going strong and actually has been enjoying the cooler temperatures. Our table will feature this leafy green often; sautéed, stuffed and baked in a sauce, or simply raw in a salad. It’s all good!


With the cooler temperatures we have also had more rain. At least I won’t have to water for the rest of the year! This gives me more time for other things, like reading. I just finished The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and am looking forward to the movie that will star Emily Blunt…supposed to be coming out in October sometime. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, I would highly recommend this book.

I’ve also had time to explore more recipes


Brian & I did a little shopping at Sur La Table about a week ago and found the perfect quart-sized Ice Cream Tubs. I love making ice cream and have been on the lookout for the right-sized containers to store it in.


Not only are the tubs the perfect container, it came with a recipe for Salted Caramel Ice Cream!


Brian & I are both just crazy about this ice cream. It is super rich and the caramel adds a chewy quality to it, and the bit of salt helps round out the flavor.


We ate the last of it last night. I will definitely be making more of this before the end of the year! Here’s the recipe:

Salted Caramel Ice Cream from Sur La Table

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups whipping cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Place 1 1/2 cups sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase head and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally swirling the pan, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in cream since mixture will bubble vigorously. Stir over low heat until smooth. Set aside.

Place egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium mixing bowl, whisking to combine. Add vanilla bean paste to the yolk mixture. Very slowly pour the warm caramel mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the caramel yolk mixture back into the medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 3 to 5 minutes. Strain caramel custard through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof medium mixing bowl. Place that bowl into a larger bowl containing ice water and stir custard to cool as quickly as possible.

Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the caramel custard and refrigerate until very cold, about 4 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator, stir in the 2 teaspoons salt and process in an ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to a freezer-proof container and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Now, try not to eat it all in one sitting!


In the meantime, I’m keeping my eye out for little miracles and feeling grateful that both Brian & I are feeling better these days.

Hope all is well with you. Thanks so much for stopping by


Posted in Cooking, food photography, food styling, Gardening, Inspirational, photography | Tagged | 9 Comments

Back to the Core through Traditions – Tomatoes


Hello everyone! It has been a super long time since I’ve posted anything to the blog…not since May in fact. It was a sad time. My friend had just experienced a couple of losses in her family and I felt her sadness keenly. But just when I was coming to the end of that tunnel, we had a scare. Brian had a stroke. Three days in the hospital, followed by prescriptions and physical therapy. It was the first of June. I shall tell the rest of my story while sprinkling in photos of our tomato canning experience over the Labor Day weekend.


We always take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to can tomatoes and we always get them from Dagdagan Farms in Yakima, WA. We bought a total of 150 pounds of roma tomatoes.

He is doing quite well now. He is actually in better shape than he was before the stroke. We both took the episode as a warning sign and as a result he is making an effort to walk twice a day and ride his bicycle daily. However, about three weeks after his incident, I wound up with shingles.


I taught Brian how to can during our first year of marriage in 1980 and he has been obsessed with it ever since. I’ve created a monster! We do whole canned tomatoes and roasted tomato sauce. There’s usually a few tomatoes left over to make some salsa.

The doctor figured it was brought on by the stress of dealing with Brian’s medical emergency. Perhaps…all I know is that it was a debilitating experience. After that, another issue cropped up. After a little weekend getaway trip to Northern California, I came back home with a serious ringing in my ears. A couple weeks later I began to develop dizzy spells…like the whole room spinning. It got so bad one day that I actually threw up! That’s when I decided it was time to see a doctor.


Tomatoes getting a bath

She couldn’t find anything wrong in my ear but prescribed a steroid in case there was some swelling in the inner ear and sent me home. The medications did not help and it would take a few more weeks before our insurance would finally approve my seeing a specialist.


Tomatoes briefly dunked in hot simmering water

My last dizzy spell was last Tuesday. Fingers crossed it doesn’t return. I had a hearing test on Friday, which confirmed my right ear has a slightly diminished capacity for hearing when compared to the left ear.


Tomatoes in the ice bath

I have the long-awaited appointment with the specialist today. We will go over the hearing test results, go over all my symptoms again, receive an exam and God knows what else to determine whether or not I have an inner ear infection.


Ah, now the skins peel right off. Easy peasy!

Given the length of time and that the dizziness seems to have subsided, I suspect that I probably did have an infection and that by now is healing up on its own. I was inclined to cancel the appointment but Brian said no!


And so what does all of this have to do with canning tomatoes?


Whole Roma tomatoes canned with a few basil leaves.

Well, nothing really…Except, after such a long time passed without my posting to my blog, I had come to the conclusion that perhaps I’m done with blogging. After all, I had been arguing with myself over this blog thing for some time. But then


Bath canning the quarts of tomatoes for 20 minutes.

Brian wanted to to the canning that we always do over the Labor Day weekend every year.


Lunch break!


Ta-da! We would up with 32 quarts of whole tomatoes.

I had never photographed our canning tradition and decided this was the year.


We also made our Roasted Tomato Sauce. Yielded 26 quarts of this.

After the weekend was over and I was looking over my images, I had an overwhelming desire to share them. And so, this tomato canning tradition has brought us both back to the core of who we are, what we do, and what we’re passionate about. Perhaps that is the real purpose behind traditions…bringing us back to our core, helping us to remember who we are, however humble. Perhaps that is worthy of a blog post after all.


Here’s our recipe for the Roasted Tomato Sauce, which makes about 5 quarts:

15 cloves of garlic

8 lbs of ripe tomatoes, any variety

10 medium onions, quartered

1 cup fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, Italian flat parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, and/or chives will all work)

¼ C olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Fresh ground black pepper

3-4 T sugar, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel and chop 5 cloves of garlic. Leave the remaining cloves whole. In a large roasting pan, gently toss together the tomatoes, whole and chopped garlic, onions, herbs, oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Roast for 25 min. Gently stir. Roast for another 25 minutes. Stir again. Roast another 45 min. or until tomatoes are softened and broken down in a sauce with a golden brown crust on top.
  3. Remove from oven and taste for seasoning. If slightly bitter, add sugar and stir. Puree in a blender. Pour sauce into clean, sterile jars or freezer bags and refrigerate, can, or freeze.

PS – Since I’ve decided to keep blogging I will be doing a bit of a makeover. I’ve started by putting up a new header. What do you think? Not sure when the ‘new’ site will be finished, but in the meantime, I shall endeavor to show up and be counted here a little more often!

Cheers everyone!

Posted in Cooking, food photography, food styling, Inspirational, Uncategorized | 51 Comments

Fragile Things

Fragile Things_web (1 of 1)

Journal entry: May 27,2016

I sit in the little cafe…my first time here. It is filled with people I don’t know. Many are laughing and smiling in a group. A few others are like me, wanting to be alone in a crowd right now.

I woke up at five thirty this morning to the sound of rushing water from the front pond, sounding louder than usual.

Reaching for the phone I see the text “my mom just died”. Eyes close…a few deep breaths…eyes open. The message is the same “my mom just died.”

I wanted to call but didn’t want to intrude. She is most certainly making arrangements to travel. So, I send a text “so so sorry. sending all my love. what can I do for you?” This feels empty. I need to call..need to hear her voice. I won’t keep her long.

We talk for awhile. I can hear the shock in her voice. Not because she hasn’t suffered a personal loss before because she has. However in those cases she had the chance to say goodbye. But not this time…not this time.

Out of respect for her privacy, I will not mention my friend’s name. I will share some of what she spoke of this morning. Though her mother was elderly and frail, she was not suffering a terminal illness so naturally her death comes as a shock. As a result of this sudden death, my friend was unable to be with her mom when she passed.

Several times during the course of our conversation this morning, she said how grateful she was for the fact that she had just spoken to her mother the day before and they had a chance to say “I love you” to one another.

It is times like these when we are keenly reminded that though we can certainly make plans for tomorrow, all we really have is today…right now…this moment. Now is always the best time to give those close to us a super big hug…to tell them we love them with all our hearts. We can do this now. I can do this now.

Posted in Inspirational | 15 Comments

Garlic Scape & Basil Pesto

Garlic Scape & Basil Pesto


I get excited when garlic scapes make their appearance at the farmers market. They have such an exotic look and are a milder, sweeter, version of garlic cloves.


Brian & I love all varieties of pesto and when I read Beth Kirby’s post about the dinner party she had to celebrate the birthday of her two adorable cats, in which a garlic scape pesto was featured in a pizza (for her human guests!) I was inspired to whip up one of my own. If you haven’t read her post, you should HERE. It is adorable and the photography is, of course, amazing!



So I gathered up some garlic scapes, basil, pistachios, some Romano cheese, a bit of salt, and of course olive oil and went to town




Of course a little taste testing is necessary.


Garlic Scape & Basil Pesto adapted from Beth Kirby’s recipe posted to her blog

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (Beth calls for a tomme style or alpine cheese)

1/3 cup pistachios

2 cups basil, tightly packed

1/2 cup garlic scapes, coarsely chopped

Lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients except olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse a few times to coarsely chop the ingredients. Add olive oil and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Pour into a bowl and stir in lemon juice. Cover until ready to serve. If  not using the same day, you may cover and refrigerate. You can also freeze into ice cube trays and use as an ingredient in soups or pasta.


The first thing we did with the pesto is make up a couple of quick flatbread pizzas for lunch, using pre-packaged flatbread.


Place garlic scapes on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

While the scapes are roasting, spread a generous amount of the pesto on the flatbreads. Sprinkle some feta cheese crumbles around. Take the scapes from the oven and arrange on the flatbread. Add some sliced cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with a bit more feta, then bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes.


Pull pizzas from the oven and sprinkle with a bit of parmesan cheese. If you like a bit of spice, also sprinkle some red pepper flakes.



I will tell you that we ate this up like we had been starving to death! So good.

If you have garlic scapes available and have been wondering what to do with them, well here ya go! I’m thinking that the roasted scapes would also be fabulous in a quiche or tart. I can tell you that not all the scapes I roasted would fit on the flatbreads so we simply ate them on their own. Wow! Would make a create addition to a charcuterie plate.

Many thanks to Brian for popping into the kitchen while I was working and taking some fun photos of the process. The best life journey partner a gal could have!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you are having a lovely week.


Posted in Cooking, food photography, food styling, Inspirational | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Rhubarb Love


Hello there! Hope you have all been enjoying whatever season you are in. Here in the Pacific Northwest we are enjoying a lovely Spring with warmer than usual temperatures. With that, the plants responded by exploding with growth and required me to abandon my blog for a bit to take care of things in the garden.


I was given a rhubarb plant from my sister-in-law many years ago and I’ve lost count as to how many times I have divided it to place more plants here and there in the garden, and to give some away too.


As a result I have 3 major clumps of rhubarb and they all exploded with incredible growth. So naturally I began experimenting with various rhubarb recipes.


Two items I’ve made so far are a lovely soup (yes soup w/ rhubarb!) and a sorbet.


Lemongrass Soup with Rhubarb and Radishes


This soup was posted on Edible Seattle Magazine’s website. It was super easy to make and oh so light and delicious. Really tasted like Spring. You can get the recipe HERE


Rhubarb Sorbet with Lemon Polenta Biscuits


I made this sorbet as a dessert for a luncheon that wound up being cancelled. All Brian had to say to that was “Oh goody, more for us”!


The Lemon Polenta biscuits that I made to go with the sorbet I found on the internet from a Chef (who’s name I’ve forgotten) from the UK. So beware, the recipe is in grams not ounces. Get your scales out! You can find the recipe HERE

Here’s my recipe for Rhubarb Sorbet

1 lb. fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup water

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in large saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Add rhubarb. Simmer until rhubarb is tender, about 10 min. Transfer mixture to processor and puree until smooth. Stir in the corn syrup. Refrigerate mixture until very cold. I like to let it sit overnight in the fridge.

Transfer rhubarb mixture to ice cream maker and process according to it’s instructions. Freeze.

That’s all I have for today. Just a brief post. I do have more to share with what we’ve been up to so will get on that next week.

In the meantime, thanks so much for stopping by. Have a lovely day my friends.


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Food Photography – Working with Studio Light


Hello there! Today I’m actually over at Kim’s site sharing some of what I know about studio light. There are lots of photos posted and a shorter version of this video that I thought I would share in it’s entirety here. Hope you get a chance to stop by Kim’s site. In the meantime, enjoy the video!


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Cookbook Review – The Broad Fork

Cookbook Review – The Broad Fork


As mentioned in a previous post, I would be selecting some recipes from this lovely book by Hugh Acheson, The Broad Fork, to cook from. Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to cook as many things in the book as I would have liked (travel, my first paid food photography gig, and power outages, and then finally the flu), I did cook a few things.


Roasted Poblano and Pecan Guacamole. This was super delicious. I never would have thought to add pecans or a roasted chili in this. Brilliant! This was shared with several friends over at the Novelty Hill Winery (we’re wine club members) and it was a big hit with everyone!


The texture was the thing that really sent a clear message that this wasn’t your everyday guacamole!


Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Bok Choy, Curried Tomatoes, and Avocado. Brian and I are already big fans of pork tenderloin.


The flavor is great and cooks up fast. The sides for the pork are really the stars here. The curried tomatoes w/ avocado were great flavor compliments to this entree.


Sauteed Carrots with Pine Nuts, Malt Vinegar, and Golden Syrup. Actually the recipe called for Sorghum syrup, which I did not have so substituted the Golden.


Another delicious item from the book. We paired this with a nice roasted chicken. I like that chopped carrot tops are used as a garnish instead of parsley. Making use of the entire vegetable.


Stewed Wild Mushrooms, Asparagus, Leek, Spring Onion, and Creme Fraiche over Grits. The recipe called for morels but they are not available yet in our neck of the woods so I used a combination of black trumpets, maitake, and hedgehog mushrooms. The recipe also called for Ramps and again, not available yet so substituted a leek and spring onion.


Super good comfort food here. The grits were made with white corn grits. Doing this again I think I would substitute yellow corn grits for more color.


Chicken Paillard with Wild Mushrooms, Wild Mushroom Compound Butter, Lemon, and Parsley. This recipe also called for morels but I went with the mushroom combo mentioned above.


Same thing with the compound butter. Really great and quick to pull together since I made the compound butter ahead of time. We’ve been using that butter on other things too!

And that’s all I had time for this month, but it was enough for me to say this is a great cookbook, especially if you like to grow some of your own vegetables. So many ideas in the book for what to do with your harvest.

I haven’t decided yet what I’ll cook through next month. I’ve been joyfully distracted with lovely Spring weather. I’ll come up with something. Stay tuned!

Thanks so much for stopping by.


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Food Photography – Working with Natural Light

Food Photography – Working with Natural Light



Hello everyone! Just a quick announcement to let you know I’m over at Kim Klassen’s beautiful site again this month to discuss food photography and natural light.


There are these images on the site, as well as







a video in which I talk a little bit about working with natural light, advantages and disadvantages, and a few tools you can use to control the light a bit. Hope to see you THERE!

ps – the link to the recipe for this chocolate bark is also on Kim’s site!



Posted in Cooking, Educational, food photography, food styling, Inspirational, photography | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Food Photography Whole & Parts Video

Food Photography Whole & Parts Video

Hello everybody! Just popping in to share this little video that made its debut on Kim Klassen‘s blog and now am sharing it hear just in case you missed it or perhaps are not following Kim’s site…which you should by the way!

Password: WholeParts 

Whole & Parts from Carol Hart on Vimeo.

I will be posting a new food photography post and video to Kim’s site this coming Thursday. Stay tuned!


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