Last week my friend and former roommate, Lauren was in town with her hubby from Kansas City. As anyone who reads my blog knows, when Lauren is in town anything we do tends to revolve around food, wine and of course a little bit of retail therapy.
One of the things I told her I needed to do this past week was one of my assignments for my current Food Writing class which I am doing with Gotham School of Writing featuring the New York Times. I am now in Week 7 and have been having a great time learning the many disciplines of food writing. Week 6 called for one of my biggest fears – Photography. I am awful, just terrible at it. I bought a new camera and I can sometimes take a good food photo and then others are just frustratingly bad. I read the manual, I messed with the lens, I played with all the settings – I just don’t get it so I want to throw it at the wall. I wont, it cost a lot of money. I appear to lack the patience of a photographer! I texted my awesome photographer friend, Marcella who is currently doing a Masters in Photography in San Francisco for help. She texted back and said to me “can you set your aperture size? If so set it to the smallest number like 5, 6 or 4 then focus on the food.” I responded with “what is an aperture?” and then I ended our conversation on text with “wah wah, I don’t want to read my manual, come home!!” Is that selfish of me?
My assignment called for a 500 word article of any type of food writing – a review, a recipe etc, supported with 2-3 photographs. I thought that if I have a dish full of vibrant color and texture, I could take a good photo no matter how good or indeed bad I am.
One of the dishes I made and ultimately became my assignment was the Real Orange Cupcakes. I am still waiting for my feedback from my tutor, but the feedback from my dinner guests was a huge thumbs up to taste and presentation. The photos were probably just okay but not great.
Another decision was for a dish I made many years ago and I remember it being so colorful and incredibly tasty. It was for a Pasta with Prosciutto, Peppers & Herbs which I adapted a little from a recipe I found on Epicurious back in 2003. It hails back to an old Gourmet magazine from 1994.
- 4 Chicken breasts cut into cubes
- 2 small red onion, chopped fine
- 2 yellow bell pepper, chopped fine
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup of white wine
- A 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 2 cup finely chopped prosciutto
- 1 box of Rotini (spiral pasta)
- 1 cup of herbs - basil, mint, and parsley leaves, chopped fine
- ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
- 4 lemon wedges as an accompaniment
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese as an accompaniment
- In a large skillet cook cubed chicken in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until no longer pink.
- Add onion and yellow pepper in an extra 1 tablespoon of olive oil over moderately low heat, add wine and keep stirring until softened and onion has become translucent. Stir in red peppers and prosciutto. Leave on low heat for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
- In a large pan of salted boiling water cook pasta until al dente and drain well. In a bowl toss pasta with pepper mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, balsamic, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve pasta with lemon and Parmesan.
- This dish is always a crowd pleaser. Hearty, somewhat healthy, full of super colors and great texture and it is ridiculously tasty.