My Food Photography Gear.

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Some of you have asked me about food photography and what kind of gear I use to photograph the food on this blog so I’ve taken some time to write a little bit about it here. I love photographing food and sharing what I know. I’ve written about phone photography  here and there but it’s not usually what I do. I like that subject because phone cameras are very accessible and really cool. I’m gonna go over what I actually use in the kitchen to take pictures and other equally cool and related stuff.

A little background and context. Photography is one of my many hobbies. I’v been shooting amateur wildlife and landscape photography for some years and over those years I have acquired quite a bit of gear.  I won’t recommend specific gear or brands here. This is not and ad post, this post is just about the gear I happen to use and why I use it. With that being said… let’s continue. I switched to digital SLRs in 2005. Bought a canon 20D (which I still own and sometimes use) and took it to New Zealand for a 6 month trip. I also bought a couple of cheap lenses (the camera kit’s ones which were optional) and a some time later I got a little book.

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Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder.

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I have posted on this same subject in the past at least once. It was one of my first posts so be kind. At the time,  I was cooking frantically then. I was reading a ton of stuff and trying to learn as quickly as possibly how to cook. It’s been a little over 4 years now. Constantly blogging about food has made the experience more rewarding. Without it it would have been well… just ok, not as fun. Oh, plus I got into the whole food photography thing which has been extremely fun and met a ton of really cool people.  Anyways, how about that roasted pork shoulder? Tonight, I watched 2 movies while this thing cooked away in the oven. Yeah, it’s that hard. The movies were The Martian… watched it twice.

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Had I had the time to brine this thing I would have. But I didn’t. Well, more like I didn’t want to. I wanted it all over with by midnight. Only one way to get there this fast (I’m sure there are tons of ways but it wouldn’t sound as cool). Inject a lot of salt and garlic into the muscle with a needle. Nothing new here, but I’ve never done it. It was fun and kinda worked but will definitely need some fine tuning. Brining, marinading or dry curing is the way to go but it could take a few days with a large piece of meet like this one and let’s not get into equilibrium brining. Injecting the brine into the meat will cut down the time dramatically but it won’t be as good. Salt and time do wonderful things to meat. Reduce time, reduce awesomeness. I could do without all the awesomeness tonight seriously though. I’ve been waiting to use this bad boy (the needle that is) for a long time and tonight is the night.  Here’s what went down:

Spaghetti, Cherry Tomatoes, Olive Oil and Garlic. A touch of Balsamic.

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That simple.

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Mix some diced cherry tomatoes, olive oil, chopped parsley, minced garlic and balsamic vinegar in a pot. Pinch of salt. Cook the pasta al dente in salty water. Strain the pasta. Mix the pasta into the pot with the tomato vinaigrette. Serve. Crack some fresh black pepper. Done. Follow thatothercookingblog on Instagram 🙂 Just saying…

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Btw, thefeedfeed has featured some of my recipes on their site. Check em out! Thanks Julie @thefeedfeed! this is pretty awesome! Follow her on Instagram. If you’re into food photography, her feed needs to be followed. Beautiful photography. 

My Definition of a Perfect Egg?

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5 hours is a long time. But if you aren’t dying for an egg right away this might be of your interest. 5 hours at 60C. The yolk is very creamy. The white is very soft but set.  I’m sure a degree or two above 60C and less time would render amazing results as well…. but this right here so far is my personal favourite. End of post. Happy Thursday. My shortest post ever.

The Wings of Change! Miso Glaze. Game On!

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Never thought it would come to this but here we are, game day, chicken wings. I officially joined the other 3 trillion food blogs featuring wings today in America. Nothing wrong with that. I love those marvellous things so why not make my own wings my own way. I have to be honest. I don’t know anything about football. I plan to keep it that way too. I’m more of a soccer guy… like every 4 years for a couple of weeks and then I’m left with ZERO interest in watching sports again.  But we’re here to show off these little sticky guys not to talk about sports, so hang in there. Who won this Super Bowl? The correct answer. I don’t give a S###.

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This recipe like any other wings recipe is simplicity in itself. Wings are the fattiest part of the chicken. They only have a bit of meat and a delightful amount of awesome fatty chicken skin. They are packed with flavour and make the best finger food when prepared correctly which like I said, it’s really really simple. 

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin Medallion. 52C 1h

Really quick post. Not really a recipe. I mean, the recipe is in the title if anything. Not much more to it other than mentioning that the golden brown crust came from flash frying the whole medallions in Ghee @ 450F for about 15 secs. I just wanted to log this to keep record since is probably the best piece of steak I’ve cooked in a long time and I am very proud of it. Salt the steaks. Add to the sous vide pouches right away, and add vegetable oil . I don’t have a vacuum sealer here in Vancouver, so using the water displacement method is good but isn’t great. Adding fat to the bag gets around the issue of having some pockets of air around the meat and it probably helps the meat retain its shape better. A theory of mine…. 😛 Anyways, cook away. Remove from baggies and serve immediately. No need to rest the steaks. They are already at the serving temperature. Happy Sat. I had fun taking some pics. Hope you enjoy.

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Ox Tail Sous Vide. 100h 60C

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I’ve been eating ox tail for a while. Specially when I was a kid. This is the kind of meat that is used to flavour beef soups and makes some wonderful stews. My mom loved using it a lot but hated eating it. She literally set it aside. Not a true carnivore… obviously. Me and my cat didn’t mind its rubbery cartilaginous texture. In fact, I truly love this stuff. Many awesome dishes can thank the humble Ox’s tail for their success. Its flavour is unique and doesn’t need much help from any seasoning to bring out its boldness. This is no shy cut of meat and it’s relatively inexpensive.

 

Like any super tough cut, long cooking times are required to break down the collagen and make the meat tender to eat. After reading a post from my friend Stefan on Ox tail cooked sous vide I was encouraged. I’m not gonna lie, when I read about the cooking time I was … ok, I was sold! It will require more or less 100 hours of slow cooking so plan ahead… like a real far ahead, specially if you’re planning on feeding other human beings at a dinner party.

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If you are obsessed about meat and don’t fear the the oceans of time between the ordinary and the awesome then this article might be of your interest. Besides, at the next potluck when the subject of slow cooking gets brought up (which I’m sure it will since you’ll be there), guess who’s gonna blow them all away.  That’s right.

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But joking aside, cooking ox tail this way has definitely taken this cheap cut to a whole new dimension of wow. The meat almost melts in the mouth. Another thing to notice is the presence of some maillard reaction or at least what seems to be so. I hope that’s the case. I know this reaction can happen at very low temperatures over a long period of time… basically what happened here. Wish I knew but maybe is just oxidation. 

Pasta Carbonara

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Time for some pasta fun. Last night I get a whatsapp from my ex college roommate Patty. She claims to enjoy the read but has no time to make the recipes on this blog… well, sure… (Patty, wtf!?) some take days, some are experiments, some take 20 minutes and I can’t think of anything worth calling a recipe under 5 but send them my way if you know of them! (sure, we can sear a steak or cook an egg in about than time but I wouldn’t call those recipes…?) Anyways, fair enough, most require time and I like to complicate things too, just because it pisses people of and it’s more fun. Here you go Patty, here’s a quick one so there are no excuses! “AllalLaaan!” (that’s her little kid demanding some pasta carbonara I guess)

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Close your eyes italian purists out there. This could get ugly.  I have never said that I know what I’m doing in the kitchen, specially when cooking classic dishes. I also find it almost impossible to follow a recipe or even stick to the ingredient list. Maybe this way there’re better chances of running into some happy accident, who knows, but it’s definitely more fun for sure.

This is my take.

Lamb Chops and Broccoli Pesto Spaghettini.

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I’m not a fan of broccoli. I eat it. It’s green. Looks and tastes better smothered in ranch sauce for sure. I’m sure I’m not alone out there. I’m also pretty sensitive to bitter tastes. I drink coffee only because I have to, I can’t enjoy it. I hate dark chocolate, I seriously hate it.  You get the idea. So back to broccoli. When broccoli is cooked, things change for the better. The bitterness becomes more pleasant and when mixed with fat, then it goes from pleasant to delicious. It’s a stupid simple recipe but one that I adore. Probably why I adore milk chocolate too.

But wait, thought it was a pasta recipe, who invited lamb chops to this party? They don’t need no invite. I love them.  They looked awesome at the supermarket and I couldn’t resist. I got them 2 days ago. They have been curing in the fridge with some salt so I had to use them. I didn’t have time to figure out a way to incorporate all these ingredients in a clever way (a composed dish?… maybe another time) so I threw them together. I did drizzle almond oil all over the dish and that kinda helped me feel better about the final result. The thing is, taste-wise?  This dish was one to remember.

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Now, a question arises. To deep fry or not to deep fry these chops? the correct answer is yes, specially if you’re time pressed and not hoping to earn a michelin star anytime soon. But the truth is, if you want acceptable results in a matter of 2 minutes which includes a golden brown crust from heaven then this is probably the way to go. Sure, there are fancy ways to ensure a perfect outcome but I have zero access to that fanciness so I proceeded with my rudimentary approach and hoped for the best. And great it was. Could be better? Sure. In less than 2 minutes. Nope. 

The Simplest Roasted Chicken I Can Think of.

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On this blog I have a bunch of chicken recipes. Two reasons. It’s delicious but it’s also tricky, right?  Anyone can overcook a chicken. I do it all the time. By proper standards the chicken above is overcooked. The only way to not overcook a chicken is to break it down and cook the different muscle groups in different plastic bags and off they go in the sous vide bath at their respective temperatures and cooking times.

Not everybody has sous vide equipment but it’s slowly becoming mainstream. I remember when I started cooking, I had to buy my first immersion circulator second hand on Ebay and it still was a lot pricier than the super cool ones they sell in stores today.

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Not everybody has the patience for sous vide cooking. It takes a bit more planning. We live in a world that spins a little too fast constantly. Takes time learning about cooking sous vide and takes longer than traditional techniques to cook things sous vide. Probably not fish but definitely chicken and any other land animal I can think of. Ok Mr Octopus, we won’t leave you. You too take forever for a sea creature.