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Friday, June 15, 2012

Grilled Cheese Croutons | Best Food Photography in Columbus

This is a fun, quick spin on a typical lunch. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is boring, you say? Not anymore. You'd think it'd taste exactly the same, but it doesn't. I've never really liked dipping my sandwich into soup, but this I LOVED. It helps that the soup was homemade, too.

Over the last few years of honing my cooking skills, I've noticed how even the smallest of changes can make a big difference. This includes how things are cut. When you make a potato salad and dice the celery and onions really small, it tastes different than when they're rough chopped. We make fun of kids for having their sandwiches cut diagonally instead of straight in half, yet it does change the experience they have eating it. The same principle applies here.

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Serves 4 Adults

1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes (with green chiles)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
1 tblsp dried basil
dash of ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
12 slices of sharp cheddar
12 slices of white bread
spreadable butter for grilling

         Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
         Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.
         Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, vegetable broth, bay leaf, basil, cayenne and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add cream, if using. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.
        The simple explanation for the croutons is this:
Make a double-decker grilled cheese. Cut the crusts off then cut into 4x4's. Place in the soup and eat!
        The long explanation goes like this:
Before eating (or reheating) soup, begin making the grilled cheese croutons.
For each serving, you'll use 3 pieces of bread and 3 pieces of cheese. Butter one side of 3 pieces of bread. Place first slice butter-side down in a large skillet over medium heat on the stove, then lay two pieces of cheese over it then place the other piece of bread butter-side up. When first side is browned and the cheese is starting to melt, flip the sandwich over with a spatula. Then add another piece of cheese on the top and the last slice of bread butter-side up. Once the other side is browned, flip again. When the grilled cheese is done, cut off the crusts, then cut into 4 sections each way, so it creates little cubes. Place onto the hot soup and eat!

Some tasty variations:
Havarti and Thyme on Multigrain with Creamy Potato Soup
Goat Cheese on Sourdough with Creamy Fennel Soup

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Eye Candy for a Food Photographer | Fine Art in Columbus, Ohio

When I decided to redo my kitchen, I knew I wanted a collage wall. I've seen them all over Pinterest, and have been drooling over them for months. With the help of a cutting board, a flowery platter, old disks from a food chopper, recipes and cutouts from my mother and grandmother, and 7 Photo Kitchen prints, I had my collage wall. The varying shapes, sizes, textures and colors really pop together. All of the  photos you see here, and many many more, can be purchased from our online store.

Not sure what size to print photos for your wall? Simply take white copy paper and tape it to your wall and combine more pieces until the size looks right for from a distance. Then measure the combined pieces and choose a frame that size. As you can see, framed pieces don't always need a mat. Photos with a lot of detail can use the extra "breathing room" while photos with less detail can be framed right up to the edge. You can't really go wrong, it's all a matter of preference.

When creating a collage, measure the wall space you'd like the collage to remain inside, then lay all of the pieces on the floor within that same measured space.  This will help you get a sense of how they'll look best arranged together before putting them up on the wall. Once you choose the general composition, have one person hold the pieces up to the wall while the other person is judging distance and composition. Since I did mine by myself, I took a pencil and drew the general shapes and sizes onto the wall. This worked fine, too. You can remove pencil off of semi-gloss paint with a washrag, dishwashing soap and water. NOT AN ERASER, as I found out, um, after I tried it.

  1. Peach Cobbler $20
$12 5x7 Print
$8 Storebought frame

  1. Wheatberries $62
$20 8x12 Print
$42 Silver Curved Frame, Non-Glare Glass, White Mat

  1. Raspberries and Cream $56
$20 8x12 Print
$36 Silver Ornate Frame, Non-Glare Glass

  1. Sage $20
$12 5x7 Print
$8 Storebought Frame

  1. Apricots $45
$35 11x14 Print
$10 Storebought Frame

  1. Beeting Hearts $45
$35 11x14 Print
$10 Storebought Frame

  1. Buddha’s Hand $45
$35 11x14 Print
$10 Storebought Frame

In case you're wondering what my kitchen looked like before, here's a view into the past.
The green and teal served me well for 4 years, but it was time for a change.