Monthly Archives: February 2013

Agfa Filter?

Over on the FB page, I ask who else would like to see an “Agfa” preset filter on Photoshop and Lightroom?  Do you?

A Different View of a Different View

Yesterday, I posted a photo and asked you to comment on it.  We are discussing it at the Facebook page, and I wanted to share here slightly different version of the same photo:

A cropped version of the marquee of the Strand

A slightly different version

In a traditional view, there is no denying that this is the better photo. The lines are clean, it is self-contained, there are no distractions, and the composition is technically very correct.

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A Different View Of The Strand

Continuing the theme, I posted the shot below on my Facebook page, and got some feedback pretty quickly on it.  For now, I want to simply post this, and let you look at it and think about it a bit.

A view of the Strand marquee

A view of the Strand marquee

What do you think? Discussion tomorrow.

Changing Things Up

Thanks to some friends, I’ve been challenged creatively about photograpy and writing.  The photographic side is two-fold (at a minimum) and is long overdue.  To truly excel, to grow and advance, we need to be pushed beyond our comfort zone.  For me, one of the comfort zones has been certain set-ups on the camera, that have worked well for me.  Trick is, I need to step outside them to grow.  So, that’s what we are trying to make happen, and my friends are challenging me to push further and faster.  The results, though, are well worth any discomfort:

A different view of the Strand on the square in Marietta, GA

A different view of the Strand on the square in Marietta, GA

The software that was recommended is amazing, and will make life much easier.  It really is like being in a darkroom again, and while not yet intuitive, it is close and powerful.  Lots of neat tools that will let me rapidly edit and catalog photos.

LW

Scallops in Coffins

Originally published 8 June 2003

No, I haven’t gotten militant on the mollusk population, but am getting ready to modify a very nice Scottish recipe. It apparently came to Scotland in part from soldiers and mercenaries who had served in India and the Far East. It is traditionally served in baked potatoes (tatties), but I am modifying it to a low-carb diet.

 

If I can find some good scallops today, I will prepare them as follows:

In a large skillet, sauté 2-3 cups of scallops in butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and an optional touch of dill or lemon zest. Dice and set aside.

In the same large skillet, or medium sauce pan, melt .25 cups of butter (.5 stick), add in 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of Madras (Hot) curry powder. I recommend making your own curry powder to suit (most Indian groceries can and will help), but you can use the pre-made if you like. If very spicy is not to your taste, use a regular or mild curry powder. Cook for one minute.

Add in 2 Tablespoons of regular (all purpose, not self-rising) flour and cook an additional minute.

Gradually add 1 cup of light cream (you can cut heavy with milk if needed), stirring to prevent lumps and scorching. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Add in 2 Tablespoons minced green pepper and 2 cups (or a little more) of the diced cooked scallops.

Normally, you would then spoon this mixture into baked potatoes that you had scooped out, but that is a no-no for hypoglycemics, diabetics, or those on high-protein/low-carb diets. So, what I am thinking of doing is putting it into some red or yellow bell peppers. Whatever you choose to do, sprinkle the top with chopped fresh parsley and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until the tops are golden.

A variation is to chop up some green onion and place it along with the parsley, or you can put on some other garnishes. Be creative, and have fun with it. Enjoy.

 

Cranachan

Originally published 3 August 2003

This is a traditional Scottish dessert that is easy to make, light, and fun. You can do it as individual servings in glasses or bowls, or you can do it in a larger presentations for larger groups and pot lucks.

Items Needed:
Mixer
Chilled mixer bowl
Measuring Cup
Spoon

Ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T powdered sugar or 1T good honey
2T single malt whisky
.5 cup rolled oats
2 cups fresh berries

Optional:
Fresh mint leaves
Additional whipped cream

Directions:

Roast the oats in a skillet or in the oven. Skillet is easiest, using medium heat and stirring/flipping the oats until they are light golden brown. Othewise, use an oven at 375 degrees and a sheet pan, shaking/stirring the pan occasionally until a light golden brown colour is obtained. Let cool completely.

Whip the cream in chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Then gradually add in the sugar and whisky and whip until the mixture thickens. Fold in the toasted oats.

Presentation is made by layering the berries and cream mixture. I recommend starting and finishing with a layer of the cream mixture. Top with a single berry and a fresh mint leaf, a dollop of whipped cream, or whatever suits your fancy. In larger servings, such as for Clan gatherings, I have gone with a nice large bowl and piped in the Clan crest. It can be as simple or as complex as you like.

Chocolate Ecstasy Cake

Originally published 10 April 2003

Recipe by C. Blake Powers
based on version from the Death By Chocolate TV show

Items Needed:
Mixer
cake pans
wire racks
double boiler or boiler and stainless steel bowls
whisk
spatula
fork
spoons
knife

Cake Ingredients:
4T + 1t unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 1t all purpose flour
3 whole eggs
3 oz. unsweet. choc. in pieces
2T unsweet. cocoa
1 C gran. sugar
2 oz. semisweet choc. in pieces
1t baking powder
1t vanilla
1/2t salt
1/4 cup sour cream

Optional ingredients:
Chocolate Chips
nuts

Cake Directions
Preheat oven to 325o. Coat a 9-inch cake pan (round) with
unsalted butter. Measure dry ingredients (2nd column, above) together then
sift to ensure complete mixing and uniformity.

In a double boiler, melt butter over medium to medium-low heat. Add chocolate
and allow to melt. If you are in a rush, dump it all in at once and let it melt. I’ve
noticed no difference in texture, etc. for doing it this way. This is called a chocolate
liqueur.

As the chocolate is melting, break the 3 eggs into a
medium to large mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Then add 1 cup of
granulated sugar. Whisk until well blended. Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla
and whisk again. If you eyeball the vanilla and use more, it does not
matter.

Mix melted butter and chocolate together, remove top part of
double boiler being sure to wipe the bottom of the pot to prevent any
condensation/water from getting into the chocolate or the mix. Pour
chocolate liqueur into egg mixture and whisk to blend. When well mixed, add
dry ingredients – whisk slowly at first to keep from spreading dry
ingredients all over kitchen. When this is mixed, add in sour cream and
repeat whisking. Once all ingredients of basic recipe are blended, then add
optional to your taste. I find 1/3 bag of semi-sweet chips is a very good
add to the mix.

Pour final mix into greased pan. Place in oven and bake
for app. 40 minutes. If additional ingredients are used, you may need to
increase baking time by 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack and cut in half.

Filing
1 cup of toasted, crushed (food processor) hazelnuts. These are best if
toasted and peeled a day or two ahead of time and soaked in some brandy or
Frangelica hazelnut liqueur. Use at least 2T.
Icing (Chocolate Ganache)

Icing Ingredients:
1.5 cups heavy cream
3T unsalted butter
3T granulated sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate in .5 oz. pieces — I find 14 is better and will
make icing darker. Up to 18 ounces can be used if desired. I also recommend
doubling the recipe to ensure enough for decorating and proper glazing of
cake.

Icing Directions
Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Bring cream, sugar, and butter to a
boil in a saucepan. Keep a ladle in the pan to prevent boiling over and the
creation of messes. Pour boiling cream mix over chocolate pieces. Whisk
together until chocolate is melted and ensemble is completely mixed.

Reserve 1 cup of mix for decorating. I strongly suggest refrigerating it
for at least 1 hour. Mix 1/2 to 1 cup of mixture with hazelnuts. Again, I
strongly suggest refrigerating it for at least 1 hour until almost firm.
Reserve remainder for icing finished cake. This can be placed on top of
sauce pan containing water. Said pan can be placed on low to keep icing
fluid while other parts are chilling/firming.

Denouement
Place bottom layer of cake on wire rack located over catch-pan.
Spread chocolate-hazelnut mixture on bottom layer of cake. Then place top
layer over hazelnut layer. Pour liquid ganache over the cake using ladle to
direct and ensure that top and sides are completely covered. Refrigerate
until ganache has set. Icing in pan can be added to that reserved for
decoration. FYI, cake does not have to be decorated as glaze is what is
presented in fine restaurants. If you want to decorate it, do what makes
you happy.

Variations
My favorite is to bake two cakes and make the final cake either two- or
four-layer depending on humor of the moment. This will require all
ingredients, especially the ganache, to be doubled.

In place of hazelnuts, use raspberries. Run a bag of frozen raspberries through the food processor. Take 1 cup of the processed raspberries and soak them in 2T to 1/4 cup (or more) of Chambord raspberry liqueur for up to 24 hours. Then
mix them with 1 to 1.5 cups of the icing mixture and refrigerate until stiff. Then use in place of hazelnuts. For decorating, rinse and drain 1 pint of fresh raspberries and soak them in Chambord. Place these around the top of the cake. You can also place a few around the bottom for effect. If you want to be really decadent, place a chocolate chip in each of the firm, fresh raspberries.

The ganache can be much improved by adding additional chocolate, of the bittersweet and bitter chocolate varieties.

 

Carne Adobava

Originally published 30 January 2004

Hardware:
LARGE mixing bowl
Food processor or blender
Large spoon
Knife
Oven, preheat to 375 degrees

Ingredients:
1 lb dried hot NM red chili pods
1 lb dried mild NM red chili pods
20-40 peeled cloves of garlic (Go High)
2 large onions, cut into wedges
4T Mexican oregano
2t Kosher salt
Water

Working in batches, place dried pods on a half-sheet pan or cookie sheet and warm for a couple of minutes in the oven to make them pliable. Remove stems and place in food processor or blender along with a small amount of water, some garlic and onion, and a bit of the spices. Pulse until smooth, adding water as necessary to get a slurry the consistency of heavy cream. Combine all batches in a very large mixing bowl and divide into thirds for freezing. Sauce should keep for six or so months frozen. This should make 1-2 gallons of sauce.

Take one third of the sauce and place in a pot/crockpot. Add in 3-4 lbs. cubed pork, recommend loin, about .5 inch to 1 inch. Simmer for 3-8 hours.
There you go. :) Enjoy!

Food and Wine

If you really want to impress someone, cook and serve that special meal yourself.  It’s easy if you have the right tools and guides. Shop Amazon – Cookbooks, Food & Wine

Interview With A Battle Mug

The founder of Battle Mug

The founder of Battle Mug

Well, an interview with the founder of Battle Mug, along with an exceptional food find. Go check it out at Blackfive.