I have a lot of other things to discuss with you today so I thought I’d get business out of the way first. You remember my habanero dilemma, yes? Not much has changed in that department. Actually, if anything, I have more habaneros than ever. They just keep on coming and the more I use the more flowers those damn plants put out. Dear Nature, this is why people turn against you. I’ve put up a batch of peach habanero jam, habanero simple syrup, spicy pickled red onions, I’ve froze and roasted them, I’ve given a bunch away, and I made this sorbet. This sorbet, which is singlehandedly the weirdest thing I’ve ever created. At first, it’s all sweet and refreshing. And then, after you swallow it gets SPICY and there is that signature habanero low and slow burn. Delicious, yet completely disarming. If you like taste anomalies or have a lot of habaneros to use up, I suggest you try it.
The next order of business is a personal dilemma. As you may recall, just over three months ago we moved from Takoma Park to Baltimore. Our apartment in Takoma Park, while small, irregularly temperatured, and leaky, had one thing going for it- the kitchen. The kitchen was beautiful and drool worthy and had completely amazing light. I was able to take photos with ample natural light, which gave my subjects dimension and beauty. As long as I was cooking when the sun was up I needed nothing but an unblocked window to get beautiful photos. Oh, how I took that for granted. And our new apartment (despite its incredible yard) has a kitchen whose giant window looks into an alley. A dark alley with no direct sunlight.
At first I thought it would be alright. The lights in the kitchen are pretty white, so I figured it would be possible to take decent photos. And compared to the dozens (upon dozens) of other crappy apartment kitchens we saw, this one looked pretty great with its dishwasher and cabinet space. I have discovered, however, that I am flailing. The photos I’ve been taking the past few months, either here or over at iVillage, have been flat, slightly off colored, and unappealing. They lack that beautiful allure that natural light provides, the light that makes you want to snatch that pie right off of the windowsill. So I’m here today asking for your advice. Now, keep in mind, money is a little tight. I definitely don’t have the means to buy a lot of crazy new equipment. I recognize that something has got to give, so any suggestions you might have for my particular problems. Not necessarily a quick fix because I’m dedicated to changing the situation, but a better solution than me carrying pans outside into the back yard to photograph them as I cook. Because that’s my next step.
Now, in other (happier) news, I have a very exciting something to announce. Now, if you’re around on twitter or facespace you’ll have seen this or heard wind of it, but on Friday my mother and I were photographed for the May 2011 issue of Southern Living Magazine. I KNOW, RIGHT? It’s been pretty crazy exciting on this end. This all came about almost a year ago when the lovely Marian Cooper Cairns reached out to me to see if I was interested in being involved with Southern Living. It evolved from there through many stages of me telling myself not to be too optimistic and on Thursday Marian (the food stylist/writer), Alison (the stylist), and Jennifer (the photographer) arrived in Baltimore. We went out for an awesome dinner on Thursday night at The Brewer’s Art and on Friday the shoot went down. (Thanks to Megan for taking the photos).
We shot at Cylburn Arboretum, a gorgeous park just north of us. And despite on and off rain all day we were able to take a few hours worth of photos. The photo taking itself was pretty crazy, lots of posing and doing the same gestures again and again so that they could get exactly what they had in mind. It was really interesting to watch them work, and really enlightening to see Marian’s vision come to life. Mom and I both had fun and if Megan’s photos are any indication of what Jennifer’s will look like, it is going to be amazing. Now we just have to sit back, relax, and cross our fingers that it gets published!
Habanero Peach Sorbet
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Juice of 1 lemon
Slice your peaches into 1/2″ wide slices, skin on. Cut small slits into each side of your habaneros. Be very careful with your hands after handling the peppers. Bring sugar and water to boil. Add peaches, habanero, and lemon juice. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature.
When your mixture is cool, fish out your habaneros and process the rest of the mixture in an ice cream maker.