an irregular coconut chocolate chip cookie life lesson


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“There is beauty and clarity that comes from SIMPLICITY that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.”

The mantra of this post.

My obsession for food is innate, but my passion for photographing its beauty is a developing talent. My journey of food photography and blogging began in January 2015, a new year.

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A picture can speak a thousand words, as some would say. I tend to disagree when it comes to food photography. What my pictures don’t tell you is the countless hours that it took to even share the photograph.

The days of searching cook books, magazines and trolling online to find inspiration for a new and exciting recipe that will translate beautifully in a photo. The time and money spent at grocery stores to gather ingredients. The cost of food props, plates, dinnerware, backgrounds, and camera equipment. The delightful hours spent in the kitchen measuring, cooking, multitasking, checking the time. Making sure every vegetable is al dente, in tact, bright, fresh looking. Each piece of fish has golden skin. Slicing each piece of citrus with the precision of a machine.

Then it’s time for plating. Choosing the perfect plate to highlight your food; round, square, small, medium, large, white, clear, black. Using tweezers to place each vegetable in the best nook and cranny. Swirling each piece of pasta with a fork. Strategically placing parsley leaves to balance out the dish’s colors. Carefully sprinkling chives to give it that scattered “I just threw these on” look. You’re so quiet and focused. Your heart is racing and…are you sweating? You have to get this right, your photo depends on it.

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Carefully. Slowly. Walk the plate to the other room, where your camera and tripod wait. Pull up a chair, side table, computer desk, ottoman, ironing board. Try them all to see which has the best height and support for your background. This takes 30 minutes. You pick the computer desk because it has a larger surface for a zoomed out directly above shot. Clear off the desk. Put the computer, lamp, pencil holder, printer and picture frames on the floor. Remember to put them back later. Drag the desk to the window. Natural light is the key. Choose a background. Black poster board, white distressed wood, white poster board, slated tile, marble tile…what else do you have in the house? Metallic pan, cooling rack, pizza stone. Pick a cloth napkin with a complimentary color. Or use your husband’s striped work shirt. Hide the cuffs and buttons in the photo. Don’t tell him you splashed soup on his shirt.

Set up the background on the desk. Lay out the plate (s). Tuck in the napkin (s). Choose silverware. Vintage? Distressed? Silver? Gold? Spoons? Forks? Do I need a knife? What other cooking utensils did I use? Don’t use the actual one. Find a vintage looking whisk in your stash, one you would never cook with. It’s just a prop. Adjust the camera on the tripod. The scene looks awkward. Move the plates around. Change the napkin. Nix the silverware. Repeat ten times. Oh, it needs garnishes. Go to kitchen. Grab a handful of extra arugula. Carefully place it around the scene. Snap a shot. Adjust the settings. Snap. Adjust. Snap. Repeat 10 times.

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Fingerling Potatoes. Roasted Chokes. Olive Oil. Parsley. Squeezed Lemon.

 

Time to have fun. Upload the photos. Edit them. Crop. Alter the contrast. Increase the saturation. Fix the exposure. Delete all changes and start over. Its finally perfect. Spend 2-3 hours writing a blog post. Edit it. Include photos. Set featured image, categories and tags. Preview it. Edit it again. Share it onto Instagram. Make sure you have a cute statement. Don’t forget the hottest new hashtags. Upload it to Facebook via Instagram. Share on Pinterest. Submit three photos to foodgawker. Receive an email the next day saying that the photo was accepted. Or, in my case recently, denied due to white balance issues. Feeling disappointed. Checking social media for likes. Some new followers. Yay. Wait, now they un-followed. Weird. It’s okay. The food was good. I’m happy with the photo.

Now I have to clean the kitchen, do the dishes and put everything back on the desk.

All for ONE photo.

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Grandma’s Italian Chicken Soup
Recipe featured on feedfeed family recipes(click)

Yes, a lot goes into one photo. But to me, it’s worth it. It’s an art. Hearing my husband say, “Wow this is delicious” makes the Italian in me very happy. Then showing him the final photo gives me a sense of pride and joy.

Remember the quote in the beginning of this post?

“There is beauty and clarity that comes from SIMPLICITY that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.”

Each picture shared with you today is one that was spontaneous. Unplanned. Stress free. One shot and done. Simple. Quick. Carefree.

I didn’t care if I had the perfect colors, utensils, lighting, vegetables. This week, I felt free to photograph. And guess what? Each photo is BEAUTIFUL. I found beauty in simplicity.

There is a life lesson here. Stop. Stop. Stop. Appreciate what is in front of you. Stop trying to make everything perfect. You’re not in control, so let go and enjoy each exact moment.

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photo and recipe featured on foodgawker.com

I made these cookies late one night after work this week. My intention was to eat them, not photograph them. But I snapped a shot anyways. They looked too cute to not. These are your basic *buttery* chocolate chip cookie with a hint of coconut.

ingredients

  • 3/4 c. butter softened
  • 1/4 c. shortening
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

bake ‘um

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Beat butter and shortening in large mixing bowl with electric mixer. Add sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Beat in eggs, vanilla and coconut until combined.
  3. Beat in the flour. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts by hand.
  4. Drop dough on ungreased cookie sheet with a spoon.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  6. Eat them.
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My golden birthday. 28 on the 28th.

This week was my golden birthday. I turned 28 on March 28th. I was super excited to receive gift certificates to antique stores and kitchen outlets. These are some cool vintage props that I picked out!

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Author: A Common Connoisseur

My name is Maria! I'm a vibrant Italian American with a zest for life. I am also a major glutton. Join me on my journey to diverse restaurants and in my kitchen, as I eat and cook my way through flavory fare. I am no expert, which is why I am merely a Common Connoisseur.

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