Monday, May 28, 2007

Chocolate Pearls

I love sharing food with you. It can be a new recipe I just made or a brand new love of an old favorite. Sometimes, I find a food that is delicious, beautiful and is something I have never seen before. It is perhaps an idea I wish I would of thought of first!

I was wandering around one of my favorite home shops in NY a couple of weeks ago to find a chocolate shop that had beautiful chocolate. They not only had delicious tasting chocolates but the pieces were in beautiful and unique shapes. The chocolate was from Michel Cluizel. ABC is the only shop they have in the states. There other shop is in Paris. Check them out when you can in NY. Michel Cluizel features a range of high cocoa content milk chocolates to dark chocolates from 20 different countries. They offer perfectly crafted bonbons from pralines and ganaches to gianduja and fruit flavored chocolates. I couldn't wait to get the dark chocolate pearls back home to photograph them. They have a dusting of gold, bronze and copper coatings that give them the iridescent, pearl quality to them. I also picked up a few chocolate rocks with marblized coatings. I loved the idea of a chocolate rock! Those unfortunately didn't make it home to photograph. I ate them all.


Michel Cluizel at
ABC Carpet & Home(1st Floor)
888 & 881 Broadway New York, NY 10003

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fer Food Friday

I would stand in amazement if as I was entering my workplace parking lot I found this!


***Fer Food Fridays are a weekly post sharing an internet photo find or a special shot we recently created. We want you to share too! Please feel free to send in your funny food photos or internet finds!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Life Is Just a Bowl...

Well, if life is a bowl of cherries, I hope it always comes with frozen yogurt! I made homemade frozen yogurt over the weekend. The recipe I made was from David Lebovitz's new cookbook,"The Perfect Scoop". The recipe was noted as a rival to Pinkberry. I liked the recipe very much and will continue to make the yogurt at home but, I still love Pinkberry! The idea of making frozen yogurt at home is so fantastic. Why not? It is super easy to make and delicious! Thanks David!

Cherries were everywhere at the farmer's market. Cherries arriving is such a signal to us that summer is coming! I sliced them in quarter pieces and ate them with the yogurt. The tart taste of the yogurt was a perfect backdrop with the cherries. It was so refreshing.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Mr. Sweet Pea

I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago and it was overwhelming the attention English sweet peas are gaining! Restaurants made salad, soups and inventive side dishes all with peas. It made my head turn and as soon as I could I made my own version of a pea dish I had at a small place in Nolita. The place was called Westville. They made fantastic vegetables.

At the farmer's market over the weekend, we were busy taking pictures when one of the vendors notice the attention we were giving to the peas. The vendor said, "What are you shooting?" "The peas" I replied. "Oh, well, I am sure they love all of the attention!"said the vendor. It is in moments like these, that I stop and realize, the rest of the world doesn't see food like I do!

Sweet Peas with Onion and Corn
Serves 4

1/2 lb of Sweet Peas (out of thir pods)
1 ear of corn (cooked and sliced off the cob)
1/2 of a Green Pepper (chopped)
1/2 of a Purple Onion (minced)
4 Leaves Fresh Basil (minced)
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper (as desired)

Take a large saute pan and add the oil and garlic cloves. Saute until the garlic is soft. Add all of the ingredients except the corn. Saute until the peas are browned. Add the corn and saute for 1-2 minutes more to warm. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish. I used the left overs as lunch for 2 the next day. It was delicious as a cold side salad.

p.s. Westville 210 West 10th Street NYC

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hi Neighbor!

"Hey Brad! Do you think I could borrow a 1/4 Cup of sugar?"

"Sure" he replied. "What are you making?"

"I am making frozen yogurt".

I couldn't believe that I actually asked my neighbor to borrow some sugar. It really does happen!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Popcorn Tid-Bits

Recently, I read some interesting stories and tid-bits about popcorn:

During the late 1800's, popcorn was sold by street vendors outside movie theaters, in parks, at carnivals and fairs.

The vendors that sold the snack outside movie theatres were not welcome. The owners of the movie theatres thought that the popcorn vendors were a customer distraction. People would go and buy the popcorn to bring back with them into the theatre to watch a movie. Eventually-those theatre owners understood that their customers wanted popcorn. The owners asked vendors to come inside the theatre and sell it. The owners offered to split the profits with the vendors. One thing lead to another and the traditonal movie snack bar came to be.

Americans now consume over one billion pounds of popcorn every year... That's about 70 quarts a year for every American. Long Island produces more popcorn than any other region in the U.S.

The world's largest popcorn ball was unveiled in October 2006 in Lake Forest, Illinois. It weighed 3,415 pounds, measured 8 feet in diameter and had a circumference of 24.6 feet.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Food Fanatics Tips

Over the weekend I attended a 2-day workshop for food stylists. If you haven't read about the program check out their website.

I took the class to learn some "tricks of the trade" to help make my photographs look better. We learned alot in only two days. Alot of what I learned I probably will never put into practice on Fer Food but there are a few things I which did take note. it was an eye-openning experience to have a behind the scenes look into the everyday life of a food stylist. Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan had many stories to share!

Anyway, here are a few things I want to mention:

1. Evian water spray is perfect for spraying on salads to make it look fresh for a photo.
2. Most of the food that stylists use for photo shoots isn't completely cooked. We made chickens that looked completely cooked by placing them in the oven for 10 minutes and then adding diluted food coloring in a spray, adding salt & pepper or additional herbs. The longer the chicken laid out the better the color of them became. We made hamburgers in the same fashion.
3. Fake ice cream that is used for photo shoots feels like silly putty. I know it is good to use for camera shoots as far as time limits are concerned but I couldn't separate how much better I like shooting the real thing. To make a nice scoop of the fake ice cream: the scoop is heated and pressed hard into the mixture. The perfect scoops of ice cream like that of a haagen dazs ad are made in pieces to achieve the look. First the stylist creates the "apron" or the pretty outmost circle. Then the actual scoop is made and placed inside the apron. They may do 100's to find and create the perfect scoop.
4. I think the most difficult assignment was the piece of pie. Just the simple task of cutting into the pie and pulling out a good looking piece with the tip and crust in good form is so hard. Food stylists use vasoline to patch the flakes of the crust. We were working on a cherry piece of pie. We were given a separate dish of cherry pie filling to adjust the filling or fruit as needed to achieve perfection. The pies we were working with were store bought so it was mentioned that it is important to buy different brands of the cherry pie filling as you don't know which one will match the existing pie filling. So-after a few manuvers with a tweezer I made mine look the best I could.
5. Fake ice cubes: What is the difference between a $8.00 ice cube and a $200.00 ice cube? The more expensive cube is clearer and heavier. I was amazed how good the fake cubes look.

Those were a few highlights. I also got to meet Matt from Matt Bites and L from Cook and Eat. How fun to meet fellow food bloggers who I read on a weekly basis!


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Food Fanatics

I hope you emjoyed my week of NY! I love that city. If you have any recommendations for me for my next trip please let me know.

This weekend I am attending a Master Food Styling class that Food Fanatics offers. It is a two day workshop giving instruction on difficult styling techniques.

I was intrigued about learning the actual "tools of the trade" and science behind commercial food styling. Here on Fer Food, we make all of the food we represent and shoot. We always plan on eating it after we are finished with the story. Nothing is artifical and everything is real. We intend to keep it that way! But-in the commercial world of food, there are many behind-the-scene tricks that food stylists use to make food hold up, either under the use of the camera, or to get that perfect dalup of whipped cream. I am anxious to see what I will learn from attending this two-day workshop. Stay tuned next week.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Rice To Riches

One thing, I love most about NYC is how specialized the shops are, so why not one for rice pudding?! Yep. Every kind of rice pudding you can think of, they have. The shop is called Rice To Riches.

You can sample as many flavors as you want. They have over 20 varieties. I tried every one...give or take two or three!

The pudding is delicious. I liked the "Chocolate Chip Flirt", "Man-made Mascarpone with Cherries" or the "Honey Graham for Mr. Smith". These are all part of the "all-year around" flavors. They also offer seasonal flavors and if that isn't enough, there are always toppings...

The shop is friendly, fun and has a funny sense of humor. They have funny sayings posted like: "Limit 500 rice puddings per customer" or "All calories consumed here are yours to keep". There are 5 different size servings: Diva (smallest), Solo, Epic, Sumo or Moby (the largest).


37 Spring Street
(between Mott and Mulberry Street)
NY, NY 10012

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yo... What?

Yolato! The new Pinkberry alternative is in NYC. It is a yogurt gelato and it is delicious.

I am a huge Pinkberry fan
but I have to say, this is more creamy and decadent. I loved it. It is like comparing regular ice cream with gelato. There is no comparison. Gelato always wins. If I had a Yolato in LA I would probably do the switch but since I don't, I am sticking with the Pink!

Recently, I read a post on 101cookbooks. Heidi gives an adaptation of David Lebovitz's frozen yogurt recipe in his new cookbook, "The Perfect Scoop". In this new book, David has made a frozen yogurt recipe similar, if not the same, as Pinkberry. I want to try it. Going to Yolato, also made me think I would like to try to make this new yogurt gelato. No toppings required. Plain is perfect.If you are in NYC give it a try and tell me what you think!


p.s. Caitlin - Thanks for the whirlwind tour and your nice hand modeling!

120 MacDougal Street (W 3rd St.)
New York, NY 10012
T: (212) 228-6303
F: (212) 228-6175

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Magnolia Cupcakes

Waiting time per cupcake = 7.5 minutes (based on 4 cakes)

In LA, Sprinkles is the rage along with Hello Cupcake, Blue Bird, Yummy Cupcakes and last but not least, Joan's on Third. I was intrigued to finally go to the place that started the entire cupcake rage-Magnolia.

The chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were my favorite. The frosting is smooth and purely-all sugar. It was thew best part as the actual cake is pretty dry.

It is always so fun to go to a small shop that has a "cult-like following" to see what it is about it people love. I watched from the window a whipped cream and chocolate wafer cake being formed. The wafers were placed perfectly on a bed of whipped cream until those wafers were covered with whipped cream and the process started all over again.

There is no sign or person that helps you to identify which flavor is what. There is only a sign that reads "12 cupcakes per person". The cupcakes are self-serve. When it is your turn, you are allowed inside the shop and at the front window one or two trays of cupcakes are there. You fill your own box and pick and choose which ones you think look the best. Leave it all up to luck at what cupcake flavor you will receive. The truth is there is such an intensity about the place after standing in line that you feel lucky just standing there grabbing whatever cakes you can grab! (Oh! And forget trying to take a picture of them...I would of been killed!)


Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleecker St
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 462-2572

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps...

I was in NYC for a long weekend. I am always amazed by the energy of this place.

There is truly not enough days to see and experience this city let alone, eat it! I kept making "2nd Dinner" reservations as I still wanted to get in all of the dining experiences I could during my trip. So-I had a 6pm reservation and then I had a 10pm reservation. It worked out well. I wasn't too full and still enjoyed the later of the two dinners. I guess it is all the walking I did.

This week I will share some of my NYC eating experiences. Till then-that 3 hour time change has got me beat.


p.s. Here is a Mud Coffee truck...even the dogs need coffee in N.Y.
(Sheridan Square 7th Ave & West 4th Street)

Friday, May 04, 2007

DMBLGIT April 2007 Winners!

The winners for the April installment of the DMBLGIT (a monthly photography contest for food bloggers)was announced today.

Fer Food won in two categories! We won 1st place as OVERALL WINNER and 1st place for aesthetics!! I am so happy!! Check out our post that won here. Check out all of the winners here.

Thank you so much to all of the judges and to Lara of Cook and Eat for hosting. I love how this event always brings all of us food bloggers together.

This is the way to start a weekend!


Here is our photo:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mr. Snickerdoodle

Isn't it funny when you get an idea, and act on it, sometimes you find the world got the same idea memo too?

Lately-I had the notion to make snickerdoodles. So I did. Now I find that I see them everywhere. The other day, I overheard a conversation discussing how they had just had the best snickerdoodle cookie!

What's up Mr. Snickerdoodle? Why are you so popular when I thought you were only for me??(smile)


Snickerdoodle Snaps

2-1/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1-1/2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1-1/2 Cups Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon(rolling cookies)
3 Tablespoons Sugar (rolling cookies)

Heat oven to 400 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer, cream butter and shortening and sugar together. Make sure you scrape the sides well to properly fold ingredients. Add eggs and mix until combined.

Add the set aside dry ingredients. Beat at low speed for about 30 seconds.

Roll dough into one inch balls and roll into a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Space the balls about two inches apart on cookie sheet. Freeze the cookies on the cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.

Bake for cookies for 9 to 11 minutes until golden brown.

*This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated. I call my version "snaps" because they are thinner and more crispy than other snickerdoodle versions I have had.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cucumber Sesame Salad

I love crisp, clean food. I have found that no food is more clean than eating a cucumber. I love them. There is a salad I have been obsessed with for years. It is a cucumber salad with red rice vinegar. Delicious. It makes a nice light meal on its own or is a nice side with fish. This salad is traditionally served with peanuts but I have found I like it with sesame seeds too. The sesame seed still gives it a nice nutty flavor.

Cucumbers are scientifically classified as a fruit and are part of the gourd family. I like the Japanesse variety and pickling cucumbers best. I find they have the most flavor. Japanesse are more mild and slender. They have a deeper green and less bumpy skin than the traditional waxed cucumber variety. I love the smaller pickling cucumber variety with their nubby skins. They are never waxed and have a great flavor. Ever wonder why the wax? Traditional cucumbers are waxed to extend their shelf life.

Cucumber Sesame Salad

1/2 of a head Purple Cabbage(Shredded)
2 Carrots (Shredded)
1/4 of a Purple Onion
1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro (Minced)
1 Tablespoon Fesh Mint (Minced)
1 Cucumber, Thinly sliced (or 3-4 Pickling Cucumbers, thinly sliced)
1/2 Cup Bean Sprouts
2 Grean Onions (Chopped)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Cup Red Rice Vinegar
1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger (Grated)
Sliced Lime

Shredded the half of the purple cabbage head in a food processor. Then, add the carrots to be shredded along with the 1/4 slice of purple onion. Place this mixture into a new large bowl and place aside. Change food processor attachment to slice the cucumbers. Add the sliced cucumbers into the bowl of cabbage mixture.

Chop the mint, cilantro and green onion. Place into the large bowl with the other ingredients. Working now with the bowl of ingredients, add the bean sprouts, sugar and sesame seeds over mixture. Pour the red rice vinegar, ginger and add sesame seeds. Add ground pepper to taste. Gently mix. Refridgerate for a couple of hours before eating. This will allow the vinegar to set into the ingredients. Before serving squeeze lime juice over individual servings. Use squeezed lime slice as garnish.

Serves 4.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Margarine Memories

I was walking through the butter section at the grocery store over the weekend and grabbed a box of unsalted Tillamook butter. My favorite. I stopped and looked as if it was the first time I had ever really looked at all of the butter products available. Some old and some new, it dawned on me how many commercials for margarine I saw growing up. I guess I don't watch that much TV anymore but I don't think there are that many margarine commercials anymore?

As a child of the 70s, I remember all of the marketing behind the margarine commercials. Then-as we went into the 80s and 90s margarine turned into commercials of "butter substitutes". These were suppose to taste even more like real butter. As for me butter has no substitute. Bring on the real stuff!

It is so interesting to stop once and while and realize how food marketing affects what we chose to eat. My memories of all of those old commercials helped me to see its impact on our food culture. Some of these brands still exist.

Here are some of the brands:

Parkay (We all have to remember this one!)
I Can't Believe its Not Butter! (Fabio)
Blue Bonnet
Land O' Lakes (Who could forget that folding trick people use to do to that packaging!)
Country Crock
Nucoa (Here is a 1937 vintage poster urging readers to contact their Congressmen in opposition to the proposed margarine tax. It was proposed to protect the butter market. "Don't tax the spread on people's bread!")

Do you have any more of these margarine memories? Please tell.