Stuff. Just stuff.

Bitsandbites

Well pardon me! Turns out some chubby short brown man hasn’t been posting as often as he should, and for this, he apologizes.

Ok, enough with the third person. I feel plain awful for letting this labor of love play second fiddle when, in all honestly, I love blogging. And I miss it when I don’t do it. But I have been around, as a few of you can attest to and I hope my email responses to your questions have made their way safely to you.

And since I haven’t posted random tidbits of information in quite some time I figured today is just dandy for it, donchathink?

• Congrats to my sister Angela on her new position. She is now dealing with copyrights out the wazzooo so don’t even think of using anyone’s images or materials without proper permission, you got that? Not that you would, my dear readers. Because you’re not like that. I know this. Just sayin’.

• Yes Meg, you do sometimes look like Morticia Addams in photos. But it’s hot. Ask the goth boys.

• Sometimes you do indeed get what you ask for. I’ve been shooting for various clients on top of my regular job almost every weekend now since November, and while file management is slowly driving me crazy I wouldn’t trade the opportunity for the world!  Thank you Alex, Denise, Cindie, and Leah at Border Grill & Ciudad.

•  Speaking of work, yes, the book I worked on last Spring is actually out now. It was my first and there are a few more in the works. But you can find it here. I provided art direction and co-photographed many of the images you see with my friend Jon.  And since Valentine’s Day is coming up it might be a nice gift. Thank you, Meredith (even if I did have to buy my own copies, grrrrr nudge nudge).

David, for the love of sweets, is it February 1st yet? Jeez you’re killing me.

• I am getting ready to start my garden. I haven’t figured out what I want to grow but my short list does include zucchini and beans and tons of happy pretty flowers. And in case you didn’t know I’ve got quite the green thumb. And I might even cook my own snails again.

• I am now shooting rights-managed stock photography for Jupiter Images and while I’m all giddy about it I am a teensy bit sad that my editor Ellen is leaving for a bigger position. Because she rocks and I hope she is reading this because I love her. But then again I still get to work with Kim…I’m raising my Big Red to you right now, lady!

• Is it me or is Spring kinda sorta trickling in? It’s so hard to tell in California sometimes and I get confused. At any rate I’m excited about the prospects of little baby lettuces, spring onions, radishes, lamb, citrus, tiny artichokes, and all those sweet small fruits and veggies that Mother Nature will be bringing us in the next few weeks. Even though I’m producing a photo shoot in 3 weeks where I have to fake an outdoor late-summer party. And you wonder why I’m confused?

• Things I’m currently digging: Sia’s new album, this sweet new friend, oranges from my own tree,  Tom Ford for Men, publicists who actually write personal emails, a bag full of Texas pecans from Melissa (I LOVE YOU!), Converse sneakers, slightly longer days (every minute counts!) and as always my sweet little family.

Amelia

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Sorry for the late notice, but if you’re in Los Angeles and find yourself with an open Saturday afternoon then you should check out my friend Amelia Saltsman at the Santa Monica Public Library, the Ocean Park branch. She’ll be discussing how to eat well throughout the year and also signing copies of her book The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook.  I adore this woman and her book and you should really check it out!

Amelia Saltsman: “A New Year’s Resolution for Eating Well the Whole Year!”

Talk, Tasting, and Book Signing

Saturday, January 26   3:00 p.m.

Santa Monica Library, Ocean Park Branch

2601 Main Street    310-392-3804


Amelia Saltsman, author of the bestselling The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook, will
guide and inspire you to eat well now and throughout the year with a
“show-and-tell” of fresh, seasonal produce and quick, healthy ways to
use the abundance of nutritious, delicious ingredients found at local
farmers’ markets. In one quick hour, you’ll come away with loads of new
and easy ideas!

 

Praised by The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, The Boston Globe, and The Snail, The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm has been included in numerous Top 10’s of 2007—Dutton’s Books; Amazon; Starchefs; Orange County Register—and was a featured selection in KCRW’s Cookbook Club.

Amelia
Saltsman is host and producer of “Fresh from the Farmers’ Market” on
CityTV 16 and a frequent guest on KCRW’s “Good Food.” See her pull-out
guide, “Shopping the Winter Season,” in the February issue of Bon Appetit.

Drinking By Color And The Eye Exam From Hell

Bloodorangemattbites

Like many of my seasonal affectations, I’m always delighted when citrus season rolls around for three main reasons:  One: because it means the plump, juicy oranges from my tree will soon be ready and two: meyer meyer meyer meyer meyer meyer lemons, and three: blood oranges. And now that all are here I really don’t know what to do with myself. I’m pretty sure the guys at my farmers’ market are glad I’ve stopped running up to them each week asking the same question over and over again.

Unlike autumnal produce (which always seems so exciting but after about 2 weeks I am ready to move on), I could never ever tire of blood oranges.  I wish I had them year round. And here’s where my craziness really kicks in: I enjoy them just as much for their color as their flavor. Correction: even more so, I think. There’s really nothing else like that color. Crimson with hints of sunshine, pink with a touch of vermillion. And the juice? Such an amazing coral and ruby hue, depending on how the light hits it. I’ve been known to juice several oranges and stare at the pitcher for hours in appreciation of that color I hardly see throughout the year. And trust me, I know my colors.

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That reminds me about the last time I went to have my eyes checked and the doctor made me identify those strange numbers on a swirly dotted chart. She kept asking me to find the purple number and I couldn’t. We went back and forth with different charts until she finally asked me how long I have been color blind. What the hell did that mean, color blind? She then said if I wasn’t able to find the subtle differences between colors I must be color blind and I didn’t know whether to laugh or pinch her right there on the spot. She swore I had a problems with identifying colors based on a 3 minute exam. Excuse me sister, have you any idea what I do for a living? Trust me, if I had trouble identifying color I’d know about it.  The reason I don’t see a purple "twenty-six" is because that’s not purple, it’s pink and it’s 1765 or so and not a 255 or 520 on the official Pantone chart thankyouverymuch, and I think YOU need to learn colors before you tell someone who’s very existence depends on color theory and harmony that they’re color blind while giving them the tiniest little freak-out of a panic attack.Pantoneswatch

I feel much better now. Oh yes, juice.

So while I’m busy experimenting a variety of blood orange recipes over the next week I thought I’d write about the drink that always welcomes their arrival in our house. I actually keep a bottle of Campari on hand for this very moment and relish the ritual of those first-season oranges. And that’s because not only do they taste heavenly but because I like the color: a blend of Pantone 187 with touches of 1797 and 703. And not Pantone 520.

Even if you are a doctor.

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Blood Orange & Campari Cocktail

I like simple drinks that bring out the best of each ingredient; this one does it perfectly. You can sweeten the drink with a touch of superfine sugar if the bitterness of Campari bothers you, but I happen to love love love it. It’s also a great base for granita. And you could even add a  splash of soda to this drink but I like the point when the ice melts just a bit and melds everything together.

3 ounces freshly-squeezed blood orange juice
1.5 ounces Campari
super fine sugar, to taste

Mix orange juice and Campari in shaker and mix well; add sugar for sweeter drink. Pour over cocktail ice and garnish with orange slice. Makes one cocktail but you might as well make a batch because it’s really really tasty.

My New Favorite Thing Of All Time (for today, at least)

Roastedfetablog

Oh, I’m the silliest. I wrote an entire post that discussed, in great length, my love of cheese. Cheese cheese cheese cheese cheese. I said something like how I couldn’t live without it, how perhaps in another life I was a a cheesemaker or how I’d love to return as one if I ever got the chance, cheesecetera, cheesecetera, cheesecetera. I also mentioned that I was finally getting around to making a recipe that appeared in the New York Times last fall about Greek food, particularly cheeses. So I built my little set in my garage, ran back inside to fire up the oven, patted down a gorgeous hunk of Greek feta and warmed up some honey made by Eleutheran bees that I smuggled brought back legally from the island last week.

So far so good. After a few minutes in the oven these cheese comes out and makes it way to my little studio.

Because I also wanted to taste this recipe, I moved fast. I snapped about 4 pictures of the beautiful, bubbly square of cheese and then, in the middle of my garage, decided to dive in and taste.

That’s when all sense, reason and previously written posts disappeared.

I should probably tell you that there’s not really many cheeses that don’t float my boat, and I’m happy to eat just about any of them. But when feta comes to mind it’s usually just a crumble in a salad, another ingredient in an omelette, a quick bite marinated in some herbed olive oil. But ladies and gentlemen, this recipe had me jumping up and down and cursing my own name for such culinary neglect while simultaneously telling myself oh my god I am so glad I tried this recipe now quick! make more! now!

So there you have it. No interesting story or history as much as a plea that you try this, if you haven’t already. Please, seriously, try this. Roasting feta turns it into a delightfully soft texture, the honey caramelizes thanks to the 2nd broil, and the pepper adds the last dimension to an otherwise heavenly experience. As suggested I included a few homemade pickled onions for contrast and texture, and now I plan on marching right back into the kitchen and repeating the experience because I have pita left. And I hate to waste food.

Roasted Feta With Thyme Honey

1 8-ounce slab Greek feta, blotted dry

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Greek thyme honey, or other honey

Freshly ground black pepper

Greek-style pita bread, toasted and cut into wedges

Heirloom tomatoes, roasted beets, nuts or pickled vegetables (optional).

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Select a small oven-to-table earthenware dish or a small ovenproof sauté pan lined with aluminum foil to help transfer the cheese to a plate after roasting. Place the feta in the dish and cover with the olive oil. Bake until the cheese is soft and springy to the touch but not melted, about 8 minutes.

2. Preheat the broiler. Heat the honey in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water until it is fluid enough to be spread with a pastry brush and then paint the surface of the feta with it. Broil until the top of the cheese browns and just starts to bubble. Season to taste with black pepper. Serve immediately with pita wedges and, if desired, sliced heirloom tomatoes, roasted beets, nuts or pickled vegetables. Serves 4 to 6. Adapted from Sara Dickerman.

10 Things

10thingsilearned

It’s so wonderful to be home. My dogs missed me, my man missed me, my bills missed me. Two out of three ain’t bad, no? While a complete story is coming up shortly, chock full of information and photos about the gorgeous island of Eleuthera, can I interest you in a few small morsels of information that I learned about myself? Sharing is caring, y’all.

1wifi

2learning3flying4dog_25bites_26beach_27gorgeous_28kalik9office

10rainbows

Thanks to my friend Alex Robertson-Textor for a few of the pictures where I am clearly making a fool of myself. Alex, you rock!

I’ve forgotten how to relax. This is a good place to practice.

Nassaucollage

Armed with a few hours of sleep and a bag filled with way too much camera gear I landed this morning in the Bahamas. I’ll be spending the next few days with my friend Alex as we run around putting words and images together for a project. Wish me luck, he’s a brilliant travel writer and makes me feel like my vocabulary only consists of "yay!" and "like" and "omg for reals!!"

OMG, like, it does. Ouch.

Because things have been so crazy lately (which explains the lack of posts) I’ve had a hard time unplugging my brain and just chilling. It always seems there’s something to be done and I’ve had to work hard at not working hard.  Running into locals and sharing freshly cracked coconuts or a beer or two has certainly helped. But today I discovered my new favorite snack that has made all time stand still.

Conch Fritters.

Again. Conch Fritters.

Fritters_2

I’m simply too exhausted to describe the pillowy, fried golden goodness of this shellfish fritter that’s served with a habanero sauce, or mayo with lime, or a combination of the two. I mean, my brain is gone and I have no idea what it was but I know that as soon as I finish this post I’m walking back along the beach and helping myself to another serving with an icy cold beer before my big day of shooting commences tomorrow.

Perhaps I’ll stick some extras in my camera bag.