Los Cabos & Todos Santos

A few weeks ago my sister and I went to Cabo for 5 days. We were lucky enough to snag an amazing deal (which I don’t think we could get again) at Welk’s Cabo Sirena Del Mar. I am pretty sure is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We did actually spend one full day at the resort, by the pool and at the private beach, to attempt snorkeling. With cliffs on both sides of the resorts, and 2 infinity pools, and an amazing staff it actually was pretty hard to go! I know understand the draw of staying at your resort all day.

We did go to Cabo San Lucas and take a water taxi out to the Arches and have them drop us off at Lovers Beach for about an hour. I would highly suggest it. Just be careful getting in and out of the water taxi! We went to dinner at the Office, which was a pretty hip restaurant on the beach, but be prepared, you are literally eating on the beach, so wearing nice sandals might not be the best thing.

We also took a day trip to Todos Santos which is about an hour from Cabo San Lucas, but such a cute sweet hippie town. I really loved going there, and if I went again might want to just stay in that town. There are a lot of beaches you can drive to fairly close, but swimming is hard in many of the beaches in Cabo because of the dangerous current. We ate at the darling Cafe Todos Santos, which was wonderful and took a stroll across the street to see the little Boutique hotel, Todos Santos Inn. We also got to see Hotel California, whether it’s the hotel from the song seems to be widely debated.

The other very notable place that we went was to Flora Farms.  Just outside of San Juan, the Farm has a wonderful restaurant (we had the pizza and ice cream both were sensational), a spa, cooking classes, and boutique shops. We took a tour of the farm and the newly constructed cottages for sale before we ate. I would recommend both tours! (Unfortunately we weren’t allow to take any pictures of the cottages) Visiting Flora Farms was a really lovely way to end our trip.

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Dark Chocolate Rosemary Bark

I made some dark chocolate rosemary bark for a fun little holiday shoot and it turned out delicious! I did actually have to try a few times because I wasn’t exactly sure how long to boil the sugar before it was at the hard cracking stage. Turns out it is a lot longer than I thought, but there are ways to test it by dropping strands of the sugar into cold water with a spoon. It really did turn out super tasty and would highly recommend it to make for friends for the holidays. I have already been getting into the holiday spirit, as you can see by this shoot. I am going to see a Christmas play next weekend and I tried to look at lights last night with friends, and it was even too early already! Haha. I have already started my shopping. I don’t know what has gotten into me this year!

In other news, I have been really busy which is good. I just got off a 3 week project for a catering company and am planning a trip to Mexico in January. Eek! That is definitely something to look forward to, since it is already so dark here in Seattle. I also am going to start shooting for some hotels which will be nice to try something a little different. I really enjoy shooting interiors, so it will be nice to get a little bit more work doing that. Hope you all enjoy your holidays!

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Apple Cake for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful day and long weekend. I already worked, but that’s the life of a freelancer! And I will have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy spending the day with family. I am really looking forward to a long weekend and spending a lot of time with good friends and taking care of my sister’s dog. So on that note and since it is Thanksgiving, I am thankful right now especially for work, friends and family! I have been very busy lately which has been a great turn from a slow summer. I think in the future I will plan accordingly for slow summer’s and busy falls, since that has been the trend the past few years. And I mean, could you want a better time to be slow in Seattle?

A few weeks ago I tried out this apple cake recipe and it turned out so good! It was really easy, which is my number one requirement for a recipe. Don’t worry that it will seem like there is barely any batter with all the cut apples mixed in. My brother in law is my sweets taster, and he loved it.  Since I don’t like cooking food with alcohol, I just added a teaspoon of vanilla for every tablespoon of bourbon called for. I also made this mascarpone whipped cream, which I learned about from visiting my sister in law. It is so good! I would say this recipe combo was a hit. Also I actually baked it with a few different kinds of apples and it turned out great. I used Granny Smith and Honeycrisps. It’s a super easy Thanksgiving cake or for any occasion for that matter.  Enjoy!

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Hybrid Architecture’s Hill House

My extremely talented brother in law, Rob Humble, is the founder of Hybrid and designed, built, and developed this beautiful house on Beacon Hill, aptly named Hill House. I have developed an interest in shooting interiors over the last year, and was lucky enough to have been able to shoot some photos of this house before it’s opening night party! Check out the floor to ceiling windows! It was so breathtaking. I have been working with one interior designer consistently, and on several other interior projects more recently and it has been really fun for me to learn. I hope to continue taking interior shots for a while to come.

 

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Pumpkin Flan & Halloween

Happy Halloween weekend! I really love October and I think it is because there are so many fun fall activities to do that help distract me from the beginning of cold and dark weather. I couldn’t even go jogging yesterday at 5 and catch the sun. 🙁 So far I have gone to a pumpkin patch with friends (post to come), I have watched a ton of spooky Halloween episodes on tv, and had girlfriends over for scary movies, where we ended up watching the first few episodes of Stranger Things. I also went to a few of the Halloween activities at the Sorrento and am going Trick or Treating with my friend and her son for Halloween. Central Cinema and Spooked Seattle both had a great selection of scary movies playing at them. I have always thought everything BUT dressing up (except this year) and going to Haunted Houses is fun. This year I am going to a Twin Peaks themed Halloween party and I am going as Laura Palmer. I also made this delicious pumpkin flan from Better Homes and Gardens, but unfortunately I can’t for the life of me find the recipe online and only have it in print. I offer this alternative recipe from Martha Stewart, which I am sure is wonderful as well!

In other news, I just finished 3 weeks of food styling! Which was pretty crazy. I was very happy to have the opportunity and really love the final results.  I will definitely post some images as soon as I can.  And now that I am done I have planned a trip to Phoenix to be in some warmth and sunshine and spend some time with my family. 🙂

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Feast Portland 2017

Every year in Portland, for one weekend in September, all of the best food vendors in Oregon come together in one place. The festival is called Feast and it’s put on by Bon Appetit magazine. (Can we please have one in Seattle????) This is my second time going to the festival and it’s so much fun. It takes over one entire city block and numerous places all over the city.

I went to the Grand Tasting which is usually their main event on Saturday. It includes over 80 different food & wine vendors from all over Oregon. My favorite, hands down, was the Salt & Straw  Gramercy Tavern’s  cheddar apple pie ice cream.  It was definitely to die for. Who would think that cheddar fudge and deep fried apple pie, topped with caramel magic shell would go so well together? The other surprising thing I ate was the antelope tartare from Nicky Farms. I tried this after I heard someone say, “This is the best thing I have ever eaten.” And it was pretty close. The drinking chocolate from Ranger Chocolates  was also insanely good. I loved the shaved ice by Wailua Shave Ice and was really happy that they had a non alcoholic version, as a non-drinker. About half of the items at the event are wine or alcoholic.

I also got to hang out with and meet Jess from the Seattle Dessert Blog Seattle Dessert Geek, which was really fun and she gave me some great tips for next year. Also, the past few years the photography related events have sold out really fast, so I am going to make sure that I get tickets for those events really early. I also met a lot of other food bloggers and press, it must have been because I was taking photos. Not as many was I would have liked of course!

The other event I went to on Sunday was the Because Breakfast event. These events are called the “Fun Size” events. And I don’t think it is because the items are bite sized, since all items are, but I think it is because they limit the amount of tickets sold. I went to the Brunch Village the last time I attended, which was amazing, but also super crowded and the lines were very long. It was already sold out by the time I got my tickets. At the Because Breakfast event, it was so much more mellow, not at all crowded, small lines if any, and all the food was amazing. I kept hearing from people how much more they liked it than Brunch Village. I was really happy of course that General Porpoise donuts were there, because I LOVE them, especially the vanilla cream filled ones. Stumptown coffee was there of course, and they were promoting their new sparkling coffee drinks. I also really enjoyed the savory crepes from Suzette and the savory pancakes from Micheal Scelfo from Waypoint, who must have been a guest chef all the way from Cambridge. Petunias was at both events and amazing because they are a gluten free AND vegan bakery.

All in all it was really fun. Next year I will, as I mentioned, get my tickets early, and perhaps even apply for a press pass, which would allow me to enter events early. I was encouraged to do so my some of the people I met there. I hope you enjoyed the photos!

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Still Life with Rachel Grunig

So I am almost caught up in my blog posts! I photographed with food & prop stylist Rachel Grunig a little bit ago, and I just love working with her. I love all of the textures and colors in the overhead shoot with the plumcots and the lushness of the urban jungle shot.  I hope you enjoyed the photos!

On another note, this summer certainly feels like it has been a time of change and growth for me. I have been doing a lot of test shoots, with more still lifes and shooting interiors as well. I have a few jobs this up coming weekend with brand new clients. And I have been practicing shooting portraits. I definitely have been trying to learn more and do more than what I am used to. I have been assisting with other food photographers, and that has been a great learning experience. I also have been shooting a lot for Amazon Restaurants and my schedule changes day to day. As my friends know, I am kind of a control freak, so there has had to be a lot of letting go. Change is definitely uncomfortable for me, but of course with anything, practice makes things easier, and that is what I am finding all the time. I absolutely love this video where Ira Glass talks about the creative process and how what makes new things easier is doing it more! You should watch it if you haven’t.

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Beachy Breezy Tablescape

I did a shoot a few weeks ago with my friend Liz Hererra and it turned out so, so cute. I had wanted to try doing a tablescape and this is one of the things that she does so well. I can’t believe she pulled this all together in only a few days. I am absolutely in love with the images! I am glad that I have been trying to shoot a few more things other than food lately. I really enjoy shooting food, but I have been wanting to learn more and try new things at the same time.

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Issaquah Interiors Shoot

A few weeks ago I got to photograph this beautiful home for HomeAway. I had photographed hotels quite a while ago with Amazon Destinations when it was around and have been really enjoying photographing more interiors again. I definitely enjoyed learning on this photo shoot (which I DID, a LOT).  This home was super dreamy and beautiful. I felt so lucky to be there and doing this as a job. Could you imagine staying there? It had 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a sauna, a Jacuzzi tub, a giant movie screen, and a hot tub.  I also photographed another interior remodel for M.O.I. Designs two weeks ago and had a blast. I am still working on my backlog of posts, which is great but hopefully by this weekend I will be done. Phew!

 

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Blackberry Basil Shaved Ice

I had been talking about doing a shoot with my dear friend Anne who is a wonderful cook and baker. Since she had recently been to Kauai for her honeymoon and also had a shave ice maker, she suggested the shaved ice idea. I actually didn’t even know what it was even though I have been to Hawaii a few times. I don’t know how I somehow missed this. It’s essentially shaved ice with syrup either over ice cream or with sweetened condensed milk on top.

I came across this cool and really refreshing recipe for Blackberry Basil Shaved Ice and we topped it with the sweetened condensed milk. Since blackberries are in season in WA we actually went and picked some locally, and I picked up a few others for the garnishes at the market. Anne made the syrup and shaved ice and it was delicious! I did make the basil sugar but thought that the picture for this was prettier without, though it definitely added a little something extra to the shave ice. I would highly recommend trying this, it’s a really great recipe from Kayla. We had the benefit of a shave ice machine though, so that part was really easy, and cut out a step for us.

Blackberry + Basil Shaved Ice
Author: Kayla Diercks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • SHAVED ICE
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 TB sugar
  • BLACKBERRY + BASIL SYRUP
  • 6 oz blackberries
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 5-6 basil leaves / roughly torn
  • BASIL SUGAR
  • 1 TB fresh basil / very finely chopped
  • 1 TB sugar
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat water and sugar over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once the sugar water solution has cooled, transfer to a loaf pan or 8 x 8 pan. Freeze for 2 hours.
  2. After two hours, remove pan from freezer and scrape with a fork to form ice crystals. Return to freezer and continue to freeze and scrape every 2 hours until frozen through.
  3. In a small sauce pan, combine blackberries, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest. Heat berry sauce over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until sauce comes to a simmer, let simmer for one minute. Remove from heat, stir in torn basil leaves, and let steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour blackberry sauce through a fine mesh strainer and transfer into a small bowl or jar. Refrigerate until chilled.
  5. When ready to serve, make basil sugar by combining 1 TB finely chopped basil with 1 TB sugar. Remove shaved ice from freezer and scrape again using a fork. Scoop ice into individual bowls and pour blackberry sauce over shaved ice using a spoon or jar with a pour spout (add water to syrup, one tsp at a time, to reach desired pouring consistency, if needed). Top with basil sugar and garnish with basil leaves and blackberries.

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