#food photography

To my husband…

Today is my husband’s birthday. The most used sentence or thought that runs along the lines of, “I don’t know what I would do without you…” couldn’t be truer in our relationship. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him. He has gotten me through some tough moments in my life.

There are times when I think that he saved me from a bad situation when I was coping with a toxic family. He was the only one that took the time to understand me and genuinely cared about what I was going through. I have never met anyone else like that. Someone that is so kind and patient. He gave himself completely to me on the nights where I was curled up in ball on the bathroom floor contemplating suicide. He helped me out of that dark hole with his love and kindness. I will always be thankful for that.

So today is for him. Life can get in the way sometimes and it’s hard to stop and remember that we have loving people in our lives. It’s important to take the time to remember that. I have a loving husband and friend by my side for the rest of my life which is pretty amazing.

So, Happy Birthday my love. May this coming year bring you joy, growth and success, for you deserve it. Love always, your kitten.

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake

By. Lady and Pups

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

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Christmas Time is Here (Julia Child’s croissants with cranberry jam filling)

I will always remember that Christmas.

That time of year is back again and I can already feel the anxiety setting in. There are times when I can’t help but think about the past. Especially about the time I opened up to my adoptive father about being sexually abused as a child.

Christmas time when I was a younger was all that I waited for with every passing year. I remember decorating the house till every room was filled with some sort of tinsel or sparkling lights. I cherished every second of it. You couldn’t stop me from dancing to the Grinch soundtrack with The Who’s singing “Trim up the tree with Christmas fluff…” That time of year was magical for me. Over the years it unfortunately lost its sense of innocence. That Christmas when I told my father about being abused left me raw and alone. I will always remember that Christmas.

The week before Christmas I had to say goodbye to my husband. We were both celebrating the holiday with our families, me in Virginia and him in Florida. He was my boyfriend at the time, but I still found it difficult to leave him. Maybe it was because I knew that I could confined in him about being abused. As soon as I made it back to VA with my adoptive parents I felt this sense of gloom over the house. Before entering the house that I grew up in, I looked up at it and all the memories of being abused flooded in. How I stayed in that house for years, I still don’t know how.

When Christmas Day came along I kept on contemplating if I was going to tell my father or not. My mother who already knew and saw me get abused said, “It’s up to you Bernadette.” I had to build up my courage throughout the day until by 8 pm or so I sat my father down and told him.

The moment went by so quickly. All I remember is him saying a joke afterwards about me being abused and him getting me a wet wash cloth to wash away my tears. That’s how it was with them. They think by washing away the problems that they will magically disappear. That method never works.

Now, that I am estranged from them, I can’t help but feel that Christmas has to be perfect. It’s not healthy to think that way and I’m slowly working on it. Even though this year has been tough in so many ways politically, socially and personally,  I have a loving husband. I have a silly dog and a new family in my husband’s family. I have met new people who I can consider real friends. I know that 2018 will be better. I know this because I will keep on trying to live for me and not for the family I grew up with.

Julia Child’s Croissants

Volume Two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking 

By Julia Child and Simone Beck 

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 1/4 tsp. of yeast

3 tbsp. of warm water (100 degrees)

1 tsp. of sugar

Second half of recipe

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tsp. of sugar

1 1/2 tsp. of salt

2/3 cup of warm milk

2 tbsp. of canola oil

1 3/4 sticks of chilled unsalted butter 

Cranberry Jam

Makes 3/4 cup

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

Pinch of pepper and salt

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

1/3 cup of fresh orange juice

1/2 cup of water

 

Croissant Recipe: Equivalent version of croissant recipe. Here is a video of the master herself making some croissants on the show the French Chef.

Directions for Cranberry Jam:

  1. Throughly wash the cranberries, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a medium size sauce pan, add all the ingredients and stir on medium to high heat until it starts to simmer.
  3. Once it comes to a simmer, turn down the heat between low and medium. Stirring frequently for 15 minutes or until the jam comes to the wrinkle stage.
  4. Once the jam has come to the wrinkle stage, take off the heat and cool for five minutes.
  5. Pour the jam mixture through a fine mesh sieve with a glass bowl underneath to catch the jam. Do this with a spoon and patience. This should take about 10 minutes to get all the mixture through.
  6. Cool the jam in a glass jar and leave in fridge until ready to use. Keeps up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

Moroccan Eggs and Rolls

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Moroccan eggs, formally known as Shakshuka is probably one of my all time favorite dishes. It’s something so simple but utterly delicious. The combination of the spices with the sweet tomato sauce paired along with either sauté mushrooms or succulent chorizo is an experience that I always want to come back to. Well, possibly dive into depending on how hungry I am.

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 Even though this dish is simple, I wanted to pair it along with something maybe not so simple and adds a little bit more time in the kitchen. I promise you though, with a little more preparation ahead of time, it will be worth the wait. So let me introduce you to today’s dishes…

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Moroccan Egg Dish with Moroccan Rolls

Ingredients

Egg dish

Serves 2-4 

2 to 3 eggs

1 14.5 oz can of puree/crushed tomatoes

half of 1 large yellow onion finely diced

3-4 large garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp. of olive oil

1/2 pound of chopped chorizo (or 1/2 pound of chopped white button mushrooms)

1 tbsp. of honey 

2 tbsp. of tomato paste

1 tsp. of paprika 

1 tsp. of crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp. of thyme

1/2 tsp. of turmeric 

salt and pepper to taste 

fresh oregano to top (optional)

Moroccan Rolls

Makes 6 

Ingredients

1 2/3 cup of white bread flour

1 tsp. of yeast

6.5 ounces of warm water

1 tsp. of sea salt

1/4 tsp. of granulated sugar

 4 tbsp. of toasted sesame seeds

Spice mixture

2 tsp. of cinnamon

1 tsp. of nutmeg

1 tsp. of turmeric 

1/2 tsp. of cardamom 

1/4 tsp. of black pepper

1/4 tsp. of cloves 

(Prepare spices together in a mortar and pestle to combine-keep in glass container till use)

Directions for Moroccan Rolls:

(May make the day before)

1. Gently rub the yeast into the bread flour. Once incorporated add the water, salt and sugar.

2. With either a standing mixer or by hand, mix the ingredients together till it starts to form together. Should take about 4 minutes. The dough will be sticky. Don’t  worry though, the dough will come together in time.

3. I like using the technique where you stretch the dough and fold it back together. For an example, watch here (stretch and fold technique)* While doing this technique, it helps bring the dough together by slapping it onto the work surface then folding over. Continue this technique for 10-15 minutes until the dough starts to come together.  After ten minutes or so, you can start adding some flour to the work surface. While working the dough add the bread spices till incorporated. To form a ball, fold each edge of the bread into the center and pinch together so it holds it shape.

4. Once the dough has been shaped into a ball, in a lightly oiled bowl add the dough ball and cover with a lint free towel to rest for an hour in a warm area.

5. After an hour turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide the dough into two. With the palm of your hands create two log shapes. To create the log shapes, use the heel of your palm to flatten the two logs and gently fold one side into the center then continue to do the same with the other side. Pinch both sides together going all the way down the log, so they hold the shape.

6. Turn the logs over with the pinched seem facing downwards, and cut 3 equal slices from each log, creating 6 rolls. To create the rolls into small balls, use the same technique of folding the edges inward into the center then pinch the edges together. Then with the palm of your hand gently smooth the edges out by rolling the ball in a circular motion going counter-clockwise.

7. After forming the 6 balls, brush one side with a little water then dip the rolls into the bowl of toasted sesame seeds. Continue this process with all of them.

8. After brushing the dough, add the rolls to a *baking sheet* or pizza stone. Cover the rolls again to rest for 45 minutes in a warm area until they double in size.

9. While the rolls are resting preheat the oven to 475 F.

10. Once the rolls are done resting, mist the inside of your preheated oven with water, either gently by hand or preferably a spray bottle. Afterwards add the tray of rolls to the oven and bake for 11 minutes or till golden.

11. After baking, rest the rolls on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.

Notes:* If you don’t have a pizza stone, I like to use a baking sheet to create the same type of surface by turning the baking sheet upside down. So, if you don’t have a pizza stone do this before adding the rolls to the sheet for the second proof. See in direction #8.

Directions for Egg dish (Shakshuka):

1. In a medium cast iron skillet, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, diced onions and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 5-10 minutes until lightly brown.

2. Then add salt and pepper to taste. Gradually add the chopped chorizo or mushrooms and mix with the onions and garlic till brown on medium heat. Then add the tomato paste and mix in well.

3. Once the chorizo has browned add the honey and seasonings and mix well until fully combined.

4. Then add the can of tomatoes and cover the top of the meat or mushrooms by using the back of a wooden spoon so only the tomato sauce is showing.

5. On medium heat cook for about 5-10 minutes, while keeping an eye on the meat, onions and garlic underneath to prevent burning.

6. After some of the tomato juice has boiled off, create 2-3 separate holes for the eggs to be placed. By doing this, gently with a spoon create a small opening for the egg to cook, you should see the bottom of the cast iron skillet so it’s able to cook. Do this with all the eggs, by cracking the egg on a flat surface and gently adding it into the skillet.(Without getting shells inside.) Cook for 5-8 minutes or till the egg whites have cooked but the yolk is still runny. Once again, be mindful of the onions, meat and garlic underneath so they don’t burn.

7. Serve dish in cast iron skillet for easy dipping. Top with fresh oregano and Moroccan rolls on the side.

Enjoy and happy eating!

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Photography by. Bernadette Mira

Bathroom Pizza…

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Photography by. CHANEL(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Don’t be alarmed by the title, there is more to this story I promise…

My husband and I had a period of when we were away from each other. At the time we were boyfriend and girlfriend and during that period, I was unfortunately overwhelmed with a toxic family while living with them. My loving husband was up in Jersey City finding us a home. I was devastated that I couldn’t be with him and experience finding our first place together. Fortunately, his mother (my now mom) was able to help him.

We spent most of our days apart chatting on the phone and Skyping. Now skyping can be one of the most frustrating forms of communication. I was living literally in the middle of nowhere and the reception was at best okay during the early morning, not sure why that was. So, it was always in and out while we spoke with each other. Yet, I cherished those conversations.

One of the most memorable ones was when my husband found a place for us and it was his first night alone in the apartment. He described the place as being gross and dusty and needing a very good clean. He said that he was feeling lonely too and wish there was something to cheer him up. I can’t remember if it was his idea or mine or the both us, but he ended up spending his evening talking to me on Skype while bathing in a bathtub and eating a box of pizza. It was one of the most hilarious moments that I got to experience with him. He seemed content at that point even though we weren’t together and  knowing that made me happy.

A couple of years later, we decided to recreate that moment together. The idea of having pizza while eating in a tub and watching anime was extremely tempting. So, we spent the evening making a homemade pizza that was topped with delicious, oily, salty meat.(My husband’s favorite) After making the pizza we got the tub ready and the Ipad set up with one of our favorite anime shows. Unfortunately, after a while the temperature of the water and the heat from the pizza was too much for me to handle and the bathtub experience only lasted for maybe five minutes. We still laugh about it, because it really shows what type of relationship we have. That we’re able to be flexible even when things don’t work out exactly the way we want them to. So, if you ever get a chance, enjoy the silly moments of life and cherish them.

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Bathroom Pizza (Pesto and Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Ingredients 

Serves 6-8

Pesto sauce:

One can of pesto 3.5 oz or half of can

3 big garlic cloves 
 2 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese and mix

5-6 white mushrooms thinly sliced

Tomato sauce:

4 big garlic cloves minced
One 6 oz can of tomato paste
 1 tbsp of honey
Sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp of red pepper flakes
Pinch of white pepper
2 tbsp of oregano
1 tsp of basil
8 to 10 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of minced fresh tarragon

Toppings:

 1 small purple onion diced in circles  

half of a small red pepper chopped in strips
2 andouille sausage chopped in circles
8 oz of grated mozzarella 

Extra:

Olive oil

Yeast

Sugar

Flour

Corn Flour

Pizza Stone

Medium size bowl 

Damp dish towel

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Directions:

  1. Firstly make the pizza dough. I used this wonderful  pizza dough recipe from Sarah’s Cucina Bella website. Follow as instructed. While the dough is rising, continue to the following steps bellow for the sauces.
  2. In a small to medium size bowl, add the can of pesto, two big minced garlic cloves and goat cheese. Combine together. Then set aside.
  3. Then slice the other big garlic clove (3rd one) in long slices. Once finished wrap in plastic wrap and set in fridge.
  4. Then thinly slice the white mushrooms and set aside in fridge also. Preheat the oven at this point to 450 F.
  5. For the Tomato sauce, add all ingredients to a medium size bowl and combine. Set aside in the fridge with plastic wrap on top till ready to use.
  6. Prepare the toppings for the pizza. Grate the mozzarella and set aside till use. In a medium sauce pan sautee half of the purple onion and some of the red pepper with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sautee on low to medium heat until slightly brown. Set aside when finished.
  7. In the same pan or cast iron skillet, add the sliced sausage with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sautee until slightly brown or slightly crispy. Then set aside until ready to use.
  8. Once the pizza dough is done, lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough into a circle. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.)
  9. Then, create a uniform layer of corn flour onto the pizza stone so the dough doesn’t stick. Then carefully transfer the pizza dough to the pizza stone.
  10. Then its time to add the sauces, cheese and toppings. Start with adding the pesto sauce to half of the dough. Then add the tomato sauce to the other half. Once the sauces are on the pizza add the toppings accordingly.
  11. Pesto side- sauce, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, garlic
  12. Tomato side- sauce, mozzarella cheese, sautéed onions and pepper.
  13. Once finished add the pizza to the oven. Bake for 6 minutes. Once the 6 minutes are up add the sausage and the remaining onions and peppers to the tomato sauce side. Then bake again for 15-20 minutes or until the sides are crispy brown.
  14. Enjoy!!!

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira

Blasting Pink Pickled Onions

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Photography by. Daniel Riera(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Aamito Lagum

I am currently curled up in bed watching Anime while writing this with a big tissue box right beside me. Yup, that’s right, I have a freaking cold!

I can’t even remember the last time I had a cold but this one is a killer. I think I took at least four showers today to try to get out the gunk that is lodge in my chest and nose, TMI?

I’m gonna make this post short and sweet and hope you guys are having a better time than I am. Not that I don’t enjoy endless Anime, I just wish I didn’t have this cold to pair along with it.

Without further talk, since I literally can’t talk, I’ll leave you with today’s recipe, it’s a yummy one! Enjoy and have a healthy week!

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Blasting Pink Pickled Onions

Makes One mason jar full

Ingredients

2 small purple onions

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

sprinkle of sea salt

sprinkle of mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. of cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Chop up two small purple onions into thin rounds.
  2. In a mason jar add the onions and the rest of the ingredients. Tightly fasten the mason jar lid and shake the ingredients like crazy till mixed well.
  3. Leave out for an hour or immediately refrigerate. The pickled onions will keep for a month in the fridge.

Enjoy on top of toasted rye bread with a little spread of goat cheese!

Photos by. Bernadette Mira

A lovely Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

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Photography by. Bernadette Mira Hagen

Where do I even begin when it seems like decades since I have written down my musings and even a recipe!? So much has happened this past year and even just this current year. You know what I mean…dare I even speak his name? It’s like the evil, demonic Voldemort in Harry Potter. Maybe if all pans out well, all of America will rally together and we will put an end to him. Maybe WordPress isn’t the best place to discuss this, but I want to be candid.

Before 2017 began, I got married back on November the 5th. It was nothing huge, just a few family and friends. I wanted to make it special for my husband and I. We have for the past almost six years we’ve been together have had to deal with my deceased family for many reasons. Dont worry, they’re not dead, just very toxic to have as a family. Anyway, in my head I wanted needed the wedding to be perfect to make up for their absence. Which puts so much pressure on a person to do EVERY SINGLE THING RIGHT. To my surprise though, the wedding was and has been the most perfect, magical day of my life so far.

Quickly after that, America was on their feet to the surprise of HIM winning the election. So, this past year I have done a tremendous amount of thinking of what I can do for myself to keep myself happy and to keep going. My conclusion is to keep on making art, no matter what form that may be in. Be it fashion, photography, making a gif video for Instagram, that is what is going to help America through this rough time. Rallying together, bringing art at the center, because that is what makes us as humans so special. We have the ability to create amazing things, so why not share it? Without much more talk, here is today’s recipe. Enjoy it, because everyone deserves a drink and also enjoy it because it’s damn delicious if I say so myself.

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Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Serves 1-2

Ingredients 

1 hearty Grapefruit 

4tbsp. Of good Gin 

dash of nutmeg 

dash of sea salt (optional)

3-4 ice cubes 

1/2-1 cup of Tonic water 

Extra 

Cocktail Shaker 

Directions:

1. Vigorously roll around the Grapefruit on a flat surface in the palm of your hand to release the juices.

2. Cut the Grapefruit in half and gently squeeze the Grapefruit juice in the cocktail shaker. (May use both halves of the Grapefruit if you decide to make two Gin and tonics. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, be sure to remove the Grapefruit seeds.)

3. Add the nutmeg, sea salt, Gin and ice cubes to shaker. Quickly shake the ingredients together while holding the top intact.

4. Remove the small cap to the shaker and pour into wine glass or glass of your choosing. Then add the Tonic water and stir together with the other ingredients.

Enjoy with a slither of Grapefruit on the side!

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Spicy Grilled Sriracha Corn

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Photography by. Steven Meisel(Top) and Bernadette Mira(Bottom)

Tomorrow is 4th of July and I am looking forward to relaxing and celebrating with delicious food. These two lovely ladies Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington photographed by the brilliant Steven Meisel, inspired me to create a dish that any person would enjoy for this 4th of July.

Naomi and Christy are definitely legends in the model world and are rightly so. They both give such expression and life into the photos they have modeled for. It was exciting to see the work that they both have done and being inspired by them.

By the looks of these two women, it’s time to stop with the chit-chat and munch down on something spicy, sweet, salty, AND OH SO butterlicious!! So, here we go! This 4th of July I introduce you to…

Spicy Grilled Sriracha Corn

Serves 2

Ingredients

Two medium size ears of corn

Sauce-

2-3 Tbsp. of Sriracha

1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of black peppercorn

1/2 tsp. of red chili pepper flakes

pinch of ground garlic

pinch of sea salt

Garlic Butter-

2 Tbsp. of good butter (Kerry Gold)

1 tsp. of finely chopped garlic

Extra:

Grill Pan or Standing Grill

Vegetable oil (for brushing corn)

Brushing utensil

Tongs

Cook’s Notes: Corn with the husk intact, is so much better than the plastic wrap ones.

Directions:

  1. Shuck corn.
  2. Prepare grill pan or standing grill.
  3. Bring grill to a medium heat and lightly brush with oil.
  4. While the grill is heating up, prepare the corn and spicy sauce.
  5. Lightly brush corn with vegetable oil on all sides and set aside on plate.
  6. In a small bowl whisk together sauce ingredients until well combined.
  7. Brush the corn with the spicy sauce till completely covered.
  8. By this time the grill pan should be hot. Add the corn to the grill pan.
  9. After five minutes, raise temperature to high heat so the corn can get grill marks.
  10. Grill the corn for 12-15 minutes. Periodically flip the corn on every side so each side gets grilled.
  11. While waiting for the corn to be done, mix up the garlic butter ingredients in a small bowl. Then set aside.
  12. Once the corn has finished, transfer the corn to a plate to serve with garlic butter on the side.

Enjoy and Happy 4th of July!

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Photo by. Bernadette Mira