You may have noticed that in recent weeks we haven’t been posting as frequently as usual. There’s a good (and exciting) reason, though. I promise. Our first cookbook – Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking – is being released in a second edition come spring 2012!
In partnership with our publisher, The Experiment, the entire book is getting a major overhaul. New cover. New design/layout. We’re revising and updating old recipes. We’re adding a bunch of new recipes. We’re incorporating bake-by-weight measurements to any recipes that call for our Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend. And instead of a center insert of small, ho-hum photos, the new edition will have 50 or so full page, full color photos throughout the book, like Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes.
Needless to say, we’re very excited for the second edition! We’re also exhausted. We’ve been hard at work taking photos, and it is no easy task. We’re constantly trying to raise our own bar; to hold ourselves to a higher standard; to make this work better than the work we’ve done before. We’re succeeding, but it hasn’t been easy.
With two young girls at home, carving out time to prep the food, style the photos, take the shots, etc. has been a challenge. Plus, since I’m working full time as a magazine writer and editor, taking the photos during the day – when the photographic light is best – just hasn’t been possible. And so we’ve “built” a photo studio in our house. That studio is also known as “our former bedroom.”
We needed a space where we could leave everything set up, and not have to take it down after every shoot. We needed a space that could be closed off, so the girls wouldn’t be at risk of hurting themselves, or damaging any equipment. We needed a studio.
We didn’t have one. But we did have a large bedroom. So we moved out. Earlier this summer, we had moved Charlotte’s crib into Marin’s bedroom so the girls could share the air conditioning. That left the small room that once contained Charlotte’s crib and a glider rocking chair pretty much vacant. That cozy space has now become our bedroom. And believe me, it is cozy. It literally has enough room for our king bed (pushed against two walls), one small laundry basket, and that’s it. I’d take a picture of it, but I don’t have a wide-enough angled lens to shoot in such a small space and still capture everything. But it’s working for us. Like a hobbit hole. Or something like that.
Meanwhile, what used to be our bedroom has been transformed. Around the perimeter of the room are tables and filing cabinets and dressers piled high with dishes, silverware, tablecloths, napkins, cups, bowls, glassware, and an assortment of cutting boards and other wood surfaces. There’s our camera, a new tripod (our old one just wasn’t cutting it), a trio of lenses (including my new infatuation, seen in the photo above), a studio lighting set up, and an assortment of reflectors.
I won’t bother going into the photographic particulars here. Perhaps that’d be another post for another day. But here’s a sneak peak at one of last night’s dishes we photographed…Pad Thai. I haven’t done any post processing. No white balance adjustment. No brightness/contrast adjustment. No tweaking to “calibrate” the colors. This photo is straight out of our camera. I hope you think it looks as delicious as I do. (I also have some insider information on the pic, since we also ate the pad thai for dinner last night!)
All of this said, we’re in a celebratory mood. Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking was our first baby. (Our first cookbook baby, at least.) And she’s growing up. With the forthcoming second edition, she’s maturing and becoming a more refined version of herself. What better way to celebrate than with a cocktail?
Today’s cocktail recipe had two primary sources of inspiration. One is summer, hence the fresh raspberries. (Although I must say, I’m pretty excited about fall being here…) The other inspiration is Copa D’Oro. Copa D’Oro is a bar in Santa Monica, California. I first learned about it during a press trip to Santa Monica. But to call it “just” a bar doesn’t do it justice. This place specializes in making what it calls “market fresh cocktails.” Translation: the bartenders regularly go shopping at and stock the bar with produce from the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Fruits. Vegetables. Herbs.
Mint? Sure. But how about some basil or rosemary or sage in your cocktail?
Strawberry or raspberry in a cocktail? No problem. But how about slices of apple, or blackberries, or blood orange?
Celery in your bloody mary? Standard. But how about some ginger, or some jalapeno or bell pepper in your drink?
The most exciting part of visiting Copa D’Oro, for me, was not going in and inventing my own cocktail with their unique “market fresh” ingredients. Instead, it was telling the bartender a drink I like – a mojito – and then giving him free reign to “sex it up” with an unconventional twist. Buried somewhere in my notes from that trip, I have written down exactly what I ended up with. Based on memory, it was a mojito, but with a different blend of herbs and fruit…some basil and blackberry, as I recall. And it was good. Very good.
In that spirit, we give you today’s Raspberry Rum Punch Cocktail. Bottoms up!
Raspberry Rum Punch Cocktail
Makes 1 drink, if 1 part = 1 shot
1.5 parts white rum
2 parts seltzer
4 parts fruit punch
3 muddled raspberries
1. Combine all ingredients. Serve over ice.
This recipe is: gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, soy-free, refined-sugar-free.
Note: For the fruit punch, we used a 100% juice, no-sugar-added, no artificial colors option.