Lebanese salad, macro photos, and a work in progress

A lively combination of flavors, textures, and colors make this salad a feast for the eyes and the palette.  Photo by Elle

A lively combination of flavors, textures, and colors make this salad a feast for the eyes and the palette.
Photo by Elle

 

The art of food photography would seem, to the beginner, an easy one. After all, one’s subject doesn’t move, it’s never required to smile, and it doesn’t get tired. And yet, it is a unique art unto itself. Food looks one way freshly prepared and quite another after you’ve had it sitting for a while trying to get the perfect shot–raw, cut apples will eventually brown (there isn’t enough lemon juice in the world to retain a perpetual lovely ivory color they are when freshly cut), just boiled pasta gleams, whereas pasta that has been sitting out for 20 minutes has a dull and almost ‘sticky’ look. There are numerous tricks of the trade to combat most of these issues, and I avoid them as I EAT what I have made each and every time–how else am I going to give an honest assessment of the recipe, especially if it is one that I have never made before? Yes, I post first time recipes.  We travel together my adventurous friends, hand in hand, to culinary places unknown! And tonight, I traveled on two different planes: food and photography. First, the photography.

Prior to this evening all of my images have been taken with the lens that came with my camera. It’s your basic lens–great for general photos of your kids in the yard and that first day of school, the bouquet of flowers your sweetie sends you, and other situations where you are standing any where from a few feet to several yards away from your subject. And for images on this site, it does a fair job, except for zooming in. I like to be able to give you some up close and personal shots and those were difficult with a general purpose lens. So Aaron gave me a couple of lenses that could shoot in macro. Macro is used for things like bugs and flowers–small stuff that you want to focus in on.  And one of the lovely techniques professionals use is to have a portion of the image that is stunningly clear and the outer parts blurred–forcing your attention on a very specific area of the image.

I have attempted that here, but with how much success I leave to your discretion. Seriously, I’ve looked at these so long, I’m at a loss. Please leave a comment, giving me your honest feedback.

Second, as you all know we sometimes go to the grocery store in search of a relatively common item and for some unknown reason, they just don’t have it. You’ll see cauliflower in the images, DO NOT USE IT. Instead use what I have listed in the recipe below: asparagus. The cauliflower doesn’t hold up well with the dressing. If you can’t find the asparagus then do what I should have done: just skip it. I picked the cauliflower out of the finished dish as it became mushy. The salad was wonderful once it was removed.

And the work in progress? That’s the wonderful part: it’s all a work in progress: the recipes, the photography, the writing, learning about and from my readers, balancing this venture with my day job for the present time, growing it so that this will be my day job, family, friends, travel, all of it. I once thought that arriving, the end goal,  was where the joy lay, but as I have grown and matured I realized that the most joy is derived by first journeying, gathering all you can as you travel your path, and then, if and when you arrive the joy is profound.  And if you never ‘arrive’?  Well, my friend, you’ve had joy, and all that goes with it, your whole journey.

So how did I do on the photo technique? This was my first time making this salad and the dressing is fabulous-perfect for summer as the fresh ingredients let the veggies shine while adding depth and flavor. Photo by Elle

So how did I do on the photo technique? This was my first time making this salad and the dressing is fabulous-perfect for summer as the fresh ingredients let the veggies shine while adding depth and flavor.
Photo by Elle

 

Ingredients:

  • One head of lettuce, washed, dried, & torn into pieces (Romaine, curly leaf, or Boston)
  • Once cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • Once cucumber, cut into fourths, seeded, and chopped
  • One yellow bell pepper, cored, de-ribbed, and chopped
  • One bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into two inch pieces

Roast the asparagus on a heavy, rimmed baking sheet tossed with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil: 425 for 12 minutes or until tender crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Combine everything but the lettuce in a large bowl and set aside.

Dressing

  • one-fourth cup of fresh mint, chopped or two tablespoons dried
  • juice from one large lemon
  • one tablespoon minced garlic
  • four tablespoons olive oil
  • two heaping teaspoons of marjoram
  • salt and pepper

The dressing will be made in the bowl that has your tomato, cucumber, asparagus mixture. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze over mixture: use your other hand to keep the seeds out. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to coat.

If you have a crowd and will eat all of the salad, add all of your lettuce. If not, I suggest using individual serving bowls. Put lettuce in each bowl and add the salad dressing mixture to each, tossing to coat the lettuce. I don’t like wilted lettuce so I always keep the dressing and lettuce separate until I’m ready to eat it.

Cost per serving: <$2       Serves: 6

Bon Appétit,

Ellesig

 

 

 

 

Copyright ElleVeg 2014