Tag Archives: Adam Milliron Photography

Joyeux Noel & Season’s Eatings!

December 2013

With my little co-pilot by my side, I ventured east, where I’m spending more time sitting at the table than hustling in the kitchen. Whether you’re baking or relaxing, here’s wishing a joyous day to you and yours filled with lovely delicacies, hearty laughter and brisk winter walks with your four-legged companions.

Joyeux Noel

Seasons Eatings

*These photos were part of a Christmas card shot by photographer Adam Milliron and styled by me. 

Cure + Embury = The Salumi of the Dog That Bit Ya!

June 2012

As often as I can, I moonlight [in the daylight hours though, because that's when the lighting is better] as a food stylist for Pittsburgh based photographer Adam Milliron.  Adam is one of the most delightfully busy gents around the town! He can text and sip a cocktail and juggle a growing Vizsla puppy, while simultaneously setting up lights and cameras. Note:  I said “texts.” Adam rarely has a free hand to answer a phone call or conversely, to make a call, so when I saw a missed call from him, I knew something epic was unfolding.  I was correct! The surprise, warranting an actual phone call, was an invite for my special one and me to be Adam’s guest at a Sunday Supper of Seafood & Cocktail Pairings at Cure, one of my favorite Pittsburgh restaurants (as you may recall, I first fell for Cure on my wintry birthday eve)!

As Cure’s website says, when you dine with Cure, you’re supporting many local farms and organic food purveyors.  I applaud Chef/Owner Justin Severino’s commitment to the quality, taste and economic/environmental benefits associated with using local ingredients. Between the interior design of reclaimed wood, the hidden piggies and the communal atmosphere, Justin has created not just a place for a meal, but an entire dining experience.

As if a Sunday tasting menu at Cure were not a big enough slice of heaven, the man, the myth and the legend was lending his mixology wisdom to the cocktail pairings.  Yes- Spencer Warren, who gave Pittsburgh its first Prohibition style bar (which will be reopening in a new location soon!!!), crafted unique cocktails for each course. Fortunately, Spencer shared his concoction details with me, for my head was spinning far too freely with the bliss of the perfect Sunday meal to document the details properly. The meal was a perfectly paced meander through a menu, much like dining with a European family. The best part is, Justin has barely begun to entertain! There are more events and even a farm dinner or two in store! Stick around this nook of the blogosphere, and hopefully, I’ll have notes from a hog butchering at some point.

Caipirinha Peach Punch

Cachaça Peach liquor, Peach Puree and Champagne.

Poured over ice and topped  with Bittermen’s Tiki Bitters. A light and refreshing complement to the chilled, citrus spritzed seafood spread.

Fruits de Mare
Lobster, crab, oysters, goeduck, caviar

Due to birth in a landlocked state (Nebraska) and a mom whose Midwestern roots influenced her cooking, I had often claimed to be a seafood “virgin.” I had this notion of making a seafood mecca to Maine or Scotland or some paradise near the Equator, but much like many a coast, the notion has gradually been eroding.  Aside from other forays into oceanic eating, each orgasmic bite from that seashell blew all notions of seafood virginity out of the water. Take a look at that seashell! It contained such decadent deliciousness. I shall now leave the sexual metaphors at bay [the aquatic puns, however, seem to be continuing], but know this: if you eat seafood at Cure, expect to close your eyes, block out the world and thoroughly savor each bite.

Avocado Mousse w/ Grapefruit Foam

Looking at this course was like studying a section cut of the earth. There were so many layers and textures, but unlike a geology class model, digging into this blend of avocado and citrus accents was far more satisfying.

Tortellini Pie
Ricotta, pig’s feet, San Marzano tomato, basil, Pecorino

The flaky pasta inspired crust revealed shredded, tender meat with the fresh kick of basil and salt from the Pecorino. Furthermore…look at that lobster shaped crust!

The Count Severino

“Since Justin loves Campari and drinking Negroni’s, we made a Campari based cocktail to pair with the [tortellini pie].  What better than an Italian based cocktail with a pasta course.  It was Death’s Door Gin, Campari, and Cynar mixed with fresh grapefruit juice, and a cardamom and date syrup.  It was topped with one of Justin’s salumis (a cocoa & pepper salumi).” – Spencer Warren

Faust’s Pact

“This is an Embury favorite.  We muddle jalapeño with Angostura Bitters, then add lemon, Ginger Syrup, Basil Syrup, and Bluecoat Gin, then pour it up, and top with cayenne pepper.  It is refreshing yet spicy, and it paired very well with the cured meats Justin had prepared.”

Antipasto
House cured meats (lomo and French style sopressata), pickles, farmstead cheeses

Laying Down the Broom

“The lemon from the dessert fit very well with the cassis (Black Currant) and the honey from the cocktail.  I used Gekkeikan Sake & Plum wine, Barenjager Honey liquor, basil syrup, fresh lemon and cassis juice.  Its light, refreshing taste complemented the tartness of the dessert.”

Pistachio Nougat
Lemon curd, white chocolate ganache, rhubarb gelee, balsamic-vanilla sabayone

The meal ended with a bang! The dessert was like a firework, both for its color and explosion of sharp, contrasting flavors.

What Spencer Learned In The South…

And a very special finale…BOURBONS!

I wish I could say I sampled them all. Why didn’t I sample them all?!?

PS: Thanks to everyone who made this Sunday deliciously different from the rest…

Special thanks to Justin Severino and Spencer Warren for collaborating and creating a memorable, palate-teasing Sunday supper.

A very special thanks to Adam Milliron for thinking, “Who is passionate about slow foods and artisan cocktails and would appreciate this experience?” and more importantly for answering that question with my name and my special one’s name!

Special thanks to our dining partners for putting up with the fact that Adam and I like taking pictures…of EVERYTHING.  You were a patient pair, and we appreciated your willingness to stare at food, wide eyed and salivating, as we tried to capture the perfect shots.  You are gems!

Cure on Foodio54

A Cookie For The Kind of Man I’d Be (Snap ‘Staches)

February 2012

If I were male, it’s pretty safe to say, I’d have obnoxious facial hair, channel the Prohibition era in my fashion choices and fantasize about having a dimly lit den, where my male counterparts would gather, perhaps even smoke some cigars (though I generally find this habit disgusting), drink brandy and discuss the world.  If I were male, I’d channel the quintessential high society, manly man (minus the misogyny) of yesteryear.  In a distilled manner of speaking, I’d be one of those Brooklyn hipster types.  If I were that man, these would be my cookies, and this would be my coffee!

Presenting another collaboration between yours truly on the baking/styling front and the ever talented man behind the camera, Adam Milliron, who has now entered the twittersphere!  Three tweets for Adam!  Tweet tweet hoorah!

Strong Black Coffee + Snap Whipped Cream

Strong black cuppa joe, prepared as you see fit (I generally press my beans in the French style)

1 cup organic heavy cream, chilled
1-2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste
2-3 Tablespoons AITA Snap, to taste
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized, chilled bowl.  Use an electric mixer to beat until peaks form.

Add in heaping dollops to a cup of joe.  Political debates to ensue.

Snappy Gingerbread Mustaches
(Makes about 3 dozen cookies)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups chestnut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamum
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly milled organic smoked black pepper
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg (local/free-range)
2 Tablespoons AITA Snap

Directions

Combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 2 minutes.

Beat in the molasses, egg and Snap.

Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough.

Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. (The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

Position a rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

To roll out the cookies, work with one disk at a time, keeping the other disk refrigerated.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking, about 10 minutes. (If the dough has been chilled for longer than 3 hours, it may need a few more minutes.)

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick.

For softer cookies, roll out slightly thicker. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer to a baking stone lined with parchment, placing the cookies 1 inch apart.

Gently knead the scraps together and form into another disk. Wrap and chill for 5 minutes before rolling out again to cut out more cookies.

Bake until the edges of the cookies are set and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely.

The cookies can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, stored in airtight containers at room temperature.

The Method To Our Madness & Make Believe

Want to see how obsessive Adam and I are about arriving at the perfect shot?  Here’s a glimpse into our madness.  It may seem petty to some, but finding that perfect spot for a sugar cube really makes our day!  Hopefully, it makes your day in some way as well!

Fin.

It’s Still Winter. Might As Well Be Cozy.

Another Adventure with Root!
February 2012

More and more, I prefer a cozy winter weekend.

The more nestled I am under a blanket with a certain someone special… the better the weekend. The more the fire flickers and sends warmth my way… the better the weekend. The more time spent working our way through Twin Peaks with a projector… the better the weekend.

As the weather oscillates oddly between seasons over the course of days, one has to make the most of the cold snowy times that can otherwise be so demotivating.  It’s best to dwell on how those snowy days justify cozy weekends.  Furthermore, those snowy times lengthen the egg nog season! I am quite an egg nog novice, since that combination of words repulsed me when most kids were forming their first nog mustaches.  Little did little me know, egg nog is the delicious equivalent of a melted milkshake!  Why didn’t the adults tell me?!?

While I long for sunshine, bare shoulders and warmth like the next vitamin D craving lass, I embrace these remaining wintry days with a glass of egg nog and something sweet.  To make the cold beverage something worthy of a cozy weekend, you need a “heat” source- enter the magical pipette and one’s volitional release of the “warmth” of one’s choice!  In my case, I turned to one of my favorites… Art in the Age Root Liquor.

Since my photographing phenom friend Adam Milliron is a seasoned egg nog aficionado, this venture into drinks and dessert pairing was the perfect opportunity for another collaboration!

Root Nog

Ingredients

4 egg yolks (local/free-range)
1/3 cup organic brown sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon
1 pint organic whole milk
1 cup organic heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites (local/free-range)
Cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg garnish
+ Pipettes of Root

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color.

Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved.

Add the milk, cream and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks.

With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Keep chiled.

Serve with a dusting of spices and a pipette’s worth (or two…or three) of Root.

There are multiple benefits to pipetting the alcohol into the egg nog.  You can add one full splash of Root (or two or three…no one’s counting), refill the pipette one last time and then submerge it into the beverage.  Should you be so inclined, you can slowly release the alcohol as you drink, creating a higher concentration toward the last sips.  More importantly, it’s just plain old fun using “science” for non science purposes, especially if, like moi, you are surrounded by scientists and engineers during the day job hours.

And of course, Root Nog is better with a Chocolate Root Cake!

Chocolate Root Cake + Orange Root Infusion + Chocolate Root Buttercream

Root Infusion

Ingredients 

1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup Root
Organic orange peel

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid begins to thicken slightly.  Set aside.

Chocolate Root Cake

Ingredients

2 cups cream soda (Virgil’s)
1 cup dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup organic unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (local/free-range)

Directions

Preheat even to 325 degrees F.

Spray the inside of a 10-inch round pan with nonstick cooking spray, or butter generously and dust with flour, knocking out the excess.

In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add sugar and molasses and whisk until dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs until just beaten.

Whisk the eggs into the cocoa mixture until combined.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture.  The batter will be slightly lumpy, but don’t over beat the batter or the cake will be tough.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and cook for 35-45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Use a fork or a skewer to poke several holes in the surface of the cake.  Remove the orange peel, and pour the Root reduction sauce over the cake, spreading it over the entire surface.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely then loosen edges with a butter knife and turn out onto a cake plate.

Chocolate Root Beer Frosting

Ingredients

3 ounces 86% cacao (Ghirardelli), melted
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Root
4 ounces Nefuchatel cheese
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
¼ cup Root Nog

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric hand mixer, beat softened butter and cocoa powder.

Once combined add the melted chocolate, salt, Neufchatel, Root, maple syrup and Root Nog.

Beat together until smooth.

Spread on top of cooled cake.

Garnish

Organic orange slices dipped in melted dark, dark, dark chocolate with a splash or two of Root!  Once dipped in rich chocolate-y goodness, set on a piece of wax paper to harden.

Best enjoyed while cuddling with someone special, under blankets, by the warmth of a fire, awaiting the impending plot twist!

Baking, Mixing and Styling by With The Grains.  Photography by Adam Milliron.  Edits conceived from our collaborative vision!

Just in Thyme for the Holidays, Part Deux

December 2011

Growing up with three sisters fostered a preternatural appreciation for matching [and poofy perms apparently]:  Exhibit Q.  The moment would arrive when my matching would dawn on friends, acquaintances or even complete strangers.  They would stare, fascinated by my diligence to evenly dispersed color combinations.  At some point, my preoccupation with matching (and themes) permeated other aspects of life.

One of those crossover arenas was food.  What I might now call “parallel flavors” is really just two words describing “matching.”  I’m not claiming to be paving new territory, but I am announcing a new focus:  desserts and cocktails!  They should go together like toast and tea!  Cocktails and desserts should skip blissfully hand-in-hand.  My wonderful photographer friend Adam Milliron and this aspiring stylist have found a new focus:  boozy sweets and matching alcohol treats!  Without further a do…

Presenting Another With The Grains/Adam Milliron Collaboration!

A bit behind the scenes…

Agave Sweetened Lemon Thyme Bars and Whiskey Thyme Lemonade

I already mentioned I’m on a lemon and thyme kick.  Due to the agave route, the whiskey, vanilla and filling flour, these bars are more of a rustic shade of lemon, but they pair ever so nicely with the caramel and copper tones of whiskey.  Though I frequently sipped a similar cocktail this past summer, something about the bright copper tones atop a frosty base made this combination have a winter appeal as well.  Whatever the season, ’tis the season for this cocktail!  Santé!

(Click the image to enlarge.  Photos by Adam Milliron.  Baking, Mixing & Styling by Moi!)

Agave Sweetened Lemon Thyme Bars

Crust Ingredients

Butter, for greasing
1 1/2 sticks organic, unsalted butter, diced
1 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporate cane juice sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon organic almond extract

Filling Ingredients

4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
½ cup agave syrup
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
Fresh grated zest from one organic lemon (about 2-3 teaspoons)
note:  I used the pulp from juicing whole lemons
1 cup freshly juiced lemons (from about 5-6 whole lemons)
1 Tablespoon whiskey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 sprigs of fresh thyme

Garnish

Confectioner’s Sugar
Thyme
Lemon Peel

For the Crust

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with olive oil or butter and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; grease the foil with oil.

Pulse the butter, both flours, both sugars and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.  Add the almond extract and pulse to combine.

Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan, making sure there are no cracks.

Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile For the Filling & Finale

Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar, agave syrup and flour in a bowl until smooth.

Whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice, whiskey and vanilla.

Remove the thyme from the stem/stalk and add to the filling.

Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F.

Pour the filling over the warm crust and return to the oven.

Bake until the filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with fresh thyme and lemon peel before serving.

Whiskey Thyme Lemonade on the Rocks

Ingredients

Thyme Simple Syrup* (recipe below)
Organic Sparkling Lemonade
Whiskey
Honey
Thyme for garnish
Lemon peel for garnish
Ice

For the Cocktail

This is a game of matching, not precision (I’ll work on that).  For one tumbler of sparkling lemonade on ice, add 1-2 shots of bourbon (depending on your southerness), 1-2 Tablespoons of thyme simple syrup, a drizzle or two of honey (depending on your buzzz) and watch it all come together for a spell before stirring, garnishing and enjoying!

*Thyme Simple Syrup

Ingredients

1 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup water
~12 sprigs of thyme, plus 2 for garnishes

For the Thyme Simple Syrup

Combine 1 cup turbinado sugar with 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and add thyme sprigs.

Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

Strain thyme from the liquid and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Cheers to all and to all some cheer!

~With The Grains

C is for Cookie and Collaboration, Part Deux

Holidays 2011

In C is for Cookie and Collaboration, Part One, I shared my recipe and the cookie cause for collaborating with my talented photographer friend, Adam Milliron.  I offered a glimpse of our combined effort, but this, Part Deux, is all about the eye candy [cookie]!

C is for Cookie and Collaboration, Part One

Holidays 2011

There is something so classic about red and white when winter chills are in the air, and when those classic colors come in a nutty cookie, even better!  When that cookie is cause for collaboration…better still!

The Cookie….

(click the recipe to enlarge)

The Collaboration!

Once upon a time, I posed in front of the camera- Adam’s camera!  There was a designer, a hairstylist, a make up artist- the whole works!  A few years passed, and Adam and I reconnected at the local source for world class coffee (where else?!?).  I was working on a blog post (what else?!?), and I sought Adam’s opinion as a photographer whose work I respected (which is saying A LOT coming from this little critic).  He was impressed and excited by my food styling, and shortly thereafter, a collaboration was born!  We both see the world in terms of props, lighting, the perfect shot and after all that, eating really good food!  Working together gives us both a new point of view and a chance to learn from each other.  On a surprisingly sunny day in November, the collaboration gave us some really great shots of some delicious cookies.

C’est moi…

About Adam Milliron
(From Adam’s website)

Today, one of the hardest tasks of a photographers’ job is setting your work apart from anyone who owns a camera and snaps photos with it. I always thought this was a challenge, to show others what I can do – until I realized that there is more to a photo than what meets the eye. I am creating a brand, an idea, a feeling, and often a lifestyle through my images. You learn to use lighting and composition as your canvas, creating images that make you happy and move brands forward.

About Milliron Studio

My newly renovated studio is located in the 10th ward of Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh. My staff is a group of people I have hand selected for not only their amazing talents but their ability to seamlessly work towards a common goal. A goal of creating stunning images while having fun and loving what we do.

Our work spans large catalog productions, high-end single page ads, product packaging, editorial magazines and volume web shots with clients ranging from small, independently owned businesses to national retail chains and monthly publications.

The studio offers full post-production services, in-house food and product styling and an extensive prop house. We specialize in retouching, design, creative direction and image handling services.

Without Further Ado…

Part Deux will ensue with more of my favorites from the shoot!  Stay tuned!

Happy Holiday Cookies!