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Luna celebrated her birthday on Thursday by acting like a dog. She is officially 2 years old already!

Check out this oldie but goodie of her just 3 weeks after we got her!

Maybe she’ll stop acting like a puppy now and quit chewing up our living room blinds!

~ Alex

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We rarely use our microwave. So we thought we’d put it to use in an interesting experiment – making potato chips.

These turned out great, and were incredibly tasty without the use of oil. We had to refine the original recipe quite a bit, and we’ll probably look into trying the oven in the future since the microwave doesn’t allow for very large batches.

We added vinegar since we like a little kick, as well as some salt and pepper. But you could add any flavoring you like!

~Sonja

 

Microwave Potato Chips

Notes: It’s pretty helpful to have a mandoline to cut the potatoes into thin uniform slices, but you could always see how your knife skills hold up! Also, this recipe highly depends on the power of your microwave, so you’ll have to do some experimenting.

1. Cut some potatoes in very thin slices, preferably using a mandoline.

2. If desired, place them in a bowl and soak in some vinegar for a few minutes.

3. Place some parchment paper on a plate. Place the chips on the paper, making sure they are not touching.

4. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (or the flavorings of your choice).

5. Microwave until brown. The time and power level depend on your microwave -- our microwave took 10 minutes on high, but you may have to try alternating between high and low settings for a few minutes at a time. Watch carefully the first time to avoid burning!

6. Remove from plate and let cool for 5 minutes.

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Not eating meat doesn’t mean you automatically love things like Tofurky. Actually, we have a bit of a moral dilemma about foods that pretend to be meat.

However, somehow some soy sausage found its way into our fridge. It started with soy chorizo that we used in a paella, which, while it didn’t exactly replicate the real thing, added great flavor and texture.

So it seemed only natural to try some Italian soy sausage as a pizza topping. How was it? It may have been one of the best pizza’s we’ve made. Ever.

Maybe it’s because we’ve gotten better at our pizza technique in general. But the flavor and textures were the perfect combination (made even better with some chopped garlic and black olives).

So, it doesn’t really fit into our rule of avoiding processed foods. And it definitely is pretending to be meat. But, it’s sure tasty – and healthy!

How do you feel about “meat”?

~Sonja

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The tomatoes are just starting to ripen, the swiss chard and okra are tough to keep up with, and the beans remain steady. The square foot garden project is officially successful. We’ve been enjoying all of the veggies and herbs that we’ve been able to grow in the limited sun-lit parts of our property.

The carrots did their best to grow tall in their six inches of soil, curving sideways once they hit the bottom. We are still looking forward to our first taste of leeks, red onions, bell peppers, and cucumbers that have yet to produce.

But perhaps the best part of all has been the near unlimited quantities of basil that are growing. Nothing makes a recipe taste fresh like some good home-grown herbs. Mel’s method of gardening is just as simple, fun, and rewarding as he promised it would be!

~ Alex

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Whilst visiting Chicago last winter, I fell in love with George Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It’s just very cool. You should go see it. I was determined to try to capture a photograph in Paris as a homage to this masterpiece. It took a volcano to give me a second Sunday in town, but I found the shot I was looking for: the people of Paris enjoying the sun on a Sunday afternoon.

We just had the photo printed on canvas and it now adorns our dining room wall, where it shall happily remind us of how lovely Paris is in the spring…

~ Alex

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This month’s issue of Indianapolis Monthly just advised me that one of the 50 things all Hoosiers must do is tailgate at Bonge’s Tavern. Check!

Remember last year, when we trekked out into the middle of Indiana farmland to partake in the customary tailgating rituals prior to dinner? Well, this year made it a tradition…all except for the dinner part.

By the time we showed up, they were full for the night. Oh well!  It’s the tailgating that’s important, right?

~Sonja

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We’ve been enjoying several salads this summer. Here’s another one, inspired by Lynn Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table (a great NPR podcast). The combination of nectarines, red onions and goat cheese was delicious, and the fresh basil added just the right touch.

We’re so excited to be growing our own basil that we can’t stop thinking of ways to use it!

~Sonja

Summer Nectarine and Greens Salad with Fresh Cheese

Inspired by Lynn Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table

1. Thinly slice one half red onion, place in a bowl with cold water to cover, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Wash salad greens and place on plate.

3. Whisk together some olive oil and red wine or cider vinegar to form a vinaigrette (to taste).

3. Top with your quantity of choice of:
-Sliced under-ripe nectarines
-Crushed salted almonds
-Torn fresh basil leaves
-Crumbled goat cheese
-Red onion
-Fresh ground black pepper
-Vinaigrette

Serve and enjoy!

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After having virtually no experience with couple photo shoots, this month brought us two opportunities! Audra and Cam wanted some updated photos to celebrate five years of marriage, and we were happy to oblige.

We’re pretending to be pro with our new watermark :)

Congrats, Audra and Cam!

~Sonja

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The square foot garden continues to be abundant!  Though I miss the convenience of cutting myself a salad of spring lettuces and spinach, our summer crop is delightful as well.

Salade Niçoise was the perfect summer meal to showcase these green beans straight from the vine.

This meal is great for a summer evening. We amended Julia’s recipe (see below for our version).

Happy Summer!
~Sonja

Salad Niçoise á la Julia

1. Hard boil some eggs -- place the eggs in a pan with enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for 9 minutes. Place them immediately in cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking.

2. Boil some red potatoes in salted water until they are soft (around 15 minutes?).

3. Blanch some trimmed green beans by boiling them in salted water for 4 minutes (until crisp tender), then immediately draining and placing in a bowl of ice water.

4. Make some vinaigrette – mash one clove garlic with 1/4 tsp salt in a mortar and pestle (or mince it). Combine in mortar and pestle (or by whisking) with 1/2 Tbs Dijon mustard, 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, and freshly ground pepper (as well as the aforementioned salt, if whisking).

5. Mix some of the dressing with the green beans and potatoes.

6. Assemble a salad with the following ingredients:
-Lettuce leaves (Boston, Bibb or Romaine)
-Potatoes
-Green beans
-Cherry tomatoes (halved)
-Black olives
-Eggs (peeled and quartered)
*Traditionally the salad also includes tuna as well – check out Julia’s version. We subbed marinated artichoke hearts but wouldn’t go to the trouble next time.

7. Top with vinaigrette, salt and pepper and enjoy!

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Spending time with a baby niece is one way to quickly fill your camera’s memory card! We’re in the midst of sorting through photos from a family-filled weekend, but thought we’d share this preview. Looks like Julia is practicing her “blue steel”…perhaps she wants to take modeling to a whole new level :)

Stay tuned for more!
~Sonja

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We’ve had some practice photographing food as team arosko, but we’re novices when it comes to human subjects. So we were delighted to get some hands-on experience with Kelley and Josh in our first official engagement shoot.

Luckily they were naturals in front of the camera, so they made it easy work.

We’re looking forward to photographing their wedding in October. Congratulations, Kelley and Josh!

~Sonja

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Apologies for being seriously MIA. In an effort to distract from our lack of blog activity, we hope you’ll be entertained by the newest endeavor of our canine housemate.

We also had another motivation to post today – it’s arosko’s 2nd birthday!  We’ve had a blast blogging for the past two years. Thanks to our readers for your comments and encouragement :)

More to come!

~arosko