2012... what a year! Filled with food, travel and my beloved photography, this world has stretched my boundaries and filled my life with the love of good friends combined with the flavors of fabulous food. I have so much to be thankful for, and as New Year's approaches I'm ready to Celebrate. Stretching east, my fellow Inspired Plate members are celebrating along with me as we share our final Food Styling and Photography Challenge of the year - Celebration.
|2012 Year in Review|
What brings the most joy though, are not the actual images but the memories of late night chats on Facebook, the supportive comments and critiques of my fellow photographers, and the newly formed friendships that can be found within the members of this special group.
An eclectic group of talented women, The Inspired Plate touches locations across the world. Starting here on the West Coast of California (I'm in San Diego), the members bring stunning photos to you also from the mid west, the east, Canada and on towards the date line from Perth, Australia. With varying levels of skills, we have worked together monthly to provide our own interpretations of the given challenges.
Early challenges began simply with "Photography on White" and quickly stepped up the difficulty level with subjects of meat, fish and pasta. Failing miserably at the "meat" challenge, the Mahi Mahi Tacos we created for the "fish" challenge have become a regular in our meal rotation, and I think I had the most fun writing that particular post.
"Photography on black" proved to be the most difficult to me, while the "pasta" photos took me back to my treasured days in Italy. My favorite challenge of the year? Without a doubt ~ The Splash...
The act of freezing time became somewhat addictive and had the entire family participating by dropping objects of all sorts into glasses of liquid. Relishing the fact that the spilled liquid was not going to make Mommy upset, the splashes grew, and soon the tile of the kitchen floor was slick and the table dripping. Catching a splash is indeed spectacular when captured properly, however that capture (as shown by my over 500 non-useable shots) is many times elusive.
Bringing back The Splash for our December Celebration Challenge, we bring you a new favorite cocktail worthy of any Celebration and perhaps an ideal libation for your own New Year's Bash welcoming 2013.
Incorporating my very first challenge subject, the pomegranate, we've supplemented a celebratory sparkling wine with a splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice. Dropping in a few fresh pomegranate aerials we have a festive and flavorful aperitif boasting a few antioxidants with those bubbles. Bubbles represent happy occasions to me, and whether your bubbles hail from the true Champagne regions of France, the Prosecco versions of Italy, or the sparkling versions of California's Napa Valley, they all exude a similar excitement.
One of the oldest known fruits, the beautiful pomegranate is a native of Persia. Nutrient dense and antioxidant rich, pomegranates have long been revered as symbols of health, fertility and eternal life. Also tied to mythology, pomegranates are known as the "Food of the Underworld"...
The myth of Persephone, the goddess of the Underworld, features the pomegranate. In one version of Greek mythology, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken off to live in the underworld as his wife. Her mother, Demeter (goddess of the Harvest), went into mourning for her lost daughter and thus all green things ceased to grow. Zeus, the highest ranking of the Greek gods, could not allow the Earth to die, so he commanded Hades to return Persephone. It was the rule of the Fates that anyone who consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. Persephone had no food, but Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds while she was still his prisoner and so, because of this, she was condemned to spend six months in the Underworld every year. During these six months, when Persephone is sitting on the throne of the Underworld next to her husband Hades, her mother Demeter mourns and no longer gives fertility to the earth. This became an ancient Greek explanation for the seasons. (from wikipedia)
With my fingers crossed that each seed I've eaten this year will not commit me to a month in the underworld, our celebration continues with an antioxidant rich Pomegranate Bark. Dark chocolate and pomegranate combine bringing an irresistible treat that literally pops in your mouth. Aerials stirred into and sprinkled on top of the melted chocolate literally burst with flavor and bring a double dose of those ever popular antioxidants in addition a simply wonderful dessert.
As we close this emotional year of 2012, I thank my newfound Inspired friends for their never ending advice, professionalism and simple friendship. I'm looking forward to the challenges of 2013 with excitement (as well as a touch of trepidation), and I'm ever so thankful to be celebrating with this wonderful group today.
Begin a trip around the world with me as I introduce the beautiful Sabrina Wong, a Food Photographer in Perth, Australia and we'll continue our Celebration... summer style!
Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Bark
Bringing a double dose of antioxidants we could almost call this dessert health food!
Melted dark chocolate
Fresh Pomegranate aerials (seeds)
Sprinkle of flake salt
Mix a handful of pomegranate seeds into the dark chocolate and stir gently to combine.
Spread melted dark chocolate over either a silpat mat or a sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle more pomegranate seeds over the chocolate, poking each one in slightly with the tip of a toothpick. (I found the seeds pop off easily if they are not pushed into the chocolate).
Sprinkle lightly with salt, and allow the chocolate to set.
Carefully break into pieces and serve.
Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
adapted from Ellie Krieger
1 tsp fresh pomegranate aerials (seeds)
4 oz. champagne or sparkling wine
1/2 - 1 tsp unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 tsp Chambord or Cassis
Drop ppomegranate aerials into champagne flute. Pour champagne into flute, add pomegranate juice and liquor.