Salad with Baked Candied Apple Chips

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Salad with baked candied apple chips – so delicious you'll actually want to eat your greens!Buy 533
Green salads are generally not my thing as I’m sure you’ve noticed from their conspicuous absence from this blog but this one here is an exception. It’s so good that even I like to eat it! What you see here is spinach and a few tomatoes and grilled chicken tenderloin chunks, topped with baked candied apple slices. It’s the contrast between sweet and savory that makes this salad, in my opinion. The recipe comes from Spicy Southern Kitchen and Southern Living’s website and it’s really interesting. Here’s how it goes:

Using a mandoline, you cut the apple into very, very thin slices and simmer them in simple syrup for 10 minutes. Then you bake them on a wire rack for another 10 or 15 minutes. When you take the slices out of the oven they are nice and malleable but they stiffen very quickly and become as hard as a candied apple. Hard candy in a salad may sound strange and is probably not everyone’s thing but I personally liked the combination a lot.

Right before serving I drizzled on a dressing I whipped up from Dijon mustard, garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Delicious stuff and so healthy(-ish)!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Salad with Baked Candied Apple Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer/Main
Ingredients:
For the salad:
  • 1 apple (I used gala)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • spinach
  • grilled chicken tenderloins, cut into chunks
  • tomatoes
For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3½ tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Head on over to Southern Living for directions as to how to prepare the apple.
  2. Whisk all dressing ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Mix spinach, chicken and tomatoes, top with apple slices and drizzle with dressing.

Food Photography and Styling: I used an antique wooden box that I turned upside down as the surface for this shot and propped up one of my rustic wooden boards as the background “wall.” I styled the salad such that the individual spinach leaves formed a terrace-like pattern, which looked nice, in my opinion. To introduce some motion into the shot I weaved a napkin around part of the plate. I lit this photo from the side with my Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 strobe and my Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm)).

 

Lens: I took this photo with my 105mm f2.8 NIKKOR macro lens. You can find the current version of this lens through the following link (I use an older version that is no longer being sold): AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens.

Camera: I used my Nikon D600 to take this photo. You can find the current version of this camera through the following link: Nikon D610 DSLR Camera.

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Salted Caramel Pots de Creme

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Salted caramel pots de creme – thick, creamy and delicious!Buy 531

As you know, I find it hard to resist salted caramel anything so when I ran across this foodnetwork.com recipe I had to try it. It turned out as delicious as it sounds: caramel whisked with milk, cream and vanilla, then mixed into egg yolks, embellished with a hint of milk chocolate and baked until thick and creamy. How could you go wrong with that? I followed the recipe closely but reduced the amount of sugar a little bit and didn’t add salt to the custard, instead I just sprinkled it on because I prefer to only occasionally get a little taste of salt. Enjoy!

5.0 from 9 reviews
Salted Caramel Pots de Creme
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ounce milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 egg yolks
  • fleur de sel for sprinkling
Instructions:
  1. Head on over to foodnetwork.com for directions.

Food Photography and Styling:  I loved the thick and creamy texture of these custards and made sure to show it by spooning a little bit of it out of one of the jars. To give the surface of the custards a nice shine I shot at a bit of an angle rather than perfectly parallel to the surface from overhead. The composition is a bit unusual with the “hero” jar smack in the center of the frame, rather than on one of the lines that dissect the frame into thirds, but I thought it worked here. I didn’t want to set the jars directly on the surface, that would have looked too monotonous and boring, so I used my trusty little cooling rack and a little metal coaster to set some of the jars on. I lit this photo from the back with my Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 strobe and my Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm)).

 

Lens: I took this photo with my 105mm f2.8 NIKKOR macro lens. You can find the current version of this lens through the following link (I use an older version that is no longer being sold): AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens.

Camera: I used my Nikon D600 to take this photo. You can find the current version of this camera through the following link: Nikon D610 DSLR Camera.

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Almond Orange Cookies with Fennel Seeds

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Almond orange cookies with fennel seeds. Delicious and very easy to make!Buy 529

This recipe comes straight from Martha Stewart and it is phenomenal. Beautifully buttery and very thin, these crispy cookies have a complex citrus and anise-like flavor that comes from orange zest and fennel seeds. (I would never have thought of adding fennel seeds to cookies but they are really incredible in this recipe). On top of all that, they are super quick and easy to make. It doesn’t get any better! :)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Almond Orange Cookies with Fennel Seeds
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup blanched slivered almonds
  • ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
Instructions:
  1. Hop on over to Martha Stewart for instructions.

Food Photography and Styling: I found these cookies rather difficult to photograph, partly because they were completely uniform in color and texture and partly because they were as flat as pancakes. A little waviness would have made them look much prettier so I did the next best thing and set them on a wavy piece of paper. To give the stack a pleasant and dreamy appearance I went with a fairly wide aperture (f/4). I lit this photo from the side with my Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 strobe and my Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm)).

 

Lens: I took this photo with my 105mm f2.8 NIKKOR macro lens. You can find the current version of this lens through the following link (I use an older version that is no longer being sold): AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens.

Camera: I used my Nikon D600 to take this photo. You can find the current version of this camera through the following link: Nikon D610 DSLR Camera.

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Ribs with Espresso Barbecue Sauce

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An easy recipe for delicious pork ribs with espresso barbecue sauce. Buy 528

I’ll get to these ribs in a moment but I first want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to everyone who has bought the book! The response to it has blown me away and it makes me so very happy that you guys find it so helpful!

The affiliate program is up and running and I have just added some more images that you can use on your own sites, including the cover page, with which you can create your own ad, if you’d like to. You can find everything related to the affiliate program here: http://thespicetrain.com/ebook-affiliate-program/

A huge thank you to all my affiliates, your interest and support mean a lot to me!

Now, to the ribs. You know how much I like espresso so when I saw a recipe for espresso barbecue sauce in Food & Wine I naturally had to try it. It was spectacular. Very intense flavors, sweet, sour, just a hint of spice and a deep earthiness from the espresso. I loved everything about it. You’ll see that Food & Wine’s recipe says to refrigerate the sauce overnight but to be honest I didn’t do that, I used it right away and it was delicious! :)

5.0 from 3 reviews
Ribs with Espresso Barbecue Sauce
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients:
For the barbecue sauce (makes 1 1//2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups minced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 serrano chili, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup freshly brewed espresso
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
For the ribs:
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 rack pork ribs
Instructions:
For the barbecue sauce:
  1. Head on over to Food & Wine for instructions.
For the ribs:
  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Mix ground mustard seeds, paprika, garlic, salt and sugar together in a bowl, then rub on the ribs.
  3. Lay ribs on a baking sheet lined with two layers of aluminum foil.
  4. Lay two layers of aluminum foil on top and seal the edges tightly.
  5. Bake in the oven for 3½ hours.

Food Photography and Styling: I liked the intense, deep red color of the barbecue sauce and thought it worked really well with my trusty blue/gray metal tray. Since the sauce is the star of this recipe I put a jar of it in the composition and made sure to position it such that it was attention-grabbing. I spooned the sauce on the ribs and placed the messy spoon in the photo as well for good measure. I lit this photo from the back with my Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 strobe and my Hensel Ultra IV Softbox – 35×58″ (90x150cm)) and reflected a bit of light back onto the ribs with a small piece (~3″ by 3″) of silver foil.

 

Lens: I took this photo with my 105mm f2.8 NIKKOR macro lens. You can find the current version of this lens through the following link (I use an older version that is no longer being sold): AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens.

Camera: I used my Nikon D600 to take this photo. You can find the current version of this camera through the following link: Nikon D610 DSLR Camera.

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