The Wedding Photographer Comes For Dinner

The first time I met Lisa Rigby, we chatted over lattes at Starbucks.  It was almost two years ago, which is hard to believe, and we met to discuss the possibility of having her take our wedding photos.  Of the things that Eric and I fully agreed on, it was that we wanted photographs that would document the event and we didn’t want many staged pictures (or ones that at least looked like they were staged).

We found Lisa, whose website, Lisa Rigby Photography, you can access by clicking here, via Craigslist and as soon as I looked at her work, I was sold.  She captures the small moments and does so with very little direction.  It is this subtly in her work that makes her stand out from the other wedding photographers out there.

From our wedding last year:

It’s an added bonus that Lisa is a delightful person.  We’ve kept in touch since our wedding, mostly through Facebook (and now Twitter), and she always seems to be in a great mood.

Having followed the blog, Lisa suggested a few weeks ago that we collaborate on a little food/photo project. Lisa took lovely photos of the food at our wedding, so I was absolutely thrilled with this idea.

I’ll stop rambling on and on about how much I adore Lisa and her work, and let the pictures (and the food) speak for themselves.  The only note I wanted to add is that the fish pictured below came from our first CSF pick up.  It was some of the freshest, most succulent fish I have ever had.

Lastly, given the number of recipes in this posting (which will hopefully keep all of you well fed this weekend), I’m going to take a little time off before the next entry.  It’s not a long break,  but I probably won’t have another post up until later next week.

Have a happy and healthy Memorial Day!

The Menu:
Grilled Haddock Stuffed with Lemon and Herbs

Ingredients

1 whole haddock, gutted and cleaned (wash the outside skin lightly with water)

1/2 lemon, sliced into circles

Fresh herbs (such as parsley and thyme)

Green onion (tops only), chopped

1/4 cup canola oil

kosher salt

black pepper

Preparation

Turn the grill on high heat.   Meanwhile, lay the fish on a large tray or cutting board, and coat both sides of the fish with oil. Sprinkle generous amounts of salt and pepper on both sides. Stuff the cavity of the fish with the lemon, herbs, and green onion.

Take the fish off the tray and place directly on grill and cook (roughly 10 minutes per inch), making sure to flip half way through the process. When done, transfer to a clean tray or board and remove the head.  Move the body of the fish to serving platter.

Remove the layer of skin on top. Using a serving spoon or metal spatula, find the top layer of bones, and serve the meat that lays above that. At this point, you should be able to remove the bones from the whole fish, leaving just the remaining meat on the platter.

Eric’s Grandma’s Cucumber Salad (from my mother-in-law, Kay Frishman)

Ingredients

4 cucumbers, slightly peeled, leaving a little green for color

1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

1 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp salt

Black pepper

1 tbsp fresh or dried dill

Preparation

Slice them thinly, on a grater or with a food processor.  Put them in a bowl and pour the white vinegar over them.  Sprinkle in the sugar, salt, some black pepper, dill, and mint.

Stir all together and let sit for about 2 hours before using.  Great alone, or can be served in a green salad.

Carrot and Cranberry Salad with Fresh Ginger Dressing

(from Bon Appetit, November 2009)

Ingredients

7 large green onions

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar

2 level tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger

4 cups coarsely grated peeled carrots

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preparation

Cut tops off onions. Cut tops lengthwise into thin strips; cut strips into 2-inch pieces. Chop half of onion bottoms. Place remaining bottoms in blender; add vinegar and ginger. Puree, occasionally scraping down sides of blender jar. Strain puree into measuring cup, pressing enough solids through to yield 1/2 cup dressing; season with pepper.

Place carrots and cranberries in large bowl. Add onion tops and bottoms. Toss with enough dressing to coat.

Red Potatoes with Fresh Dill, Rosemary, and Thyme

Ingredients

2 lbs of red potatoes

3 tbsp butter

kosher salt

black pepper

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme

1 tbsp dill, fresh or dry

Preparation

In a large pot, add water and turn heat to high.  Once it starts to reach the point of boiling, add 1 tbsp of salt to the water.  Once it has started boiling, add potatoes. Cook until a fork can easily be inserted into the potato.

Drain potatoes in a colander and return to pot.  Add butter, rosemary and thyme leaves, chopped parsley, dill, black pepper and another dash of salt and mix until the potatoes are all thoroughly coated.

The Best Cocoa Brownies (Adapted from Alice Mendrich’s Bittersweet via Smitten Kitchen) and Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (from David Lebovitz)

The Best Cocoa Brownies

Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies

Ingredients

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)

1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, cold

1/2 cup (66 grams, 2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Preparation

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes.  Let cool completely on a rack. [As Deb suggests, put them in the freezer so that they can be cut with clean lines.]

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Vanilla Ice Cream

(makes 1 quart)

Ingredients

1 cup milk

A pinch of salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

5 egg yolks

2 cup heavy cream

A few drops of vanilla extract

Preparation

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.

2. Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions

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MonetMay 27, 2010 - 3:06 pm

This post brought me such joy. From seeing your beautiful wedding photos to the recipes you included…I'm smiling as I type. Thank you for making my day brighter!
http://anecdotesandapples.weebly.com

Sippity SupMay 27, 2010 - 3:33 pm

Beautiful photos. It's sweet that you stayed in touch with the photographer. There is something about that just tells your union is truly blessed. Haddock is not a fish we see here in the west much so I was happy to see that too. Thanks for visiting Sippity Sup. GREG

ellenMay 27, 2010 - 6:08 pm

Brian, this was a truly beautiful post. Thank you for brightening my day with it. And I feel twice blessed to have the recipes, which I will embark up on soon. (I will also echo you in saying that I fully agree: the brownie recipe is also my favorite. It is always special and well worth the few minutes of extra time that it takes. Enjoy your time off!

MargieMay 27, 2010 - 7:00 pm

Your blog is always such a delicious treat to read….and this posting was especially fabulous. I just may make those brownies this weekend, too.

Andrew FrishmanMay 27, 2010 - 9:03 pm

Mmmnn. . . Haddock! . . . actually all of it looks pretty spectacularly tasty. . . Missing hanging out with you guys and enjoying the fringe [gustatory] benefits.

JoanneMay 28, 2010 - 2:51 am

First of all, you guys are adorable together and those wedding photos are priceless. Should I ever get married, that is what I want my pictures to be like. Just pure happiness. Captured.

Now as for the recipes. Wow. This post is stuffed with them. That carrot salad is definitely going to be made this summer. And the haddock is just a force to be reckoned with. You deserve a break after this.

In response to your question, I usually use Trader Joe's stocks. I used chicken broth for the soup since that's what I had on hand but Bittman says either that or veggie work. I bet a homemade stock would be even better!

Lindsey FrancesMay 28, 2010 - 12:56 pm

The photographs here are amazing! I loved this post.

jeanneMay 28, 2010 - 4:14 pm

magnifico!

emilyMay 28, 2010 - 6:54 pm

love, love, love the thoughts behind your wedding photography. though i do love one big staged family photo (the kind you see in albums from 100 years ago) staged photos scare me!

i WILL be making those brownies as well. they look beyond delicious and gooey.

StellaMay 30, 2010 - 12:16 am

Hey Brian, your wedding photos are beautiful. And the wedding photographer is also a great food photographer too. Some photographers say that if one can shoot food, one can shoot anything!
The haddock sounds awesome too…

knkMay 31, 2010 - 6:56 pm

nice photos and nice post

jcraig1234June 3, 2010 - 8:30 pm

Brian – Thanks for the great post. There are so many great recipes – and so many healthy ones! You're amazing.

KitchenJune 3, 2010 - 11:01 pm

Best. Post. Ever. I really loved this! The photos from your wedding are so heartwarming, and I love how you stayed in touch with Lisa – her wedding photography parlays so well into food photography! What a beautifully rustic and scrumptious meal :)

meghanJune 5, 2010 - 4:55 pm

Oh my! All of the photos are so beautiful, and the food looks incredible. I love the sound of that cucumber salad for something cold and light in the summer. Lovely post.

KristenFebruary 23, 2011 - 8:16 pm

What a great post – and those brownies? May be just the thing to get me off the mix ;)

Fudgy Brownie Bites | Chasing DeliciousAugust 30, 2011 - 11:56 am

[...] I sent out, asking if anyone had a moist brownie recipe. The adorable, inspiring Brian Samuels of  A Though for Food–a favorite foodie of mine and a big inspiration for my pursuits here–suggested I check [...]

HeleneSeptember 1, 2011 - 12:32 pm

Some day my son said that he will marry the man of his dreams. I hope he finds the love of his life like you did. Your pictures are so inspiring and beautiful.

[...] BROWNIES Original brownie recipe courtesy of Chasing Delicious, A Thought For Food and Smitten Kitchen. Makes 16 [...]

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