The Things We Love – Smart Eggs

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During a good week, the studio probably consumes 48 eggs. For the everyday, we prefer medium boiled paired with avocado. For the special occasion, always devilled. Why we love them so much? An egg is the perfect, curious design, they provide our brains with eggcellent energy, and help us hatch up great ideas. On Monday mornings we get cracking at 9 am to talk about the week to come. Last one in is a rotten egg. Sometimes we’ll have to deal with a dozen surprises at first, which has us scrambling, but as we always say, we welcome a little eggventure at the 26 Studio. Team work – that’s what it hardboils down to.

Something eggstordinary happens when you put the spotlight on this humble ingredient. Please enjoy this collection of egg shots (and our signature devilled egg recipe), all taken on the sunny side of the studio.


26 DEVILLED EGG RECIPE

12 eggs, gently boiled for 7.5 minutes

Cut the eggs in half and spoon the yolk into a bowl.

Add the following:

3 heaping spoons of greek yogurt
2 heaping spoons of Smak Dab Mustard (any flavour in the fridge)
4 twists on the pink salt shaker
4 twist on the black pepper shaker Mix and mix until smooth.

Place the mixture in a medium zip lock with one corner snipped off.
Pipe the mixture into each half. Garnish with dill, chives and voilà!



Weekend Project: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Despite our wishful thinking, not every summer weekend in Winnipeg is full of sunshine and warm weather. On those gloomy days, or on days we simply need a pick-me-up, we turn to baking.

Here’s our go-to oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe – but be warned, the cookies won’t last long.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Beat together the butter and sugars until creamy, and then add in the vanilla and two eggs. Add the oatmeal and combine until incorporated. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and water. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Fold in the chocolate chips and chocolate chunks.

Prepare your baking sheet by greasing it. Then, using a tablespoon, place the cookie dough on the greased sheet, leaving approximately 2 ½ inches between each cookie. Gently press down on the top of each mound of dough to flatten it slightly.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 6 minutes, and then rotate the baking sheet 180º and bake for another 4 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 3-5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.



Simple is Best – P.A.S.T.A

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When you have the best quality egg a hen can lay, you simply must make pasta.

Our adventures in photographing and of course eating pasta are plenty thanks to a few of our food-forward clients. Pasta for breakfast is perfectly acceptable, and that doesn’t need to happen only on early morning shoot days. Three simple ingredients: flour, water and eggs come together into what we have discovered offers limitless depth and nuance, both to the eye and to the belly. If you’re experiencing a pasta drought in your life, or a case of the winter blues, we’ve assembled a visual pasta journey that will awake your malaise and keep your fork twirling.


Make this right now

26 Classic Carbonara — Adapted from the heaps of the classic Roman Carbonara recipes out there.


Ingredients

  • 6 nests of Nature’s Farm Garlic Herb Linguine
  • 3 Nature’s Farm eggs – yolks separated
  • 1/4 cup pecorino cheese
  • 1” slab of Pancetta from De Luca’s preferably, cut into generous cubes

Instructions

  1. Put the egg yolks into a bowl, finely grate in the pecorino, season with pepper, then mix well with a fork and put to one side.
  2. Cut any hard skin off the pancetta and set aside, then chop the meat.
  3. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente – about 7 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, rub the pancetta skin, if you have any, all over the base of a medium frying pan (this will add fantastic flavour, then place over a medium-high heat. Stir in the pancetta, then cook for 4 minutes, or until it starts to crisp up. Add the pasta to your pan of pancetta and turn off the heat.
  5. Add a splash of the cooking water and toss well, season with pepper, then pour in the egg mixture – the pan will help to cook the egg gently. Toss well, adding more cooking water until it’s creamy and glossy.
  6. Serve with a grating of Parmesan and an extra twist of pepper.



Playing with Food – A Glimpse into a Food Styling Workshop

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This past fall, 2019 the studio was invited to participate in an intimate food styling workshop at the Fort Garry Library. In attendance, a group of passionate amateur food photographers, avid cooks and readers who were seeking guidance on photographing food for social media, namely Instagram – a powerful platform to showcase and curate personal and/or professional photography endeavours.


Exercise: Building a breakfast – a morning scene

It is important to use a visual reference for composition – an inspiration shot drawn from the internet, for example (not as replication, but as guidance). We built the following in situ with the participants, touching on still life scenarios, the addition of the human element, and general tips on composition:

  • Coffee, toast with cheese, and jam scene – still life – front angle
  • Granola and yogurt – with human element –front angle
  • Granola and yogurt with egg in cup scene – top down

Outlined here, is a simple guide for you to begin the process of food styling and photography for Social Media


Things to consider / ask yourself as you begin

  • What are you curious about?
  • What is your style?
  • How do you like to engage other people with the food you make?
  • How do you present the food to real-life guests?
  • How do you want to be creative and exploratative?
  • What mood would you like to convey?
  • (dark and dramatic or light and airy; naturally lit or controlled lighting).
  • What platform are you documenting for?
  • (e.g., Instagram, blog, cookbook (print) etc.)

Props

  • Surfaces
  • Backdrops – dark, light, textured
  • Linens
  • Utensils
  • Florals
  • Small vessels for condiments, spices, herbs, etc.
  • Plates – small, salad, dinner
  • Bowls – large, shallow, small, very petite

Note: Look through your grandparents’ or parents’ antique collections. Collect, collect, collect. Look to local makers and artisans.


Prop Quality

  • Nuanced, with patina – especially with cutlery
  • Neutral tones – to let the food shine
  • Wooden boards (e.g., cutting, serving, etc) in various sizes, but avoid orange tones. Go for grey or darker brown wood tones
  • Natural materials (e.g., ceramics (real clay), wood)
  • Smaller-sized glassware and stemware
  • Linen – use real linen (real linen photographs better than blends and synthetic materials, and falls or manipulates nicely on flat surfaces).

Sourcing Props

  • Leanne Muir – small bowls, mugs
  • Karen + Jason Hare – The Root Cellar
  • Old House Revival
  • AAA Consignment
  • Value Village and The Salvation Army


Types of Shots

  • Top down – primarily 1 element or repeated elements.
  • Front angle – offering a sense of the human perspective Front angle – framing vertical space (flowers, bottles, etc.), or photographing with a dynamic background (e.g., in front of a window). Or, horizontal space (landscape), straight-on. Or, capturing depth of field.
  • Human element – adding a human action, such as drizzling a sauce or dressing, dishing out the meal, sprinkling a dry ingredient like maldon salt, nuts or seeds, and shaving parmesan, etc.

Principles of Composition

  1. Compose elements in threes or odd numbers.
  2. Integrate raw ingredients that are part of a dish or are used to garnish or flavour a dish (e.g., citrus, herbs, spices, etc.).
  3. Consider the placement and angles of the utensils (either in interaction with the food, or alongside)
  4. Plate individual portions alongside the vessel in which it was made or is served.
  5. Authenticity – ask how you would eat this and at what stage (i.e., just plated or half-eaten).



Keeping Company with Volume

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Meditations on how to help others is part of our everyday. We look not only inward but toward the people we work with and become close friends with, for inspiration and guidance. Today we acknowledge chef Sharon Steward, with whom we had the privilege of developing a beautiful, educational cookbook with during the summer of 2017. She is someone who thinks with her heart, but with all of the brains behind it. She always has others in mind while staying true to what she is most passionate about: food, community, family, and her faith.


The Community Food Share Project

By trade, Sharon is a Red Seal Chef with years of experience in both the back and front of house in some of Canada’s most revered restaurants. She holds a sommelier diploma from the International Sommelier Guild, and is currently the head chef at InterVarsity Pioneer Camp Manitoba, a seasonal outdoor camp on an island in Shoal Lake.

Today, Sharon is busy spearheading an initiative that is responding to the times in a most generous and innovative way. Sadly, due to COVID-19, Pioneer Camp may not be in operation this year, a place where many children, staff, and volunteers spend their summers. But, as the chef, Sharon has retained important connections to food sources, which she has thoughtfully redirected to those in need.

The Community Food Share Project supports anyone who is struggling to access wholesome food in this challenging time. Whether caring for a young family, for oneself, for elderly family members, or for a community – the program functions to provide nourishing meals to many people in the city of Winnipeg and surrounding areas via food packages for purchase, and also subsidized for those in need. A very special part of those packages is the inclusion of a copy of the Volume: Cooking for a Community cookbook in packages that are purchased. All items within the food parcel are ingredients Sharon would have used to cook meals at camp. The book is a resource that will help anyone who receives or purchases a package understand what the food is connected to. To camp; to a community that values food, to an ethos of sharing food.

Visit https://www.volumecookbook.com/community-food-share-program to learn more about how you can engage in The Community Food Share Project.



Keeping Company with De Luca’s and Smak Dab – Our Food Heroes!

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Greetings from our home offices this week. A special week is ahead of us as we prepare for and navigate new ways of dealing with times that call for gathering – Easter, Passover, celebrating the first signs of spring in our respective exterior spaces – whatever it is that normally calls us together, is upon us.


I think we can collectively agree that there is new joy to be discovered in preparing food, in trying something new, and taking pleasure in the challenge of cooking with what you have.

We know all too well about cooking with what you have in a small studio kitchen. And, my goodness, we miss those days. Cooking at the stove with what you’ve got to get the perfect shot, alongside some of the best creative culinary artists in the city, is something we miss dearly.

Thank you to Smak Dab and De Luca’s, who, for those of you don’t know, are good friends and have been supportive of one another from the beginning. Thank you to Smak Dab, for introducing us to our first contact at De Luca’s. You are both dream clients because you trust us – our taste in food, aesthetics and communication. You have welcomed us into your family life – moms, dads, uncles, friends, Italian chefs, babies, fiancés, and more. Thank you for teaching us how to celebrate with food, Thank you for showing us that though food doesn’t need to be complicated, it is still a world to approach with rigour, repetition, and generosity.

As traditions continue in new social settings, or in quietude – we hope you find comfort in knowing that Smak Dab and De Luca’s are still there for you. We know they can help deliver happiness.

With much respect, and until the next…
From the 26 Projects Team