I have been trying to get more creative with my food photos. I am fortunate to have great light in my kitchen which presents me with tons of opportunities but I find that my photos are frequently taken from the same vantage point – above. I like shooting from this angle for a lot of my dishes and find myself scrambling up little ladders or perched on chairs to get that perfect shot. Summer luckily provides me with longer daylight hours but in winter I often find myself preparing food way in advance so as to be sure to shoot with natural light. But it is time for a change – new vantage points, fresh eyes – I hope! I found this great Food Photography class online on a site called CreativeLive . The food photographer is named Penny de Los Santos with an incredible pedigree having worked for National Geographic and now for Saveur. I have been learning tons (Only natural light! Introduce chaos into order!) If I could only take photos half as good as she. And I am only on day 1. I have already learned how to improve on the 2 shots I am showing here….but watch out – a new perspective is born. Let me know how I am doing and if you see a photo you really like (or not), let me know so I can learn!
Given my kitchen is now littered with basket upon basket of tomatoes and eggplant, I decided to make a roasted tomato and eggplant soup last night. Incredibly easy to make and great both hot or cold. Enjoy!
Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup
1 large eggplant, cut into large chunks (somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 inch chunks)
1/2 large red onion, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
About 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
About 2 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Set two oven racks – one near top and one near bottom. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes and garlic cloves. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt (about 1 teaspoon or to taste) and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste). Stir to combine. Pour as a single layer onto rimmed baking sheet. Place on top oven rack. In same mixing bowl, combine the cubed eggplant and onion. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt (about 1 teaspoon or to taste) and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste). Stir to combine. Pour as a single layer onto a second rimmed backing sheet. Place on bottom oven rack. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
2. Using tongs, remove any tomato skins. Place tomato/garlic mixture and 1/2 of the eggplant/onion mixture in a food processor or blender. Add in the basil. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a large pot or dutch oven. Add in the remaining eggplant/onion mixture and stir to combine. Thin with about 2 1/2 cups water or chicken stock (or as needed). Stir and adjust seasonings.
3. Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve!