Part 4 of a Sunday Brunch Extravaganza (see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
As I promised, the result of the photoshoot I described yesterday. Not to sound like a pompous ass, but it's amazing to see how much the photography on this little blog is improving- I'm actually seeing acceptances from foodgawker/tastespotting everybody!
And to explain my poorly labeled picture from yesterday:
- Because all of the windows in the kitchen have awnings over them, it's not a very good source of light. Don't be afraid to think outside the box, and for me that meant the floor of the family room next to the sliding glass door.
- As you can see, the main source of light is coming from the left side of the food. This means that the left side of the picture will be well lit while the right side will be darker. In order to compensate for this, I put used a whiteboard to reflect the incoming light back on the waffles.
- The number 1 reason why I personally believe my photos have improved is because I started using a tripod. Because of this, I am more free to increase my f-stop and keep my shutter open longer without inducing either blur or underexposed photos.
- Sometimes you'll need a diffuser to soften the light. I've found that I had to only do this sometimes, but when I'm shooting on a white backdrop (such as a tablecloth) it's not too necessary. I did have to use one today however when shooting a nectarine tart (which will be described in a later post)
just a normal monday
Personal tips I've learned so far:
- Stop using such small f-stops! When I first got my 1.4mm lens I became so excited that I'd now be able to get pretty bokeh that's all I left the aperture setting at. As a result all I got were photos that were blurry and never in focus. Now my aperture hovers around 2.8-3.5, necessitating the need for a tripod
- A note on food styling: I'm not the best in the world, but what I've noticed is that you definitely need to group objects a lot more closer than you think they need to be. Not really a tip, but more an observation
- For some odd reason, I feel that an odd number of either objects or groups of objects is easier to style/photograph. It just makes it easier to style the photo. The empty nutella jar may seem irrelevant, but imagine if it weren't there- the pictures would have seemed like they had a gaping blank spot!
Where do I begin with waffles? Before I discovered the magic of Belgian waffles, the only waffle I knew of were Eggo's convenient little crispy frisbees that didn't really taste like anything unless you drowned it in syrup. Try this recipe however, and what you get are deceptively light yeast-risen triangles that are delicately crisp on the outside but moist and tender on the inside, with pockets that become perfect containers for macerated strawberries and whipped cream.
the only time when it's okay to feel gassy
The only tweak I made in this recipe is increasing the amount of butter (don't judge me) from 1 1/2 to 2 sticks of butter. The difference is quite noticeable though, as the extra fat not only provides more flavor but also churns out a more crisp product.
And one final note... you just spent a day making homemade, crispy, yeasty, airy Belgian Waffles. Don't you dare desecrate your efforts by slathering them with Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth!
why yes, I can eat that whole platter
Foolproof Belgian Waffles
adapted slightly from Allrecipes
MAKES 10-12 WAFFLES
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 egg yolks
2 3/4 cups warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 egg whites
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Let stand until foamy/creamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in an extremely large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, melted butter, and 1/4 cup of the warm milk. It's important that the bowl be huge since the batter will almost double in size later. Stir in the yeast mixture, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk alternately with the flour, ending with the flour. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks; fold into the batter. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Alternatively, place bowl in the refrigerator and allow to slowly rise overnight.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Preheat your waffle iron on high heat, near it's hottest setting (I used 5/6). Lightly grease the iron's surface with melted butter, and place about 1/2 cup of the risen batter (it's important that you don't stir or deflate the batter after it has risen) on the iron, and bake until golden brown. . Immediately place the waffle in the oven directly on the rack, until ready to serve.