Photography

01 Aug

Can’t you see I’m falling apart?

By Silver Blue

…armed with love, I could save my heart, but on my own I just can’t make it, I’m too weak to fight, so take it…*

Some shots taken in the backwoods of North Carolina in February 2007. The heart and soul is still in this buildings, but they slowly die…

For whom does the bell toll? No one, it would seem.

A former filling station/convenience store, perhaps.

Another shot. Someone’s trying to keep it from falling apart, it would seem.

I knew the housing market had crashed, but this is a bit extreme. But these places sit…and slowly fade away.

I loved this shot, for it’s simplicity and…

…because the curtains in the upstairs windows that remain are billowing out of the broken glass. I wonder what memories were made here, that have been lost to the ravages of time.

Silver Blue… who realizes that people are very much like these photos… sometimes, they can be just an empty shells of their former glory.

(* Blue, Wham!)

[audio:http://www.eyesofsilverblue.com/wblue.mp3]
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27 Jul

Not so birds of a feather…

By Silver Blue

 

I associate closely with Cardinals because they’re the state bird of my birth state, and therefore… one of the few red things I affiliate myself with. So much more interesting to align with, say, the Blue Jay, given my affinity for all things blue.

This photo was taken at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in the spring of 2011. As you can see, one of the parrots they have in captivity was paid a visit…by a cardinal. They posed for several photos, and then the Cardinal actually descended to the ground under the parrot to retrieve lost seed. The parrot seemed to pay the Cardinal no mind.

Therein is the lesson to be learned: if it’s not something that affects you, LEAVE IT BE.

Silver Blue, who thinks its time for one more glass of iced tea prior to bedtime.

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19 Jul

Continuing with the thought of food….

By Silver Blue

…this is a take off of one recipe that was shared with me, for Chicken Saltimbocca, which, if you’re not familiar with, is chicken with sage, prosciutto ham, and cheese, cooked in a wine sauce.

I tarted it up a bit with extra prosciutto on top (you have to be careful, it’s very salty), and served it up with brown rice (cooked in chicken broth) and green beans.

Simple food items, taken to a whole new level, by the combination, and by a lot of love in the preparation. Being that I haven’t included the recipe over on thewannabegourmet.com, I’ll share it here:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 teaspoons butter
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
10 ounces sliced whole milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup white wine (I use Pinot Grigio-Sauvignon Blanc)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Pound chicken breasts flat, and lay them on work surface. Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese on both sides. Place a pinch of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon butter in the center of each breast. Cover each breast with a layer of prosciutto and mozzarella cheese. Reserve some of the prosciutto to place on top of the chicken. Roll up each chicken breast, and secure with toothpicks.

In a 9×13 inch baking dish, combine white wine, melted butter and olive oil. Arrange chicken rolls in dish. Place a small piece of prosciutto on top of each roll, and sprinkle with pepper.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink, and juices run clear.

Garnish with fresh sage leaves (optional), and serve!

Silver Blue, who is thankful for the taste of life that he finds every day… and for the one person who brings it his way. 🙂

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14 Jul

Your life is a canvas, the colours are you…*

By Silver Blue | 1 comment

1

One of the things I enjoy most in the world through my eyes is the variety of colours that Mother Nature provides. Something as simple as the changing of the leaves can buoy my heart.

From several Autumns ago, Mother Nature puts on her true colours. This, before the temps plummeted, turning us all… blue.

Speaking of blue, as you know, it’s one of my favourite colours. Hence, my mantel, decked out in my favourite cobalt. Some find blue to be a cold, icy colour, but I don’t. I find it calming, serene, soothing.

Silver Blue, who knows that there’s more to the rainbow than a pack of Skittles.

(*”White Canvas,” a-ha: “Stories are painted in lines on your face — misunderstandings and little mistakes…a chance to start over is all that it takes….you know if you do, your life is a canvas, the colours are you…”)

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13 Jul

Left broken, empty, in despair…

By Silver Blue

…wanna breathe, can’t find air…*

History is slowly fading from view across America. Businesses are going under, and their buildings, instead of being repurposed, are being torn down.

Growing up, my summer was spent in my grandmother’s town of Kenton, Ohio.

One of the stores was an F. W. Woolworth’s, that went under long before the actual demise of the chain.

For years, it sat, like this:

Windows boarded up, or painted over. What would it have looked like had it still been open?

This was a primitive attempt, in April 2000, to recapture the look. I could do better these days, but hey, I was in my learning phase then.

What did it look like inside? How badly had the building deteriorated?

Gee. Thanks. I can see a heck of a lot. How about some fill light?

Grainy, but better. Sad. Is that … water on the inside of the building?

Alas, indeed it is. Anything of value had been stripped from the inside (including some things NOT of value, like the floor tile — necessary, for asbestos abatement, of course. But this was spelling the beginning of the end). Even though the building really wasn’t architecturally “significant”, you can bet that it was structurally sound, and quite solid when built, unlike the shell buildings of today.

All that’s left now, however (as of 2008, when I was last in Kenton, for my grandmother’s funeral), is a parking lot:

They say you can’t go back, anymore than you can stop the wind from blowing – you can’t change the changes going on…they say you can’t go back and you can’t stop the door from closing…once you’ve gone, you can’t go back home…**

[audio:http://www.eyesofsilverblue.com/ycgbh.mp3]

Silver Blue, who misses the way things were.

(* “Left Outside Alone” by Anastacia, ** “You Can’t Go Back Home” by Sylvia)

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14 Jun

Feasting for the Spirit (or, Food Part II)

By Silver Blue

Welcome to the second session of… well, delectable delights from my kitchen to your screen. (If I’ve put the recipe over on The Wannabe Gourmet, I’ve linked to it.)

Let’s start with an appetizer, shall we? Mozzarella Caprese: Garden ripe tomatoes (none of those hothouse, flavourless ones, please), fresh mozzarella, basil, and Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and fresh ground black pepper. Plated, family style:

…and individually served with the oil, vinegar and pepper dressing.

Soup, anyone? Provided you can do coconut, and curry, here’s a Coconut Curry Soup with Butternut Squash, Shrimp, Scallops and baby Bok Choy:

There’s freshly chopped coriander (a/k/a cilantro) sprinkled atop this. It’s hard to describe the taste, as it’s made with Coconut Milk, Curry Paste, Fish Sauce, Chicken Stock, and the aforementioned veggies and proteins) A meal in it’s own right.

Next up, let’s have a Shrimp Sofrito, with tomatoes, peppers, red onions, and some awesome Manchego cheese (yes, the coriander/cilantro is present here as well):

Staying in the shrimp realm, take shrimp sauteed with minced garlic, add grilled asparagus and mini farfalle pasta, and you end up with:

There are scallions and cracked green pepper as well.

Maybe you’re in the mood for tuna, though. Sesame crusted tuna, served on a bed of brown rice with a side of Napa cabbage (cooked in a hot skillet with some chicken stock for flavour and to wilt it down) makes a great dinner as well!

Or, for the halibut (pun time, perhaps?), I have an herbed (dill) halibut fillet and oven roasted frites:

(Those are haricots (green beans) with minced shallot as the true veggie).

Chicken? LOL. I’ve got two non-seafood options for you there. The first, a chicken picatta:

The chicken breast is pounded thin, dusted with flour seasoned with salt and pepper, and sauteed quickly in a hot pan lightly filmed with olive oil. The pan is deglazed with lemon juice and capers, which are poured over the chicken and brown rice. Steamed broccoli rounds out the meal.

Or, maybe you’re in the mood for something a little more formal:

This chicken has been marinated in a dijon sauce, and is served alongside homemade sage dressing, and steamed veggies. Served with a sparkling white wine.

Finally, for dessert, we have lemon curd tartlettes with blackberries:

…which are simple in preparation, but intense in flavour.

Silver Blue, who is craving something extra tasty for dinner!

 

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12 Jun

But is it art?

By Silver Blue

When I had my kitchen renovated in 2009 (thanks to Mom and Dad), I was left with a very tough decision. What to use to keep the walls from being blank and bare. It shouldn’t have been that big of an issue, just find some prints I liked and put them on the wall, right? After all, isn’t that what everyone else (who doesn’t USE a kitchen) does? Somehow, cookie-cutter wasn’t going to cut it for me. (One of the photos contains a word that is NSFW, but it was on a retail package.)

A suggestion was made that since I like photographing the food I make, to use it. You know, it made sense. That way, I could rotate the photos as I saw fit, and it would be things that meant something to me on display. So, I went for it. (Each photo is signed “Silver Blue” and dated with the year it was taken.)

The original backsplash, featured lacquered scallops, a still-life of a bread basket, and three different types of soups (Soup à la Crécy (a carrot based soup), Spicy Sweet Potato Soup, and a Cranberry Wild Rice Soup).

The second iteration had a close up of the Chef Cherished Teddy (wearing his “Kiss the Cook” apron), Boiled Custard, and the Still Life.

I then acquired hyper-caffeinated coffee (thanks to the housemate, Sandi, who vacationed in New Orleans), and the middle picture was removed and replaced with:

The coffee came in Censored and Non-Censored Packaging. Of course, may as well have a photo of the Wannabe Gourmet in his kitchen, yes?

The wall by the stove became:

Displaying the Strawberry Mousse Chocolat, Pavlovas, London Broil with Mushroom Risotto and veggies, and a Spicy Beef and Broccoli soup with garlic Crostini.

The photos have been rotated as well, with the inclusion of me, offering coffee:

(taken on my late Grandmother’s porch, the day of her funeral) — and this photo came down when the hyper-caffeinated coffee photo went on display. It was replaced with:

An artistic take on an out-of-focus shot made with my Blackberry at “Perfectly Franks” (hot dog and hamburger place) in the University Village on the campus where I work. There was something about the way this photo came together in this surreal sort of way…cartoon? Pen drawing? I liked it, and it went up. Of course, things are meant to be changed so…

The current wall. Notice how the boiled custard returned, the Pavlova disappeared, and the Chorizo pasta (from yesterday’s post) are now featured. (When do I decide to change? Well, honestly, when my local photo developer has a sale on 8x10s. LOL)

Finally, I had some dead space above the doorway. Nothing wrong with empty wallspace, but…it seemed to be asking for something. Something big. Something tasty.

So, I acquiesced with a giant picture of “the perfect burger” (which you’ll find over on The Wannabe Gourmet). I’ve yet to find another photo that works as well as that one, however. (I’ll do a feature on the renovation of the kitchen at a later date.)

Silver Blue, who answers the subject with “Art is in the eye of the beholder.”

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10 Jun

Taste Bud Temptations

By Silver Blue | 2 comments

2

First off, a note about comments: If you wish to comment (and I welcome them), you have to click on the name of the post, which will open it, and the comment box is at the bottom of the screen.

I make no apologies for my love of cooking. I love deconstructing recipes to their base flavours and seeing if there are ways to lighten the calorie count without compromising taste or texture.

Whether from the land or sea, food takes many forms that interest me. Here, I present some photos that didn’t make it to The Wannabe Gourmet, and some that did. As I say over there, I’m no food stylist, nor am I a professional photographer. To that end, what you see is what I eat. Most likely within minutes of taking the picture. There are no tricks of the trade (toothpicks, food dye, Photoshop) involved.

Ebelskiver, a pancake puff that can be made savory or sweet. Here, they’re filled with finely diced ham, feather shredded cheese, and sauteed scallions:

3 or 4 of these delicacies, along with a fresh crisp green salad is all that it takes for a filling meal. Of course, you need a specialized pan to make them (Williams Sonoma sells an Ebelskiver Pan, and Bed Bath & Beyond calls it a “Pancake Puff Pan.” You can guess which is cheaper. Ergo, you can also tell which will last you longer and gives you the more consistent results. (Because of the specialty pan, this didn’t make The Wannabe Gourmet.)

Scallops, two ways:

Baked scallops (topped with fresh breadcrumbs and fresh grated Parmesan cheese) along with sauteed veggies. Sweet as a nut, and so very tasty. Step up the class (and calorie count), and lower the amount you can comfortably consume with Coquilles St. Jacques:

Enrobed in a Bechemel sauce (a white sauce made of a roux (flour and butter) and cream), sauteed scallops and scallions are topped with finely shredded cheese and placed under the broiler just long enough to brown the cheese. A dish this size (a standard soup bowl) could feed two or even three comfortably when served with veggies, a salad, or even fruit.

Another dish that didn’t make it to The Wannabe Gourmet was this simplistic Chorizo based pasta sauce with steamed broccoli and fruit cup. The thing I loved about this photo is the glass the fruit cup is in. There’s no liquid in it. I merely chilled it before placing the fruit in it, and the condensation on the inside of the glass gave it an awesome look. Why didn’t it make the cut? The only recipe would for a pasta sauce (with sliced Chorizo). Angel hair pasta (fresh or dried), steamed broccoli, and a fruit cup need no recipes.

Finally, we need a dessert. Something light. Meringue is a classic light dessert, and when served with a whipped cream and fruit, becomes a Pavlova:

The hardest thing about this dish is finding the non-humid, non-rainy day to make it. They are so very tasty, however. 🙂

I’ve not even begun to scratch the surface with the food photos however…but we have lots of time ahead of us…no need in attempting to do it all in one sitting!

Silver Blue, who is in need of a good cup of tea.

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