i found out this past weekend after two full days of non-stop cooking that orchestrating a food photo shoot is not an easy task. i set out on this great adventure this past saturday thinking that i could put together fourteen dishes in one day. by the time six o'clock rolled around and i was just halfway through my menu, i realized that maybe i started out a bit ambitious. so one full day of cooking turned into two to take all the photos i needed for a new website i'm launching in two weeks time. don't fret though! the petite pig is not going anywhere. i'll still be here once a week (twice a week if we're lucky) to talk shop but i have to admit, all this food blogging has gotten me hungrier than ever about food. after lots of profound (or perhaps just confused) existential thought, i decided to take a sabbatical from my career as a living-out-of-my-suitcase consultant. i now work a normal, home-by-six 40 hour week and have rediscovered time, time to do things. it's pretty amazing.
so you ask, what have i been doing with all this time? have i figured out the meaning of life? well, no, and probably never will but i have figured out one thing: that i love food and it's about time i take this show on the road, so i'm trying to get two food businesses up and running. the first is going to be my own personal chef/private dinner party thrower/cooking instructor/just let me feed you business. i may have to end up naming it just that unless one of you readers have any suggestions for me? if you do, deadline is until saturday to email me. if i choose your name, a multi-course dinner for you and three friends awaits you. the second business is still too fledgling to reveal much, but i'll make an announcement when the time is right.
back to this photo shoot. no food website would be complete without lots of shameless food porn. as a result, my friend allan hsu (anyone need a photographer? cause after you see these photos, you'll want to pay him just to come take pictures of your bowl of 5 cent ramen) endured two full days of the type-a chef that i can be to help me capture the food porn that i envisioned. fifteen dishes . . . lots of food requiring lots of 1) help and 2) eaters. i emailed a dozen friends to do just that. they responded to my plea for help and came bearing gifts of wine, appetites and bravery. they acted as makeshift sous chefs, photo-assistants, food-stylists, taste-testers, but most importantly, wonderful supporting friends. there were a lot of moving pieces, food scattered everywhere, a summer roll wrapping lesson thrown in there but twenty plus hours of simmering and searing later, we had exactly what i was hoping for: beautiful make-you-salivate photos. drained, i fell into a chair, my body ached but it was definitely the most rewarding cooking i had ever done. stay tuned for www.jessdang'spersonalchef/privatedinnerpartythrower/ cookinginstructor/justletmefeedyou.com.
oh, and just in case you were wondering. here's the menu from the weekend:
pan-seared shrimp in parmesan baskets with pancetta and pesto
sausage, chicken and bacon rolls with a butter apple, thyme and sage sauce
frisee and orange salad with walnuts
mixed greens with asian pears, craisins and goat cheese
duo of summer rolls: poached shrimp & cucumber and ahi tuna & avocado
duo of salsas and guacamole
sausage and portobello pizza with arugula
pan-seared chilean sea bass with cream of corn and red pepper coulis
rack of lamb with polenta, sauteed mushrooms and fried leek strings
black truffle mac 'n cheese a la dave martin of top chef season 1
viet trio: sweet fried rice with thai basil, caramel chicke and shaking beef with mango
panna cotta with balsamic-strawberry sauce
shots of tiramisu