Category Archives: Food

Ottawa Food Photography :: Chicken Fajitas with Pineapple Mango Pico de Gallo!

The creation of this recipe was inspired by a recent visit to a new little taco place that opened up here in town. The other day I ate some SUPER delicious tacos there and I have not been able to stop thinking about them since! This of course got me thinking about the amazingness of Mexican hand foods, and how very little I cook it despite really enjoying it. Now like any ethinic food I attempt, I make no claims to the authenticity of this dish. I simply cook based on my own tastes and what I think my family will eat! I do, however, guarantee that this will be one of the most unique, delicious, colourful and flavourful dishes you will ever make in your own kitchen! It’s also surprisingly easy to prepare if you don’t mind a bit of prep work! Probably the best thing about this dish though is the presentation. It LOOKS like you spent hours crafting and preparing this masterpiece…when in fact, it was even less involved than I initially thought. The flavours and textures mingle so nicely that it almost creates a unique flavour all it’s own. Highly recommended as a cool and impressive dish for entertaining this summer!

 

1 ripe mango cubed
1/2 fresh pineapple cubed
1/3 of an english cucumber peeled and cubed
12-15 sweet baby tomatos sliced into quarters
1/2 red onion finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic finely minced
A small handful of cilantro roughly chopped (or however much desired)
Juice of 1 large-ish lime.
sea salt to taste
(Optional ingredient ideas: Avacado, Jalapeno peppers, Tomatillo, Red/yellow/orange peppers.)

Place all chopped and peeled fruits and veggies into a bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the ingredients. Salt to taste. Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate covered for an hour or two before serving to let the flavours ‘mingle’. Serve cold on tortillas over top of fajita chicken (see recipe below) Note: This Pico de Gallo will keep if covered in the fridge, however the mango and pineapple will likely get mushy very quickly so eating quickly is a good idea. Not that this would be a problem of course. 😉

 

 

2-3 cubed chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4  teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like it spicy!)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
Heat a few glugs of oil in a skillet and cook chicken over medium heat until completely cooked (no pink). Add 1/2 cup of water (or lime juice) and 2-3 tablespoons of seasoning mix and stir well. You will have some left over fajita seasoning after making this recipe. So you could easily use more than I’ve recommended, or store the left overs it in an air tight container for next time. Alternatively: Any of the fajita spice packets available at the grocery store would work for this too, and would save a bit of time. We like the sodium-reduced house brand stuff at our local Loblaws.

 

 

Aren’t the colours phenomenal?! If food could be sexy, I believe this would be it! 😉
Are you an Ottawa or Gatineau area bakery, restaurant or cafe owner who is in need of some unique images of the delicious foods you serve? Perhaps you’d like food photos for a website, blog or menu? If so, I’d love to discuss the possibilities with you!

Ottawa Food Photography :: Quinoa Chili

During this time of year, I am ALL about making my family these types of simple dinners. Not only are they extra delicious on a cold day, but they are so easy. And when it comes right down to it, for someone who has 2 kids, 2 dogs, a husband and a business, easy is pretty much the most important thing. Always. 😉

This chili recipe is one that I created myself based mostly on my memory of recipes I’ve followed in the past. Like most things I make, its really versatile. You could definitely add or take away any of the ingredients and substitute them for others depending on your tastes. For this one I decided to use Quinoa. If you aren’t familiar with this wonderfully healthy and delicious grain, you can read more about it here. We really love Quinoa, but don’t often use it because I either forget or struggle to find things that it works well in. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a fantastic addition to chili. I may even go so far as to say that it really completes this dish, both for taste and texture reasons. I’ll let you be the judge of that for yourself though. 😉

 

Quinoa Chili

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Quinoa (we buy the organic stuff from Costco – best price!)
1 Pound of ground beef (we buy from Aubrey’s here in Ottawa)
1 diced red pepper
1 diced green pepper
1 medium onion diced
1 can of corn
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of black beans
1 can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsps of chili powder (or more/less depending on taste)
1 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Cook 1/2 cup of Quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside in covered pot.

2) Brown ground beef in heavy bottom pot and drain off any excess fat. Add in spices, diced onions, peppers with a glug or two of olive oil. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes.

3) Add in the full cans of tomato, corn, kidney and black beans. Add in Quinoa as well, mixing chili well to blend ingredients together.

4) Let cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes before serving. Top with whatever you like. I like mine best with sour cream and sometimes Fritos. 😉
* Note – I think this recipe could very easily be adapted to suit a vegetarian. A couple of options would be to omit the meat and substitute it for the ground tofu stuff (not sure what the correct term is but its that stuff that looks like ground beef. LOL!), or even just more Quinoa, beans and veggies to bulk it up!

 

 

I’m also VERY excited to share that my Food Photography site is reaching completion!!! Yes, that’s right…for 2012 my food photography will have its own dedicated website and it’s own name. Sort of a division of Danielle Lynn Photography if you will. I plan to offer a fully styled food photography service as one of my specialties and since it’s so different from portraiture I figured it needed its own space. My sites will share this as a common blog though so fear not! You won’t miss a thing! 😉

Ottawa Food Photographers :: The Yummiest Chocolate Chip Cookies!

So here’s my weakness. Chocolate Chip Cookies. In fact, I’m SO weak for these that they almost didn’t last the length of this photo shoot! My only criteria for a good Chocolate Chip Cookie is as follows: Must be chewy (not crispy), must have LOTS of Chocolate Chips and must be undercooked by at least 2 full minutes. Go ahead…call me gross, but I LOVE a good under-cooked cookie. 😉

This recipe was one modified from one I had found on The Food Network Canada website. I, of course, tweaked it to suit my tastes and after my first batch made two weekends ago, I’ve officially proclaimed them to the The Yummiest Chocolate Chip Cookies! The great thing about this recipe is that when made the way I like them they are soft in the middle, just a teensy bit crispy on the outer edges, and contain enough chocolate chips to make the cookie to chocolate ratio a perfect one. And when you are a self-proclaimed cookie connoisseur like me, these things are important. According to the original recipe, what helps keep the centre chewy is the corn starch. Now, I’m no chemist or chef so I can’t confirm those claims, but for the sake of a ooey gooey centre, I’ll take it! 😉

 

 


 

The Yummiest Chocolate Chip Cookies:

 

3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (we prefer milk chocolate, fair trade if possible!)

 

Directions:

 

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer like me!), cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
4.  Using a standard tablespoon, drop dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8 or 9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  Or if you like to live on the edge like me, reduce that cooking time to 7 minutes baby!
5.  Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely before eating the ENTIRE pan to yourself. Because you will. And its really okay. I promise not to tell. 😉

 

 

Do you have a favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe? I’d love if you’d share yours in the comments section below!