The Inspired Plate May 2012 Challenge
"Inspired By A Magazine Cover"

Welcome to the May 2012 Edition of "The Inspired Plate's" Food Photography and Photo Challenges. I am so excited to introduce you to The Inspired Plate. This is the first time I am posting my challenge here on DMC. I usually post all of my photo challenges on my photography blog, A Favored Life, but I am so thrilled about these challenges and the woman I share in them with, that I really thought it would be wonderful for you to meet them and see what we are all about. To read more about our challenges and to meet some of our gals, click on the link here where you can view April's Pasta Challenge.

Once a month we post on our blogs the Food Photo and Styling challenge. Each month we are given a photo assignment related to food and styling. We are all photographers with a passion for food who really want to hone in on our styling abilities. It has been an amazing ride and we have all learned SO much from each other, from our challenges, our successes and yes.. even our failures.

This months challenge has been by far my favorite! We were asked to use a food magazine as inspiration to design our own cover. Is it any wonder that my favorite magazine is La Cucina Italiana! :) As I was looking through my magazines, I came to find out that I have issues that date back all the way to 2004.. That's 8 years worth of La Cucina Italian Magazines!!

I thought this challenge was going to be easier than it was.. I intended to style and shoot a cover as close as possible to the original, but I liked elements from two particular covers. I liked the whole roasted bird from the cover on the right.. but I wasn't ready for turkey quite yet.  I also liked the braising of the vegetables from the cover on the right. Do you see the fennel? LOVE braising fennel in a rich chicken broth with a dash of color from radicchio.  I also loved the placement of the roasted garlic on the tray. I had a tray!! But it is an antique toile painted tray that has the most beautiful colors.. so I wanted to add more of a color scheme to the design than the original cover has. I had my innards in a pan ready to make a wonderful gravy.. but time got away from me and I had to start my styling set up to be ready to shoot as soon as the food was all ready, so, I didn't place the gravy in the photo but opted instead to add a dish with roasted garlic and baked bread, as well as salt and pepper sides.

When you are done here.. please visit my amazing and talented friend Jennifer Olson | Central Coast, CA Food Photographer.  I just met Jen in December through a friend on the Bloom Forum. (Where most of us photographers met) She has so much creativity and talent. Gorgeous to boot and the sweetest gal in the whole world! I love you Jen and your support here on The Inspired Plate always keeps me focused as a photographer growing in my art. xoxo 

La Cucina Italiana inspiration cover's. 
Braised Radicchio and Fennel Bulb

I first sautéed my soffrito of onions, carrots and celery in olive oil. As it became tender and translucent I added the radicchio seasoning it with fresh cracked black pepper and coarse sea salt and zest of lemon rind. Let brown just till golden and then remove it. I browned the fennel bulb lightly on all sides seasoning the same way as the radicchio and then added the chicken broth. I let the fennel become tender (aldente) and then added the radicchio back to the pan and let braise for another 3-5 minutes. The radicchio doesn't take long to cook and it loses it's color rather quickly. Less is more in this case! :)

Simply scrumptious with fresh herbs, olive oil and lemon zest. In a bowl mix olive oil, coarse sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, fresh oregano leaves and lemon zest together. Pour over cleaned fingerling potatoes and prepared garlic heads. Stuffing some of the oregano leaves into the garlic. Roast in 365 degree oven for 45 minutes.. till tender. Oven
times vary. 

This simple bird was stuffed with lemon slices, a garlic bulb and fresh oregano. I doused the outside of the bird with olive oil, dry white wine, salt, pepper, cayenne, more chopped oregano and fresh lemon juice. I also roast my chickens at 365 degrees for approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours compared to the normal 350 that so many recipes call for. I find that I get a much more juicy bird on the inside and a crisp exterior with a nice crunch to the skin.  This bird may look a little dry, that's only because of the length of time it took me to get all the photo's taken. But even after re-heating it when my husband came home, it was moist and DELICIOUS! 

Orange Cranberry Scones

Yummy Scones for your weekend.. or for any day of the week for that matter. My kids 
love having something quick to grab in the mornings before they head out to school. And 
this recipe, with very little sugar, and some naturally added Vitamin C from the cranberries 
and orange zest makes me feel comfortable that I'm not feeding into a junk food addiction. 
You can glaze them, or do what I did here and just sprinkle with a small amount of sugar. 
I really like the larger sugar crystals for breakfast breads like this. You can also substitute 
coarse sanding sugar with Turbinado sugar or raw sugar. 

Here is a link to check out the sugars at SWEET.. a candy and bakery supply company.
And if your interested in some more scone recipes.. here you can check out my DMC Blueberry Scones.