This week’s post will build your muscles (unless you have an automatic citrus juicer, then you’re sittin’ pretty). You’ll be squeezing the day away but, in return, you’ll get a tart little reward that, as I learned this past weekend, masks the taste of vodka completely and dangerously. Proceed with jubilant caution;)


*note* these little guys are also ideal for vodka tonics and the like

  • 2 medium limes
  • 1 qt. cold water
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)

~ slice the 2 limes and then quarter the slices so that you have beautiful thin little wedges

~ stir together lime juice and water and fill 3 ice cube trays

~ place 1 or 2 lime wedges in each compartment and freeze

* throw these tart little suckers in any drink you like to add a fresh and tangy twist. They also look beautiful in glasses when the light shines through!
Take a peek below!


LIMEADE (also good with a splash of vodka!):

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime rind (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice (about 13 limes)
  • 7 cups ice water
  • agave nectar, sweeten to taste
  • (optional) splash of vodka

Simply mix it all together! If you prefer to use sugar you’ll have to heat the liquid so the sugar will dissolve sufficiently. Agave nectar easily blends into cold drinks which is great if you prefer to retain all the nutrients of the raw fruit.


mahi mahi pasta salad crystal cartier los angeles fod photographer

This week’s post is a salute to leftovers. I’m not big on eating yesterday’s meal again, especially when meat is involved, but today we’ll do a cold lunch from a hot dinner. Cold pasta salad is a great way to finish up cooked meats that don’t reheat so well. The last post on Mahi Mahi yielded a considerable amount of delicious, moist fish. Today we’ll make leftovers new with pasta, herbs and even fruit!

Ingredients: penne pasta, fresh fennel bulb with fronds, lemon zest, and fuji apples

  • fill a large bowl with water and squeeze lemon juice in the water
  • slice 1 fuji apple and submerge slices in lemon water to keep them from browning
  • pluck some fronds from the fennel and set aside
  • slice fennel bulb into bite sized pieces
  • zest a lemon
  • toss cooked penne pasta with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the juice from 1 lemon until coated
  • fold in chunks of cooked mahi mahi, apple slices, and chopped fennel bulb
  • garnish with lemon zest and fennel fronds

It’s a gorgeous, healthy and hearty dish! Enjoy!

penne pasta crystal cartier los angeles fod photographer

apples crystal cartier los angeles fod photographer

mahi mahi pasta salad crystal cartier los angeles fod photographer

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close up mahi mahi Crystal Cartier los angeles food photographer

“Fresh fiiiiiish” hollers the portly and comically severe fish man at the farmer’s market. I seriously laugh out loud every time his deep voice bellows this phrase. It reminds me of an old school disney movie though I can’t remember which (The Little Mermaid, maybe?). Though his advertising tactic is funny, this fish is no joke. This week I scored some uber fresh mahi mahi.

I don’t know about you guys, but you may have noticed that I prefer simple ideas for preparing food that can easily be amended for whatever fresh ingredients I have on hand. I’m not much on long-winded recipes requiring epic preparations and absurd quantities of dirty dishes. I like the natural flavors of the foods I eat and prefer to prepare them in ways that allows that taste to come forward, rather than mask it beneath other strong flavors. This is no exception.

Mahi Mahi En Papillote

  • on a large sheet of parchment paper, arrange a bed of lemons (or oranges if you’re feeling sweet;)
  • place fish on top of the citrus bed. Sprinkle with sea salt and your preferred seafood herbs, I used a bit of celery salt, dried thyme and red and black pepper
  • throw a few dried bay leaves in the mix, drizzle with olive oil, and fold the parchment into a nice little pouch.
  • bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes or so.

*optional* open parchment and broil for a minute or so (depending on your broiler as they vary widely) for a golden, crisped top.

*optional* garnish with fresh parsley.


The result is a moist, delicious melding of flavors. Because the bay leaves and citrus are steamed with the fish, they impart a more subtle flavor than you’d get by just squeezing lemon on seafood or putting crushed leaves on the fish. Delicate and balanced, not to mention pretty damn healthy. It’s a winner!


raw fresh fish Crystal Cartier food photographer los angeles

baked mahi mahi Crystal Cartier los angeles food photographer

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Just one more post on the beloved peach before summer is over, though the weather is only beginning to heat up here in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley (famous for brutal Indian summers). Anyway, PEACHES!!! Grilled and candied with notes of garden herbs, these peachy treats are quite unbelievable and delightfully simple.

This healthy, juicy, sweet dessert was grilled and “scented” with thyme and, believe it or not, chive blossoms from the garden. This may seem an off-putting flavor combo, and truth be told I was experimenting for beauty’s sake, but it was an absurdly delicious success. When I had my first bite, the subtle undertones of the herbs created a complex and delicate balance of sweet, tangy, and savory. Score one for pretty AND tasty;) Though they are great straight from the grill, I went one step further and candied them in a pan on the stove with some honey (of course you could also use sugar). This cooks them a bit more and results in wonderful caramelization which pairs beautifully with the tartness of plain greek yogurt or the creamy sweetness of ice cream. Double yum.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate the sweet summer peach?

low angle grilled peaches Crystal Cartier food photographer los angeles

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carmelized peaches in pan Crystal Cartier food photographer los angeles


burnt sugars in pan Crystal Cartier food photographer los angeleslove the “missing pieces” feel of this shot ^


candied peaches with yogurt Crystal Cartier los angeles food photographer

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In honor of all things summer I wanted to get “crabby”. I love crab as many do but usually prepare king crab legs when making it at home. Simple, neat, delicious. For the sake of visual interest, I thought it’d be fun to shoot and prepare whole crab so I picked up a couple crabs only to find that handling a whole crab, in all of it’s creepy arachnid-like strangeness, was a bit of an unknown fear of mine. Learn something new everyday, right? So I kind of felt like a bit of a weenie after discovering this mild yet embarrassing pseudo-phobia and, luckily,¬† after taking a few minutes to psych myself up (think boxer in the ring hopping up and down with short strong breathes) I dove right in to that creepy little monster. All in all it went well, though it’s very likely I’ll be reaching for dismembered crab legs next time around;)

*tip* I boiled the crab with some coarse rock salt in the water which really added a nice, subtle flavor for those times when you’re not looking to dunk those hunks in butter (or even when you are!)

What are your favorite ways to prepare and eat shellfish? Recipes definitely welcome!

Crystal Cartier food photography los angeles Whole Crab

Mmmmmmmm EAT ME

Crystal Cartier food photographer los angeles coarse sea salt

a little bit of home for the salt water creature

Crystal Cartier food photography crab

slurp those tender bits

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