Nothing celebrates the coming of warmer weather like a Corona with a freshly made steak fajita. Ahhhhhhh! Gosh it’s good to be a food photographer. Put on those flip flops and celebrate spring with this variation of the classic fajita. We’re lucky enough to have an abundance of mexican markets teeming with authentic ingredients to inspire new dishes. Give this recipe a try and let us know how you dress up your fajitas!

Copyrighted Crystal Cartier 2012 all rights reserved

  • olive oil for sauteing
  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced lengthwise with the grain
  • 2-3 bell peppers sliced lengthwise into strips
  • grilled corn cut from cob
  • sliced crimini mushrooms
  • queso fresco, crumbled
  • corn tortillas, lightly grilled or heated on stove
  • cilantro
  • diced mint leaves (optional)
  • Salt
  • guajes and/or guajes guacamole (optional)

MARINADE:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 fresh Jalapeño pepper, seeded and finally chopped
  • handful of fresh cilantro

~ Mix marinade ingredients is zippered bag, add steak and shake until completely coated. Let sit for at least an hour.

~ Heat skillet on medium-high heat, add olive oil and cook steak to desired doneness (a typical flank steak is medium rare with 4  minutes on each side)

~ While the meat rests, flash saute veggies and mushrooms in oil olive at high heat stirring occasionally after the first minute. I like my veggies crunchy so I cook them very briefly, about 3 minutes.

~ Slice the steak against the grain at an angles to achieve thin slices.

~ Assemble steak, veggies, cilantro and mint on warmed/grilled tortilla, sprinkle with queso fresco crumbles and squeeze with fresh lime juice. You can also add guacamole or sour cream.

* To “grill” your tortillas indoors like the photo below simply place tortilla on the burner of a gas stove with the flame set very low for 30 seconds on each side. You can also warm them in the microwave between a paper towel for 20 seconds.

ENJOY!

Copyrighted Crystal Cartier 2012 all rights reserved

 food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

Artichoke season is here! A stroll through the farmers’ market celebrates the delightfully bizarre prickly treat of the globe artichoke. As much as I love ordering just about anything from a restaurant that includes artichoke, I must admit to being slightly intimidated by them in my own kitchen.  So, in an effort to demystify the artichoke, I made a delicious and simple braised dish that’s easy and delightful.

So pick up a gorgeous globe artichoke (or 4) and try this little recipe. Pair with pasta or white fish for a special seasonal meal.

I had loads of fun shooting still life shots of these pretty little thistles as you may notice…

all right reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

all right reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012
all right reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

  • 4 medium artichokes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons smashed garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 lemon sliced horizontally
  • Small pinch ground pepper OR a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes for kick;)

~ Mix the olive oil, wine/stock, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, salt, lemons slices, and pepper/ red pepper flakes in a medium dutch oven or oven-safe pan.

~ Trim the top of each artichoke. Snip the tip off each leaf. Cut the artichoke in half and scoop out the fuzzy choke with a spoon.

~ Immediately put artichokes in dutch oven as you cut them and thoroughly coat them with the marinade. Cover and cook in oven at 400 degrees for about an hour or until fork tender.

~ Plate and drizzle with marinade. Crumble feta cheese on top and serve.

all right reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

all right reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

I’ve been wanting to shoot an entire raw octopus for a while now. I had all of these shot visions meticulously thought out, but when I got the 10 pounds of octopus back to the studio it became clear that they looked nothing like I had envisioned. So after some “hmmmmmms” and one “that’s okay!” the shoot took a turn in a new and different direction. Then I called my friend Secia from Petite Insanities to see if she wanted to hand model in an unusual capacity. As you can see, she is a pretty good sport with a strong stomach for slimy, cold, and somewhat stinky food fun. Awesomeness ensues when your mantra is PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!!!

Interesting tidbit: Octopus is considered an aphrodisiac, go figure!

I’ll never think of “finger food” the same way again! Ok, no more puns;)

Copyrighted Crystal Cartier 2012 all rights reserved

 

Copyrighted Crystal Cartier 2012 all rights reserved

 

Copyrighted Crystal Cartier 2012 all rights reserved

I promised and I’ll deliver. Sweet compound butters are a game changer. I’m officially obsessed!! Don’t think about it, just make these and allow them to change your world. Ha! I know, I’m a bit food creepy but it’s fun (at least for me;) On with the show! Try these with toast, of course, but also for cooking pancakes and french toast or making brown butter sauces. Someone hide the spoons, these butters are too tasty to stop with just one itsy bitsy pad!

Nevermind that they are quite beautiful and look like a spun delicacy. Yum!

Sweet Compound Whipped Butters

RAISIN WALNUT:

  • 1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup somewhat finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup chopped raisins
  • juice and zest of 1 small orange
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract (optional)

SWEET CITRUS (my fave!):

  • 1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • zest and juice of 1 small orange
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

~ Leave butter out in a bowl until softened.

~ Add all ingredients and blend with a hand mixer until whipped and light.

~ Refrigerate for a couple hours (ideally) to allow flavors to fully develop.

***And don’t forget to brown butter these babies for extra flavorful sauces. The sweet citrus is especially divine for this purpose 😉

Spiced Brown Butter

Spiced Brown Butter

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

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