Suuummmer tiiime and the grillin’ is eaaaaasy… Oh yeah it is when you have a fail safe super simple baby back ribs recipe! This is my husband’s lovely creation which he sort of tweaked and evolved over the years with help from friends and family (not to mention many bbqs all in the name of taste testing;). I think the beast is mastered at this point and I thought it high time to share the fruits of his labor with you lovely folks so here goes. These ribs are so tender that they LITERALLY right off the bone which made styling, shooting, and even just cutting them a challenge. So tender and succulent!

First things first, that icky membrane on the underside of the ribs must be removed. Some stores like Costco remove the membrane before packaging but you should still check for little remaining bits of membrane. This is a great video on how to remove that pesky thing. Enjoy the sultry tunes and insanely entertaining voice over. Yes, sometimes it does take more than one pull to get it all off;)

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier 2012


  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  •  1 teaspoon orange peel powder or 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (use a microplane to fine grate)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 4 pounds baby back ribs
  • your favorite barbecue sauce

~ Cut each whole  rack in half and tear off aluminum foil sheets big enough to enclose each  halved.  Peel membrane off the back of the rib with a butter knife and a paper towel as instructed in this video– apply a dry rub to both sides.

~ Mix up dry rub and apply liberally massaging into meat.

~ Enclose each segment separately and tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hour or overnight.

~ Put ribs still tightly enclosed in foil on a baking sheet (they drip like crazy) and bake at 300 degrees for 2-1/2 hour.

~ After baking you can either refrigerate until ready to grill or put them right on the grill. Once ready to grill, slather with your favorite BBQ sauce and grill at a medium heat for about 5-10 min per side or until sauce is a little bubbly and they are charred they way you like. Don’t leave them on for too long or they’ll dry out.

***And just one little detail shot to tantalize you with the fall off the bone tender deliciousness of these ribs. Mmmmmm go on, getcha some;)

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier 2012

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

Hey everyone! So things have been full speed ahead over here lately. It’s been an incredible ride! I just got back from my show opening on the picturesque and adorably New England island of Nantucket. The show opening was a huge success with an enormous turn out. People were flooding the sidewalk outside the gallery and stayed and discussed the pieces for hours. It was overwhelmingly positive and quite incredible to hear the discussions people were having about the work. Pretty dang cool!

Anyway, there hasn’t been any time to shoot some pretty food for ya’ll but I wanted to share some quick happy snappy photos of the gallery space and the press release from the gallery with you guys. I don’t have photos from the actual opening (I was too busy talking and drinking!) but I imagine with all the people none of the work would be visible anyway!

If you find yourself on Nantucket this summer, please stop in and visit Susan to see work from myself and 3 other extremely talented artists. If you do, be sure to let me know what you think!

Have a lovely week!


So lately I’ve been celebrating (or exploiting;) the abundance of fresh sweet cherries from the farmer’s market. The most classic of all cherry recipes is the cherry clafoutis (kla-foo-tee) which is surprisingly easy to make. I’m not much for baking, but this recipe is a lovely rich custard that’s no more difficult that making pancake batter. That’s my kind of baking!

You can use all-purpose flour and most clafoutis recipes call for white flour, but I try to find interesting substitutes for white flour whenever possible. Even if the rest of this indulgent dessert is all eggs and cream, at least I can take solace in the fact the the flours in this recipe are full of fiber and healthy fats! The coconut and almond flour lend a nutty richness to this recipe you won’t get from white flour.

Traditional cherry clafoutis calls for un-pitted cherries. I pitted them for eating convenience but it’s your call!

Whole Cherries in Bowl Crystal Cartier Photography

  • 3 cups whole cherries, pitted if you choose
  • 5 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoons almond flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping  cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla bean
  • coconut oil, melted if necessary
  • powdered sugar

~ Wash, pit and let cherries dry. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

~ Brush shallow baking dish with coconut oil and scatter cherries in this dish.

~ In a bowl, combine milk, cream, eggs, flours, honey, and vanilla bean powder with a hand mixer for a few minutes until thoroughly mixed.

~ Pour over cherries, place baking dish on cookie sheet in case it spills over, and cook for 45 minutes or more until the top is golden and the middle is ever so slightly jiggly.

~ Let cool then sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Cherry Clafoutis Gluten Free Crystal Cartier Photography

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

Hey everyone! How’s the heat of summer treating ya? Yup it’s hot and the air is heavy so it’s time for some cool, light food to offset the steamy weather. This is a slight adaptation of a Whole Living recipe and is a great side dish for a fish or chicken meal and also makes a great lunch on it’s own. It only takes a few minutes to make and is super healthy so there’s no excuse not to eat well on the go. Not to mention it’s a great way to use up zucchini if your garden is overflowing like mine. Squashes are truly the biggest givers of the garden, and while you’ll never hear me complain, there comes a time when you need to get creative to use it all up. Pretty soon my neighbors will stop answering their doors when I knock because their counters are already chock full of all of my zucchini! Ha!

How do you use up your squashes? Please don’t forget to share your favorite recipes with us!


Zucchini Pasta Salad Crystal Cartier Photography

  • 2 zucchinis sliced lengthwise into thin ribbons (I find a good peeler and some pressure works best!)
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced paper thin
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw nuts like pecan (optional)
  • rosemary infused olive oil for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • chopped fresh basil and/or parsley
  • spritz of lemon or balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • grated aged raw goat cheese like Mitica Naked Goat

~ Combine garlic, nuts, herbs, tomatoes, and oil in a bowl. Season with salt and let stand for 15-20 minutes. Add zucchini and toss. Spritz with fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar if desired. Top with goat cheese.

Happy crunching!

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

farro cherry blueberry salad Crystal Cartier

If you’ve never had spelt berries, boy are you in for a treat! I love spelt berries because they have a great chewy bite and add amazing texture to just about any dish you throw them in. This recipe is a celebration of summer fruits and the fresh farmer’s market cherries and blueberries pop with juicy sweetness contrasting the chewy, nutty subtle sweetness of the spelt berries. Make it, eat it, and enjoy some delicious berry on berry action;) Not to mention it’s simply gorgeous and super healthy! I’ve made this dish with dried tart cherries before but thought I’d give fresh cherries a try. Combined with the acidity of lemon juice and the fresh taste of feta it’s a great summer meal or side dish for your next barbecue.

You can find spelt berries in the bulk bin at health grocery stores or online. Trust me, you’ll be glad you got them. You can also sub wheat berries for the spelt.

  • 1 cup uncooked spelt (or wheat) berries
  • 2 cups sweet red cherries, pitted and quartered
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 sprig mint, finely chopped
  • crumbled feta OR fresh shaved parmesan
  • fresh squeezed lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

~Cook spelt berries in a pan of boiling water 3 inches above spelt. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain.

~ In a large bowl, combine cooked spelt berries, walnuts, scallion, salt, pepper, parsley and mint and toss. Add cherries and blueberries and toss gently. Drizzle enough olive oil to lightly coat and add lemon juice. Toss to coat. Top with shaved parmesan or crumbled feta.


Blueberries Crystal Cartier Photogaphy

farro cherry blueberry salad Crystal Cartier


food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On LinkedinVisit Us On Google PlusCheck Our Feed