I’m heading full throttle into summer this year. I’ve got my nails painted neon strutting through the farmers’ market to snag me some sweet, sweet corn. Life is gooooood. Today we’re putting that fresh corn to good use in a simple, crisp shrimp salad. It’s practically a one pot dish, can’t beat that! The bright, vibrant hues of this dish are an indicator of energetic foods that will give us a “power up”, especially in the heat of summer, and it’s not too bad to look at either. Hey, eating delicious food and drinking beers in the sun is tough work;)

This recipe is easy to boot! It’s a fresh and delicious weeknight meal to throw together anytime for maximum yum factor with minimal time and dishes. I hate hate hate dishes…

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • fresh kernels from 2 ears of corn
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons smashed garlic
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • large handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • juice of 1 small lemon, freshly squeezed

~ Combine shrimp, corn, scallions, garlic, salt, pepper and Srirachi and half of the basil in a large bowl and toss to coat.

~ Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Add diced bacon and fry until desired done-ness. I like it extra crispy so I cook until very crisp then remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel lined plate. Leave oil/bacon fat in skillet.

~ Immediately add the shrimp mixture to the hot skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat and toss in the tomatoes and crispy bacon.

~ Divide mixture between 4 bowls and top with lemon juice, avocado and remaining basil.


all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

It’s that time of year again when the air here is bone dry and the sun’s rays seem too strong to be real. It’s amazing how much stronger the sun feels here in SoCal compared to my east coast roots. Suffice it to say I’ve gotten much more diligent with my sunscreen regimen! As we start firing up the grill and taking to the backyard I begin to crave fresh, fruity frozen treats. This watermelon sorbet is sweet and satisfying with a tang on the back end from the lime. This sorbet is a little slushier than the roasted apricot and peach sorbet which is still good but sometimes I like to add the top cream from some homemade coconut milk to impart creaminess. This is so so easy there’s no reason not to keep it in stock all summer!

As we were downing this delicious sorbet and sunning ourselves we realized it was time to booze this baby up! Included is the show-stopping watermelon colada recipe we whipped up with this sorbet. Uh-oh another six pack summer coming!!!

all right reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

  • 3 cups pureed seedless watermelon (cut into chunks and process in blender until smooth)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup sugar (consider using less if the watermelon is very sweet)
  • 1/4 cup light corn or tapioca syrup
  • 1/4-1/2 cup coconut milk top cream (optional but awesome)

~ Bring lime juice, sugar, syrup, and 1/2 cup watermelon puree to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.

~ Blitz remaining watermelon puree with coconut cream in blender. Whisk hot mixture in and chill until cold.

~ Spin mixture in ice cream maker for 10-15 minutes.


  • 1-1/2 cups coconut milk (first press if using homemade)
  • 1-1/2 cup equivalent of watermelon sorbet OR frozen watermelon chunks and juice of one lime
  • 4 frozen strawberries (plus extra to use as ice cubes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 shots of tequila

~ Blitz all ingredients in blender, pour into glasses and plop a few frozen strawberries in as ice cubes.


food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

I’ve been obsessed with these kinds of salads for many years, but it was just one of those things I left to the Vietnamese pros and never tried to make myself. Any recipe I’d see for one of these salads seemed to have way too many ingredients that I simply don’t keep in stock. I’m sorry, is my lazy showing? Well with the flames of summer licking at my heels I decided to suck it up and give it a go. It seems like a lot of ingredients at first but once you make it¬† you realize it’s fairly quick and easy. This recipe also lends itself to being prepared in advance and thrown together or even stored in containers and brought to work. It’s definitely a good healthy boost for a busy day and a great choice for a summer dinner with friends when you’d rather socialize than be stuck in a hot kitchen.

The beauty of vietnamese noodle salad, aside from being cool and refreshing, is the delightful collision of taste and textures. Sweet, sour, spice. Crunch, chew, crisp. A stimulating array of shapes and colors (it doesn’t take a food photographer to appreciate these good looks;). It’s an all around sensory experience. Find an asian market in your area and get chopping;) You’ll be glad you did when it’s 100+ degrees and your too heat-tired to move!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013


  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tablespoons fish sauce (ie. nuoc mam)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 thai chili or small jalapeno (seed the jalapeno), finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • tiny pinch cayenne pepper


  • 1-2 shallots, sliced into thin cross-sections rings separated
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 pound bean thread noodles
  • 5 radishes, sliced thin
  • 3 persian cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 1 cup broccoli stalks, sliced into matchsticks (I buy pre-cut from trader joes–can substitute cabbage)
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced into matchsticks (also buy pre-cut)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup thai (or cinnamon) basil, chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

~ Mix all dressing ingredients together and whisk thoroughly. Can be made in advance and stored for several days in the refrigerator.

~ Heat coconut oil in a small saucepan and fry shallot in oil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they burn quickly. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel on a plate. Reserve shallot infused oil for another use. Let cool then sprinkle with sea salt.

~ Prepare noodles according to package directions. For the noodle width in this photograph, cover noodles with boiling water for 15+ minutes or so until tender but not mushy. Strain noodles and coat with coconut oil to prevent sticking. Can also be prepared in advance and stored in refrigerator for several days.

~ Combine remaining ingredients (all the veggies and herbs) except the peanuts in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Add noodles and toss again. Top with the peanuts and enjoy!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

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