I don’t often post about client work, but we had a super fun shoot for a local clean meal delivery business called Fitness Kitchen L.A. and man-oh-man was it fun, gorgeous and delicious AF!!! It’s really fun to get in with smaller local clients on the ground floor and collaborate on the looks and styles that will define their brand. We had way too much fun and ate way too much food on this shoot! Chef Marieno has some real vision for creating delectable, unique and truly nutritious meals. On to the GORGEOUS!!

Nutritious healthy omelet with tomatoes and citrus

Halibut with squash and squash blossoms

Brioche french toast with sausage, natural peanut butter and berry compote

Harvest Kale Salad with chicken, squash, almonds and avocado

Espresso steak with a sunny egg and brussel sprout slaw

Meal plans including deviled eggs, halibut and spinach omelet

Chef Marieno with his dog

There can never be too many ways or variations to make eggs! In our house, they are the ultimate fast food. I poach them in leftover chili and soups and it makes every leftover dish richer and more nutritious. I actually don’t understand why there isn’t a restaurant dedicated to putting eggs on EVERYTHING! Seems like a no-brainer. If you know of such a restaurant please fill me in!

Anyway, on with the show! Eggs in Cocotte are delicately baked eggs in individual portions. Easy to make for a good amount of people (my in-laws will be eating these when they visit over the holidays) and super, fancy pants impressive. It’s a decadent, warming cool-weather breakfast (or lunch, or dinner!).

baked eggs in pots with mushrooms and prosciutto

  • 4 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • olive oil to sauté
  • 9 large meaty mushrooms (shitake, portobella etc.), sliced thick
  • pat of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon cream (1 teaspoon per pot)
  • few large sprigs fresh thyme, miced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 cup gruyere, grated
  • 8 eggs
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • toast points for serving

~ Heat oil in a large skillet. Add shallots and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add chopped prosciutto and sauté another few minutes until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.

~ Melt butter in skillet, then add mushrooms and sauté until tender. In the skillet, toss together the mushrooms, shallots, prosciutto and most of the rosemary and thyme (reserve some for garnishing).

~ Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

~ Butter or oil the small pots or ramekins. Spoon the mushroom mixture evenly into the bottom of each pot. Drizzle a teaspoon of cream into each pot and divide cheese among the dishes. Make 2 depressions in the mixture with the back of the spoon to cradle the eggs. Crack two eggs in each pot, sprinkle a bit of extra  cheese on top of the eggs.

~ Get a pan big enough to fit the 4 pots and fill it with water so that the water goes half way up the sides of the pots. Either bring water to boil in the pan or, if using a glass baking dish you can let the dish heat in the oven and boil water in a hot pot to fill the baking dish.

~ Place the pots in the water bath and carefully place in oven. Bake for 13-16 minutes though I recommend checking on them at 10 minutes due to differences in oven temperatures.

~Once whites are set but yolks are still runny, remove from oven. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Serve with toast points.

ENJOY!!!

 pan of sautéed prosciutto mushrooms and herbs

This is one of those nutritious bowls that seems super duper fancy and only steals about 5 minutes of your life! If you got this at a restaurant you would be floored. Seriously, it’s incredible and so quick and easy that you could make it daily while simultaneously chopping ungodly amounts of fruit for a toddler fruit monster. I know because I do;)

Customize however you like. Sometimes I do a few shakes of pumpkin spice and that’s delicious. Chia, flax, nuts you name it! It’s all good!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2016

  • 5 medjool dates, pitted
  • pat pasture butter
  • greek yogurt
  • small chunk of honeycomb
  • a few almonds (not pictured)
  • sprinkle of maldon sea salt
  • sprinkle of chili powder
  • sprinkle of ground vanilla bean

~ In a frying pan, melt butter over low-medium heat. Add dates, sprinkle with salt, and sauté turning regularly so they don’t burn. Once they’re a bit crispy on all sides they’re done! It only take about 5 minutes so keep an eye on them because they’ll burn quickly.

~ Assemble your yogurt bowl with the remaining ingredients. Top with the dates and pour the brown butter from the pan over the yogurt. YUM!

ENJOY!!!

My darling friend Emily comes from a long line of impressive bakers. She has much coveted pie traditions with her sweet mother and beloved departed nana. It’s so wonderful to keep those beautiful traditions alive from generation to generation. It keeps us grounded and reminds us where we came from and that we are part of something bigger. We are simply a leaf on a giant tree deeply rooted in the past. There is something profoundly comforting in that anchor when this life can sometimes feel as if you’re bobbing like a canoe in the sea! Some traditions, especially those based in food, allow each generation to keep the old but also customize a dish to make it a bit of their own. This pie is exactly such tradition with small tweaks to herbs, spices and ratios to make this an adapted version of a treasured recipe. Beautiful! For the original recipe passed down from Emily’s nana and some family photos of wonderful women check out her mama Lori’s blog.

Emily makes just about the flakiest, lightly crisp crust I have ever seen (or heard)! Rarely am I so heartbroken to avoid gluten. My husband tells me that flakey crust is a buttery, delicious delight. Emily cuts the butter into the dough by hand, which she says makes all the difference. I believe it! That crust…hubba hubba!

So go cover your kitchen in flour and start (or preserve) a lovely family tradition!

ps: I meant to post this recipe before the holidays but got wrapped up in my own holiday celebration with my little girl’s first Christmas and meeting all of her east coast family. What a beautiful time:)

 Crystal-Cartier-meat-pies-5675full

* makes 2    6-inch pies (or 1  10-inch pie)

CRUST

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 pound + 2 2/3 Tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1/4 cup very cold water

FILLING

  • 3/4 pounds ground beef
  • 3/4 pounds ground pork (butt/shoulder)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoons allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 egg white, beaten for brushing crust

~ In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle in water 1 Tablespoon at a time and toss with a fork until dough begins to come together. Gather into a ball and divide dough into 2 equal balls, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

~ In a large dutch oven, saute onion and garlic. Add beef and pork and cook through. Mix in herbs and spices.

~ On a large floured surface, divide one dough ball in half (if making mini pies, if making 10″ single pie do not divide dough) and roll out one of the halves. Lay in a 6″ pie tin. Using a slotted spoon, spoon filling into crust until flush with top of pie pan. Roll out other half of dough ball, place over filling and seal and trim edges. Brush crust with egg white. Repeat for remaining 4 pies.

~ Bake at 375 degrees for around 30 minutes until golden brown.

ENJOY!!

Looks at that perfect crust! YUM!

Crystal-Cartier-meat-pies-5675CRUST

 

Thank you to these inspiring matriarchs….

hardy-women

As the weather gets cooler I start to gravitate toward heavier foods. It’s just so so satisfying until my tummy starts to protest! Oh heavy foods can come at a price! This recipe used to be a summer staple in our house but has most recently become a go-to any time we need to do some tasty clean eating and give our poor bellies a break. The other day I realized the only place this recipe exists is jotted in barely legible scrawl on a post-it note it my cabinet in true mad scientist form (all of my best ideas and food/body product recipes live on post-its;)! If that post-it ever fell off and found it’s way into the trash, which is right next to it, that would be the end of this dish. My memory is useless! So, needless to say, I had to make and shoot it asap to preserve it’s delicious legacy.

This is the kind of good-for-you food that even veggie haters tend to really like. It’s beautiful and very obviously healthy with tons of crunch, taste and texture to satisfy your taste buds and heal your angry guts! I’ve been on a pickling kick so more pickled recipes to come…

Ps: This slaw is best made the night before and tastes so much better if the flavor have a chance to get it on in the fridge for a bit!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 Tablespoons minced dill
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 apple, sliced into match sticks
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

~ In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey to emulsify. Add dill and salt and pepper once thoroughly mixed.
~ Add sliced apple to dressing and immediately toss to coat to prevent browning.
~ Add cabbage, raisins and pecans. Toss well to coat and mix ingredients.
~ Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight.
~ Toss thoroughly before serving.

ENJOY!!!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

…look at all that gut-loving goodness, Hubba hubba…

Oh my gosh life has been crazy and I haven’t had half a second to post anything at all! Oh well, sometimes that’s the way it goes, right?

Anyway, I just wanted to share my first shoot getting “back on the horse” after giving birth to our Sweet P, who I call Pickle so much she’s definitely going to think it’s her legal name! I can’t believe how much time has already gone by. I guess I blinked too long!

This lovely spanish picnic style shoot for EatingWell magazine was the kind that required a lot of up and downs on a ladder. Not the most ideal post-partum shoot but it was beautiful and fun to get right back in it and with my little newborn P too!

You may spy with your little eye a two-week-old Pickle attending this very sophisticated Spanish picnic! We have too much fun! HA!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

So you may have noticed my hiatus from this blog over the past few months. Our incredible baby girl was born in January and I was back at working shooting for clients two weeks later. Talk about an adjustment! What with figuring out my role as a new mama while also keeping my head above water working on client jobs, I had ZERO time to shoot for myself, or really even eat for that matter! Now I’m all about super duper quick meals and snack, the very best of which being those that can be made one-handed! HA!

The title says it all on this one. Easy peasy, gorgeous jewel-toned plums wrapped in salty prosciutto deliciousness. A wonderful collision of salty and sweet as well as chewy and juicy!

What quick easy foods do you make when you don’t have seconds to spare? No really, this mama needs all the ideas you can give her;)

plums, prosciutto, recipe, appetizer, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

pumpkin pie, mascarpone, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

Happy Holidays all you wonderful people out there!! May you be surrounded by loved ones and good cheer this year, not to mention insanely delicious foods as far as the eye can see:) This creme fraiche swirled pumpkin sweet potato pie should be one of those foods, and it’s soooo purty! I like to serve it with fresh whipped cream and a spoonful of bananas foster from our previous parfait recipe. Stupid delicious and a bit of a different spin on pumpkin pie.

  • 1 recipe of your favorite 9 inch pie crust, or buy from the store
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted or canned pumpkin puree (you can also substitute other squashes like kabocha or butternut)
  • 3/4 cup roasted sweet potato puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons packed finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 package creme fraiche (~3 1/2 ounces) or sour cream, as dollops in pie
  • fresh whipped cream
  • bananas foster recipe

~ Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

~ In a heavy bottomed pan, mix together pumpkin/squash, sweet potato purees, maple syrup, sugar, spices and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently for ~ 5 minutes. Cook 10-15 minutes stirring continuously until mixture becomes thick and glossy.

~ Place pie crust in pie pan so it’s ready and waiting.

~ In a large pyrex, whisk together eggs, half and half and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the hot squash mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour custard through a medium-fine mesh sieve into the prepared pie crust.

~ Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then decrease the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 35 more minutes or more depending on the wetness of your squash mixture. The outer edges should be set and puffed up while the middle should be a bit wiggly like jello. When we made this with fresh roasted quash versus canned pumpkin it took 10 minutes longer so adjust accordingly based on your mixture but remove from oven when the middle still jiggles as a bit as it will continue to cook once removed.

~ Remove from oven and plop small dollops of creme fraiche or sour cream into the hot pie. Swirl dollops with a knife or wooden skewer.

~ Cool at room temperature for 3 hours then refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream and bananas foster.

ENJOY and Happy Holidays!!!

Happy holidays everyone!!! We have so much to celebrate around here and so many celebrations going on! We just had the most incredible baby shower on the planet thrown by my wonderful friends Secia and Emily. You’ve seen some of Secia’s food skills on this blog many times before (as well as her face/body on occasion!) and today’s post features a caramel apple pie to DIE for beautifully made by the talented Emily. I’m so lucky to have these special women in my life. Though I’ve never posted a photo of myself on this blog here’s a big ‘ol pregnant photo of me and my super pumped baby daddy as well as a snap of Emily’s beautiful babe stacked on top of her future friend. So fun! Oh and we had baby doll corn hole which is exactly what it sounds like, chucking baby dolls across the yard. I highly recommend this for ANY reason, it was so hysterical!!

US-shower

stacked-babes

 Ahhhh:) Okay, okay onto the promised caramel apple pie. Believe me, I understand, apple pie is serious business and this one is THE business. Pouring the caramel through the lattice makes the top crust like crispy caramelized sugar. Totally brilliant and gorgeous! Seriously, this pie is just the most beautiful and impressive look pie on the planet so bring this to your holiday party and be a straight up baller;)

apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

  • 1 recipe of your favorite 9 inch double pie crust, one for bottom crust and one for lattice (or buy that baby from the store)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 Tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 8 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced evenly

~ Preheat oven to 425 degrees

~ Melt butter in heavy bottom sauce pan and stir in flour until a bit of a paste forms. Stir in sugars, spices and water and bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer until the mixture caramelizes and reduces slightly. Try you best not to take the whole pot of crazy delicious caramel to the face (maybe the fact that it’s scalding hot will help, sadly it didn’t for me!)

~ Place crust in bottom of pie pan and fill it with the apples. Make sure there are enough apples to mound slightly. Cover with the lattice and pinch the crust edges. Slowly and carefully pour the caramel mixture evenly through the lattice.

~ Bake 15 minutes at 425 then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35-45 minutes until apples are soft.

ENJOY!!!

apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier apple pie, caramel, baking, recipe, dessert, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

Sooooo I’ve been pretty M.I.A. recently with quite a surge of craziness in work and life (the good stuff) but I’m back now and ready to eat and cook and make beautiful things just for the sake of making them, no paychecks attached (tho I do love a good paycheck;)

As you’ve heard me say a time or two, I don’t like baking. Flour makes me crazy, which hasn’t been much of a problem since I’ve been gluten-free for a couple years. I simply found that gluten really upsets my stomach, like A LOT, so I cut it out despite my love for crusty breads. Fast forward a bit and I read that true traditional sourdoughs with a long fermentation period can often be tolerated by people who would normally be intestinally torn up by bread. This bread is a long, overnight fermentation and no-knead in the style made famous by Jim Lahey.

I was dubious and didn’t want to get my hopes up BUT I was also getting pretty desperate because, a bit of news from the Cartier house, I’m pregnant with a little girl (our first! yay!) and the first trimester “quesies” had me really missing things like bread! When I feel sick, I just want toast. Toast, toast and more toast! Not to mention it’s an easy “meal” that anyone can make you when you’re trying to calm your (adorable?) baby belly. I call this sickly sensation “swamp belly” as it felt like miserable, bubbling guts. Our ultrasound at the time showed the baby looking like a little gummi bear so I affectionately dubbed her the “sour gummi” when she made me horribly sick. Now in my second trimester, she’s no longer sour but the experience did make me try this bread making method which totally WORKED!!! I know everyone is different, but this bread gives me no digestive problems whatsoever. If I try sourdoughs out at restaurants or from the store they still make me really miserable (couldn’t be easy right?), so it’s lucky that this is a pretty simple, passive recipe so that I can have bread on hand daily.

I make several loaves, slice them up, throw them in freezer ziplock bags and freeze only taking slices out when I want them. You’ll have to toast those frozen slices but they toast up  beautifully! This recipe makes a bit of a flatter loaf with a nice crust and a chewy, flavorful inside. I’m SOOOO happy to have bread back in my life:D

If you give it a try, let me know how it works for you!

bread, no knead, sourdough, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

  •  3 cups flour (scoop and sweep method)
  • 1/2 cup fed sourdough starter
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water (filtered or bottled, tap water is chlorinated which kills the bacteria in the sourdough)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

~ Mix the starter in the bowl with the warm water. Add flour and salt and mix until all of the flour is incorporated. The dough will be shaggy but not crumbly. Work the dough as little as possible.

~ Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean towel. Leave in a warm place to rise overnight (12-18 hours). This long rise replaces kneading and also allows the bacteria to sour the dough and improve the bread’s digestibility.

~ The next day, dust a work surface and the dough very generously with more flour, folding the sides in to form a loaf. Dust your towel with cornmeal and place the loaf seam side down onto the towel. Dust the top of the loaf with more cornmeal and fold the towel loosely around the dough. Allow to rise until doubled, about 3-4 hours.

~ A half hour before the 2nd rise is complete, preheat the over to 425 degrees WITH the cast iron dutch oven inside (including the lid). This allows the cast iron to completely get up to temperature.

~ Carefully place the dough seam side up into the dutch oven, this dough will be a bit slack so work gingerly. Replace lid and bake for 25 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 13-15 minutes more until the top is nicely browned and crusty.

~ Remove and let cool completely before cutting. You can slice and freeze loaves in advance, taking individual slices out and toasting them as you want them.

bread, no knead, sourdough, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

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