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

MAN, OH, Maaaaaan are these a winner! I had lost my hand-scrawled, barely legible recipe for my flourless banana muffins and tried a few others I’d found online. It was…disappointing to say the least. I dug through every single recipe paper I had until I finally found the damn thing, and it was SO worth it!!! I’ve adapted my original recipe to be even more incredible. I prefer gluten-free recipes that don’t require an alternative flour as they rarely have much, if any, nutritional value (though, I’ll admit, sometimes you just want a damn baked good!). I pretty much keep these in stock at our house and make a double batch (24 mini and 12 regular muffins) whenever we start to run low. We eat these for breakfast more often than not!

Oh and I buried the lead! This recipe is whipped up quicker than quick in a high speed BLENDER!!! You’re welcome;)

Roasting the bananas is totally optional but quite delicious if you have 15 minutes to spare. You can customize this recipe with walnuts or pecans. I usually use my homemade almond butter but have also used the raw store bought variety that is only almonds and it works great too!

Flourless chocolate banana bread muffins

*makes ~ 12 regular or 24 mini muffins

  •  1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 medium ripe bananas (if desired, roast bananas in skin on baking sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.

~ Combine all ingredients except chocolate in a high powered blender. Blend until smooth. If the batter is warm, let cool before stirring in the chocolate or it will melt. Stir in chocolate.

~ Pour into muffin tins filling each hole a little over 3/4 of the way full.

~ Bake at 350 degrees. Bake regular muffins for 15-16 minutes and mini muffins for 12-13 minutes. Baking times may vary depending on the amount of natural oil in your particular almond butter so keep an eye and don’t over-bake. They should be fluffy and very moist.

ENJOY!!!

 Flourless chocolate banana bread muffins

Flourless chocolate banana bread muffins

We’re not much into Turkey in my family. I understand the historical significance of turkey at the Thanksgiving table, but personally I find it pretty much “bleh”. That said, many people are left wanting without poultry at the Thanksgiving feast so we usually bake up a big fat ham and roast a large chicken for those die hard traditionalists. This is one of those chickens.

My old self, the one who had a bit more time, a bit more sleep, perhaps a bit more motivation, was big into vegetable chopping. I made meals where I’d easily spend an hour just chopping all the veggies often with no meat in sight. In truth, I found raw meat repulsive to all of my senses. Fast forward to when I grew the F up and started cutting the backbones out of chickens and making bone broths from gnarly knuckles, shins and feet. Oh how things have changed!!

While I still love my Brined Thyme Roast Chicken recipe, it requires more planning ahead to brine that bird than I can often muster these days. I spend so much time grabbing a toddler as she ceaselessly tests the laws of gravity! This spatchcock chicken is quick to prepare and leaves you with very little raw chicken-y mess, if ya know what I mean. Time to put on your big kid pants and cut out that backbone!

Crispy, golden, savory miso skin with no fuss and few dishes. What’s not to love?

Spatchcock butterfly miso butter roasted chicken

HOW TO SPATCHCOCK (butterfly) A CHICKEN:

1- Place whole chicken breast side down. Using strong kitchen shears, cut alongside one side of the backbone. Rotate the bird to cut along the other side of the backbone. I freeze the backbone to use in bone broth later.

2- Spread the chicken rib cage open breast down and cut a deep notch in the sternum cartilage to allow it to open easily. Now flip the bird breast side up and it should lie flat and look like a… you guessed it, butterfly. Easy Peasy!

*Tip: I usually spatchcock the chicken in the same pan I am roasting it in, one less raw chicken-y thing to clean. Winner, winner chicken dinner!

  • 1 whole chicken patted dry, approx. 5-5 1/2 lbs
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons white miso
  • 1 teaspoon smashed garlic (~ 3 cloves)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 pint brussel sprouts
  • drizzle olive oil
  • salt and pepper

~ Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

~ Smash together butter, miso and garlic. I salt the chicken in addition to the saltiness of the miso, but it may be a good idea to taste your mixture as miso can vary greatly and you may not want additional salt. Butter the pan you’ll be using with this mixture, then place chicken breast side up in pan and rub half of the butter mixture under the skin and the other half on top of the skin.

~ In a bowl, toss brussel sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and scatter around the bird.

~ Sprinkle the chicken and brussel sprouts with thyme, salt and pepper.

~ Roast uncovered at 400 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes or so for a chicken this size. Cook time will vary greatly depending on the size of your bird, so roast until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh or breast. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

~ Plate the veggies from the pan then bring the remaining juices to a simmer, scraping any little bits of deliciousness off the pan to deglaze it and removing any chunks of skin etc. Simmer for a couple of minutes and pour juices over carved meat.

ENJOY!!!

crystal-cartier-miso-spatchcock-chicken-0068

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…

Talk about a cause near and dear to my little old heart! The Center for Ecoliteracy promotes ecological education in schools throughout California, teaching children that food (or at least whole, healthy foods) come from the earth. Children learn that the little belly button on an avocado means it grew on a tree. A TREE?! Yes darlings, the world is a wondrous, delicious place:)

I’ve had the opportunity to work with this wonderful group of passionate people on their California Thursdays project which is a collaboration to bring nutritious, freshly prepared meals featuring California-grown foods to California school lunches. My heart goes pitter-patter. I’ve always felt passionately about food education, and now that I have my only little California-grown wildling that will be attending school some day it has become an even dearer cause. Not to mention it’s always so dang fun to work with people who are as totally nutty about food as I am!!!

My job in this collaboration was to visually make simple, honest fruits and veggies as tantalizing and irresistible as possible. Pffffft, life is sometimes pretty great huh? Here are some of the fruits of that labor (hehe see what I did there? I know, good grief!). I hope they help the Center for Ecoliteracy ignite passion in the hearts and minds of California’s youth. Time to start tromping in the garden and watch the seeds of education sprout. It’s good to get muddy!

 Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

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

My life as a new mom has really taken a devastating toll on my veggie consumption. I took for granted all the time I used to spend on prepping and making veggie filled meals! Dang, that was a lot of chopping, slices, sautéing etc. Given my lack of spare time or hands to cook with these days, I set about ways to pre-prep a bunch of veggies for quick assembling and vegetable starved gobbling! This is one of those recipes. Spend a few minutes shaving asparagus and poaching a couple eggs and you have a crunchy but substantial power meal on your hands.

You can even shave the asparagus and store it in a covered bowl in the fridge with a damp paper towel over top so that you can quickly pull from it for last minute meals. A bunch of soft boiled eggs made in advance would also do the trick for a quick, thrown together lunch!

Salad, recipe, asparagus, prosciutto, egg, healthy, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

 

  • one bunch asparagus, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 ounces prosciutto di parma, cut into pieces
  • slivered almonds
  • hard aged goat cheese, finely shredded
  • one poached egg
  • salt and pepper

~ To poach the egg, bring water to a simmer in a short, wide pan. Add a splash of vinegar. One by one, crack the eggs into a small bowl and slowly place into pan. Turn off heat, cover pan, and let cook for 5 minutes without disturbing. Remove with a slotted spoon.

~ Make a nest on a plate with shaved asparagus (some people make like to dress the asparagus by first tossing it with some olive oil and lemon juice, I’m not one of those people but maybe you are;). Sprinkle generously with almonds and goat cheese. Top with as much prosciutto and lastly with one or two poached eggs.

~ Salt and pepper to taste.

ENJOY!!!

 

 

 

 

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

This is the very definition of quick and hearty! I used to dislike smoked salmon unless it topped gobs of cream cheese. While it’s still super tasty with tons of cream cheese, which we used generously in this recipe, I love it all the time on almost anything now. This sandwich is piled high with all the good stuff, the crunch of veggies, the salty chew of smoked salmon, the cool creamy tartness of creme fraiche and cream cheese and the toasted goodness of a sourdough baguette. What else is there in life?!

This’ll fill ya up without taking you down! Not to mention how welcome a no-cook (toasting optional;) meal is in the summer heat!

radishes, sliced, food art, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

smoked salmon, sandwich, lunch, recipe, food photographer, food photography, crystal cartier

  • sourdough baguette, sliced lengthwise
  • cream cheese
  • creme fraiche
  • radishes, sliced into coins
  • smoked salmon
  • sunflower sprouts
  • avocado, sliced
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • capers, drained

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast baguette for about 5 minutes until slightly golden.

~ Whip together a 50/50 mix of creme fraiche and cream cheese. This is optional but so delicious. Feel free to use just cream cheese if it makes your life easier;)

~ Spread cream cheese/creme fraiche on toasted baguette and starting piling on the capers and radishes, followed by the salmon, tomatoes, sprouts and avocado.

~ Unhinge that jaw and take a giant, satisfying bite. Patting yourself on the back for a meal well-assembled is optional but encouraged.

ENJOY!!

These are just a few shots from a sweet little lifestyle shoot I did recently . I’ve got nothing but love for the warm SoCal sun!

Sweet warm breezes

quiet tender moments

life’s calm sweetness

Young woman, girl, lifestyle photography, sunny, warm, happy, summer, crystal cartier, los angelesYoung couple, affection, girl, boy, lifestyle photography, sunny, warm, happy, summer, crystal cartier, los angelesYoung couple, girl, boy, love, lifestyle photography, sunny, warm, happy, summer, crystal cartier, los angelesorange tree, lifestyle photography, sunny, warm, happy, summer, crystal cartier, los angelespicnic, young couple, outside, lifestyle photography, food photographer, meat, cheese, fruit, los angeles, crystal cartier

 

 

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