Monthly Archives: March 2012
After a long, gray winter, it is a sight for sore eyes when the colorful, fruity, pastel beauties from the spring and Easter menus start emerging from the Black Forest Cafe. This time around my assignment was to create beautiful marketing photos to showcase the new goodies, but also a new challenge: to create a couple of images to be featured on the cover of the upcoming Spectrum Monthly magazine, showcasing chef & co-owner Bruce Walters along with one of his current seasonal creations: the strawberry velvet cake.
“As co-owner of The Black Forest Café in Amherst, New Hampshire, I can recommend Erika Follansbee unequivocally as a photographer. She has provided many photographs of our baked goods and menu items. In addition, she has taken shots of our interior spaces for our website, and lately taken a great photo of one of our owners. All of her photos are wonderfully lit and creatively staged. I always have a difficult time deciding which ones to purchase as each shoot provides so many choices.
I use all of our shots for our website, e-newsletter and in social media. Her series of shots of our function space that we have used in multiple venues has had a direct, positive impact on the number of requests for information for this space. Each food photo that I use in a newsletter or on Facebook has a direct increase in sales/traffic.
I am 100% satisfied with Erika’s work, as well as her professionalism on site.”
Martha Walters, Co-owner
The Black Forest Café
Welcome to Round 3 of our winter-long series of blog projects, brought to you by New Hampshire’s custom portrait photographers. A group of us have gotten together to form a blog circle with a monthly theme that you can follow by clicking the link at the end of each post, and click through the entire circle of participating bloggers. Our previous themes were A Day in the Life, and What Love Looks Like. This month’s theme is “My Favorite Recipe” which is a wonderfully utilitarian theme since we will all be able to enjoy everybody’s beautiful photos as well as try some new recipes! Be sure to head up north to Gilmanton and visit Carey of Carey Hough Photography to find out what her favorite recipe is!
So…..the story goes…. The year after I graduated from college, I had a job as the bakery supervisor in a famous gourmet landmark destination called A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC. It was a wonderful foodie education, and I bought and studied the book The Food Lover’s Companion to learn about everything they had there. One of my absolute favorite items on the Weathervane Restaurant menu (and also offered as takeout in the deli) was their Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad. Eleven or twelve years later, it’s still one of my favorite things to make, and it’s so easy. Since today we observe the Ides of March, it’s only fitting that I show you a Caesar-inspired crowd pleaser.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Start with 16 oz of big pasta…..normally I use Large Shells for this, but I was cleaning out the pantry so I have here 16 oz of various penne, rotini, and Wacky Mac. Boil it up, and meanwhile cook up 2 large chicken breasts and cut into bite sized pieces.
Then, we add some color. Red onion sliced as thinly as you can. They used to slice the onions for this on the deli slicer in the kitchen of the restaurant, and they were SO good razor-thin. Also, throw in a pint container of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered. You need them for the color.
Next, here comes the good stuff. One 16 oz bottle of Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar dressing (unless you can make your own!). I’ve tried many other brands over the years, and this is the only one that tastes right. Add 3/4 of the bottle to start with. Reserve the remainder for just before serving to freshen it up. Then you need a 5 oz container of good parmesan cheese. Shredded or shaved, whatever floats your boat (but not grated). Finally, some extra touches. Hot sauce to give it some bite….. I do a dozen drops of Texas Pete (it could probably stand more). Also, some seasonings for extra flavor, like oregano, salt, and fresh cracked black.
Now that you have everybody in the pool, gently stir to get it all incorporated and IF you can restrain yourself from standing there and hoovering it right outta the bowl like I do, it’s best to refrigerate it for at least a few hours before serving to let everybody get to know each other. If you’ve got company coming it’s a fancy touch to sprinkle some extra parmesan cheese on top. I can’t claim to make it nearly as good as they did at A Southern Season back in “the day”, but it’s pretty darn close! Enjoy! And don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
16 oz large shell pasta, cooked
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2-1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
16 oz bottle Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar Dressing
5 oz parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
To taste: Tabasco, oregano, salt, pepper
Combine all ingredients and chill before serving. But it’s actually wonderful at any temperature.
Thanks for visiting!
I am so excited to announce that I’m now booking weddings for 2012 and 2013! I absolutely love the thrill of a wedding day, when everyone is looking beautiful, the excitement is palatable, and months of preparation, dreaming, and planning all come together in one big gorgeous day. Few things get my photographer heart a-beatin’ quite like the amazing decorations, food, table settings, flowers, and cake. I love how photographs slow things down. In a couple’s mind, their wedding day will be a blur. But their photos will make time stop forever and let them relive that special day.
That said, I would love if you would tell your friends and family about me if they have yet to choose their wedding photographer. I’m looking for creative DIY brides, with tons of unique personalized details, unique venues, and memorable details. Best of all, while I’m building my portfolio, I’m offering $200 off the Sweet package and $300 off the Decadent package!
Wedding coverage is offered in three tiered packages, and starts with a super simple base package. Any package can be easily customized by adding additional hours of coverage, high resolution files, heirloom quality albums, and more so that you get exactly what you want….. and nothing that you don’t. Just like with my portrait photography, all of my work is submitted to top-of-the-line professional labs to provide the highest quality products available.
Please visit my Weddings information page for the current pricing and packages.
If any brides are interested in having me document their wedding day, I encourage you to fill out the contact form in the top menu, or else give me a direct call at 603-715-7027. I would love to chat with you and hear your plans for your wedding and see if I might be the right fit for your special day.
You’ll never hear me claim to be a food critic…. I am way too agreeable. Ask any mom who prepares bleak meals for her family for days on end…. I am overly enthusiastic about anything I didn’t have to drown in Pinterest for a recipe for, shop for (usually in multiple trips), destroy my kitchen cooking, and end up hating it anyway. Yes, a meal that I didn’t have to cook is almost always a winner in my book. So the point that I am eventually getting to is that dining out is truly one of the greatest joys of my life. Sadly, it doesn’t happen very often these days due to
young children lifestyle restrictions. BUT today, I enjoyed Christmas because the gift that my husband got for me for Christmas was a gift certificate to Bedford’s new Copper Door. Today, on March 2 we finally got to use it. Things don’t move very fast in my world. We went out for lunch because the lunch menu is very approachable and is filled with things that we would like to try.
What I am, if not a food critic, is a food photographer. And we were seated at possibly the most perfect light-filled table in the whole restaurant at that specific hour. Indirect light, table turned 45 degrees from the window….. I chose the seat maybe 90 degrees from the light as close to the shadows as I could get. I’m always dreadfully shy about taking photos in a restaurant, and I’m not sure why. I feel like I’ll get in trouble somehow (after I got called out one time by a rather salty waitress). But I do it because it’s my passion. I do it out of pure love. And hey, if I didn’t love the food and the restaurant I wouldn’t bother with the camera, so what does that tell you?
Chipotle Margarita!! I debated about several of their cocktails, but c’mon. If you know me at all you know me better than I know myself. I had to get the chipotle margarita. It was stronger than it looked for its size, and it got HOTTER as I got down to the bottom. It became downright spicy! (which I thoroughly enjoyed)
We ordered the calamari for our appetizer, and my husband is all into seafood way more than I am. But I do like a nice calamari and in this case, I went all honey badger when I discovered that the bottom of the plate was lined in RANCH. Holy God. Possibly best ranch of my life. I would have liked a whole salad of that ranch, had I known. And now I do. 😉 Oh, and that other photo is their house bread…. the loftiest brioche I have ever seen! Lovely.
Entree time! On the left you see my CDLT (Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Aioli, Bibb Lettuce, Tomato, Brioche Roll, Hand-Cut Fries). And yes, the Ranch aioli was my favorite part of the whole thing ; and on the Right you see the Exclusive Reserve Cheddar Bacon Burger (Smoked Bacon, Pineland Farms Sharp Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, House-made Bun, Hand-Cut Fries, Sour Pickle Spear). Love love! Fantastic all around.
And lastly, we ordered a Copper Cupcake to go because we suddenly turned into a pumpkin with our limited time allotment away from the ranch. Sigh. All good things must come to an end, and we had to fly home after being gone too long. They stuffed a red velvet cupcake into a takeout container and I was so sad, because I would have loved to get a photo of it as it was meant to be served. Cupcakes, after all, is what I do. But there was no time, so we had to fly. Would love to go back again!
Erika Follansbee is a natural light food photographer in Goffstown, NH. She specializes in inviting, ambient photos of real menu items in a restaurant’s own unique environment. The result is distinctive, compelling, and mouth watering.