Information

Have a question?…send me an email.

luvbriere AT gmail DOT com

Photography:

People always ask me, what kind of camera do you use? I use a cheap-o Nikon Coolpix 4600. It cost me $100 at a Labor day sale and has been darn close to the best $100 I ever spent. Get to know your camera. It was not until the Cream Puff told me there was a macro setting on my camera that I knew it exsisted. Now I know everything my camera can do!

Update: I now have a new camera. My trusty Nixon Coolpix was a great little camera and I still use it for other things but I have moved on to a Nikon D40. I have a 50mm f/1.4 AF lens. A 105 mm f/2.8 macro lens. And the standard lens it came with. I use the 105 the most.

Update to the update: I now shoot with a Nikon D300s. I have a 60mm lens now as well as an 85mm.

As far as photography goes, two things are important(to me)…..lighting and patience. Natural light is the best and often why you never see pictures of my dinner….we eat well after it gets dark. The other thing is patience….I take about 100 photos of every single thing I make. It might seem crazy but some days I struggle just to find 3 shots out of the 100 that I like…other days I love them all and have to figure out how to narrow.

Also, pick a style:

• Close in (food only) and all in focus
• Close in with limited depth of field
• Table setting elements providing character and a reference situation

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows that I am a close in kind of gal. A lot of that simply has to do with the space I have and the camera I have….and the lack of props.

Read lots and lots of articles. Look at food magazines and cookbooks for inspiration. If you go back to the begining of my blog my pictures are horrible. I used a flash, I didn’t know my camera had a macro setting and I didn’t know how to set up for a shot. But through the joy of learning all that has changed.

Why does your cake have only one layer but the recipe calls for two? Or why does your cake look thicker than mine?
If you are a regular reader than you know that I bake a lot. You also know that my husband is a picky eater and doesn’t eat half the things I make. And I can only eat so many baked goods.
So to compensate this I make half batches or quarter batches of cookies. I half most recipes. I almost always make mini cakes. To make the mini cakes I either use 4 ½ inch springform pans or I take one 9-inch round and cut it with a cookie cutter. And sometimes I just make a single layer cake.
However, I always give the recipe for the full size cake because I realize that most people are not just making a cake for 2 people.

What size mini loaf pans do you use? 5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25-inch

Do you make all the things on your blog?

Yes, I do. I would seem silly not to.

Do you eat everything on your blog? If so, how are you not 500 pounds?

Yes, I take a bite of everything I make, regardless of whether I am a fan of it of not. It is important to me to know what everything I make taste like. If it is total crap I wont put it up. And sometimes when it is good, I eat the whole darn thing!

I’m not 500 pounds but I am certianly a chunkster :P and I am more than fine with that. Life is too short to think that a sugar free pudding cup with fat free Cool Whip is dessert! Luckily I have always loved playing sports and exercising so that keeps me healthy.

Ingredients:

Butter. All recipes I make have UNSALTED butter, unless I say otherwise….but if I am baking, it is with unsalted butter. When I am making pastry I use Plugra, which is a European butter with a much higher butterfat content and so worth the extra inch on my thighs.

Chocolate: I am a chocolate snob. I use Valrhona, Lenotre(when I can find it) and Scharffen Berger. I will use Lindt if those are not an option. And if nothing is left, then Ghirardelli Chocolate.

Cream: Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream…..organic if I can get it.

Cookies: If your cookies keep going flat, make sure that your baking sheets are cooled completely before you put the dough on.

I always under-bake my cookies by a minute since they continue to bake on the sheet once out of the oven.

Flour: King Arthur Flour for my regular flour. Bob’s Red Mill for my specialty flours such as graham and almond flour.

What if I can’t find almond flour or other nut flours? Make your own.

almond meal = ground almonds Notes: Specialty stores carry this, but you can get it for less at Middle Eastern markets. To make your own: Grind blanched almonds in a nut mill until the meal has the consistency of cornmeal. You can also use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to do this, but it’s hard to keep the nut meal from turning into nut butter. It helps to freeze the nuts before grinding, to use the pulse setting on the processor, and to add any sugar in the recipe to the nuts to help absorb the oils. Store nut meals in the refrigerator or freezer, and use them soon after you buy or make them. (1/4 pound whole nuts yields about 1 cup nut meal.) Substitutes: almond flour (This makes baked goods drier and gives them a finer, denser texture.)

hazelnut flour = filbert flour Notes: This is ground from the cake that remains after the oil is pressed from hazelnuts. This is hard to find, but you can order it from Baker’s Find (1-800-966-BAKE) or online from from King Arthur Flour. Substitutes: walnut flour OR almond flour

hazelnut meal = ground hazelnuts = filbert meal = ground filberts Notes: This is used to make cookies and other desserts. To make your own: Grind skinned and toasted hazelnuts in a nut mill until the meal has the consistency of cornmeal. You can also use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to do this, but it’s hard to keep the nut meal from turning into nut butter. It helps to freeze the nuts before grinding, to use the pulse setting on the processor, and to add any sugar in the recipe to the nuts to help absorb the oils. Store nut meals in the refrigerator or freezer, and use them soon after you buy or make them. (1/4 pound whole nuts yields about 1 cup nut meal.)

pecan meal = ground pecans To make your own: Grind toasted pecans in a nut mill until the meal has the consistency of cornmeal. You can also use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to do this, but it’s hard to keep the nut meal from turning into nut butter. It helps to freeze the nuts before grinding, to use the pulse setting on the processor, and to add any sugar in the recipe to the nuts to help absorb the oils. Store nut meals in the refrigerator or freezer, and use them soon after you buy or make them. (1/4 pound whole nuts yields about 1 cup nut meal.) Substitutes: walnut meal

walnut meal = ground walnuts To make your own: Grind toasted walnuts in a nut mill until the meal has the consistency of cornmeal. You can also use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to do this, but it’s hard to keep the nut meal from turning into nut butter. It helps to freeze the nuts before grinding, to use the pulse setting on the processor, and to add any sugar in the recipe to the nuts to help absorb the oils. Store nut meals in the refrigerator or freezer, and use them soon after you buy or make them. (1/4 pound whole nuts yields about 1 cup nut meal.) Substitutes: pecan meal

Sugar: I do use bakers sugar. If you do not have this, run your granulated sugar through a blender or a food processor to make it super fine.

Eggs: All eggs in my recipes are size large, unless the recipe says different.

Nuts: I store my nuts in my freezer to prevent them from going rancid.

Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Yeast: On my calendar, every 3 months, I mark off a day to test to see that all 3 of those are still good. Nothing is worse than your cake not turning out just because your baking powder was stale.

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