Fall Harvest Dinner Menu



Harvest Salad with Pears and Pepitas

1 lb baby spinach mix blend, 2 bosc pears, 1 cup pepitas, 4 oz goat cheese

To roast pepitas, toss them in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 13-15 minutes in a 325°F oven

Add salad leaves to a large serving bowl. Top with sliced pears, roasted pepitas and crumbled goat cheese. Toss with a 1⁄2 cup vinaigrette and serve.


Apple cider vinaigrette
3⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons raw honey
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
combine ingredients in small bowl and whisk to combine. Continue reading


gazpacho_2_MG_2274My favorite thing about Gazpacho soup is you can really put whatever vegetables you want and blend it up.  A trip to the garden or farmers market and pick up the ingredients. I use this recipe as a rough guide for my chopping and blending.  I always add a jalopeno or some hot pepper into the blend. And usually whatever tomato juice, V8 or bloody mary mix I have in the refrigerator.  Of course the garnish is also fun, be as creative as you want.  Best served cold.


Rooster Feather recipe’s

BBQ_Saucehero2 BeerJelly_ BlueberryPoundCakefinal chocjamcupcakehero2 Ketchup_ 2 PinappleChutneyPiecesI worked on shooting the recipes for these amazing products called Rooster Feather.


My friend in river falls makes these awesome jams, BBQ sauces, ketchup ect. We worked as a group to pull together the sets and styling. So much fun to work and sample these products. Once you try this BBQ sauce you will be looking at an empty bottle and trying to get more. You can follow him on Facebook and check out the web site to get more recipes.

food styling: Kati Standal

Here is the recipe fro the Asian BBQ sauce-



  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs dried dill
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon filet (about 1″ thick)


Put water, salt, sugar, dill and soy sauce in a large bowl, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour salt mixture into large zip-loc bag. Add ice and salmon; seal. Put in the fridge for 2 hours. Flop the bag a couple times.

Oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil. Take salmon out of the brine and put skin side down on baking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes. Brush the Rooster Sauce on salmon flesh side for about the last 2-5 minutes. The filet will be done when fat starts to bubble out. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grill: Get a full chimney of charcoal going. I you have a gas grill follow oven directions above. Cover half of the grill with aluminum foil. When the coals are ready, bank coals on one side of the grill. Place the grill rack with the aluminum foil on the opposite side of the grill for indirect grilling.  Take salmon out of the brine and put skin side down on aluminum foil side of the grill. Check after about 15 minutes. Depending on the heat of your grill this could take between 17 to 20 minutes. Brush the Rooster Sauce on salmon flesh side for about the last 2-5 minutes. The filet will be done when fat starts to bubble out. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle Sauce

fishtacos 239

fish tacosrecipeBeen spending a lot of time with the grill this summer. One of my goals is to grill more fish at home, expand the menu.  I enjoy the fish tacos so why not give it a try at home. The chipotle sauce is great and I get to use some of my herbs growing in the garden.  A margarita on the rocks is a of course the drink of choice.

Food stylist: Karla Spies

happy grilling

Shredded Beef Sandwiches


The Ski season is not over yet here, even tho it’s officially the first day of spring today. There s still snow to shovel. The other weekend we had a ski weekend up at the UP at a friends cabin. I made this crock pot shredded beef the night before, and packed it to go. I bought like four pounds of beef roast and cooked it in the crock pot for 10 hours on low.

Slice up the meat into several chunks and mix with; One can cream of condensed tomato soup, one diced onion, five diced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons celery salt, 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce and one packet of french onion dip mix. I mashed up the meat with a mashed potato masher and kept all the juice with it. It had a great flavor and simple to reheat on the stove top. I like to put some coleslaw on top of the beef. It was great after a day of skiing, a tasty beer sitting by the fire-place.

The images were shot in the studio for a client packaging, I thought you might find them tasty looking:) This recipe is defiantly a repeat for another ski weekend coming up.

pork chicken

Lemongrass Trout with Mango Salad

fish 188The other day we had some fresh fish in the studio for a photo shoot, this golden trout was just too pretty not to cook up for a photo shoot.  I worked with stylist Karla Spies and we found this recipe from my favorite Donna Hay.  I do not cook a lot of fish at home mostly because I don’t have a lot of experience and find it kinda of intimidating.  But this method of baking it in the parchment paper in the oven was rather simple and makes for an easy clean up.  The combination of the mango salad and trout has a nice compliment of flavors.ingredientsPreheat oven to 400 F. Layer pieces of non-stick baking paper on a tray and fold 3 edges in to form an envelope, leaving one edge open. Slide the lemongrass in the envelope, drizzle the Trout with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Slide the Trout in the envelope and fold the remaining edge of the parcel to enclose the fish, bake for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of your fish. The fish should be firm to the touch and cooked through.

Place the chilli, bean sprouts, mango, mint and green onion in a bowl and toss to combine.  Carefully open the parcel, letting the steam escape, and top with the mango salad and spoon over the dressing. Serve with the lime wedges.


Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

This week I have attended a couple of Chili contest events.  What is better than a group of people getting together to eat lots of good Chili, while in costumes no less.  I will say I did not win any golden spoons with this recipe.  There was some steep competition, and I went with the vegetarian variety. Some people did say they liked it, but let’s be honest usually looking for some meat in my chili.

I found this Pumpkin Black Bean Chili recipe which looked interesting with the pumpkin.  This was my first pie pumpkin I have ever cooked, I did like the pumpkin in the chili it gave it an interesting twist. My review of this was too much cinnamon and not enough spice for me.  I would cut the cinnamon in half from the recipe and add some fresh chopped jalepeno when dishing up a bowl.  I made it with red beans since that is what I had on hand, the veggies were good and the Guinness beer gave it a nice finish.  The chili was very colorful and pretty-hey even healthy.  But that soon changed as I added a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, chopped onions and cilantro on top. One can never have too many assecories with chili, a girl’s best friend.

Recipe from Crumb blog

Don’t forget to save and roast your pumkin seeds.

Fresh picked Apple Blue Cheese Arugula Flat Bread

It was a bumper crop of apples this year, I had a stylist bringing in bushels of apples from her trees.  She had so many apples this year she could not get rid of them.  They put a  ladder out by the apple trees for the neighbors to come and help themselves. They are great baking apples.  I felt like something savory as opposed to sweet to bake. I saw this apple pizza recipe, it had all the ingredients I love, blue cheese, arugula and pizza.  I still had a bunch of thyme in the garden so I loaded up the pizza with extra herbs and pecans-it was all good.  I recommend what ever pizza crust recipe you like, It does help to pre-bake the crust for like 3 to 4 minutes before you put the apples on and bake it , I think the apples add moisture to the crust and can make it soggy.  You can make this with goat cheese or feta cheese but I really liked the combination of the pungent blue cheese that was smoothed out with the sweet crisp apples.

The Northern Heartland Kitchen cookbook

I got one of those dream assignments, shoot the cover of Beth Dooley’s new cookbook. The theme of the cookbook is northern harvest. The publisher wanted Kale and to have the feeling of a bountiful harvest.   I shoot a series of images and submit them to the publisher and hope they will like one of them.  Kale is a tricky subject to make look fresh and appetizing, it is so dark and moody. But in an interview, Beth Dooley is a big fan  “Beth: Kale! Kale! Kale will save the world!  Kale is good for your health, it grows everywhere, it’s hardy, and it actually returns nutrients to the soil instead of depleting the soil. I learned about it from Atina Diffley of Gardens of Eagan. She’s a huge proponent of kale.”  Perhaps I should rethink how I feel about Kale.

The Northern Heartland Kitchen is a cookbook  about cooking local, seasonal food. The recipes are organized by season, with what is ready to harvest from the garden or shop at the local farmers market.  There’s info on pickling and preserving food.

There is a good review of several of the recipe’s on the Heavy Table web site-


It is a great cookbook for cooking local seasonal food and staying healthy with more vegies. There are several recipes I need to try before the summer season is over- the next on the list is a watermelon gazpacho.

Here are some out-takes from the photo shoot for the cover shot of the cookbook.  

Hmong Chicken Laab

The first time I tasted Chicken Laab it was made in the kitchen by the author of the Cook Book.  I was immediately addicted,  I had never tasted anything with so much flavor and fresh tasting. Chicken Laab is eaten like a lettuce wrap, the best lettuce wrap you have ever tasted.

Cooking from the Heart  The Hmong Kitchen in America

Authors: Sami Scripter and Sheng Yang
I had the honor of shooting the food photography for this cookbook. It was a cultural experience, from shopping at the Hmong market in St. Paul to having the food prepared in the kitchen and hearing all the history and family tradition behind each recipe. I got to try alot of new things and one of my favorites is the chicken Laab lettuce wraps.
I used fresh ground chicken at the grocery store and lots of herbs.  This is a great fresh summer recipe.  Packed with lots of flavor, light and no fat. All the herbs and fresh citrus juices is an amazing combination. It is a regular dish at my house this summer.
We worked with a food stylist and a prop stylist who pulled alot of the dishes, linens and backgrounds. And then we got to play on set the idea food photography job. Here are some of the samples from the book.
Please check out alot more great information on the book and the authors at their web site