Grilled Cheese Egg in the Hole

Grilled Cheese Egg in the Hole: a simple but impressive breakfast sandwich by I bake he shoots | ibakeheshoots.com

I don’t like eggs.

Yes, I’m crazy about breakfast, but not if it includes something scrambled. I guess I’ll eat them if:

  1. The doctor says “Do it!”
  2. They’re hard boiled.
  3. There’s a bowl of Sriracha nearby(seriously, gotta mask that eggy taste).

Don’t get me wrong, eggs are amazing and extremely versatile. Wanna make a custard? Yolks are your best friend. Meringue for my pie? Hand me those egg whites. Need a lift for your cake? You get the picture.

And let us not forget cookies. I make a lot cookies. Sometimes they’re of the sugar cookie variety. On occasion, they’re of the brown butter pumpkin shortbread variety. Needless to write, I always have a lot eggs hanging around. Yesterday, I used a couple to make a Grilled Cheese Egg in the Hole. What?

Grilled Cheese Egg in the Hole: a simple but impressive breakfast sandwich by I bake he shoots | ibakeheshoots.com

If you are an egg fan and a grilled cheese fan, you need to make this sandwich. Trust. They’re very impressive, equally simplistic, and go from kitchen to table in less than 10 minutes. Plus, if you’re like me, you’ll be the lucky one eating all the leftover holes of grilled cheese. Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

 

Grilled Cheese Egg in the Hole Recipe

Grilled Cheese Egg in the Hole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Makes 1 sandwich
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 slices of sourdough or your favorite bread
  • 2 slices white cheddar cheese. about 2 ounces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pad of butter, plus more for the pan(optional)
  • olive oil or spray
  • salt and pepper
  • 2½ round cookie cutter
Instructions
  1. Put pan on medium heat.
  2. Add oil or spray
  3. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.
  4. Lay cheese on one buttered side.
  5. Place other slice on top to make a sandwich.
  6. Use cookie cutter to make a hole in the middle.
  7. Add a little butter to the pan, if using. make sure the oil/butter is distributed evenly.
  8. Place sandwich in pan and press with a spatula.
  9. Crack 2 eggs in center of sandwich. Salt and pepper eggs.
  10. Cover pan.
  11. Cook for 2 min.
  12. Remove cover and carefully flip sandwich.
  13. Cook for another 2 min for over easy eggs.
  14. Serve with fresh fruit or hash browns.

 

 

French Toast Sausages & One New Year’s Resolution

Want to upgrade your boyfriend's breakfast in bed? Bring him French Toast Sausages dusted with powdered sugar | ibakeheshoots.comOh my goodness! The new year is here! Are you ready for it? I’m not sure if I am, but that is of no consequence. It’s here, so I better get it together.

Around this time everybody starts making resolutions for themselves and their families. I get it. You want to better yourself and your situation. Usually, I promise myself the same things: lose weight, better hair care(gotta keep my ‘fro tight), get myself organized, blah, blah, blah.

Things have changed this time around. This past year I’ve embarked upon an adventure called I bake he shoots and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the level of enthusiasm that I feel for the work that Dave and I have begun.

So this year…I’m making one New Year’s Resolution:

To fully commit myself to this project, this joint adventure, this endeavor. This year will be dedicated to great food + great photography.

…and better hair care. Seriously, I never kid about my ‘fro.

Alright…enough about ‘fros and revolutions resolutions. Let’s talk food. More importantly, breakfast.

The latest issue of Food Network Magazine has a beautiful cover of Christmas cookies, but inside you’ll find a nice spread dedicated to pigs in a blanket. But not any old pigs in a blanket…french toast sausages. What?

Want to upgrade your boyfriend's breakfast in bed? Bring him French Toast Sausages dusted with powdered sugar| ibakeheshoots.com

Normally, I’m not really into french toast. I’m a waffle girl. On occasion, I’m a buttermilk-pancakes-with-a-side-of-bacon girl, but when I saw those sausages wrapped up in french toast? I was a changed girl.

Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. These babies take a little bit of work. This isn’t a everyday recipe. I’d file this under special occasions, like the Breakfast in Bed category. Or, the Mother’s Day Brunch category. Or, the I’m-sorry-I-didn’t-pick-you-up-from-the-hospital category. Well, you might need to dig a little deeper for that one.

Want to upgrade your boyfriend's breakfast in bed? Bring him French Toast Sausages dusted with powdered sugar | ibakeheshoots.com

French Toast Sausages Recipe

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

French Toast Sausages and One New Year's Resolution
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Makes 14 french toast sausages
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 14 breakfast sausages links, about 14 ounces
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk(I used vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 heaping T granulated sugar
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 7 slices of white sandwich bread
  • 4 T butter, divided
  • Maple syrup, for dipping
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Arrange sausages on sheet and spray with Pam or oil.
  3. Bake for 10 min.
  4. If sausages aren't brown, broil for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. Reduce oven temp. to 200 degrees F.
  7. Whisk eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl.
  8. Pour into shallow pan, like a 9 x 9 baking pan.
  9. With Kitchen scissors, trim the crust from each slice of bread and cut in half, from top to bottom.
  10. Flatten each piece with your hand and starting with the short end roll around sausage.
  11. Press to seal and set in the egg mixture to soak for 5 minutes.
  12. Melt 2 T of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. When butter foams add 7 of the wrapped sausages and cook, turning occasionally, for 4-5 minutes.
  13. When golden brown on each side remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
  14. Add the rest of the butter and repeat with the remaining wrapped sausages.
  15. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.

Note: I had a lot of egg mixture left over. You could double the amount of sausages and bread slices and dip them in the remaining egg mixture, but you’ll need an additional 4 T butter for frying.

Check out Dave’s photography technique at French Toast Sausages: Behind the Scenes

 

 

Classic Cornbread & My Last Supper

Classic Cornbread: a no-fail recipe for your Thanksgiving or Holiday table.

I don’t think about death.

I mean…yes, I know we are all going to leave this earth at some point, but I don’t dwell on the subject. Rather than considering the afterlife, heaven or never-ending abyss, I ponder the meal which comes beforehand. My last indulgence which satisfies me wholly, as if to say:

My palate is at peace. I am sated and ready for my next adventure.

Let’s see. Now…I’m not sure what will be piled on my plate. Perhaps, a big bowl of Killer Cajun Shrimp or maybe a huge piece of Beatty’s Chocolate Cake. But if I know one thing, it’s this:

There. Will. Be. Cornbread. There will most definitely be classic cornbread.

Classic Cornbread: a no-fail recipe for your Thanksgiving or Holiday table.

When I write ‘classic cornbread’ I mean nothing super-fancy. For me there’s no need to throw fire-roasted corn kernels or Gruyere with minced shallots into the batter. It doesn’t need the aide of honey maple butter or cranberry pepper jelly.  Ok…maybe the honey maple butter, but you get my point, right?

Classic Cornbread: a no-fail recipe for your Thanksgiving or Holiday table.

Honestly, I’d be delighted with just a chunk of cornbread, sweet butter and some strawberry preserves. After that, I’d be ready to walk into the light.

How about you? What will you have at your Last Supper?

Classic Cornbread Recipe

Classic Cornbread recipe slightly adapted from food.com

Classic Cornbread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1½ c buttermilk
  • 1¼ c flour
  • 1½ t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, large
  • ⅓ c butter, melted and cooled (1/2 c butter, browned on occasion)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Coat 10 inch skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil or baking spray.
  3. Mix cornmeal and buttermilk in medium-sized bowl. Set aside. (The acid in the buttermilk softens the cornmeal while you prepare the rest of the recipe.)
  4. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  5. In a measuring cup or small bowl mix the cooled melted butter and egg.
  6. Combine butter-egg mixture with cornmeal-buttermilk mixture.
  7. Pour wet into flour mixture and combine until there are no more streaks of flour. Do not overmix.
  8. Pour batter into prepared skillet.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

 

Classic Cornbread Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes

by David

This was a busy day.  It started with a family photo session and ended with insanely delicious cornbread.  Mondo may be known as the “cookie lady,” but when I hear the cast iron skillet hit the stove, Mondo’s true talents come to light.  This girl knows how to make classic cornbread.

Setting up the Shot

Most of the photography videos I watch online skip the metering and chimp their way to a good shot, but light meters are an essential tool in a commercial environment.  The thing most people don’t understand is that meters aren’t about setting the shooting exposure, but instead, establishing ratios on the set.

When I shoot a model on a white background, I use an incident meter to set the background at two-thirds of a stop over the shooting exposure.  This gives me a pure white background without blowing out the hair.  This level of accuracy is mandatory for catalog work and impossible without a meter.

For the classic cornbread shoot, I wanted something dramatic with deep shadows so I went with a 1:4 lighting ratio.  In other words, I setup the main light at f16 and the fill light at f8.  I ended up setting the shooting exposure at f11, but it could have been a little more or less depending on how I wanted to render the highlights and shadows.

Of course, all of this is made possible by metering.  Over the years, I’ve played around with various lighting ratios and typically know what I  want before I shoot it.

The lighting

For the main light, I used a light panel placed 45 degrees and approximately 5 feet behind the shooting table.  For fill, I decided to use a 60″ Softlighter directly behind the camera.  This was used to lower contrast and provided a very even on-axis fill.

I typically place the light panel closer to the food, but I wanted the light to have a little “snap.”  A lot of beginners assume that a light gets rougher when moved closer, but the opposite is true.

The character of light is determined by the size of the light relative to the subject.  If the light is moved closer, it gets bigger and softly wraps around the subject.  If it’s moved back, it gets smaller and creates hard crisp shadows.

Odds and Ends

Mirrors and fill cards are a big deal for food photographers.  On the shot below,  I wanted to have light scrape across the top of the food, but it was creating a very harsh shadow on the edge of the pan.  I couldn’t add another light without killing the texture, so I bounced a little light into the shadow with a silver fill card.  It was a perfect solution provided by a piece of scrap I found around the studio.

classic-cornbread-4

On this shot, everything looked great at first, but the surface of the knife and jam were lifeless.  Unlike the cornbread, these were reflective objects, not textural objects.  Reflective objects show dimension by mirroring the items around them.  Instead of scraping light across the surface, I created reflective specularity on the top of the jam with a 10 degree gridspot.  I then placed a white card over the knife so it would reflect the card of the black surface of the studio.

classic-cornbread-5Wrap-up

By metering the set and understanding the nature of objects, I was able to do everything in-camera.  Instead of chimping away and hoping for the best with the lighting, I did the work during the shoot and left with very little to do later.  When I got home, I turned on the TV and watched Homeland instead of spending half my life in Photoshop.

All in all, a great shoot with a delicious meal at the end.

Technical

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Strobes: White Lightning x1600
Tripod: Manfrotto
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter: 125

Aperture: f/11

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins & the Summer I Got Canned

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins: a quick mufin recipe that will impress everyone at your breakfast table.

Once upon a time…

I got canned while on vacation. Yes, me. vacay. fired.

It was slightly embarrassing and perfectly understandable. You see, my boss was a troll.

Wait…that’s not fair. Perhaps, she was just a perfectionist? Nah, she was a troll.

At the time I was working at a bakery. I was super excited because finally, someone was paying me to do what I love. My neighbor, we’ll call her ‘Miss Good Intentions’ got me a job making pastries at a second bakery around the corner. I should’ve known it was a bad idea as she never had anything good to say about her boss; but I took the job anyway. I worked at the second bakery for three days. Here’s how it went.

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins: a quick mufin recipe that will impress everyone at your breakfast table.

Day 1

I met with the owner, a scary looking woman who looked like she desperately needed a bowl of soup and a nap. I kinda felt sorry for her. Little did I know she would soon can my ass so my sympathy was a bit misplaced. She showed me the recipes and how she wanted everything baked. No problem.

Day 2

After my 4 hr training session(Day 1), I was left to my own devices. I baked all the scones, muffins, cookies, etc. and plated them. It was ten minutes until opening and everything was ready, but wasn’t yet placed in the display case. Troll noticed and hit the roof. Queue the tongue-lashing I received with an audience. The cashier felt so bad for me she offered to make me a latte.

Day 3

With 20 ounces of Low Carb Monster in me I returned to the bakery energized and determined to please Troll. I kept to myself, focused on the tasks at hand and got everything baked and displayed under the wire. There was no praise from Troll she just hobbled over and gave me a new list of ‘things to prep’.

At the end of my shift she asked me to return the next weekend. I couldn’t as I planned to spend a week with my great friend Marsha, who was pregnant with her first child. I offered to come back the weekend after my return and Troll accepted.

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins: a quick mufin recipe that will impress everyone at your breakfast table.

The following week, whilst vacationing in Alabama, I got a call from the manager. She asked where I wanted my wages sent as my services were no longer needed.  There was no ‘wtf’ reaction from me; I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. Politely, I answered her question and ended the conversation.

What upset me most is the fact that I never got to try their donut muffins. You see, the bakery was famous for them. Did I mention that Troll never let me try any of the baked goods? Good lord, Troll…have a heart!

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins and the Summer I Got Canned
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Makes 6 Jumbo Muffins
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1¾ c flour
  • ¾ c granulated sugar(originally ½ cup)
  • 2 t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda (do not add if using milk)
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ⅓ c oil
  • 1 egg, large
  • ¾ c pumpkin puree
  • ½ c milk(I used buttermilk, hence the baking soda)
  • 1 t vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray jumbo muffin pan with baking spray or line with jumbo paper cups.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Mix wet in a measuring cup or small bowl.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  6. Divide evenly among the six cups. I filled each cup with double scoops, size 16.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.

 

Glaze

To make the glaze, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 heaping tablespoon of heavy cream over low heat. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and remove from heat once fully melted. Vigorously whisk in 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Use immediately.

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins Photo Notes

by David

This was a good one.  After a lousy shoot last week that produced unusable pictures, I was relieved this session went well.

Frankly, when things go bad, it’s typically due to a lack of planning and bad technique.  It’s nearly impossible to “wing it” with studio food photography, yet I’m still dumb enough to do it on occasion.

This week, I planned, metered, and carefully coordinated the colors and composition before I picked up the camera.  When I finally took the first shot, I knew I had nailed it.

Lighting

The lighting was composed of three lights. The main light was a monolight bounced off a white wall at f11.5. The second light was bounced into a large piece of foamcore at f8.5 to give a little more wrap and the third was a soft silver umbrella set at f4.5 to provide fill from the opposite side.

I liked the natural look of this setup, but there were problems with specularity off the top of the muffins.  A little specularity is normal and necessary, but the top of the muffins were completely blown out.  I adjusted the camera and lighting angles but I finally used my hand as a Gobo over the top of the muffins.  It was a stupid simple solution, but sometimes it’s just easier sticking your hand on to the set and blocking the light.

Wrap Up

This was a fun shoot and I saved a $1000 on lighting modifiers by bouncing a light off the wall and a piece of cardboard.  It’s easy to get caught up with all the latest gear, but when it comes down to it, once light bounces off something or travels through a piece of nylon, it’s all going to look the same.  The only thing that truly matters is the size of the light relative to the subject.  Of course, if Chimera calls tomorrow with a sponsorship, I’ll sell out faster than M.C. Hammer jumping off a Taco Bell.

Setup

pumpkin-muffin-4

 

Technical

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Strobes: White Lightning x1600
Tripod: Manfrotto
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter: 125
Aperture: f/11