Monday, August 31, 2009

Preparing for the Week Ahead

"We need to talk."

"Oh no, what did I do now? Honey, I honestly try my best, you know I do, but for the life of me I cannot remember which drawer which spatula goes into. I just can't. I've tried. Really. You know that. But I've never been able to determine the reasoning - if any - behind the placement of spatulas in the kitchen, and I probably never will."

"This has nothing to do with spatulas. We need to talk about next week's dishes."

Ah (whew!), indeed we do. Even though you are about the only person who reads this blog, we have really gotten into it. And it's a good thing, since we can't afford go out to eat anymore due to collapsing photography business, furloughs, canceled classes, and reduced hours (yes, we've been hit by all of these).

Instead, we're staying in and trying new and interesting dishes that Jhan gets to make in the copious spare time between her three jobs. And that's exactly why we need to sit down and plan out the next week's food. If we don't, nothing will get made.

Selecting the Next Week's Menu
Jhan deep in planning

It's actually a lot of fun to plan the week's 'shooting menu', but something that you don't want to do on an empty stomach.

First, we get out every recipe book and every food magazine known to man and dump them in a pile on the coffee table. Then we pour through the recipes (Jhan) and photos (me), looking for something that catches our interest.
"What about shrimp? I love shrimp."
"We could do shrimp."
"Here's a recipe for shrimp with bacon and chiles. Everything is better with bacon - even shrimp! And it looks easy; even I could do this one."
"Let me see that."
"Mmmmm, pear and goat cheese pizza..."
"...chocolate almond bundt cake..."
"...fried haloumi cheese... sounds incredible..."
"...fennel-scented duck breasts in pinot noir sauce... God that look good..."
And so it goes. But we don't just talk about the food - we talk about how it will work photographically as well.
"How about pizza? Here's a recipe for Monterrey jack and asparagus pizza."
"That'd be green and white, right? Can we add some red for color?"
"I don't think tomatoes or peppers would work in that recipe."
"Well, we need some color. What about making pizzettas - one green and one red? Here's a recipe for a bacon and tomato pizza. That'd be red. The other would be green."
"What's with you and bacon all of a sudden?"
"What do you mean, 'all of a sudden'?"
In the end, we've got three to five dishes for the coming week, and Jhan is off to the grocery store.

And that's how we plan the week's food for the blog. Cooking and shooting it... that's a whole other story.


Astute readers may have noticed that there is no actual food in this post. However, I hope this post explains why that is the case. Planning. Work. Three jobs. Go back and read it again if you missed any of that.

Sad to say, but you're probably going to see more posts like this as we go along.

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