Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Zucchini Walnut Goat Cheese Pizza

We've been doing this blog for about two and half months, and this is the fourth or fifth time pizza has appeared - more than any other food. So, yeah, you could say we like pizza.

And I like shooting pizza.

Zucchini Walnut Goat Cheese Pizza

The Food (Jhan)

I know, pizza again!

But I couldn't resist this recipe. I received my new copy of Food and Wine Magazine (October) and saw the article on building a clay oven (p.86) - something I have wanted almost since I learned to cook - and even without the clay oven the recipes sounded interesting. Why did I choose the Zucchini pizza recipe? Simple: we had all of the ingredients in the house.

If you decide to make this pizza, I'd advise that you plan on about 10-12 minutes baking time (on a pizza stone) rather the the 5 minutes called for in the recipe. You may also want to add a little (1 link) cooked, crumbled, spicy Italian sausage sprinkled over the zucchini - the pizza is wonderful on it's own but this extra bit of spicy sausage would really add to the flavor. Also, use fresh summer savory - dried won't do it.

I can't wait to have this pizza again. Check out this month's Food and Wine, there are a lot of great recipes - you may even see a few more of them here.

Zucchini Walnut Goat Cheese Pizza

The Plating

Nothing could be simpler than this: black plate on black background. It works every time. I think that's the case because the black really makes the colors of the food pop. I recommend black when you have a food that doesn't have a lot of color, because the black will accentuate whatever color the food does have.

I liked the simple symmetrical placement of the two slices, but really felt that the composition needed something to add both compositional interest and color to the plate. A fresh sprig of basil was perfect.

This was about the simplest plating I've ever done, but I think it's perfectly effective.

Zucchini Walnut Goat Cheese Pizza

The Lighting and Photography

Zucchini Walnut Goat Cheese Pizza Lighting Seyup
I used three lights on this shoot... which is becoming pretty standard for me. I shot the key light from the rear through a reflector. I bounced one fill off the ceiling for a soft general light, and bounced on off the sheet to give a little front fill.

Nothing fancy, but you can see how that rear key gives some great reflections off the plate. The ceiling bounce guarantees that there aren't any harsh shadows, and the front light filled in some shadows and put most of the light on the basil in the image below.

Zucchini Walnut Goat Cheese Pizza


  1. Hi Tony and Jhan, my husband and I have just set ourselves the challenge to not eat the same dish twice over a period of 365 days. So I guess, like you've said, 365 day projects are a dime a dozen. So in my search of what other people have done in this vein I have come across your blog. I love the combination of great food and great photos - including the info on how you actually shot the photo. My background is in design, but I don't have my own SLR (yet!) so am having to make do with my average digital camera to capture our dishes. You make lovely food and they are great photos showing it off! Best of luck with your ongoing endeavour! Andrea

  2. Do you hold the camera by hand, or in a tripod, frame, etc.?

  3. Paul, I almost always hand hold because every shot is taken from a different angle. Considering that we are going to eat what you see here, I have to work very fast before everything gets cold. A tripod would not let me work fast enough.