As I mentioned a bit before, a couple of weeks ago I was carried off to British Columbia to make a promotional video for a Gluten Free Health & Wellness video going on up there. It was a new, exciting, and terrifying opportunity - a lot to get done with the 3 weeks I had to work with. I've been waiting to post until I finally got all of it finished, and I can finally say it's done! I officially shot, composed, directed, and edited my first real video! I compiled all of the leftover footage that (largely) wasn't used in the original video to stay inspired and offer a small thank you to all the people that helped me out while I was over there! They were so patient and kind during the whole thing and I hope this video documents, despite the hectic moments, all of the fun I had while I was out there.
Also, if anyone is interested in the promotional video, here it is!
It's finally done, weeeeeee, now I can really explore Brooklyn!
Somehow, in a couple of days I've managed to reasonably settle into my new Brooklyn room. There are lots of things I'd like to share about this new crazy place I'm living in, not to mention new recipes to post, and birthday gifts to share, but first I have to get *the now* squared away - mostly finishing up this video project so I can feel like any other leisurely photo taking isn't some form of procrastination.
And less than a week ago, I was here, on Vancouver Island. Our picnic was a set and an excuse to go to Goldstream Provincial Park. The previous days of being shuttled around and feeling a bit haphazard were immediately quieted here. The green and redwoods as a backdrop to my lovely friends and colorful food inspired, and I found a zeal for the project that had been missing in the previous days.
My friends endured the damp cold and the strong smell of dead salmon (an annual winter occurrence in the nearby Goldstream river) for this project and I can't thank them enough for having so much patience as they watched me fumble around this new videographer character. They brought me coffee in the morning, made delicious meals, and were all around good company. Every time I'm near them I think what a wonder it is to have found people so far away with such similar interests as my own.
And while I am so excited about all the possibilities that go along with big city living, there have been a few times these last couple of days, where I'm walking around these foreign Brooklyn streets, enduring a bit of culture shock, and I've found myself wishing I was comfortably nested with these sweetie people as my company.
Also, I have promoted her blog countless times, but you should really look at Sophie's space - Wholehearted Eats ! Over the course of knowing her I've watched her blog blossom into a beautiful raw foods haven with countless original and creative, healthy recipes. It's even more impressive because she manages to maintain her blog and work a full time job!
While you're at it, you should also look at her angelic sister, Hannah's space - Tea and Toast. She's a busy student, but when she does post her photos and words are the loveliest.
Before all the madness of filming, being shuttled around to different places, and doing my best to be a video director, cameralady, editor, and everything else - I had a birthday. I reserved one special day before my first job to spend time with my deer friend, tucked up in a little cottage on the olympic peninsula.
My only request for my birthday was to take a walk in the mossy woods. After being so long on the east coast, any time I saw a photo of the mossy, misty northwest my heart would hurt just a bit. So, Melissa heard me. We walked through the cedar and pine to an abandoned fort on the hill. A magical overgrown place, sometimes painted the most beautiful, muted colors.
And, I hate to say, but while the rest of the continent was enduring snow and mostly below freezing temperatures, my birthday was graced with sunshine. I even got to take my coat off for a bit.
The year started at a sprint. My belongings were moved from my familiar apartment in Vermont, to the new, unfamiliar Brooklyn loft. A small room that overlooks the city, I will cozy it and make it mine in time. Just after midnight I journeyed from Brooklyn to the airport to use my small bit of free time before internship to shoot a film for some people back on Vancouver Island, my first ever paid job. So, here I am. I got to spend my birthday with my sister and friend on the olympic peninsula and now I am soaking in this wonderful excuse to see all my lovely Victorian friends again, and to see all the moss and grey.
It happened like this. I was frantically roaming around the internet, as I had been for the last couple of months, looking for *the perfect bakery*. I was first applying to New Zealand, hoping for a fairy tale life, then California, for some earthy bread making, then Asheville for something familiar, and then Maine for the cabin lifestyle. Nothing seemed quite right, and all my efforts for New Zealand weren't coming back to me. I finally was accepted by a bakery on the southern island of New Zealand, and then 2 weeks before classes ended the owner wrote to me saying he could no longer afford to accommodate my apprenticeship. The message was received amidst a time where I was unable to live in my apartment due to a health concern in the complex, living out the last month sleeping on a friend's couch, and then also some family troubles for a nice garnish.
I was sitting on the familiar couch, feeling quite lost, when I began reflecting on what I had done over the past year - the activities I constantly pursued, and the hobbies that constantly inspired. I remembered photographing bread and pastries in Victoria, the picnics I shared that I was so inspired to capture, and the Wild Fire Bakery video I made that received such positive feedback. I then thought of my return to Vermont and how I embarked on each food project with my vision always being 'something I will want to photograph later'.
I typed into Google, 'food photographers'.
I was hoping to find a food photographer who might have some advice on getting an internship, what the process might be, what to expect. Then, when scrolling through I saw Vanessa Rees' familiar name, a photographer I've admired for quite some time now. I clicked on her blog and there it was, her latest post: Cards and Interns. A simple post advertising her holiday cards and indicating that she was looking for a couple of interns starting in January. Without thinking I wrote to her, a simple and honest e-mail explaining my experience.
Within the hour I got the response, "Demetria, I'd love to chat with you!"
I was so excited. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I had an internship! All the months of stressing, and there it was, all settled.
It will be a comfort, as Vanessa is another southern raised girl like me, growing up in Virginia, working a job she hated and then slowly working towards her dreams of actually pursuing photography. Now she's shooting for big names like Food & Wine magazine, Ralph Lauren, and this year Saveur awarded her with the best photography in their Food Blog awards, an honor considering all the food blogs that are out there. And all the prestige aside, you can see in her photos - layouts that really tell a story, artful food placements that evoke feelings, and photos that show a true mastery of the craft.
So, there you have it, you're looking at Vanessa Rees' latest intern. And I'm moving from the Vermont hills into Brooklyn on the New Year.
You guys I have an internship!!! I have a place to live!!! Things are coming together and I'm unbelievably excited. I want to share with everybody, but I'm going to wait until I'm completely set up to tell all. Every moment I'm trying to calm myself down and concentrate on wrapping up things here in Vermont, but it's difficult. I keep wandering around on the internet, looking at what my life might be like in just a few weeks.
I'll do a post on it soon, I swear, but for now - more cozy winter sweets.
This season, I'm all about plums and cranberries, I love the rich color and tart flavor the two can provide, and each time I'm wondering what flavor I want to use, my mind immediately jumps to one of the two. So, when asked for a new tart idea - oh I'll make plum roses! The rose is beautiful and quite easy to accomplish.
III. Slice all 12 plums so that each slice is about 1/4" thick, and place in pot with 1 cup of sugar and about 1/2 cup of mulled wine. Put on medium low heat and stir until the plums have softened enough that they are flexible, about 15-20 minutes.
IV. Spoon in the dark chocolate ganache into each tart shell so that it fills about 1/4 of the tart.
V. At this point the mulled wine should have reduced to a thick syrup. Drizzle in the reduction onto the layer of ganache.
VI. Now you can make your plum roses! Begin by taking about 5 slices of the plums and laying them so that they are nearly upright, skin side facing up towards you, around the perimeter of the tart. Then continue to do this along the perimeter of the plums you just added, alternating the order so that the peak of each slice is placed right on where the previous two slices meet. Continue to do this until you get to the middle. When it is no longer possible to layer them, take one plum slice and roll into a little scroll, place the scroll skin side up right in the middle of the tart and there you go! Beautiful roses.
VII. Bake the tarts for about 8 - 10 minutes and then there you go! Warm and rich winter sweets.