Category Archives: Food Photography

Paleo pancakes by hudson valley food photographer caylena cahill

Paleo Trials: Flourless Pancakes

Paleo pancakes by hudson valley food photographer caylena cahillI’m intrigued by the paleo diet, but mostly because I am a proponent of whole foods and minimizing wheat and other similar products in my diet.

So, naturally, when I find recipes that proport to being like some of the things I love, but paleo friendly without added sugar… I am open to trying – as long as the ingredients aren’t too exotic.

There are supposed paleo pancake recipes floating around the internet, of course. I tried one a few months ago, and it was a failure. I’m guessing I must not have cooked them long enough, because they completely fell apart.

But, honestly, the real problem for me was the texture… nothing like normal pancakes. The flavor was alright, but a little too eggy.

So, this time, I modified the recipe a bit, to try to make them thicker. It was still a bit too eggy for my liking (and I eat eggs daily, so it’s not that I don’t like eggs), but I’m still used to the texture of normal pancakes…

So, this is what I did this time:

1.5-2 medium bananas
2 eggs
1/4 c chopped mixed roasted nuts (Archer Farms)
1-2 tsp flax seeds
1 tsp chia seeds
3/4 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
3-6 strawberries chopped
cinnamon (to taste)
maple syrup (to taste, just for serving)

Mash bananas and mix all ingredients. I did about 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and it made about 8.

If you have suggestions for making it more cakey, without buying a lot of specialty flours, like regular pancakes, I’m all ears.

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Behind the Scenes of a Food Photography Shoot

This past Monday I had the pleasure of working with food stylist, Leslie Orlandini on a test shoot. Our explorations included healthy food options such as a honey vanilla roasted lemonade, a root vegetable pancake with poached egg, a panna cotta made with cashew milk and others. The shoot took place in a lovely home in Somers, NY with beautiful natural light in the kitchen and a great country/rustic vibe, set off in the woods. Prior to the shoot, we discussed and brainstormed several ideas for the meal plan and what our goals would be for the day. We decided upon a combination of recipe demos and “beauty shots,” as if we were working on a cookbook or editorial piece.

The morning started off with the demo shoot of the lemonade drink – which is made by roasting lemons and then soaking them with water, fresh vanilla and honey. For our images, we decided we’d do a still life with the ingredients, a shot to illustrate the roasting, and a final shot for the finished drink. We ended up with two varieties of “final” shots of the drink in a glass – for variety. I shot tethered to my laptop, so we could see each image at a large enough size to determine what was working and what wasn’t. We worked very collaboratively to determine which props to include (or not) and what food should be placed where, etc.

After we finished the lemonade, I worked with the panna cotta dessert – which Leslie had prepped beforehand and was all ready to go. I used a different lighting set up and location than the lemon shots – for which I had used a mix of natural/available and artificial light on the windowsill in the kitchen. For the panna cotta’s, I moved to a different window and stuck with the available light, modifying it with a reflector, to get some fill light into the shadows. Once I had the lighting and basic setup ready to go, Leslie and I worked together to come up with a good combination of composition and story – such as props, partially eaten cups, etc.

By this point, we’d been working for about 4 hours and it was time for lunch! While we ate, we talked about our own experiences and goals, while watching the snow begin to fall outside.

After lunch we worked on a demo of the root vegetable pancakes – determining which steps should be shown and which would be clear when in combination with a recipe. Ultimately this wound up including about 5 images, including a still life, the process of julienning the veggies, “blanching” the veggies to soften, using a towel to strain the water, frying the pancakes on the stove and finally, a plated version of the dish, complete with poached egg and yolk running down the front!

The day finished and, all said and done, we came out with 10-12 images. Not a bad day’s work. We packed up and set off for a snowy and dark drive home.

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Photos Published in Upstater (Including On the Cover!)

So excited to share that I was comissioned to work for Upstater magazine and my work is featured throughout the fall 2015 issue – including on the cover! :)

Check out the screen shots below or view the digital edition here.

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