What was I Thinking?

 

When I made the bold decision to venture off on my own and self-host my blog last November, I also purposely omitted a few of my very early posts from Danny’s Kitchen.

I was looking at my photos shot with my iPhone and asked myself “what was I thinking?” The photos were awful! There was nothing wrong with the recipes, but the photos were just sad — poorly lit, bad composition and just unappetizing in the final visuals. I was embarrassed. Those recipes were not going to show up on the new site and I would have to redo them and give those recipes a fighting chance.

By reading other blogs and discovering some amazing talents out there, I eventually retired my iPhone for taking food photos and started using my Sony Digital camera. I eventually learned how to create a light box since my kitchen has the worst natural light and then graduated to a new mirrorless Canon camera and even better lighting. It’s been a journey and a tremendous learning experience for me. I constantly read other blogs and am in awe of the photographic skills and finished photos I see.  I’m also fortunate to be surrounded by family members who love photography and can show me a thing or two.

To this day, I still look at my photos and wish that I could do better. I’m trying, believe me, I’m trying.

In the meantime and with practice, I hope to graduate to the next level – whatever that may be. I do hope that by next year, I can look back and ask myself “what was I thinking?” when I read my posts from 2013 and see the types of photos I shared with all of you. Have faith in me, ok?

For now, I’m excited to share my latest recipe creation.

1227 Foster- Chicken & Cauliflower 1

If you ever have red wine left over, consider throwing it into your next dish to give it that wonderful flavor.

1227 Foster- Chicken & Cauliflower 3

And when you’re craving carbs but want something healthier, try cauliflower — you won’t regret it!

1227 Foster- Chicken & Cauliflower 2

I hope you enjoy my latest recipe inspiration using chicken breasts, onions, mushrooms and cauliflower. Simple ingredients but when combined and seasoned, it’s one beautiful, flavorful and healthy dish!

Chicken and Mushrooms in a Red Wine Reduction with Mashed Cauliflower

Serves 2
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Website 1227 Foster

Ingredients

  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts (sliced lengthwise into thirds)
  • 1 Medium Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 handful Large Mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 cup Red Wine
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cooking Oil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 head Cauliflower (stem and leaves removed, then quartered)
  • Butter

Directions

Step 1
Fill a large pot with water (enough to cover cauliflower) and generously season with salt. Allow water to come to a boil.
Step 2
Add cauliflower to boiling water and allow to boil until fork tender. Once soft, remove from heat and drain water.
Step 3
Place cauliflower in a large bowl and mash with a fork. I prefer to leave some small chunks but it's up to you how smooth and creamy you want them to be. Once you're happy with the texture, add butter, mix and taste.
Step 4
In a large pan or skillet, add cooking oil and heat.
Step 5
Saute onions for a few minutes, then add wine and season lightly with oregano, salt and pepper. Continue heating mixture (and stirring) over low-medium heat until wine has reduced.
Step 6
Add in mushrooms, balsamic vinegar and heat for another minute or two. Remove mixture from pan and set aside in a bowl.
Step 7
Using the same pan, add some cooking oil and heat. While pan is heating, lightly salt and pepper chicken breasts on both sides and add to pan once oil is hot.
Step 8
Based on thickness of chicken, cook each side for about 3 - 5 minutes until cooked through and it's a light golden brown.
Step 9
Add in the onion and mushroom wine reduction and continue heating for another 2 - 3 minutes to flavor the chicken.
Step 10
Serve chicken with the mashed cauliflower on the side and enjoy!
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28 Comments

  1. Danny, your photos are just fine .. nothing wrong with the ones I have seen, there is always those out there that will do a better job than us … so nothing to worry about and there will always be those that do it worst than us.
    This is a dish I will do next week when I’m back home again. Just my type of great lonely dining.
    Viveka recently posted..weekly photo challenge: upMy Profile

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    • Thanks Viveka! I’m just striving to get better and better (it’s the perfectionist in me) :) I hope you enjoy it upon your return home! Best, Danny

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  2. Know exactly how you feel. I’m constantly updating as I’m very seldom happy with how the food looks. Especially when it’s so drab during winter. I’ve never seen anything wrong with yours before. However, I do feel, certainly in my case, that I can always do better. Here’s to next year!

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    • Too kind, thank you! You have great photos and I love the tonality, feel and composition of each of them. I just want to get better and will continue trying new things and learning from others like yourself. Here’s to improving our skills :)

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    • Thanks Dorothy! It’s simple, easily done for your next dinner :)

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  3. The foodie in me loves and the doctor/nutritionist in me ‘approves’ of this lovely combo. I am increasingly using vegetable mashes instead of unhealthy old poatatoes etc :) ! Often make wine sauces with chicken but have rarely used red wine: can see how this would work! I am quite a perfectionist too, but to me there are two things: showing what you have cooked how [and you do it very well] and trying to be almost a professional photographer at the same time. Perhaps you want to be the two – fine if the time and enthusiasm are there . . . I find the time necessary next to work, family, private interests and loves, any studies etc quite limiting factors!! Good luck with your endeavours!!

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    • Thanks Eha, so glad I got the double stamp of approval :) This is truly one of those recipes with both flavor and healthy aspects! Not sure what I want to be when I grow up but I do want to continue with this blog and making it the best that it can be… only time will tell but I’m going to keep working at it. Thanks for the support!

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  4. This looks wonderful.. your new photo does this recipe justice:) I have a few of those old pics on my blog as well, sigh, it would take years to redo because I’m always trying new recipes, lol. I have a light box as well.. do you use artificial light and where do you place it?? I’m still figuring that stuff out and your photos look great!
    Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen recently posted..Freshwater Seashell WreathMy Profile

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    • Barbara – I am surprised. Had no idea your amazing photos were with a light box. I actually ditched the light box a month + ago and use two new light sources which I can move anywhere in the house. Thanks so much — appreciate your feedback!!!!!

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  5. I’ve admired many of your food photos, Danny, and did finally realize that you use a light box. I have lighting problems in my kitchen as well plus I do most of my cooking for blogs at night which doesn’t allow for natural light. I’m shopping around for a light box now and I think it’ll be fun to learn to use it.
    Patty Allread recently posted..Quinoa with Roasted VegetablesMy Profile

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    • Thank you Patty! I did evolve to a light box and it was simply homemade out of foam core boards and duct tape – one in black and another in white. The lighting was so bad in my kitchen because like you, it’s too dark when I cook :) I did ditch them though for stand-alone lights fore more flexibility. I hope it goes well!

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  6. What is this leftover red wine that you speak of Danny??? ;-)
    Great recipe. I personally love looking back at the evolution of my own posts…some of the earlier ones I do a face palm and wonder what was I thinking. But I love seeing how far I’ve come.
    I love your food photography skills and your blog!
    Kenley
    Kenley Leigh recently posted..Wedding Tree Planting CeremonyMy Profile

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    • Kenley — between us — I’m not a big wine drinker — shhhhhh :) We all need a good walk down history and see where we’ve come from — hopefully, we’re moving in the right direction, right? :) Thanks so much!

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    • You’re right Elen – it’s good to have history to show how far we’ve come. We all have those which we’d like to cover… :)

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    • Hi Shari – you are welcome and thanks for visiting as well. Your beautiful pasta dish caught my eye! I am sure you are learning a lot of great techniques that you can use on your site – all the best! Thank you!

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  7. Ah, you’re too hard on yourself Danny. I’ve enjoyed your blog from the day I found it & find the first & foremost, I can count on your recipes. Of course we all want to have the best photos possible or no one would want to try them, but I think you’ve got an eye for arranging the food & a simplicity that makes lighting secondary.

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    • Thank you for the wonderful critique Diane :) I am always striving to do better – part of the perfectionist in me — so just trying to do better with each passing year :) I guess what’s important is that we always try to grow and improve ourselves…right? Thanks again!

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    • We should all share our first postings with a side by side shot of where we are today :) Thanks so much!

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    • Hi Shannon. Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it and appreciate you visiting my blog! :)

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    • Thank you Dena — I appreciate the feedback. I’m still going to try and make them better – still have a lot to learn :)

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  8. I so hear this! I haven’t altered my early posts… yet. But I cringe when I look at them. It’s a great analogy to many things in life- we learn and we grow. Sometimes it is just a little more subtle! Your photos are looking great!
    wendy@chezchloe recently posted..Orange Carrot Muffins with Chai GlazeMy Profile

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    • Hi Wendy! Thanks so much! Looking at some of the original photos just screamed “redo” so let’s hope the photos are better the second time around :)

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