inspiration

written by ilene ross
photographed by gina weathersby/kiwi street studios

Nobody would ever head off to culinary school thinking it’s the ideal place to lose weight, but at 5’11” and 288lbs, Michael Worth knew that his only hope was to start the battle before embarking on his career as a chef.  If he could begin losing the weight before he started, the encouragement he felt from his success would lead to a lifelong mentality of healthy living.  So, eight months before leaving for the famed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, he began a disciplined regime which consisted of running, circuit training, limiting portion sizes, cutting out dairy, and what might be the most difficult of all for a newly minted 21 year old, the banning of late night drinking.

Initially, his too strict program was met with frustration, and the pounds refused to come off.  Discouraged, he relaxed just a bit, and was well rewarded. Off to the CIA he went with his plan in place, spending his time without a car in the pastoral countryside of Hyde Park divided between class and the gym.

Four years and 112 pounds later, Michael is in the exacting kitchen of The Palace-one of Cincinnati’s finest restaurants- as Jr. Sous Chef to Executive Chef Jose Salazar. Working ten hour days in an extremely demanding kitchen is a great work-out routine on its own, though he still hits the gym. “I eat more now than I used to, but I’m not gluttonous, I do taste everything,” he says.

Being surrounded by all of that incredible food on a daily basis could prove to be the undoing of many a healthy eater, but Michael offers up these words of encouragement. “Never get discouraged. It’s [weight loss] not a numbers game. People need to look at it holistically.”

As a complete aside, yes ladies of Cincinnati, Michael is single….

to market, to market…

Words by Ilene Ross
instagrams by Gina Weathersby

Surprisingly, or maybe not so much, a food magazine isn’t always about the food. There are props involved. Silverware, plates, fabric, linens, and surfaces on which to photograph the food and props are just as essential as the starring character. As far as we’re concerned, those details make all the difference in our publication. We go through quite a lot of them in our quest to come up with extraordinary “food porn.” Some are one offs, photographed once and put back on the shelf, but certain special pieces are called upon frequently, an inanimate muse, lovingly showing up shot after shot.  And, while it might seem easy to just head to the local big box store and grab up everything in sight, we prefer our pieces with history, depth, and heart. We can’t help it, we’re suckers for rich patinas, worn woods, and old crockery.
Sunday was the opening day for the Burlington Antique Show in Burlington, Kentucky. Celebrating 31 years, this gathering of over 200 antique dealers draws people on the third Sunday of every month, April through October from hundreds of miles around looking to find furniture and vintage collectibles. After a rain soaked Saturday, Sunday’s early morning sun was a much welcome sight as we headed down South; ready to refill the 513{eats} coffers in our never ending pursuit for fresh eye candy.
We were amply rewarded. We loaded up on rustic kitchen implements, delicate silver serving pieces, and some really sweet old wooden boxes. Most often, boxes like this aren’t used to hold anything, but re-purposed as a surface on which to photograph food. This sort of “outside the box” thinking comes in handy in our never ending search for original and uncommon surfaces. We shock a lot of people when we put food on the floor to take advantage of some exquisite century’s old hardwood or tile. No five second rule necessary for art’s sake. We also came across a few vintage linens. They’re excellent for use as backgrounds, table cloths, or napkins. All that’s needed is a little imagination.
Finding resources for the magazine or is only half the fun of spending a gorgeous weekend day scouring these charming markets. We also find beautiful pieces for our homes. Peruse with a cup of hot or iced coffee, depending on the season, and when you become peckish, -as we always do- food trucks are prevalent, or make a date with friends for a pre-brunch stroll. Of course, socializing is de rigueur. Chat with the vendors and learn their story and the history of your find. One of our favorite things to see is small children inspecting the tables for toys of generations past, so bring the whole crew; these are hands down some of the best family outings. We’ve thought about tailgating-of course we’re thinking about the food- but we need all our car space for found pickings.
In addition to Burlington, you’ll also find us treasure hunting at the Tri-State Antique Market at the Lawrenceburg Indiana Fairgrounds, held every first Sunday, May through October, Second Sunday in Covington, and of course Cincinnati’s own delightful City Flea, opening its second season on May 19th. Consider adding them to your own calendar this season.

 

A rosemary shortbread meyer lemon {tart}

styling and photography ©Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

One of the many wonderful reasons I love visiting the market are the visual delights. On this day, the marigold color of meyer lemons called my name…loudly.
I admit it may have been subliminal, a I’ve  been spying many a meyer lemon tart recipe for weeks now. Either way, I left the market with baking on my mind.

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Tart
(originally from eat boutiques blog)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons, scrubbed clean and dried
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon Morris Kitchen preserved Meyer lemon syrup
  • powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 325.
  2. Place the pre-baked tart crust on a cookie sheet.
  3. Slice the lemons in half and remove the seeds. Place the lemons and sugar into a food processor and chop until the lemons are very fine. You will need to scrape down the sides to combine the sugar and lemon pieces.
  4. Add all of the ingredients except the butter and syrup; pulse until mixed well.
  5. With the food processor running add the butter and then the syrup; blend until creamy, about 2 minutes. Pour into the tart pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, then increase the heat to 350.
  7. Bake for an additional 25 – 35 minutes, just until lightly golden and slightly jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven. Let cool to room temperature.
  8. Dust with a light dusting of powder sugar. Serve. Eat.

Exodus from hunger

written by Ilene Ross
photography ©Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

Like most Jewish holidays, Passover in my house is all about the food. Grandma Bev’s matzo balls are a favorite, and the kids always have a contest to see who can consume the most. Her brisket is to die for as well. I’m fortunate that half of our family is of Greek descent, so we have my Auntie Sophie’s lamb to look forward to. These large, traditional Seder meals are what make holidays so special, but with 8 days of Passover, a girl needs a little nosh. We 513{eats} girls love our sweet treats, so we’re always ready for Passover with a sweet treat to keep us going.  Store these tasty little cookies in an airtight container so their moist, chewy interiors don’t dry out.

Passover Ambrosia Macaroons

3 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (14 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut (5 1/3 cups)
1 T Matzo flour
Melted chocolate
Orange zest

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat sheet or parchment paper sprayed generously with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt until frothy. Whisk in the matzo flour. Using a fork, stir in the coconut until just moistened. Drop batter by small ice cream scoops onto prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. They will not spread. Bake until lightly golden, approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool, drizzle with melted chocolate and garnish with orange zest.

{food} porn

written by Ilene Ross
photographs ©Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

Last week we received an extraordinary award. City Beat bestowed upon us the honor of “Cincinnati’s Best Food Porn.”  It’s one that means a lot to us, because it’s based on a phrase that we are exceptionally fond of. I wasn’t sure where the expression originated, so I thought I would check Wikipedia, as there is no dictionary definition to be found. I was certain there would be an entry-everything’s on Wikipedia these days, right?

Sure enough, there are plenty of entries for food porn, going back to the supposed-if we can count on Wikipedia’s credibility-coining of the term in 1984 by the feminist critic Rosalind Coward in her book, “Female Desire,” in which she writes, “Cooking food and presenting it beautifully is an act of servitude. It is a way of expressing affection through a gift… That we should aspire to produce perfectly finished and presented food is a symbol of a willing and enjoyable participation in servicing others. Food pornography exactly sustains these meanings relating to the preparation of food. The kinds of picture used always repress the process of production of a meal. They are always beautifully lit, often touched up.” One contributor also dishes up British cooking host Nigella Lawson and her overt sensuality while presenting food as a popular reference.

So, where do we 513{eats} girls fall in this discussion? Well, we certainly know that food doesn’t equal love, but there’s nothing we enjoy more than feeding our families thoughtfully planned, beautifully presented meals. Although in our eyes, the preparation of such meals is certainly NOT servitude.  We turn on music, pour wine, light candles, and take delight in the process of nurturing our loved ones. And yes, there is certain sensuality to that. It does take time, and in today’s often hurried society it might not happen often enough, but when it does, it’s worth every effort. If you haven’t seen Ms. Lawson’s show or read her cookbooks, do. To us, she flawlessly represents this ideology.

As the often used, yet somewhat mangled saying by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart goes, “I can’t tell you what it is, but I know it when I see it.” Exquisite food photography makes your mouth water. Your brain activates your stomach, telling you that you’re hungry. Your taste buds leap into action, you begin to sense the foods mouth feel, and you either want to prepare it, or have someone prepare it for you. And it’s not always limited to high calorie, off limit dishes. Nature in its simplest state enchants us with some of the finest food porn there is. We’re always astonished at the sheer beauty we find in an unspoiled piece of fruit. Our apologies, Ms. Coward, no artificial lighting necessary is necessary, and typically it’s only the human subjects who ask for touch ups.

We’ve said it many times over the past few months. We are sincerely grateful to have received such a warm welcome from the city that we love so much for doing something so meaningful to us.  We get to work with, and share ideas with passionate, talented, and creative people on a daily basis. We’re making something that makes people happy.  It is an honor.

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