Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Butternut squash soup

I have totally fell in love with food styling. Some food stands out naturally, like desserts. Maybe that's why they are tons of food bloggers favorite subject. Cakes, say, look good without any props, although with appropriate matching of napkins, plates, silverware and background, they can only be better; while some food are just not categorized as pretty creatures. Soup is one! For them, food styling and prop styling are especially important to create the right atmosphere.

The whole point of writing in my blog what I know about food styling is to share what I have learned with everyone who reads my blog. I am still learning this complicated technique, but I totally enjoys it. If my writing can be of any help to you, I would be more than happy.

When I first started learning food photography, I completely dig myself into the study of shooting techniques and the use of lighting. But compared to the professionals' , my photos indescribably lacked something. I was trying so hard to find that something until recently I realized it's how the food is presented that makes a huge difference!

I started checking out fabrics stores constantly to buy fabrics of all kinds of patterns and textures. I use them as napkins or tablecloth. Real napkins can be much more costly and less diverse, but a yard fabrics can be less than $5. Also shooting next to the window on sunny days can have too much light and also you don't want to see the harsh shadow on the other side of the sun. Having no extra white sheet, I solved the problem by getting a yard white fabrics and hanging it against the window. The light is softly diffused. Also an antique looking table top is an ideal background for food photography. To seek for one, I even got into the habit of paying close attention to people's garbage. Sometimes, people threw away old furniture in front of their houses, and I just helped myself to the distressed looking flat surface pieces.


Fall is the soup season. I finally made this butternut squash soup to celebrate the season of harvest, or try to slow it down, since the miserable winner is almost here!

In the background,putting some stuff related to the food, especially of the same and similar colors creates a consistent and supportive mood. In this shot, the small decorative squashes play the role and along with the gold soup makes a warm and homey feeling.

The background wood is the top part of a chest of drawers which was abandoned by its owner and lying on the front door grass. I torn the chest apart and happily carried away the one I needed! :>

Look at that curly green onion, isn't it pretty? The trick to make the curly green onion strips is after slicing the green onion to about 3 inches long thin trips, put in a bowl with cold water and ice cubes to refrigerate one hour, and then they would be happily twisted.

1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
3 cups veggie or chicken stock
1 small shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika chili powder
kosher salt
1 slice ham
green onion for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pan, over medium heat.  
  2. Add the shallots, turn heat to low, cook for about 5 minutes;  stirring occasionally.  
  3. Add the butternut squash and chili powder, stir and let cook for another 5 minutes.  
  4. Add the garlic and the stock.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a low simmer, cover and let cook until very tender, about 25 minutes.  It will depend on how large your chucks of squash are.  Season to taste with kosher salt.  Remove from heat and let sit about 10 minutes.  
  5. Using a food processor or blender, puree in small batches, then combine back in the same soup pot.  Gently reheat over low heat.  
  6. Spray some pam oil into a shallow pan and add ham. Cook until both sides are lightly brown. Cut into pieces. 
  7. Pour the soup into serving bowls and garnish with ham and green onion. Serve hot.


tobias cooks! said...

I am sure the soup is as nice as the styling. Looks absolutely fabulous.

Kathryn said...

Hey! Just stopping by to let you know we're giving away a signed Sandra Lee cookbook with 1,001 recipes over at Chew on That! We’d love for you to enter! The giveaway ends on Halloween, so hurry over! :)

beyondkimchee said...

Just sneaked into check on your blog. Your photos are fabulous. You have a raw talent, young man!
Your pumpkin soup looks delish! It is just right season for that soup now. Thanks for sharing.

Jen said...

Wait - what is "paprika chili powder"?

Vegolicious said...

Beautiful photos and the soup looks fantastic too.

I'd love for you to submit one of your beautiful photos, and a link to your post, to my new vegetarian food photo gallery showcasing beautiful and flavorful vegetarian food.

Yue Edwards said...

tobias cooks! : thank you!

beyondkimchee: thanks a lot for your compliment! i am flattered. btw, i am not a man,lol

Jen: It should be paprika pepper. Thanks for pointing out!

Vegolicious: i stopped by your website. When i make something vegetarian, i will submit it there. thanks for letting me know!

Daniela said...

Favolosa questa zuppa, le foto sono splendide. Ciao Daniela.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Mm gorgeous color. I'll take a big steaming bowl, please XD.

Eomniscient said...

Thanks for a great healthy low fat recipe
Low Fat, Easy weight loss tips