When I talk to people about food blogging, they always assume the cooking is the hardest part. How do you come up with new stuff to make all the time? How do you take a bag full of stuff from the farmers’ market a make it look likeÂ that?
For me, time in the kitchen has always been the easy part. And the writing comes better some days than others, but that’s more related to how many episodes of New GirlÂ are available on Hulu than difficulty. No – it’s not the recipes and it’s not the words. It’s the photos that drag me down in the blogosphere.
I can’t tell you how many amazingly tasty meals I’ve made and photographed, only to wake up the next morning and realize every single image is slightly out of focus. Or how many times I’ve gone out for a farm-to-table dinner, snuck in my camera for a few discrete shots only to find they are blurry and underexposed when I get home. I bet I’ve had a few hundred blog fails since this site began.
I’m pretty hard on myself when I’m trying to come up with photos for posts. I like to think of Photoshop as a mini-wedding dress experience every time I plug my SD card into the computer. Images have to “sing” to me in that “this-is-totally-the-one” way every girl feels when the dress is absolutely perfect. It bugs me if the composition’s not great, if the lighting’s less than perfect. Sometimes everything will look put together, but the photo just doesn’t “feel” right.
It’s sad to say, but in our “like it – tweet it – share it” world, words mean a lot less than the images around it. What could be one of my favorite meals of the year is likely to get buried somewhere in the halls of the internet if I don’t have the right photos. Plus, when it comes to local food, there’s not always much to make into a flashy – wowza – photo. Seriously. There’s only so many ways you can pose a head of cabbage and an onion before you get that “been there – seen that” feeling.
Today’s post is aÂ PERFECT example of my good post, bad photos problem. At the same time I planned a spot on how to make an easy, no-hassle corned beef for St. Paddy’s Day–I’ve been dreading it too. What was a tender, perfectly seasoned and slow-roasted brisket came out as a nasty, sloppy looking hunk of pink roast beast in the pictures. I’ll be honest, a piece of local grass-fed corned beef from Mississippi MarketÂ set us back a few bucks. Then to have it not appear appetizing enough to share with all of you was like rubbing all that salty corned beef, briny goodness in deep wounds.
I did my best to arrange it, slice it, plate it, prod it. I promise. As I snapped away I was certain all my shots looked like this:
when in fact, everything I took looks more like this:
It’s hard enough to convince people to turn away from a the supermarket and choose a local food lifestyle. A pile of once-green now turned slimy gray-yellow cabbage certainly is not helping. Where’s that extra $600 and 3 months of time to for pro-photography classes when I need it?
For now, you’ll just have to trust me. Corned beef made in the crock pot with cabbage and served with a side of boiled potatoes and carrots is truly the best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The prep and cooking is hassle-free. The smell is heavenly. The flavor is immense. None of which I effectively communicated in these pictures. Just take my word for it (not my images) and add this to your celebration!
Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and CabbageÂ
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Bridal Edition Cookbook
3-4 pounds of corned beef brisket – trimmed
1 small head of cabbage
1. Place brisket and seasoning packet into a 4-6 quart crock pot. (You can also use a Dutch oven for this, but cook times will vary). Pour enough cold water in the pot to cover the brisket by 1-2″.
2. Cut the onion and cabbage into halves and then each half into large wedges. Stack the onion and cabbage around the brisket until the beef is completely covered.
3. Cook on low 7-8 hours, or until beef reaches an internal temperature of at least 165Â°F. Remove from crock pot and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve cabbage and onions with beef.