I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. On the one hand, lots of really great ideas to inspire my cooking, decorating, and shopping habits. Also an easy way to keep all of these great ideas organized and easily accessible.
On the other hand, the expectations that Pinterest sets are normally nearly unattainable. My good friend Stephanie sent me this Buzzfeed article the other day, which perfectly describes the sky-high standards that Pinterest is setting for anyone who wants to cook, clean, look, etc…better.
I especially related to the author’s point about lighting:
“23. I learned that a lot of Pinterest is just good lighting.”
Food photography (and photography in general, I suppose) is so dependant on lighting and photo quality…two details at which I am consistently failing when it comes to taking photos of my food.
I love to cook. But you’d barely realize it reading this blog (house building obsession aside) because I can very rarely get a good photo of the things I cook. The reasons are two-fold: one, because I can’t for the life of me find even one of the two batteries I have for my DSLR, which means I take a lot of iPhone photos; and two, because we are currently living in a tiny apartment with only two windows, which means lighting is ideal basically never.
Still! I persevere! And maybe once the house is done and I have a bright and beautiful kitchen, I can do better than this:
Even though the pictures suck, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been whipping up some pretty fantastic dishes behind the scenes that I’ve been wanting to share. Case in point: the collage above features, clockwise from top left, sticky garlic chicken and broccoli, meatball sub sandwich, crispy black bean tacos, and this salad with this dressing. These recipes were all fantastic (especially the tacos), but the photos are just meh.
On to desserts!
Alton Brown’s overnight cinnamon rolls (a Thanksgiving tradition), toasted marshmallow strawberries, peanut butter bacon cookies (a deer camp tradition), and my version of “lunch lady” brownies — a until-now secret recipe I’m happy to be sharing below!
If anyone has any photography tips or tutorials, please share in the comments — I think I feel a New Year’s resolution brewing!
But for now — brownies.
Dark Chocolate “Lunch Lady” Brownies
(AKA the best brownie you will ever eat)
Adapted from Saltbox House
Makes a 9 x 13″ pan of brownies
2 c all-purpose flour
2 c sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grease and flour a 9 x 13″ baking dish
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and cocoa until smooth
- Add in the flour and sugar; beat until smooth
- Add eggs and vanilla; mix until just combined (note: this is a very thick mix, don’t expect it to be runny like boxed brownie mixes — and don’t overbeat trying to achieve a thinner batter!)
- Pour into baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the brownies comes out clean
- While the brownies are cooking, mix together the frosting ingredients; frost brownies while still warm (Note: if the frosting becomes too thick to spread, thin it with a bit of regular milk before frosting the brownies)
I promise the next time I make these I will take more pictures and document the actual process, but these were just too good not to share ASAP!