I have a confession to make. When I lived in my old apartment I’d cook dinner in the evening and then photograph the leftovers the next day, when the light was just right, and post the images here. Then the food would go back into the refrigerator and I’d eat it for dinner again the next night or two. But there’s this thing I’ve learned since moving in with a boy: They eat a lot. Especially when they get home from work and go for a run that’s farther than all of the distances you’ve ever ran in your life combined.
As a result, I’m never really sure how much food I’ll have left to shoot. And since my guy loves leftovers more than anyone on the planet the leftovers usually become his lunch the next day. Now don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining one bit. The fact that he loves to eat as much as I love to cook and the fact that he’ll eat anything I attempt to make (including the flops) is more than I could ever want. And since we’ve been living together I’ve tossed out about 100 percent less food than I used to. Did I mention he does the dishes? Yes, these are all very, very good things.
So I’ve decided to say screw it. Screw what those blogs on food photography say about shooting in the daylight. The point of this blog has never been perfect images. It’s about delicious, inspiring food! So I don’t want to not post something just because the exposure (whatever the heck that is) isn’t quite right. Especially when I make a ridiculously simple meal like this one that made our taste buds do a happy dance and caused us to exclaim between bites things like “it tastes like summer!” and “I can’t believe this is so healthy!” and “I knew there was basil in the salad!” and “do you think we can get the first few episodes of Breaking Bad on Amazon Prime Instant Video?” Okay, that last one had nothing to do with this salad. But we are currently slightly obsessed with Breaking Bad and didn’t DVR the first few episodes of the current season because we were busy doing things like moving, going on vacation, working, editing books, shopping for furniture, and getting engaged : )
Before we sat down to dinner last night I pulled out my camera and took a few shots of the meal because it would’ve been just plain wrong to withhold it from you. The entire concept came from the fact that I had fresh wax beans from a farmer’s market we visited in Michigan this weekend, but I’m sure green beans or haricots verts would work great, too.
And while I’m in the spirit of confessing things to you today I’m going to admit that my dinner didn’t actually look like the plate you see above. You see, I love one-bowl meals where you can toss everything together and get a little bit of everything in each bite. So my dinner looked like this, below. It contains all of the components above plus wild rice and sliced peaches. Because when you have farm fresh peaches in August you find a way to put them on everything.
Chicken Cutlets with Wax Bean, Arugula & Avocado Salad
1 lb wax beans, ends trimmed and beans cut in half
5 oz bag of arugula
1 avocado, pitted and diced
1 tomato, diced
13.4 oz box of garbanzo beans such as 365 Organic from Whole Foods or one 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 basil leaves, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil (optional)
1 lb chicken cutlets
Salt and Pepper
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add wax beans, cook for 30 to 60 seconds, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. In a large bowl combine arugula, avocado, tomato, garbanzo beans, and basil. Add wax beans. Top with lemon juice, olive oil, walnut oil, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with tongs to evenly coat.
Heat oil (such as olive oil or grapeseed oil) in a large skillet on the stove. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook on the stove, about 5 minutes per side. Serve alongside salad.