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Beet and Green Bean Salad (and a Book Giveaway!)

I’m fighting the clock here as I try to post this before my power goes out.  Lots of people have lost power here in Long Island already, but Fritz and I have so far been lucky.  We are trying to get in as much of The Office as we can before we have to resort to board games and books.  It’s definitely getting windier and rainier!

Still no news about my exam results, by the way.  I’ve nervously checking but I’m thinking they might be postponed even more by the weather.

I thought I’d start this dreary day off by giving one of you a present!

Focal Press contacted me and asked me if I wanted to review a book: Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armenariz.  Um…hello!  Yes, I do.  I’m a completely self-taught (amateur, clearly) photographer, and it would have helped me a lot to have this book when I first started.  Honestly, it’s helping me a lot now.

Matt discusses everything from camera choices, lighting options, and food styling.  Everything is accompanied by gorgeous photos that clearly depict what he is talking about.  It’s also written in a way that makes food photography seem accessible and not too overwhelming, which it definitely can be at first.

It also made me a little hungry.  But that’s just me.

The only thing I think this book could go into a little more detail was lenses–what the parameters mean, and which ones might be best suited for food photography.  Buying a lens was something I really struggled with when I first starting taking pictures, and it took me forever to finally settle on one (I use a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens, by the way) (and I love it).

So are you a developing food photographer, or a great one just looking for inspiration?  Focal Press and I will be giving away a copy of the book to a randomly selected reader.  Just leave a comment below about why you would like this book for an entry, and leave a second one on my Facebook page for another chance.  The contest closes at 5:00 pm Saturday, November 3rd.

You are going to love this book, my friends!

Now for a quick recipe:

Beet and Pickled Green Bean Salad

  • 2 C roughly chopped pickled green beans
  • 3-4 roasted beets (see below)
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Yeah, seriously easy.

Roast the beets by scrubbing them, wrapping in foil with a splash of water, and roasting on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until they are easily pierced with a knife.  Once they have cooled a bit, rub them with a paper towel and the peel will slip off easily.

Dice the beets and toss with the green beans and the balsamic vinegar.  You could add some minced garlic, too, if you are like that.  You can also add a teaspoon or two of olive oil for a healthy fat, if you’re into that.

Whew.  The power just went out and then right back on.  So far, so good!

I like this salad served cold–or at room temperature, which may be my only choice if the power goes out again for real (which I have the feeling it will–soon!).

Stay safe in the storm, all!  And pray that no trees fall on the house or Fritz’s car that we just paid $1100 to fix!

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  1. Marisa

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win this book! I have been looking for ways to improve my food blog that I just started and I am antsy to improve my photography skills : ) My blog – http://uprootfromoregon.wordpress.com/ – is new and in the makin’! Hope to make some pickled green beans soon because yours look so tasty!

  2. Andrea

    Would love to get this to improve my photography skills!

  3. Marianne

    Good luck weathering the storm! I hope things get back to normal really soon. I’d love that book also! I’m struggling with trying to figure it out and make improvements on my little blog in my ‘spare time’ as well… I enjoy your blog!

    Stay safe!

  4. Maria

    Oh my gosh, I need to learn more tricks to improve the food photography on my blog. Although I’ve started getting some acceptances from foodgawker, I still get a lot of rejections. Any help I can get would be appreciated.

  5. Florence

    We think a lot about you,I hope you are fine.I like beets, and my dog too!So thanks for the recipe.

  6. Andrea

    I would love to win this book, I need help in the food photography department 😉
    I do the same salad and ad a boiled egg, great for lunch :)

  7. Shannon C

    I’m just starting out and I don’t have a very nice camera, so I’d really like to read some literature on the matter :)

  8. TC

    I love food photography. I also really suck at food photography. I could use the help. lol!

  9. Maryam Saeed

    I have planted papayas in my garden and radish. I think i should plant beetroot as well. I wonder what weather it grows in. In the part of the world where I live, it is usually very hot. Love the recipe and especially the color left on the beans by the beetroot. Stay safe in the storm. Love from the other side of the world.

    P.S: my sister does all the food photography at my blog ( http:/ppnsh.com). Her birthday’s coming up and since I very much doubt I’ll find this book in Pakistan, I’d love to give this to her for her birthday! Pick me?

    Love and Light,

  10. natalie@thesweetslife

    would LOVE to win this and improve my food photography!!

  11. Stacey

    This book would be great for me to get a leg up for the photography for my blog. I just don’t have the eye for it yet, and I would love to develop that.

  12. zosia

    Great giveaway! I’d love to improve my photography skills :)

    (Also…i love beets and i love pickled beans!!!!!! The combo will be amazing…can’t wait!)

  13. Joy Couture

    Would love to have this book – for inspiration & because there is ALWAYS room for improvement! Wonderful pictures of this salad BTW :)

  14. Julie

    I would love to win this book, it looks like it would be very helpful to my interest in food photography. I have been trying to learn but some things are better learned by reading about another’s experience with it. I would love to create photos like I see in that book.

  15. heidi

    I’m clueless when it comes to food photography, but I’m learning from all of the great tutorials out there. This book would certainly help.

  16. Eva {Not your mama's dinner}

    As a poor student with a small point-and-shoot camera it took me about a year to save enough money for a ‘real’ camera. I’m, just like you, a self-taught and way more amateur photografer and this book seems like a great way to improve my skillz.
    Mainly, if you’ld like to see why I desperatly would like to win you can check out : http://notyourmamasdinner.blogspot.com
    ps: this salad looks absolutely gorgeous and super-easy. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Carmen

    I really need some help with my food pictures – I’m too embarrassed to even show you what I’ve done in the past!

  18. Sara

    Lemme just say, because of your blog, I have fallen in love with green monsters…just sayin’.

    I would really like to win this book because I am currently in the middle of pursuing my own food blog as well as a few other interests. A big part of the reason I want to make this blog the best it can be is so that I can use it as part of my portfolio for when I apply to go back to grad school and finish my journalism masters. Food is a passion that I have recently discovered as I’ve been in the midst of reevaluating what I truly care about and want to pursue with the rest of my life. I am open to all kinds of resources and advice and think this would be a really cool addition to my project. :)

    Keep posting! Also, I feel your pain on waiting on test scores. My husband is a fourth yr med student so we know the waiting game well (i.e. boards, residency interviews, etc)

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