Karen Schuld Photography: NYC Food Photographer

Sprouts in the Hood

Sprouts in the Hood
Exploring My Hood Through Food and Lifestyle Photography

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vegan Massala Chai on a Snowy Day

Vegan Massala Chai Tea
Wherever you may be on be a cold snowy day, a cup of a massala chai is the perfect way to find comfort and relaxation.  Substitute milk with almond milk for a creamy and luscious alternative to dairy.

Ingredients for 2 cups of Vegan Chai:

1 cup raw almonds, finely ground
2 tablespoons black or green tea
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 cup water
6 black pepper pods
1 small piece of cinnamon stick
6 lightly crushed green cardamon pods
1 tablespoon honey


1.  In a coffee grinder, grind raw almonds until pasty.
2.  In a pot, combine almond paste with soy milk and water.
3.  Add ground spices such as cinnamon, cardamon.
4.  Add mined ginger with a couple of black pepper pods and sweetener, such as honey.
5.  Boil gently for 15 minutes
6.  Strain mixture and serve into a cup.

Indian Street Vendor Making a Cup of Chai
Enjoying Chai at an Indian Dhaba

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chile Harvest in Santa Fe

New Mexican Chili
Autumn in Santa Fe

Chile Roaster

Roasted Chiles
Autumn is harvest time for the New Mexican chile.  You can smell the aroma of the chiles being roasted all over Santa Fe this time of year.  Before the chile season comes to an end, I have to buy a bushel for roasting, so I can freeze them and have an ample supply to last me though winter

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Autumn Fig Salad

Figs with Baby Greens
Inspired by the mission fig and the autumn landscape of northern New Mexico, I delicately combined some baby greens, walnuts, dill, and Manchego cheese to make a salad.  For a final touch, I drizzled on some agave nectar to add a touch of sweetness. 

Autumn Landscape in New Mexico

Rio en Medio in Autumn

Chamisa Bush in Autumn

 Chmisa Blooming in Santa Fe
The autumn landscape in northern New Mexico is stunning with the chamisa's golden yellow flowers blanketing the hillside. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Purslane Potato Salad with Greek Yogurt and Dill

Purslane Potato Salad

Purslane in Potato Salad
While I used to find purslane in all of the uptown farmer's markets in Manhattan,  I now find it growing wild in my garden in Rio en Medio.  Purslane is a succulent, that can be used in stews, soups, salads or sauteed.  Here, I added some to my potato salad.

Purslane Close-up

Potato Salad with Purslane Recipe


1 pound purple,red and white finger potatoes, sliced in half
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup purslane,  loosely chopped
salt to taste
1/4 cup dill, chopped
red chili flakes to taste


1.  Roast the finger potatoes, cool.
2.  Slice the potatoes, then place in a bowl.
3.  Add the onions, yogurt, purslane, dill, chilli flakes, and salt.
4.  Stir then serve.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Salad with Fenugreek and Mustard Greens from My Garden

Fenugreek and Mustard Green Salad

Fenugreek and mustard seeds are staple spices in Indian cuisine and the good news is that they are easy to grow.  I threw some seeds in my in my garden three weeks ago and now have an abundant supply of greens for salads.   Here, I combined my fresh garden greens with an heirloom tomato and pine nuts and tossed the combination in olive oil and salt for light afternoon fare.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Feast of Light and Beauty at Encantado Resort's Terra Restaurant.

Last Wednesday's sunset from the Encantado Resort's Terra Restaurant was spectacular.  Along with an enjoyable glass of full bodied red, I savored the colors, the light and the view of the Jemez Mountains.  It was a surprise to me that this feast of light and beauty would be part of the evening's culinary experience.

Santa Fe's Country Side at Dusk

July and August bring monsoon rains and spectacular sunsets to Santa Fe.  After a summer rain,  the scents of pinon, juniper and sage fill the air, while the sky becomes brilliant with color and dramatic light.  

In the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. on the outskirts of Santa Fe,  one can find amazing views, tranquility and inspiration.  Here are some of my photographs from last Thursday at dusk, where you can see the magnificent  colors and beauty of northern New Mexico.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Iced Cantaloupe Smoothy with Cardamom

Cantaloupe and Cardamom Smoothie
My furniture, kitchen supplies and other personal items are finally here after a six week journey from New York City to New Mexico.  It feels good to have my tools for cooking once again.

This summer morning, I used my blender and a freshly picked cantaloupe to make an iced smoothy for breakfast.  A dash of cardamom powder gives a little added sweetness to the drink's flavor.  Using powdered nonfat milk made my beverage creamy and satisfying without the added calories.

Recipe for Cantaloupe and Cardamom Smoothie: 


1 cup cantaloupe, chopped
1/2 cup ice
3-4 tablespoons powdered nonfat milk, (I use Organic Valley nonfat milk)
1/8 teaspoon cardamom, powdered
1 sprig of mint

Place ingredients together into a blender and blend until texture is a little smooth and a little crunchy from ice.  Add a splash of green with a sprig of mint for a garnish.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Salad with Blueberries and Papitas

Freshly Picked Greens with Blueberries and Papitas

Summer Salad with Blueberries and Papitas

Mixing baby arugula with avocado, blueberries, melon, red onion, a little hot spice, then sprinkling with some toasted papitas work nicely to make a light, colorful and refreshing summer salad.  Toss these summer fruit flavors,  fresh greens, and papitas with some lemon juice and salt for a quick and healthy meal for you and a friend.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 melon,  chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup baby greens
1/4 cup papitas, toasted
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 serrano pepper,  finely diced
Salt to taste

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot Sauce with Ancho and Negro Chilies

Hot Sauce with Ancho and Negro Chilies
I love adding a little hot spice to my meals.   Here is a  quick hot sauce with some dried ancho and negro chilies from my local Spanish market, El Paisanos, in Santa Fe. 
Hot Sauce Recipe:


4 dried ancho chilies, seeded
4 dried negro chilies, seeded
1 tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, choped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 lime
Salt to taste


1.  Remove stems and seeds from chilies.
2.  Soak chilies for 20 minutes in hot water.
3.  In a saucepan, combine the chilies, tomato, garlic, and cumin.
4.  Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
5.  Puree ingredients.
6.  Stir in lime juice and salt.

New Mexico: "The Land of Manana"

New Mexico Sunset
Where NYC is "the city that never sleeps",  New Mexico is the "land of manana".   Here, I am told,  the word manana does not mean tomorrow, it means not today.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Agua Fresca": Refreshing Water Cooler at the Oasis

The Famous Oasis Restaurant
I am having culture shock after moving from NYC to Santa Fe.  I miss the
pulse of the city but I am enjoying discovering a new
place.  While driving, I came across this funky little taco shack on the
side of the road named "Oasis."  The owner and chef, Julio, made me one
of his special "Aqua Fresca" drinks.  Julio blends water with a slice
of water melon or mango, then pours the mixture in a glass with ice.  On a
hot day, this refreshing beverage is the perfect aid to cooling off.

Julio's "Aqua Fresca" Recipe:

1 cup water
1 cup fruit
1 cup ice


1. Blend fruit and water in a mixer.
2. Serve in a glass with ice.
3. Enjoy and stay cool.

Julio from Oasis in the Desert
Blending an "Agua Fresca"

Friday, July 1, 2011

How to Photograph Food

One thing I have learned over the years is that it is easy for a photographer to make food look bland and tasteless.  But, of course, the goal of a food photographer is to make the viewer desire the subject of your shot.   Making food look appetizing requires a knack for styling, a careful eye for detail, and an ability to use light in a way that will bring romance and drama to your subject.  Here are some tips and suggestions that can enable you to achieve a photograph that will whet the imagination---and the appetite---of the viewer.

While some photographers approach food shots in a static way by carefully contriving the shot, I prefer a more free-flowing, spontaneous approach to styling. As I shoot, I rearrange the food as often as it takes to get the right look.  I view the plate as my canvas, and the food as my medium.  Just as with any photograph, I try to achieve a design that draws the viewer’s attention to my subject---in this case, the food.  But, in shooting food, my goal is also to create a whimsical, playful design that juxtaposes unexpected colors and textures.  For example, I toss herbs onto an entrée to add zest or include colorful fruit to achieve a more vibrant shot.  The way I position myself and my camera also enhances the flow of the shot.  While I sometimes shoot food large format with a tripod, I prefer shooting with my 35-mm.  It leaves me freer to move around my canvas and experiment with different camera positions and angles.  

Food that looks fresh is appealing to a viewer; so it is important make your food look natural and not too staged.  You should constantly check that your food stays fresh.  Greens tend to wilt quickly.  Meat can start to look exceedingly dry if you’re not careful.  A little water spritz can add moisture to your food, while steam can give it a "hot out of the oven" look.  If you are a beginner, it can be beneficial to work with an experienced food stylist.  A stylist can prepare your food so it is photo-ready and can bring another set of eyes to the set.

A good photographer always pays attention to detail.  For any photograph to be successful, the photographer must select the right props and surfaces.  Food photography is no exception.  Choosing a special location or creating a staged environment for your subject can greatly enhance your shot.  Choosing the right plate, bowl, glass or cutlery can also significantly improve the look of your shot.  When you shoot food, it is important to choose a color scheme that that will complement the color or character of the food.  A black background can intensify the color of a dish, while shooting on a white background will always create a clean look.  Also, be aware that cuisine and culture go hand in hand, so document food by covering a region's people, markets, restaurants, and special dishes. Consider shooting a series of both close-up, medium, and wide shots that begins with the ingredients and ends with final food presentation.

Lighting is key to setting the mood for your photograph. Whether your concept requires drama or mystery, excitement or stability, you must carefully consider the lighting that will work for the situation.  Use lighting you feel comfortable with.  Natural light can work well with food but artificial light gives you more control over the look of the shot.  A backlight with a little fill can make your food look luscious, while a sidelight can show texture and depth.  It is very helpful to use a “stand in” entrée while you set up your lights, to get just the right atmosphere.

In conclusion, it is important that you spend adequate time preparing to ensure that you have the right foods, props, surfaces, lighting setup and personnel to make the shoot successful.  It is essential to focus on styling and attend to all the details involved in the shot.  Although there is no one right way to plan, style, light, and shoot food, always keep in mind that the end goal is to make your food look fresh, colorful, dramatic and, hence, appealing to the appetite.  Your final shot should be one that stimulates the senses.

Links to some styling tips on my blog:  http://sproutsinthehood.blogspot.com/2010/11/styling-and-photographing-food.html

Examples of a documentary approach to shooting food:  http://sproutsinthehood.blogspot.com/2010/10/basmati-rice-garnished-with-fried.html 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Moving from NYC to Santa FE

"Sprouts in the Hood" will be back after the 4th of July weekend.  I will be relocating from uptown Manhattan to New Mexico where I will start exploring some southwestern cuisine and spices.  Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Foraging Mulberries in NYC

Mulberry Branch

Just Picked Mulberries

Mulberries Blended in Yogurt with Papaya
This time of year, ripe mulberries are abundant all over Washington Heights.  There is a mulberry tree around the corner from me with some berries waiting to be picked and eaten.  The berries are sweet and taste great blended into some yogurt with chunks of papaya.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Iced Hibiscus Tea on a 97 Degree Day

Hibiscus Tea with Ginger and Vanilla Flavor

Hibiscus Flower in Kerela, India
To quench my thirst on this 97 degree day in NYC,  I decided to make a refreshing glass of Iced Hibiscus Tea and sit in front of my fan.  Hibiscus, is also referred to as jamaica or sorrel in the Mexican and Caribbean markets.  It has a tangy, astringent flavor that reminds me of cranberries.  For added punch you can let your dried hibiscus flower steep with minced ginger and/or a piece of vanilla for a couple of hours.  I like mine lightly sweetened with a touch of honey.  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Soft Boiled Egg with Baby Greens and Strawberry Vinaigrette

Strawberries from the Farmers Market
Strawberry Vinaigrette with Cilantro
Soft Boiled Egg on Baby Greens with Strawberry Vinaigrette

The first of the berries were at this week's farmers market.  Sweet, tangy and delicious, they add a burst of summer to my Sunday morning breakfast.
Vinaigrette Ingredients:

1/2 cup of strawberries
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1-2 tablespoons honey

Directions for Vinaigrette:

1.  In a blender, puree all ingredients

Ingredients for Hard Boiled Eggs with Macro Greens:
Serves 2

1 handful per serving macro greens
6 asparagus stems, chopped
2 small spring onions, chopped
2 medium sized red potatoes, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
Black pepper and salt to taste

Directions for Hard Boiled Eggs with Macro Greens:

1.  In a skillet, brown red potatoes with asparagus.  Let cool.
2.  In a bowl, toss the macro greens, spring onions with the asparagus and potatoes.
3.  Serve tossed vegetable mixture on a  plate with the egg, then drizzle the strawberry vinaigrette on top.
4.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grilling Vegetables without the Grill

Close-up of Vegetables from Farmers Market with Sardine Filet
In Manhattan, outdoor grilling can be a little challenging, unless you are willing to go over to the Hudson River and set up your hibachi.  If you like grilled flavor, without the hassle of setting up the grill, here is an easy alternative for cooking vegetables.  Take your favorite vegetables and cook them on a cast iron skillet with fresh sardines.  The oils from the sardines will make the vegetables crunchy with a flavor that says "hot off the grill".  After you have cooked everything, squeeze on a little lemon juice, then add some sea salt and your favorite fresh herbs. 

Sardine with Sweet Potatoes, Beets and Beet Greens
 Sardine Filets with Asparagus, and Beets, and Beet Greens