Easy Cranberry Sauce

The holidays are definitely approaching, because I'm running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Last week was my first week "on my own" and as I adjust to making my own schedule, I find myself wondering how I ever had time to balance art direction on top of photography. The days fly by in the midst of cooking, shooting, editing and scheduling other shoots. I'm also in the process of rebranding my blog and portfolio thanks to the help of one extremely talented Brand Designer, Diego Mota. More to come on that... 

Needless to say, Thanksgiving is almost here and I still need to make something to bring to the feast.

I decided to cut myself a little slack and make an easy cranberry sauce. I had never made it before and wanted to play with it by adding this Vietnamese Cinnamon from Penzey's that my Mom brought me as a gift. We used it when we made a Plum Pie together and it's definitely more intense than regular cinnamon. I figured since cranberries are tart, much like plums, this flavor combination would be perfect.  

If you find yourself scrambling before Thanksgiving, give this recipe a try. It's easy, fast and absolutely delicious. No one will know how easy it was to make - your secret is safe with me.

Enjoy and may you all have a very happy and full Thanksgiving!

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All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.

Champurrado with Rick Bayless and Lucky Peach Magazine

When Lucky Peach magazine contracted me to shoot for their upcoming winter / breakfast issue, I was completely floored. Not only would I be shooting for them, but I would be shooting with one of my favorite chefs, Rick Bayless.
<happy dance!>

Lucky Peach magazine is published quarterly and focuses on food and writing. Each issue has a theme and each article features art, photography, essays or deliciously unique recipes. It has been one of my favorites for a long time. You're sure to learn something from each issue... it's clever, quirky and incredibly informative. I love it.

I'll definitely admit to being star struck when I met Chef Bayless. Mike and I are huge fans of his recipes and restaurants. One of the first times we cooked at home together, we made Lobster Tails with Mojo de Ajo after watching an episode of his popular tv show Mexico, One Plate at a Time. I also had my very first Michelada at Frontera Grill in the popular River North neighborhood of Chicago. Needless to say, Chef Bayless has introduced both Mike and me to lots of 'favorites' over the years.

Chef Bayless's calm demeanor and knowledge of the recipe reminded me to stay focused and capture the process of making Champurrado, which is Atole with chocolate. It's a very popular breakfast drink in Mexico. I was able to taste it and the flavors surprised me in such a good way. It was a complex balance of corn and nutty flavors, with just hints of chocolate. I really enjoyed it because it wasn't overly sweet like I was anticipating. See more details about the ingredients and process in the article!  

The issue hits the stands Tuesday, November 17th!  Go get it!

I was so honored to be a part of this - thank you for having me, Lucky Peach and Chef Bayless!
Lets do this again very soon! 


All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.

Pear and Blackberry Galette with Rosemary

Whenever I go to the grocery store, I get inspired by the ingredients I see. As I walked into Fresh Thyme, a newer market in our neighborhood, I was greeted with several wood crates containing a variety of pears. They were so fresh and beautiful, I couldn't resist buying them. As I continued exploring the store, I saw that blackberries were on sale and, even though I don't typically snack on pears or blackberries, I thought I could bake something interesting with them. Next thing I knew, I was home preparing to make my very first galette.

I decided to add rosemary into the mix too because I love its flavor and the aroma. We still have lots leftover in our garden. 

"Galette" sounds fancy and, to me, slightly intimidating. After researching other galette recipes, I soon realized it's also referred to as a rustic tart. The imperfections in the crust are really gorgeous to shoot and even better to eat. It takes the pressure off of forming the perfect crust like you might do with a pie. Since I'm all about shooting food in its natural state, this "rustic tart" was right up my alley. Once I tasted it, I knew I'd be making them much more often. This will be a perfect dessert to bring to an intimate Thanksgiving dinner.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm leaving my career as an art director to pursue photography full time. It's now my last week at my day job and I'm so excited about what comes next. I have some new plans for the blog that I know you'll enjoy, so definitely stay tuned! I've also added new food and travel photography to my Etsy Store (ReganBaroniPhoto) - including the still life of the pears and the blackberries in this post! The holidays are coming quick and art is always a good idea.

In the meantime, treat yourself and make this galette... it's so delicious... it won't be the last one you'll make. 


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All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.

This Is Just The Beginning

Mike and I traveled to Sanibel Island, FL in mid-October for a quick getaway together. It gave us a chance to slow down and take a deep breath in anticipation of a very big step that I'm about to take...

I'm extremely excited to share that I've decided to leave my full-time career as an Art Director to further develop my career as a professional photographer. I put in my two weeks notice last Friday and, although there are a lot of emotions that come with a decision like this, I am so happy and very ready.

It's not like I woke up one day and decided to quit my job. Mike and I have been talking about this transition for over a year now. When we sat down to figure out what we'd need to do to get to this point, I cried. Last Friday felt so incredibly far away. I remember feeling like there was no way I could truly grow my photography business and continue my career in advertising for another year. Mike looked at me and calmly said, "Just keep doing what you're doing...

So, in the midst of the ups and downs, that's what I did. I continued to go to my 'day job' and kept putting as much energy as I could into photography on the side. Following your dreams is not easy. The idea of it feels and sounds like a happy fantasy. The reality of it is late nights, early mornings and working at it every single day. And, although you love it, you'll need to take a nap from time to time. 

Some really exciting things have happened this year too! While I continued to cook, style and shoot recipes for the blog every week, I finally managed to launch my Etsy Store (ReganBaroniPhoto). I was also invited to be a contributing photographer on three commercial image licensing sites including Image Brief, Offset and most recently, Getty Images. My Instagram feed was featured on DesignBloq and I was also contracted to shoot with Lucky Peach magazine for their breakfast issue! It will be published on November 17th! 

How about that nap? 

I want to share a quote by Jasmine Star that has been very helpful for me this year and I think it's something that everyone should read daily. She's an incredibly talented photographer who also took a chance to start her photography business. 

"Success isn't luck, getting a break or having connections... success is showing up everyday when no one is watching and honing your craft, even when you doubt something will come of it."   --Jasmine Star

Thanks for all the love so far! I hope you'll continue to stick around for the ride! This is just the beginning... 


Beach photo from this post was taken on Sanibel Island and has been added to my Etsy Store (ReganBaroniPhoto)!

 All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.

Posted on November 2, 2015 and filed under Etsy, Inspiration, Business.

Flank Steak with Grilled Corn Salsa

One of my favorite things to do on weekend mornings is step away from my phone and my computer, make several cups of Yogi Tea and flip through new and old cooking magazines in the natural light and calming quiet of our living room. Even when it's overcast, the light is really beautiful and the aura of a new day energizes me. I find myself getting inspired to cook and even more inspired to shoot something delicious and new. 

I subscribe to several cooking mags, but always seem to gravitate to the recipes in Bon Appétit. When I came across this recipe for Grilled Flank Steak and Grilled Corn Salsa, I knew I had to make it. Mike typically does the grilling between the two of us, but even I stepped up to the plate on this one. Although the ingredients seem extensive at first glance, it's all very easy to put together. I actually tested this recipe three times before shooting it. 

One ingredient I wanted to add were the microgreens I received from Green Towers. They sent me a tray of Daikon Radish microgreens to try out and I was shocked at how easy they were to incorporate. The tray can be stored indoors or out, and growing instructions are included. They grow quickly and before you know it, you'll have a big batch of microgreens to add to salads, salsas and even this steak recipe. Daikon has a crisp and subtle spicy flavor that nicely complimented the salsa and steak rub. 

Enjoy the dish... and be sure to take time to slow down and find the energy you need for the coming week. This recipe is a good start. 


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 All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.

Linguine with Clams and Almonds and Herbs

Mike and I have been really busy at our day jobs lately so we've been trying to find some easy recipes that would not only be quick to make, but also provide a little extra comfort that we all look for in our nightly dinners. When I came across this recipe in Bon Appétit magazine, I realized that I had never cooked with clams before, which is odd because Mike and I are really into seafood (which is a friendly way of saying we're obsessed with it).  

Cooking with clams is really no different than cooking with mussels. Cover them in the sauce until they open and discard any that don't open. The sauce in this recipe is one of our go-to's and includes the basics: olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and white wine. I used the same sauce in my Squid Ink Pasta with Garlic and Tomatoes post, so it's incredibly versatile to use with different types of pasta recipes.

My favorite part of this recipe is the almond-herb mix that gets added as a garnish. It brings a slightly nutty flavor to the sweetness of the clams and the spiciness of the sauce. This dish is super delicious, really comforting and has already become an easy go-to for our weekly dinner routine. A busy day at work has nothing on this recipe.


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All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.

Posted on October 18, 2015 and filed under Recipes, Seafood, Pasta, Dinner.

Blueberry Pie with Mint


It's always blueberry season in our house. Although Mike tends to lean on the side of savory vs. sweet, he loves it when I make anything with blueberries. Since we recently celebrated his birthday and our 5-year anniversary in September, I was inspired to bake a blueberry pie. 

Pies can be really sweet so I love exploring ways to not go overboard with the sweetness. I always go easy on the sugar with fruit pies. Since fruit already has so much natural sugar on its own, I only use half of what a regular recipe suggests and my recipe reflects that. I also added fresh mint to brighten up the flavor. It was delicious.

I swear, the last five years went as quickly as the pie did... Savor the pie and each other. 


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All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

I've been really into soups lately and although there are several amazing and unique recipes out there, sometimes I just want to stick to the classics. I love chicken noodle soup. It reminds me of being a kid and feeling so comforted by the amazing smells that filled the kitchen as it simmered on the stove. I always loved it when my mom would let me taste it with her to be sure the flavors were just right. 

For this recipe, I made my own chicken stock. I debated skipping this step and buying it in the store, but I'm so glad I took the time to prepare the stock separately. It's really easy to do, it just requires a little extra time. You can really taste the difference and the best part is, you can make a lot and store it for future recipes. 

My favorite part about this recipe is the final touch. After you ladle the soup into bowls for serving, add a sprinkle of cinnamon over the top. It takes this classic soup to a whole new level of warmth and flavor. I don't recommend adding the cinnamon to the entire pot. A little can go a long way and when you add it to the individual bowls it's easier to keep the flavors balanced.

Another recommendation I have is to cook and store the noodles separately, otherwise they will absorb most of the broth leaving you with chicken noodle pasta instead of chicken noodle soup.

I really think you're going to love this one... the cinnamon is definitely a game changer.


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All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.

Butternut Squash Soup with Beet Microgreens

I know it's not technically fall yet, but it feels incredibly close. It's my favorite season - not only is it Mike's and my 5-year anniversary, but I also love the recipes, the colors, the fashion and the weather. The air is a little cooler and I find myself gravitating towards thicker blankets and comfort food. I love to make this Butternut Squash Soup throughout the cold weather seasons. It really brings out those "cozy feelings" that we all seek when the leaves start to turn.

This year I tried something slightly different with the recipe that made a big impact for me. I added Amaranth (beet microgreens) as garnish and was amazed at how much they enhanced the flavor. The microgreens taste like beets with a calming, earthy flavor that pairs nicely with the sweetness of the butternut squash. It's subtle, yet I can't imagine this soup without them now. It really is incredible what microgreens can bring to a recipe. 

With all the happiness that fall brings for me, there is some sadness sprinkled in as well. My Dad passed away in the fall when I was a lot younger and although I miss him everyday, I find myself thinking about him a lot more during this time of year. The photos placed in my shoot were taken by my Dad with his old Canon Tlb SLR. He was an incredible artist, one of my favorites. 

I like to think he knows what I'm up to with my photography these days... much like the fall, I sense that he's nearby too.  


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All Images © Regan Baroni 2015.