Arkansas Food Photographer

Food Photography | Chicken | Arkansas Food Photographer

Chicken.

Low in fat and amazingly high in protein, relatively inexpensive and easy to raise on your own, chicken is a staple on the dinner table around the world.

Memorial Day is next Monday and the vast majority of the U.S. are taking advantage of the upcoming long weekend. It's a safe bet that many of us - most of us - will fire up the grill at some point and chicken will be on the menu.

When it comes to the grill, I'll admit that I am a proud charcoal snob. I can hear the collective *gasp* of the gas grill lovers, but sorry, charcoal just tastes better. Simple (and cheap) chicken drumsticks are a perfect evening dinner.

I used the leftovers to make BBQ chicken pizza...more on that below.

BBQ chicken legs.

BBQ chicken legs.


If anything deep fried is more your flavor, the possibilities with fried chicken are endless. I ate deep fried chicken quite often as a kid, but as an adult, I don't indulge as much except when it comes to the fried chicken sandwich. Thick and juicy, with just a hint of spice, sandwich your perfectly fried chicken breast between a toasted bun topped with, spicy mayo, homemade slaw and bread and butter pickles (my fave) and you have perfection.

 

Fried chicken sandwich with slaw and pickles.

Fried chicken sandwich with slaw and pickles.


For those with a wicked sweet tooth, here's a twist on chicken and waffles. Use the waffles as the bun and the maple syrup as a dipping sauce and these chicken and waffles sandwiches are a great for Sunday brunch. Or any day of the week.

Warning: this can - and will - get messy, but who cares? It's chicken and waffles sandwiches.

Chicken and waffles.

Chicken and waffles.


I'm a huge fan of Hoisin Sauce which is a thick, somewhat pungent sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meats. With it's sweet and salty taste, It's also used in some stir fry's and as a dipping sauce. For a twist to the standard BBQ sauce, use Hoisin sauce and make lettuce wraps garnished with scallions and sesame seeds for a fast and easy summertime dinner. Chopsticks are optional.

Chicken lettuce wraps.

Chicken lettuce wraps.


A favorite for a weekday, a weekend lunch, is the chicken salad sandwich. Chicken salad is one of those items that can be made in bulk and it'll keep in the fridge for several days...if it lasts that long. I like to buy chicken tender strips, add them to a large pot of water and let it come to a slow simmer for just a few minutes. The slow poach yields a wonderfully moist chicken tender that's easy to shred with endless uses.

The uber health conscious scoffs at chicken salad because of the mayo, excessive amount of mayo. It CAN be made healthy and lower in fat with the right substitutions. Try subbing 3/4 of the mayo with nonfat, plain yogurt. Greek yogurt doesn't sub as well. I find it too tangy with a slightly gritty texture. The rest of the ingredients are up to you, but for me, it's a finely diced apples, grapes, chopped walnuts and fresh thyme.

Chicken salad.

Chicken salad.


After the long Memorial Day weekend is all but a memory, and your fridge is full of leftovers from the grill (if there are any) what can you do with the leftover chicken? BBQ chicken pizza is the perfect solution.

Homemade pizza dough is always best, but if you're not up for making your own, the store bought kind will do just fine. Take any and all leftover chicken, shred finely and add just a touch of your favorite BBQ sauce. The topping are left to your imagination. Sauteed red onions, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh pulled mozzarella cheese with a few ribbons of basil are my favorites. Simple, easy and messy...the perfect pizza.

 Karen E. Segrave | KES Photo

Food photography Chicken

So...what are you having for dinner tonight?

 

 

Beer to Farm to Table: JV Farms & Superior Bathhouse Brewery

I've spent a lot of time over the past year working with Superior Bathhouse Brewery in Hot Springs photographing varying projects. But one I did over the summer was one of my favorites.

JV Farms is a small, family, homestead farm located in Bismarck, Arkansas. They use organic and sustainable practices and offer a variety of items such as: free-range eggs, whole hog sausage, rabbits, pasture-raised lamb and seasonal produce. JV Farms sausage and other pork products can be found daily on the menu at Superior.   I can attest to how good their bratwurst it.

Once the brewing process at Superior is complete, the spent grains are then scooped out and dumped into buckets. But what to do with it? Jay Lee, the owner of JV Farms picks up the spent grains who then feeds it to his pigs. To the pigs, it's like eating candy.

On a very hot afternoon in late July, I spent the evening at JV Farms during the feeding of the little (and big) piggies and then afterwards, it was dinner for everyone. You cannot beat the smell of fresh, artisan bratwurst on the grill.

Superior and JV Farms takes the Farm to Table concept one step further: Just add beer!

From Baths to Beers: Part Two | Superior Bathhouse Brewery

By now, most of us know about Superior Bathhouse Brewery in Hot Springs. It's the only brewery located in a national park. I spent a day at Superior this past spring photographing their brewing process as well as some beauty shots of selected beers and some of their more popular menu items.

The old, and historic, Superior bathhouse seemed like a logical place to have a brewery, after all bathhouses are built to handle large amounts of beer's main ingredient: hot water.

 Karen E. Segrave | KES Photo

Superior Bathhouse Brewery

The idea of re-purposing an old building as a brewery is not new. Retrofitting Superior posed special challenges since the bathhouse building itself is a National Historic Landmark.

The spring water that is brought into the building is already at 142 degrees, so less energy is needed to get it to 172 degrees which is ideal for brewing beer.

Superior is getting lots of national attention. In a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, spoke to owner Rose Schweikhart, "Very few springs are both hot and potable. We are the only brewery in the world utilizing thermal spring water in our beer. You will find many breweries with spring water and many breweries that use geothermal technology to heat water, but we are truly the only one who uses thermal spring water out of the ground directly into our processing vessels."

 Karen E. Segrave | KES Photo

Superior Bathhouse Brewery

There's a lot of downtime when it comes to brewing beer, which is something I learned during my photo shoot. In between the steps of the brewing process is when I photographed the beer beauty shots. You can see those in my other blog post.

Once the brewing process is complete, the spent grains are then scooped out and dumped into buckets. But what to do with it? Jay Lee, a local farmer and owner of JV Farms in Bismarck picks up the grains who then feeds it to his pigs. To the pigs, it's like eating candy. JV Farms processes their pork and several of their items can be found on the menu at Superior. I can attest to how good their bratwurst it.

More on that in another blog post coming next month....