Blog Category: Publications

Soup’s on! Here’s what I’m simmering this season

Is there anything more comforting than a simmering pot of soup on the stove, bubbling up with its rich flavors, while its savory aromas waft through the air? When the soup’s on I’m filled with an automatic calm and an undeniable sense of comfort, it’s practically what I sustain on all winter long! It’s not just a food but a feeling. 

As winter sets in, even the late season veggies call it quits, and my garden starts succumbing to the nip of winter frost. The temperatures cool on Martha’s Vineyard and the tempo of the Island slows down and chills out too. The days are shorter and the light is fleeting, so we cherish it that much more. Evening beach walks are no longer a viable option so I make the most of the precious sunlight by day. 

With colder temperatures becoming the norm, gone is my patio furniture, replaced by a huge stack of wood that sustains our home. In our vegetable garden our unheated tunnel adds protection and instead of freezing acts like a refrigerator, keeping any remaining produce chilled. Winter leaves us without an abundance of fresh vegetables, but I still want to continue to eat healthy, so I turn to soups to provide comfort and nourishment.

A whole pot of soup can supply several meals throughout the week, and I’ve even been known to enjoy it for breakfast. There’s really no rules when it comes to savoring soup, and I’m in constant pursuit of the next batch. 

I’m always looking out for new soups and brothy bowls to try. They’re fun to cook, a treat to eat, and they freeze well, which makes them easy to enjoy at a later time too.  Luckily, I’m surrounded by inspiration within easy reach, from the three cookbooks I’ve worked on;  Whole in One by Ellie Krieger, Simple Green Suppers by Susie Middleton, and Chef Deon’s Island Conch Cookery by Deon Thomas.

I recently discovered one of my new go-to soups in Whole In One by the talented nutritionist Ellie Krieger. In Whole In One Ellie shares a handful of scrumptious soup recipes, but her butternut squash soup is particularly tempting this time of year. She adds a drizzle of tahini for a creamy richness and a crispy chickpeas for a fun, healthy, crouton-like crunch. Ellie describes this soup as a “glorious bowl of goodness that is the epitome of modern comfort food,” and we concur. It’s hearty, protein rich and spiced for the season. And the best part, like all of her recipes in Whole In One, it can be made in a single pot with no fuss and limited clean up, which my husband Philippe loves, because in our household whoever cooks doesn’t do the dishes!

Butternut Squash Soup with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas, from Whole In One by Ellie Krieger

Makes 4 servings, Serving Size: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 7 ½ cups butternut squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup canned no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • ½ cup packaged crispy chickpea snacks
  • (plain or lightly salted)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 

 

Instruction

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes; add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the squash, chickpeas, salt, cumin, black pepper, turmeric, and cayenne.
  2.  Add the broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. (Alternatively, allow to cool slightly, then puree it in several batches in a regular blender.) Stir in the honey.
  4. Place the tahini in a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of cold water. Add more water by the teaspoon until the tahini is loose enough to be drizzled. Serve the soup drizzled with the tahini, garnished with the crispy chickpeas and parsley.

The soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.

Per Serving: Calories 390; Total Fat 12g (Sat Fat 1.5g, Mono Fat 6g, Poly Fat 3g); Protein 13g; Carb 58g; Fiber 8g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 550mg; Total Sugar 12g (Added Sugar 4g) Excellent source of: copper, folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, protein, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K. Good source of: calcium, iron, molybdenum, niacin 

When we’re craving a hot bountiful bowl of deep broths and substantial veggies we turn to Susie Middleton’s Ramenesque Noodles in Rich Vegetable Broth recipe from Simple Green Suppers, the cookbook we photographed for her in 2017. This hearty creation is also vegetarian, but packs a ton of flavor and a punch of protein. Her rich vegetable broth is enhanced by miso, tamari, and ginger making a “lovely destination for a tangle of noodles and a variety of sautéed vegetables.” Her colorful selection of late-season veggies make it bright and beautiful, and it’s a mixture you’ll want to recreate again and again.

Ramenesque Noodles in Rich Vegetable Broth

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 5 ounces dried Chinese curly wheat noodles or baked ramen noodles
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus 2 pinches
  • 1 tablespoon white (shiro) miso
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari
  • 1/2teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 3 cups late-season vegetables, sliced or chopped into similar-size pieces (a combination of four or five of the following: bell peppers, onions or shallots, mushrooms, eggplant, cauliflower or broccoli, bokchoy, napa cabbage, and/or red or green cabbage)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cups Rich Vegetable Broth (the recipe calls for Susie’s Rich Vegetable Broth which is also in Simple Green Suppers, but you can substitute with your favorite vegetable as needed)
  • 2 soft-cooked eggs or poached eggs (see Note below), optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup sliced sliced scallions (any parts)

 

Instruction:

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles until done, about 2 minutes. Drain them well in a colander and rinse briefly under cold water. Let dry a bit in the colander, then transfer to a medium bowl and season with a big pinch of the salt.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the miso, tamari, sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium Dutch-oven or large saucepan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are browned in places and starting to shrink, but still a little bit firm, 5 to 7 minutes. (Alternatively, you can stir-fry each type of vegetable individually and set aside separately, for arranging in the bowls at serving time; add a little oil to the empty stir-fry pan before continuing with the recipe.) Add the ginger and cook, stirring, until just softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the Rich Vegetable Broth and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Whisk the miso mixture into the hot broth and remove the pot from the stove.
  4. Divide the cooked noodles between two wide, deep soup bowls and ladle the broth and vegetables all over. (Or arrange the separately cooked vegetables “around the clock” over the noodles, then pour in the hot broth.) Add 1 egg to each bowl and season the eggs with a pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Garnish with generous amounts of chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, and scallions. Serve right away with a fork, spoon and napkin.
  5. Note: to poach 2 eggs: Fill a wide, deep skillet with water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and bring to a very gentle simmer (about 180°F). Crack 1 egg into a small bowl and slip it gently into the simmering water. Repeat with the other egg. Lower the heat to just below a simmer and leave the eggs to cook for4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift the eggs from the water and serve immediately, or if cooking ahead, transfer to a plate to hold. 

Sometimes there’s nothing like a creamy chowder to warm your soul, especially here in New England. But my favorite chowder doesn’t include clams it includes conch, whelks really, which can be caught daily in the waters around Martha’s Vineyard. 

My friend chef Deon Thomas dedicated a whole cookbook to the northern sea snail and his New England Conch Chowder promotes sustainability by using the abundant local shellfish. The dish is a spin off from the classic New England Clam Chowder, and it’s a totally dairy and gluten free soup that uses coconut milk and herbs and spices for added flavor.

New England Conch Chowder

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground conch / 454g
  • 1 medium diced sweet potato
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 2 cups diced chayote / 270ml
  • 2 cups diced celery / 200ml
  • 1 cups chopped green onions / 64ml
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger / 7.5ml
  • 1 de-seeded and julienned red jalapeno
  • ¼ cup chopped dill / 9ml
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves / 6ml
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce / 15ml
  • 2 tablespoon MV sea salt / 29.58ml
  • ½ cup coconut oil / 118.3ml
  • 4 cup organic coconut milk / 960ml
  • 2 quarts hot water / 1.892L
  • ½ cup cold water / 118.3ml
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch / 44.37ml

 

Instruction:

  1. In a 5-quart pot bring the coconut oil to searing temperature, add the ginger and thyme leaves stirring quickly, sautéing for aromatics. 
  2. Add all the ground conch and stir with a whisk to brown evenly, separating the conch as it begins to congeal.
  3. Add half the coconut milk and half the hot water,  cover and cook for 15 minutes then add the diced vegetables.
  4.  Add remaining coconut milk and hot water and continue cooking for another 15 minutes at high heat. 
  5. Add the chopped herbs, pepper julienne, and fish sauce, reduce flame and simmer.
  6. Mix the cornstarch with the ½ cup of water to a slurry and thicken soup to desired consistency.
  7. Simmer for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.

 

Buildings speak for themselves, and with architectural photography we listen

From total new builds to renovations, additions, deep energy retrofits, and a whole host of other construction projects, our commercial spaces and residential homes on Martha’s Vineyard are in a constant state of flux. As architectural photographers we are often enlisted at the completion of these designs, and for good reason–to help capture an impressive new space that has been carefully considered, respectfully constructed and thoughtfully designed. 

Have you ever picked up a real estate guidebook to browse images of beautiful homes while imagining yourself inside their aspirational spaces? Architecture photography allows people to obtain a visual understanding of buildings they may never get the opportunity to visit, creating a valuable resource that allows us to expand people’s knowledge and understanding of places unknown.

For our clients, including local builders, architects, interior designers, real estate and construction companies, our photography provides valuable documentation of some of their most prized and often most complex work. When you think about the endless hours that go into a building project isn’t it only right to honor that commitment by showcasing it as accurately and professionally as possible? That’s where we come in. Our photography enables our clients to better educate and entice their perspective clients, and we present their work in the most beautiful way they can. 

Essentially, beyond the basics of building and construction, architecture is a thoughtful process of design and function. More than the structure itself, it represent its time and place and inhabitants. That’s why when we approach an architectural photography project we are looking to highlight the beauty of the building, but also its purpose, its uniqueness, its essence.

There’s a lot to consider and in order to capture all of these elements we begin by documenting the spatial design and architectural details of a place. Next, we focus on the unique features, additions, and customized design elements that make the space come alive. When we initially take on a project we consult with our client and scout the location with them, so they can point out those distinctive characteristics that set the building apart. By facilitating this type of collaboration from the beginning, we can develop a strategic approach for the rest of our work. This ensures that our final images most accurately reflect the space, its character, and our client’s intentions. 

Its no surprise that potential buyers and clients are often drawn to properties by images, and the accurate, attractive photographs we provide can be very valuable to our clients. Using composition, angles, images and other photography fundamentals, we illustrate the exceptional characteristics that best represent the space, resulting in dynamic images. We assess how all of the the elements fit together by adding and removing props and accents as needed, for example fruit and flowers might enhance a kitchen, while books and glasses could help define a reading area.

As always, using the right tools in our toolkit for is critical, and the lenses we use for architectural photography allow us to depict any interior or exterior with a wide eyed perspective–without distortion or converging lines. With the help of our professional lenses we can precisely capture the area, and effectively shoot smaller spaces like bathrooms and closets.

One tool we can’t directly control is the natural light, but we can thoughtfully consider it, as we always do. When we scout a location for our architecture photography we are able to note the angle of the sun and how it lights up a room. The space’s potential for  natural light allows us to determine the best time of day to photograph what room and when. 

Mother Nature can also present us with weather challenges and seasonal factors that can affect our architecture photography too. For interior shots we can shoot year round, and winter is a particularly great time on the Cape and Islands. Many second home owners and rental clients have left or moved out of the space for the time being. Without the leaves on the trees there is more natural light streaming in, and when snow is present it creates a beautiful glowing effect that can be reflected into a space. 

As for capturing exteriors, late spring, summer and fall are good times of year, as you want to consider the state of the landscaping and how you want it showcased. Fortunately our drone can capture exterior shots of our architecture projects all year–it’s especially great for expressing the nearby physical features of a property. By capturing the building’s natural habitat, like a wooded area or nearby coastline, or proximity to a neighboring structure, a broader context of the property can be shared. With a bird’s eye view a whole new perspective is gained and the location is further revealed. 

All of our efforts, considerations, tools, and techniques are what allow us to bring static spaces and places to life through our architectural photography. We’ve been lucky enough to work with Building Shelter, Martha’s Vineyard Construction Company, LDa Architecture + Interiors, Island Housing Trust, Tracker Home Decor, LandVest, The Winnetu Hotel and Resort and Concept Building this year and we’ve captured some truly incredible spaces on Martha’s Vineyard and in America. We do our best to represent the dedication that has gone into the construction of the building, and the talent and craftsmanship of our clients, and as always, art and design remain at the center. 

 

Whole in One, the book we photographed for Ellie Krieger, available NOW!

I’m beyond excited to announce the release of the latest cookbook we’ve provided photography for–WHOLE IN ONE: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan, or Skillet. The book by acclaimed nutritionist Ellie Krieger, is one of my most exciting projects to date and working with Ellie was a dream come true! 

If you’re a health-conscious foodie you’ve likely heard of Ellie Krieger. Ellie is a world renowned nutritionist and New York Times bestselling cookbook author, plus she’s host and executive producer of the Public Television cooking series Ellie’s Real Good Food, and Food Network’s hit show Healthy Appetite. On top of that she’s also a James Beard Foundation media award winner, and a regular contributor to the Washington Post–needless to say she’s a dominant presence in the food world! I have followed Ellie for years and have watched her develop an honest, approachable brand, while remaining devoted to educating her fans on great food and good health–two things I hold in high regard. 

I have been a huge fan of Ellie’s astute approach to nutrition since viewing her show Healthy Appetite, and I’ve always hoped we’d have the opportunity to work together. When she selected me to collaborate on Whole in One I was beyond thrilled. The book marks Ellie’s seventh cookbook and my third, and for me the process has been unparalleled. Working with Ellie has truly been an honor. If you follow her work you know she is a consummate professional, who brings a deep passion and palpable energy to every project (and plate!) she takes on. 

We shot the the book in her New York City test kitchen last fall and I couldn’t be more excited with what we produced. Along with a very strong, professional team we worked tirelessly, sometimes capturing up to 15 shots a day. We visited a local prop house where we scoured through a seemingly endless supply of textiles, ceramics, surfaces and backdrops until we found the perfect design aesthetic for the book. 

With the help of our skillful food stylist Suzanne Lenzer and talented prop stylist Maeve Sheridan, and we poured over each dish, careful to capture the most mouthwatering shots, while maintaining a careful balance between our own creativity and the attainable nature of Ellie’s dishes that she’s come to be known for.  

With Whole in One, Ellie focuses on delicious, healthy meals that can be made in a single pot, sheet pan or skillet, ensuring a good meal with limited clean up, that can be easily integrated into your dinner routine. Our creative challenge was to showcase both the convenience of these singular meals along with the simple, yet dynamic and thoughtful ingredients at play. Whole in One is Ellie’s modern take on healthy cooking that’s intended to be approachable and inviting, and we worked hard to represent that visually in every shot. As chef, dietitian and trusted voice in the world of healthy cooking, people turn to Ellie for her expertise and I’m deeply fortunate she turned to me for mine. 

You can find the book on Amazon here and at your local booksellers. Enter for a chance to win a copy by following us on Instagram at @randibairdphoto.

WHOLE IN ONE

Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan, or Skillet

By Ellie Krieger, with photography by Randi Baird

Hachette Books | Da Capo Lifelong Books

October 15, 2019 | $28 | 256 pages | 9780738285047

Living the life with Instagram influencers for Orchard Mile

One of the best things about being a photographer is never knowing what new opportunity is going to come your way. We meet hundreds of new people every week. From young couples, to brides and grooms, to families and professional clients, we are always shifting gears, changing locations and interacting with new subjects. It keeps our work dynamic and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Earlier this summer we received a request from Julia Wetherell, co-founder and CEO of Orchard Mile, an online fashion destination that allows you to shop your favorite designers’ full collections, all in one place. It’s like shopping a well curated digital mall, with hundreds of contemporary and designer brands on one website, with the ease of one shopping cart.

Julia splits her time between New York and the Vineyard and has been operating a gorgeous Orchard Mile pop up in Edgartown for the last two summers. Located on Winter Street, the Orchard Mile retail space is adorned with carefully selected fashion and beauty resort essentials ranging from swimsuits to handbags and all things in between. Whether you’re looking for the perfect day-to-night outfit or a unique gift for yourself or your most stylish girlfriend, Orchard Mile is the place to go.

Julia enlisted us to shoot the space and capture product photography, and upon our first visit we were taken aback by the charm of the store and the level of detail that had been considered. As we browsed through the thoughtful collection of merchandise, with striking statement pieces and quintessential summer staples, we immediately got a sense of what Orchard Mile was all about. The store truly evoked the epitome of Martha’s Vineyard chic.

In a brilliant effort to show off all the fabulous finds the store stocks, Julia planned to host a group of Instagram fashion and lifestyle influencers on Martha’s Vineyard. She hired Randi Baird Photography to follow the group along on their Island tour and capture them in various iconic places and spaces–and we were thrilled!

There’s no better place to photograph beautiful women donning first-rate fashions and discovering inspiration than right here on Martha’s Vineyard. With influencer marketing becoming more popular by the day, and brands partnering with individuals that can authentically represent their brand, we were excited to play a part in the Orchard Mile story.

Over the course of two days we led Julia and the team to some of our favorite local spots, knowing just the right places that would best complement the Orchard Mile brand, while showcasing the most diverse and idyllic Island landscapes. It was like capturing a group of well dressed girlfriends enjoying a new playground together, and it couldn’t have been more picturesque.

We started with a poolside clambake in Edgartown where the women sipped, and snapped selfies together, forming fast friendships and gushing about their love for Orchard Mile.

Julia’s daughter Chloe stole the show, the youngest fashionista of all, who busily ran around playing bean bag toss and affectionately capturing the group’s attention. We used the nearby gardens of the home, abundant and colorful, as a background to capture the women–many of whom had never visited Martha’s Vineyard before.

The next day proved to be a full Island tour aboard a vintage trolley from Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing. We began with a stop at the Edgartown lighthouse, a picture perfect nautical setting for the influencers to pose, strut and soak in the beauty of Edgartown harbor. Next came a stop at the charming seaside village of Menemsha where no visit is complete without a harborside lunch from Larsen’s Fish Market, organized by Plan It Martha’s Vineyard.

The juxtaposition of the old fishing boats behind the new, refined looks of influencers made for striking photos that we knew would be “Instaworthy.” From Menemsha we drove through the bucolic and pastoral landscapes of Chilmark, stopping at a local farm to graze alongside the livestock, and capture the historic stonewalls with their various textures and patterns.


We stopped off at the places that spoke to us, where the light was just right. We selected locations where we knew the women would appreciate the scenery and where we could capture the most engaging content. With everyone using their phones to take photos to post on social media these days, it was refreshing to provide a professional service for this purpose, and connect with an audience of influencers that genuinely wanted to capture the best shot as much as we did. Like we do with all of our shoots it was about finding the art and bringing forth the design, not just for Instagram but for our clients and ourselves.

You can follow along with Orchard Mile and the influencers below:
@OrchardMile
@LisaDNYC
@MarniDanielle
@OhSoGlamBlog
@Michelle.Madonna
@HonestlyKate
@alexandmichaeltoccin
@MrsDowJones
@GabriellaZacche
@RutaEnroute

Capturing Best of the Vineyard, the best of times

In between all of the weddings and engagements, family portraits, architectural and editorial photo shoots that consume most of our days, it’s refreshing and rewarding to do something a little different. Enter Best of the Vineyard, a local event that celebrates the best and brightest in local food, shopping, entertainment, outdoor adventures, and more across Martha’s Vineyard.

Last week the Best of the Vineyard event went down at Farm Neck Cafe in Oak Bluffs, and we were there to take in all the action. A product of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, the Best of the Vineyard serves as an official kick off to the summer season on Martha’s Vineyard and a chance to honor and recognize those businesses and organization on Martha’s Vineyard that make it what it is for all of us to enjoy.

For the last five years we’ve been lucky enough to photograph the event, and we just have the best time capturing all of the excitement and hoopla of the evening! Each year we look forward to the fun and fanciful affair, where we get to snap the smiles and expressions of pride that spread across the faces of our friends and colleagues. We love to get the winners in front of the camera and really play up their personalities, while highlighting their professional skills and accomplishments. For us it’s a chance to toast our peers and honor the talented individuals that help to weave the fabric of our community. Year after year it’s a memorable event and we’re honored to play a part in the festivities!

A full list of Best of the Vineyard winners can be found in the current issue of  Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, on newsstands or available by subscription.