Sea Blue Lens

Adventures in…the Kitchen


Late last fall, as I was beginning to think about some sort of weekly photographic project for 2017, I heard that Kim Manley Ort was going to host a Facebook group for people who would like to work through her new book, Adventures in Seeing, beginning January 1 — one chapter a week. Since there are 45 chapters, or “adventures,” that would take me through most of the year. Perfect! Count me in.

This week’s adventure was about awakening our senses, and Kim suggested food as a multi-sensory photographic subject. Now, food photography is not at all my “thing.” In fact, cooking is really not my thing. Cooking in my apartment kitchen, where I have about 2 1/2 square feet of work surface, is more struggle than adventure.

However. . . .

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember when I was taking Kim Klassen’s Be Still 52 class a couple of years ago, and how I struggled with many of her assignments. Probably the most important thing I learned from that experience is that the more I resisted, the more I said, “I don’t like it,” or “I don’t wanna,” or “I can’t,” the more I got from the lesson once I buckled down and just did it.

So, even though Kim Manley Ort said we didn’t have to do food, I decided I would anyway…just because I really didn’t want to.

It started with a bunch of kale I got at the farmer’s market on Saturday. I know I’m way behind the trend, but I’ve actually never cooked kale before. I know it’s supposed to be nutritious, and it was very pretty, so I bought some on impulse. I also had some chicken in my freezer. Could I do something with those two things? Google turned up a recipe that sounded simple enough, and I already had most of the ingredients on hand. A quick stop at the store after my fitness class provided the rest.


I love the look, the feel, and the rustle-y sound of the papery skin of ordinary yellow onions.


A lemon gets chosen for its intensely yellow color. Later, back at home, I get to cooking.


The scent of sliced onions and garlic is eye-wateringly pungent.


Simple spices…smoked paprika, kosher sea salt, fresh-ground pepper. Can you smell them? Taste them? Maybe not yet.


Now I can smell them! Hear the chicken sizzling away as it browns! The paprika adds some welcome color, as does the golden olive oil and butter. My beautiful red-enameled cast iron pot makes me happy every time I use it, despite the heaviness of it and the – ouch! – burned fingers that remind me that I need to use a potholder to take the lid off.


Broth, wine, rosemary and thyme added and simmering fragrantly. As the smell of cooking wafts upward, my daughter comes downstairs to see what I’m making.


The bubbles and rising steam let me know it will soon be time to add the rice.


I love jasmine rice almost more for the smell of it while it cooks than for its delicious flavor.


Time to prep the kale.


The dark green, ruffled kale was so pretty that I almost would have preferred to put it in a vase, but I began to cut it up as instructed. Before long I put down the scissors and enjoyed tearing the crisp leaves with my fingers.


In five minutes, the kale that filled the pot to the top had wilted down and been stirred into the chicken and broth. The rice is done, too! Time to pour the wine and…



Update: Here’s a link to the recipe I used, Google’s Braised Chicken and Kale. Yes, that’s really what it was called. You can tell I’m really not a food blogger or I’d have included the link in the first place!

24 thoughts on “Adventures in…the Kitchen

  1. Your making my mouth water!! I’ve never made kale. In fact, I’ve never eaten kale, but this looks delicious! I enjoyed seeing your meal develop from the purchases to the table. Felt like I was right there with you! By the way, I see you in your spoon!!

    • Cathy, you made me laugh! There was a reflection in the teakettle, too, that I blurred out. I missed the one in the spoon! The kale was delicious. I’ll definitely make it again.

  2. Wow. For somebody who doesn’t really cook, you sure created a delectable looking meal! I loved seeing all the steps and imagining the aromas and sounds. I use that smoked parka too — all the time. It has such an earthy pungent aroma. I enjoy cooking quite a bit but I struggle with capturing all the steps. I usually get the beginning and the end LOL.

  3. That sounds good. I think I have most everything except the kale.

  4. Oh, I really love how your descriptive words on each photo….paprika and chicken are a wonderful combination…I have a recipe using those two, and other stuff. I’m not on photographing while I’m cooking. I barely get the cooking done. LOL But, I think I do smell the lovely appetizing aroma from the pot of good eats! The book sounds really exciting, so I’ll enjoy watching you post each week.

  5. Looks delicious – I could hear that chicken! This sounds like a great challenge. I agree that the more I resist, the more I wind up learning. For me, it probably has to do with resisting something I’m not familiar with – but doing it is such a learning experience. I’m going to enjoy watching this project!

  6. I LOVED this post, Lee, and this looks absolutely delicious!
    I look forward to seeing you work your way through Kim’s book. It sounds like such a fun project.
    Have a wonderful evening, sweet friend!

  7. Wow, those photos look so good I can almost taste it! Oh wait, I did, and it was delicious. Can you please repeat this project every week? Thank you! 🙂

  8. Oddly enough, I think my favorite photos are the onions ~ the lighting and texture are superb, and the pot with the simmering chicken in the broth and wine with the herbs swimming on top. It looks so yummy. The colors and lighting of the finished place setting looks like something from the food network! Dining at a 5-star restauraunt!

  9. These pictures jump off the page – the end result looks delicious. I especially loved the bit where you said ‘…I decided I would anyway…just because I really didn’t want to.’ I wonder how much more I could achieve in life if I said that to myself a little more often!

  10. Sounds like a wonderful class León, full of inspiration which is so so good! I love your images of food , and as usual I felt like I was right there with you, shopping for kale, cooking, smelling the smells! well done on your assignment 🙂

  11. For someone who doesn’t “do” food photography, you did amazing! We love kale here at our house. The bunches are so big sometimes from the Farmers Market that I plan the whole week’s menu using kale. Well done. This book and group will be so good for you>

  12. If not for classes, groups and/or challenges, there is so much I’d miss out on. I don’t know why it takes something like these to motivate me into doing something I really do enjoy doing. Good job on your group project! I hope you’ll share more as the year progresses.

  13. I loved seeing all the different stages of your meal preparation, right down to the shiny kettle and the boiling water! The end result looks really good. Though I still can’t like kale, however healthy! I did eat it once…

  14. OH WOW this looks so mouthwatering great. I love to cook and I actually made a chicken vegetable soup with Kale over the weekend. You are really inspiring me to blog about food, something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Your photos and your words are so creatively put together. Love this.

  15. What a delicious post, Leon! I love kale….I’m growing some right now in my garden, although it is being bombarded by rain. Your recipe looks delicious and I will have to try it. I have the identical red pot, and love to cook in it. I know what you mean about struggling with these assignments — they do help us grow and learn.

  16. Yum! As I write this comment I have home made vegetable soup cooking in my red enameled cast iron pot on the stove. But I don’t know if it will be as good as what you made here! Kale is one of the only things I have successfully grown in my garden here in Missouri. Now you have me thinking about my garden, too.

    It’s great that you just keep on when your head is telling you to resist and quit. Keep it up!

  17. You know, in addition to your photos just being SO detailed and interesting, I’ve found that it really helps me to watch how food looks WHILE people are cooking it. Whenever I’m trying a new recipe, I always wonder if it looks like it’s supposed to. If I have pictures to compare it to, that makes me feel SO much better!

  18. My friend, you get an A ++++ on your assignment, plus bonus points for not wanting to do it! Loved your rationale. I probably fall into a similar thinking pattern. Your photos and comments are great. I hope you enjoy working through all of the weeks. Oh, and that was a rather ambitious cooking project for not having much cooking/prep space. Way to go!

  19. Yummy!!! What a tasty and flavorful post! I think you did really well, your photos are mouth watering. I have never heard of Kin Manley Ort – would you mind sending me the link? And perhaps the recipe as well? I would love to try it. By the way, I have almost the same red cast iron pot. I love it and also use it for baking bread.

  20. Happy 2017.
    Good post.Beautiful blog. Congratulations. Welcome to see my creations on:

  21. Pingback: KITCHEN

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