Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter and Parsley + a First We Eat Recap

Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter and Parsley - a simple, low carb, vegetarian side dish that's incredibly flavorful and easy to prepare!  Get the recipe from SavorySimple.net.

I’ve learned a lot about food photography in the past few months. I’ve attended two separate workshops on opposite sides of the country and worked with some incredibly talented people. I’ve made wonderful new friends. And I feel like I’m finally ready to do something I have procrastinated for the longest time: upgrading my camera equipment. But before getting into all of that, I want to share my experience at First We Eat, the amazing food photography retreat I attended which was hosted by Eva Kosmos of Adventures in Cooking and Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial.

I was so honored when Eva and Carey invited me to attend the event as their guest. It was a memorable weekend that was more of a retreat than a workshop, even though I learned so much from the two of them. The location was picturesque, the food was absolutely amazing, and I feel like I had a chance to really connect with the other attendees. In addition to learning about food photography and styling, we learned various cheesemaking techniques and spent time at the beach. The pace was laid back enough that we were all able to get to know one another. Also, I could sometimes escape for periods of time to recharge, which is often not the case when I go to events. As an introvert, recharge time is really crucial for me and I was so appreciative. I was able to take time for myself without missing out on learning or bonding. It was relaxing and lovely. I miss everyone (especially my roommate Renée, who assisted at the event and did an amazing job).

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Thanks to all of the wonderful companies who sponsored the retreat:

Luna Moss | Repeat Press | Sequoia Grove Winery | Bennington Potters | Heirloomed Collection | Vermont Farm Table | New England Cheesemaking Supply | Nershi Woodworks | Alma Chocolate | 1Canoe2 | Treehouse Chocolate Co. | Simon Pearce | Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company | Jasper Hill Farm | Grafton Village Cheese | Kite Hill | Vermont Creamery

I was initially mortified to realize that I had one of the worst cameras at the retreat and probably left with some of the weakest images. After I had time to reflect on the situation, I came to realize that in its own way… it was a good thing. Let me explain.

I’ve tried to understand for the longest time why I would need a full frame camera and nicer lenses when I’ve been perfectly happy with my photos. It’s true that I often get bored with my styling and my setups, but I saw that as simply a lack of creativity on my end. New props are certainly cheaper than a high end camera body and an assortment of prime lenses. I never saw any proof that the investment would be worth it until I attended these workshops and held the cameras, tried the lenses and saw the limitations of my own equipment next to my peers.

The lesson was twofold for me. It wasn’t just about why it’s time for me to upgrade my camera gear. I also realized that it’s absolutely useless to invest thousands of dollars in high end equipment if you don’t know how to use it. To be completely blunt, I can get better shots with my reasonably priced Nikon D7000 and inexpensive 40mm lens than many photographers get using equipment that probably costs 4x as much money, because they didn’t take time to master their gear. I think it makes much more sense to start with entry level equipment and grow. Now that I’ve maxed out the limits of my current camera and lens and feel ready to upgrade, I’m excited. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to be several more months before I can actually afford to take the plunge. But it’s time.

Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter and Parsley - a simple, low carb, vegetarian side dish that's incredibly flavorful and easy to prepare!  Get the recipe from SavorySimple.net.

Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter and Parsley
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups radishes (approximately 2 bunches)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted brown butter (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Clean the radishes, removing the greens, and slice in half. Place in a medium sized bowl and toss with the olive oil. Spread cut side down in a single layer on the prepared sheet and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Roast under tender with just a bit of bite, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Place the roasted radishes on a serving plate and drizzle with brown butter. Top with parley and black pepper. Season with additional salt if desired.
Notes
Here's a basic tutorial on how to brown butter. This recipe only calls for 1 tablespoon but brown butter is delicious and will keep in the refrigerator for just as long as regular butter. I recommend browning an entire stick of unsalted butter (4 ounces) and using the rest in place of regular butter until it runs out. It's great with pasta, eggs, vegetables, toast, etc.

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  • Jen, your photos are beautiful! But I can identify completely with what you said about full frame cameras. I’m a working wedding photographer and as such I use pretty high-end gear (full frames, 1.4 lenses, etc), but I started out with a D3100 and the kit lens. Then got a 35 1.8, which is super affordable. And I though, OK that’s all I need. As I started to shoot more and more and even more importantly, started to really understand the capabilities and limitations of my camera, I knew I needed to upgrade. I still believe firmly that one can obtain beautiful, clean images with any type of camera – it’s all about knowing the limitations and knowing how to manipulate light, but I cannot deny that a better camera will allow more flexibility :). I met up with Eva and Carey after the workshop ended (I’m in Boston), I wish I could’ve met you in person!!!!

    • Hi Betty,

      Thanks for commenting! I would have been wonderful to meet in person. Which full frame camera are you using now? I’m just starting to explore my options and the pros/cons of the different models.

      • For my food photos I usually use D750 or D4 when I know I’ll be taking a lot of photos (like stop-motion video). My absolute favorite is D750 because of the mobile view screen. You can twist it up so that when you’re standing above a setting, the screen can be vertical and you won’t have to bend over so much. It’s really helped because I use a 45 mm, which means I have to be at quite a distance for some framing. :) We also have a D810, which renders images absolutely beautifully but the files sizes are a bit too big for my everyday usage (we save that for portraits).

  • I think your photos are absolutely stunning! I bought my camera a few years ago (I use Olympus cameras), and while I’d LOVE to upgrade, I still feel like there is much to learn. I figure maybe by the time I save up for the super-fancy-pants camera I want, I’ll have maxed out my current one. :)

  • Jenn, I think it’s about the woman behind the camera, not the camera itself. You’ve done a sensational job creating stunning images and I know that’s because of you – not what you’re holding in your hands. I”m sure you’ll find the right fit for your upgrade. Good luck in the search. Also _ I want to go on this next retreat with these increbile photogs, wow!

  • The retreat looks like it was in a beautiful place. I’m glad you featured a cooked radish recipe. They seem like an unusual vegetable to roast, but I can’t wait to try it.

  • When I first got into food blogging your photography was hugely inspirational for me, Jen. I would’ve never guessed your camera was not high end! I can relate to getting bored with the same setup, I am in that place right now. I think attending a similar workshop and learning from other photographers is what I need or maybe just go travelling in search of inspiration! Blogging could be quite an isolating endeavour, so it’s always lovely to meet like-minded people.