September is my favorite month here in Sacramento. The garden is still producing plenty of tomatoes and chiles. The sweltering heat of the summer has moved on, leaving us shorter days, cooler nights, clear skies, and lovely breezes. The neighborhood kids are back to school, and our summer travels are over, but we haven’t yet succumbed to the frenzy of holiday planning. The first signs of the season are appearing in the market—butternut squash, apples, pears. This is a quick and easy pork chop recipe with skillet seared pork chops, served with a sweet and sour, gingery sauce with fresh pears. Perfect for the fall. Enjoy!
Fall is Granny Smith season over at my parent’s house; their trees are so heavy with apples my father has to prop up the branches with long two by fours to keep them from breaking. We also are blessed with a bounty of figs from the fig tree, with which my mother often makes a particularly wonderful fig jam (an easy recipe that cooks up in about 15 minutes, I recommend it!). So when I saw this recipe for an apple and gruyere grilled cheese panini with fig jam in my friend Kathy Strahs’ fabulous new cookbook, The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook, I couldn’t wait to give it a go. It’s sort of a no-brainer actually. Granny Smith apples, gruyere cheese, figs? They belong together. I just never would have thought to put them together in a grilled cheese sandwich. Oh. My. Gosh. Crazy good!
Over the years, many readers have emailed me with questions about the cameras and lenses used to take photos on Simply Recipes. I thought I would take a minute to describe the equipment, software and a little of the process I use here. I’ll start with the cameras I use even though any photographer will tell you, it’s not the equipment but the eye of the photographer that’s important. I couldn’t agree more! Though good equipment does help when you have challenging lighting, which is often the case in the kitchen. At the end of the article I list lots of links to tutorials and resources if you are interested in learning more about food photography. If you have any questions about my process I haven’t addressed here, please ask in the comments. I’ll answer them if I can.