If your idea of food porn is limited to chocolate and cheeseburgers, prepare to have your mind blown.
Chances are you’ve fallen victim to the growing food porn epidemic. From amazing-looking comfort food recipes on Pinterest to mouth-watering Instagram photos of five-star meals, it’s pretty much unavoidable.
Amanda Cohen, chef and owner of Dirt Candy in New York City, spoke on “The Dirt Candy Food Porn-a-Copia”. She touched on how food and sex have always intersected – from the language we use to describe both to the alluring ways they’re depicted on the Internet and on television.
But drool-worthy food porn shouldn’t be restricted to kilojoule-heavy entrees and sugar-loaded pastries.
“Our goal is to make vegetable-based dishes really desirable and make people want to have it,” she says. “You can have a really great, healthy meal that’s chock full of vegetables and feel just as satisfied.”
The bottom line: Veggies can (and should!) have a starring role in food porn. Feeling inspired to add more into your repertoire of Instagram-able recipes? Check out Cohen’s rules for taking vegetables from a supporting role to the main course:
Think Low and Slow
Make it taste amazing: It may be simple – and pretty tasty – to roast vegetables in the oven for a half an hour and call it a day. But Cohen says that old standby can use an upgrade. Her solution: “Go low and slow.” Try tossing veggies (anything from beetroot and carrots to kale or spinach) in a little olive oil and salt and putting it in the oven at 60-90 degrees for around 1-1 ½ hours, until they’re almost dehydrated. “What you get is something that’s lost all water content and is really chewy with a really deep flavour,” says Cohen, similar to the texture of dried fruit.
Make it look amazing: When you transfer your veggies from the pan to a plate, use this plating tip from Cohen: use a circular mold or a tin can with both ends cut off to create a clean, neat stack on the plate. Then, Instagram away.
Double Up On Flavour
Make it taste amazing: Think veggies are bland? Fight the urge to over-salt, and try cooking the vegetables in their own juices instead. Take something like carrots or spinach, and juice some of the vegetables while roasting the rest of the batch for 30-45 minutes at 190-200 degrees. Then, finish the veggies off on the stove by throwing them in a pan with their own juice and cooking that for a few minutes over medium heat. Add a tiny bit of olive oil, salt, and garlic to make a sauce out of the excess juice. No juicer? You can totally get away with using a shop-bought vegetable juice, says Cohen.
Make it look amazing: If you add the vegetable juice at the end and don’t cook it too long, the colours will be more vibrant, says Cohen. “And if you’re taking pictures, you should always wipe up any splatters on the plate that make it look messy.”
Fire Up The Braai
Make it taste amazing: If the only veggies you’ve grilled are peppers and mealies, you’re seriously missing out. You can use the grill or braai to give beetroot, spinach or kale that same great charred, smoky flavour. “Anything you can cook in the oven, you can cook on the grill or braai,” says Cohen. Just pile them on and flip them once or twice, just as you would in a pan. You can also add a little olive oil and seasonings for added flavor.
Make it look amazing: Try not to move the veggies around too much so that you get those nice grill marks when they’re done.