Gooey double chocolate chip cookies

Posted By mattantonino / June, 19, 2011 / 0 comments

Even though I once posted my soft gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe on StartingtoCook, I don’t often post cookies.  There is a reason for that.  My mom is a certified chocoholic.  She makes cookies.  Not good cookies, not great cookies. She makes fantastic cookies.  So if I want a cookie, I want her to make it. I don’t like to compete with fantastic since I’m a somewhat-new cook (but getting better!)

When I found this double chocolate chip cookie recipe, it seemed simple enough. Hoping and praying, I made it.


Some cookies last in this house. Not long, mind you, but they last.  At least a moment.


Not these.  *scarf*  Double chocolate chip cookies barely last long enough to type the words double chocolate chip cookies!


Photos, recipe … you know how these food blog things go.

cookie batter

spoonful of cookie batter

cookie batter on tray

pile of chocolate chunk cookies on a plate over white

closeup chocolate chunk cookie

one plate of chocolate chunk cookies in a stack with traditional background

batch of double chocolate cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (or slightly more)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugars and vanilla.
  2. Beat in egg. Add cocoa and milk.
  3. Combine flour and baking powder; fold into creamed mixture with chocolate chips.
  4. Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.


A classic pumpkin pie

Posted By mattantonino / April, 17, 2011 / 2 comments

As I mentioned in my last post,  I have been on a pie kick.  Last time was cherry pie, this time it’s a traditional pumpkin pie.  Now, I know most everyone has a pumpkin pie recipe but I strongly recommend the ease of going with the traditional Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe.  Simple, straightforward, easy to make, and very tasty!

pumpkin pie

homemade pumpkin pie

piece of pumpkin pie

Incredible Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

Posted By mattantonino / December, 21, 2010 / 0 comments

Yes, I obviously love dessert. Fried banana torts, pies all the time, perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and checkerboard cookies.  Yeah, just to name a few.  My favorite?  This…by FAR.

No words can do justice to the beauty, taste and incredibleness that is a Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake.  Everyone knows I’m still “starting to cook” so I clearly am not nearly this good.  But the recipe?  That is!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake on Erin’s Food Files

All I can tell you is to make this for your next party.

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

Harvest on the Harbor 2010, Portland Maine food event

Posted By mattantonino / November, 6, 2010 / 0 comments

Before my trip to Florida I was fortunate to meet the design director of Portland Magazine who suggested I check out the Harvest on the Harbor and try to get in as press (for StC.)  I took his advice and contacted them.  Luckily I was able to get a press pass for the Seafood Splash on Thursday.  This event is a mix of seafood main courses, dessert (gelato yum!) and appetizers.  Even a soup or two.

The Seafood Splash was a phenomenal tasting event.  Some of what we got to taste included: seafood jambalaya by Cabot Creamery (amazing! One of my favorites!), two different lobster soups, an amazing lobster sandwich from the Brass Compass Cafe, sushi, taquitos with grilled Atlantic Salmon (by *far* my favorite!), kelp, and even gelato from Gelato Fiasco.  Steamed muscles, wine, live music … ahhhh!!  Definitely one of my favorite days in all of 2010!

It’s hard to even decide what to post for photos!  I think they came out great and I’m definitely going to post way too many.  Sorry about that!  Thanks to the organizers, Angie Helton for helping me get into the event, Bob from Portland Magazine for giving me the idea to go and all the chefs who prepared these great foods!  I hope to see you all again soon!

Harvest on the Harbor 2010, Portland Maine

lobster sandwiches by Brass Compass Cafe

Seafood Splash in Portland Maine 2010

sushi and seafood from Benkay sushi bar

sushi and seafood from Benkay sushi bar

Continue reading…

Mandarin Chicken Salad

Posted By mattantonino / October, 29, 2010 / 1 comments

This is not so much a recipe as a mix.  When you only have four ingredients in your salad and it still tastes this amazing, you don’t fight fate.

The ingredients are simple:

  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Baby spinach
  • Small can of mandarin oranges
  • feta cheese

Grill up your chicken (this particular one was marinated in a raspberry vinaigrette) and slice it (or cut it into cubes if you prefer).  Rinse the spinach, add the oranges and chicken and top with feta.

Why am I putting this on a “cooking” blog?  Because it’s DELICIOUS!  Everyone needs great summer recipes and this is one of the best!  If you’ve never had oranges in salad, let me be the first to suggest that you try now!


S’mores Truffles

Posted By mattantonino / April, 6, 2010 / 11 comments

I know what you’re thinking right now – shut up and give me the recipe, Matt. HA! No, I’m going to make you read about it! I want to make sure this puts to rest those nasty rumors that I only shoot healthy food.

So yes, I made s’mores truffles. To say these tasted good would be to say the sun “may be a bit warm today.” Family reaction was exactly the same – make…MORE.

I actually found the first recipe I wanted to use on one particular site but the author was so INCREDIBLY snooty that I went out and found another one to use just to hopefully support someone ELSE with my link! That search actually led me to a blog I really love: Visions of Sugar Plum. The truffle recipe is actually here. I made no changes except to double the mini-marsmallows (therefore 48 of them) instead of 24 mini-marshmallows. I’m not posting the recipe under Read More since it’s virtually exact.

I will, however, give you some photos to drool over before you leave to go make these.

Photographically these were actually REALLY easy to shoot. I used a setup like my bacon & sundried tomato pasta ( The plate I used reflected almost nothing so I didn’t have to worry much about that – I removed a few specks from the plate in post processing due to dropping them off the s’mores balls. The graham cracker crust didn’t stick quite enough to move them around a lot and not have crumbs.

So far the first image is online at my stock sites. I wouldn’t say it’s making money hand over fist but I’ll probably have both batches of ingredients paid off by the end of the day today or tomorrow and then every image that ever sells from this shoot moving forward is profit from it. I anticipate editing about 15-20 s’mores truffles photos, uploading them and making $50-150 over the life of this project. Plus I got to eat (with my family) chocolate s’mores truffles. YUM!

Preparing Our Next Food Shoot

Posted By mattantonino / March, 22, 2010 / 1 comments

I wanted to document a bit of how we prepare for a new stock shoot. Unfortunately I’m not shooting hot models a la Chase Jarvis so I’m not going to be live demo’ing anytime soon!

Our thought process on a new photo shoot works something like this:

  1. Overall concept/theme/ingredient
  2. Specific recipe
  3. Lighting/angles/technicals
  4. Shop
  5. Shoot Day

1. Overall concept/theme/ingredient

We shoot two days a week – Friday and Sunday. If we shoot more that’s fantastic. If not, oh well. We plan those two days to have one breakfast or lunch type shoot (Friday) and one dinner/dessert (Sunday). It’s easier to spend a long time cooking/shooting on Sundays for us and dinner/dessert usually seems to take longer than breakfast/lunch.

I follow some really great foodies on Twitter/Facebook/blogs. One thing I always look for is a recipe that a) will taste great and b) will LOOK great. As a bonus I often look to see if I can find a healthy version so nobody gains 10 pounds per recipe I shoot.

2. Specific Recipe

So Friday we need to create a lunch. I bookmarked a delicious looking recipe two weeks ago and decided quickly I’d try that this week. The recipe will be 3 Cheese Chicken Cacciatore Manicotti. That was easy. We also need to figure out dinner for Sunday. I wanted to find something not as “fancy” as cacciatore manicotti so we looked at several recipe sites, some cookbooks and finally decided on something the Biggest Loser Cookbook called “Mom’s New Beef Stew.” That fits my requirements: tastes great, looks super yummy and bonus: it’s fairly healthy at 275 cals per serving.

Some weeks I will decide on a recipe by ingredient. Take Kahlua for instance. We have leftover Kahlua from the chocolate mousse we made a week ago. This Chocolate Truffle Pie also uses Kahlua. If we don’t make that Sunday for dessert I’m certain we’ll make it next week. Using ingredients you have on hand greatly reduces wastes and product going bad/old.

3. Lighting/angles/technicals

After printing the recipe and making a shopping list we write on the back of the recipe some ideas for the shoot. Mostly this is just note-form. Here are some examples from our banana split shoot:

  • Yellow/orange
  • high key
  • OJ – don’t think milk will work
  • Balance the color
  • Angles: will be propped up
  • Spoonful

Generally meaningless until you get in the shoot. We did end up using a yellow napkin and orange juice – it balanced the color very well. We did some shots near the end of the shoot with a spoonful of split in front of the dish. We tried but didn’t use milk because it did, in fact, look bad. We ended up propping the bowl with a small bottle cap for a few shots.

4. Shop

Shopping day is Thursday. That dictates our Friday shoot – if we need something super-fresh we may have to pick that up Friday morning before the shoot. Sunday’s shopping is done except fresh on Thursday as well. WE have a local Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings year-round so we do our fresh shopping for Sunday then.

With our recipe and our ideas already in place shopping day is generally pretty straightforward. Pick the best items you can find.

5. Shoot Day

Well, shoots are shoots. The only thing we try and do specifically at each shoot is pre-organize our ideas so we don’t cut up the food before we’re done with it. The further into a shoot we get the more we “mess” the dish and the more we feel free to cut, chop, move, adjust, add to, take from, etc. We want to get those setup shots first, the meat of the shoot, then start playing with the outer edge of the shoot – closeups, eating, some unusual stuff just to see how it works, etc. Get the bulk of work done when the food is as fresh and perfect as possible. Once you get that THEN experiment.

Wrap Up

So that’s the way a typical shoot has been going for us. We are pro photographers but very amateur food photographers. The combination is sometimes an interesting one. I can figure out how to light something I’ve never shot before but I may not know how to drizzle syrup “correctly” yet. We continue to read foodie sites, blogs, watch food stylist tutorials on Youtube and read food photo books. Many many ways to learn in 2010!

Hope you enjoyed the post! It’s great to be back and thank you for all the comments and well-wishes recently.