Potato Pancakes with April Snow


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I met April, a few years ago when I photographed a female singer/songwriter show she was throwing called "Wonder Women".  April, a talented, powerfully bluesy singer herself, had assembled a group of equally incredible women to showcase their talents one excellent night.  As I would come to find in the years of friendship that followed, she is always using that gift of assembling great talent for even greater good. 

She hosts a networking event for female professionals to encourage friendship and solidarity and runs an incredible group called "Compassion Club" where she rallies people together to assemble and distribute survival kits to help out the homeless population of Los Angeles with bags of snacks, toiletries and over all things of dire necessity.  People rarely think about how important small things like deodorant or socks or even a tampon is until they don't have access to them.  April is always thinking about other people, and a warm and inviting force to be around, so it was a great privilege to get to hang out in her kitchen and photograph her food story.

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Potato pancakes, or latkes are a meal that is important to a lot of people.  They are hearty and filling while affordable, and represent tradition passed down from family members throughout the years to unite through a good and plentiful meal.  April's potato pancakes have a whole rich tradition of sharing with new family members to welcome them into the fold.  Here's what she had to say:

My great-grandmother (whom I've never known by any name but Nana) was a Russian Jew. She immigrated to America to escape antisemitism. She married a Polish Jew and they had three children. When my grandfather Norman married my grandmother Helen, he missed Nana's cooking - particularly her potato pancakes (latkes.) Wanting to make him his favorite dish, my grandmother asked his mother to teach her. Apparently my grandfather loved her latkes so much, he told her they were even better than his mother's but of course he would never let that slip to his mother... there are some things that are better left unsaid!

Like my grandmother before me, I've also learned a couple of my husband's favorite recipes from my mother-in-law. I find that food has a unique way of connecting us and conveying love without words, and there's truly something special about making my husband the recipes his mother and grandmother's once made.

So my great-grandmother taught my grandmother how to make latkes, and in turn my grandmother taught my mother, and my mother taught me. Growing up, we never had much money, and potato pancakes are extremely inexpensive to make, so we could always afford the ingredients. I still grate the potatoes and onion by hand but I've altered the recipe over the years adding shallot, chives, and tarragon. My recipe is less traditional now but I just love the flavor, and my husband and I now make them every Christmas Eve for his family, serving them as a side dish to their traditional Lithuanian sausage and sauerkraut. And I must admit, that while I'm anything but traditional, I do love the symbolism of weaving a piece of my family history into his, and fabricating a tradition of our own.

Setting the mood with some gospel renditions of Bob Dylan, April gets to work peeling some of the many potatoes she will need while I wander around and take in the sights.  By this I mean I played with her bunny...

So many potatoes to peel, but she does it with an unwavering smile.

Shallots and onion become chopped and grated.  April keeps smiling through it.  I don't think her eyes even watered once...

Herbs get chopped and added for extra dimension and flavor.

Latkes get assembled into their final form.

Into the oil they go!  Nice and crispy latkes here we come! 

Latkes get dressed up with some sour cream and applesauce and popped on a plate.

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Magnificent! 

Thank you April for sharing your potato pancakes and stories with me!

Until next time..

Happy snacking,

xoxo,
RP

 


If you'd like to know more about April you can check her out at: 

http://clarkliving.com/april/


Farmers Market Empanadas with Pam- Vegan and Gluten Free


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This week I caught a cold.  It was pretty well deserved after Halloween weekend as a fairly irresponsibly dressed ghost, but it was still a cold.  The newly grey California weather this week and cold have set me back a little bit of enthusiasm for editing photos of the rad snacks people have cooked for me in the last few weeks, so I took a little break this week to recouperate, but rest assured no cold can keep me down that long- especially when there are cool food photos to share, so they will be coming.

In the meantime, yesterday I was happily dragged out of my house to check out the Echo Park farmers market and drink a much needed coffee with one of my favorite pals.  Along the way we found some snacks, because what is cooler than friendship + snacks?

Pam, the force behind rad LA band Nyxe, has a lot of dietary restrictions due to super annoying allergies, but still likes a good snack just like all of us. 

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Fortunately for her we stumbled upon Komeme Vegetariano- an awesome Vegan and Gluten Free Empanada stand that was vending at the Farmer's Market.  She was able to get savory black bean, a super flavorful potato and leek and a sweet peach empanada that all tasted great and kept her belly happy.

I often forget how hard it can be to find cool food that is tasty, diverse and safe for dietary restrictions and was glad we found Komeme.  I snagged a couple bites and was really impressed even if I have probably never met an offensive empanada.  These little dudes were a great snack for a finally fall day.  Maybe you can check them out the next time you are roaming the market looking for a tasty and healthy snack.  Pam and RP aproved!

Happy Halloween, happy fall, happy snacking!

xoxo,
RP

Echo Park Farmers Market : Fridays 3-7pm

Lot #663 Logan St. 
Los Angeles, CA 90026

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Cookies With Patricia


Orange Infused Chocolate Chip Cookies


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Earlier this month I kicked off my food project with a maiden voyage shoot featuring Los Angeles pastry chef Patricia Mentzer and a batch of unbelievable orange infused chocolate chip cookies.  At the start of projects I never know what to expect, if there will be a bumpy road to get traction or smooth sailing out the gate.  All I knew as I walked up the stairs to her apartment with my trust 50mm lens was I was excited to see how things would go and knew I had a special woman to start things off right.

Patricia and I met years ago while both working for a local diner where she made the sought after desserts and I badly waited tables (no I will not get you any ranch dressing).  Since then I've watched her bounce from place to place making drool worthy creations everywhere along the way.  Obviously I was thrilled when she offered to show me how she makes a perfect cookie. 

Getting ready.  

Patricia measures out the ingredients from the recipe copied by hand in her notebook and begins to mix the dough.  The small bit of grated orange zest gives a buoyant kick of citrus. 

Dough is formed and shaped with enough space to allow these bad boys to turn into giant monster cookies when they grow up.  Patricia strikes a pose with her cookie dough friends.

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A break while cookies cook.

Patricia pulls our cookie pals from the oven and sprinkles on a touch of sea salt to make the flavors pop.  She then makes a second batch of cookies and we compare how the flavors differ when the dough is room temperature or straight out of the fridge.  I found the orange was a softer more present taste in the room temp batch and a stronger, lingering aftertaste in the chilled batch.  I didn't have any idea temperature changes taste.

Taste test + sharing with her roommate.  It must be cool to live with a baker....

Life changing Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies...

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Thanks for starting us off right Patricia.  You and your cookie creations are the best!

Stay tuned for more food adventures.  Lots of cool snack stories to come!

xoxo,

RP

 

Loose Morals Craft Club Goes to Space


Loose Morals Craft Club Goes to Space


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This year our beloved Loose Morals Craft Club full of smart, bad ass, crafty ladies, gathered at the Star Wars themed Scum and Villainy Cantina in Hollywood to ring in Halloween the only logical way- by having a paint and sip Death Star project. 

Led by by S&V's resident alien bartender and all around talented babe Melissa Howland, the group painted and sipped their way right over to the dark side.   There were light up costumes, wigs, X-Files shirts, happy faces and cupcakes.  Spooky, wholesome goodness.  Give these photos a click through...

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Painting and sipping

Melissa demonstrates. 

Sipping + Painting

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Happy crafting!

xoxo,
RP

Contacts: Halloween, Halloween, Halloween


Contacts + Halloween


So you may or may not know that Halloween is a big deal in our house.  I'm sure I've been really casual about it but it's possible that I've let this fact slip somewhere.  (I AM SO EXCITED FOR HALLOWEEN!!)  Each year the dude and I try to one up each other on makeup and costuming (I love you babe but I refuse to let you win)  and end up fantastically ridiculous specimens of DIY.   Lately this has resulted in us heading to Stan Lee's Comikaze in Los Angeles, (aka LA Comic Con..shrug.. whatever) to wander around with too much makeup on until my feet fall off because of poor shoe choices.   This year after a few straight years of being characters, I am making my own!  She doesn't have a name yet but she is going to be weird.  (I'M EXCITED.)

The first step to greatness in costumes is obviously contacts.  Also I like seeing, so there is that.   I order my circle lens contacts (for enlarging the appearance of eyes) from a place called Pinky Paradise and they just came in today!  Since the Fedex guy saw me trying to take self portraits and gave me a concerned look I felt it was only fair to share the awkwardness with the class.  Hi Fedex guy, you are an inspiration. Behold my face three ways...


 Princess Pinky Cosplay White Mesh


These are the ones I will be using for the costume.  Spooky, white out contacts with a mesh texture.  Since these cover the pupil as well as the iris for full coverage they do change your vision.  I got mine in prescription so I can *mostly* see but they appear as if you are looking through a kind of fog.  Since I already live my life like I am in a fog I think that's ok.


 Vassen Rainbow Eyes Purplish Red


These dudes I got just to play with and casually see.  On occasion I don't like wearing glasses so I turn to circle lenses for a little fun with my face and general optical assistance.  Also it is really an amazing thing to watch a person squint at your face, know something is different, not be able to figure it out and just get nervous.  It's good clean recreational weirdness.  Despite these saying they are PURPLE and RED I only really see them on the outside of my iris and unlike a lot of the more dramatic colored contacts these don't have a black limbic ring so I feel like they blend pretty well.  That being said the first thing my co-worker said to me when i got into work was "Are you wearing those freaky contacts again?"


Mystery Pair!!! 


For $8 on Pinky Paradise you can select "Crazy Random Sale for Random Circle Lenses".  Can you tell they are random?  They are.  It's CRAZY.  Also I figured why not roll the dice and see what I get.  Maybe I can become a new one contact pioneer like Marilyn Manson when he was still doing things that weren't awful, or maybe I could just end up with two contacts that don't match and that will be my life now.  

I am pretty sure the ones I ended up with are the G&G Leopard Brown on the left (not my left, picture left..not at all confusing right?) and the Vassen Rainbow Eyes in Pinkish Brown on the right. I'm pretty stoked on the Vassen ones because I almost bought those instead of the above purple/red ones.  I don't know that they really go together but it was a fun experiement. 

Ok well that was fun.  I hope you enjoyed the many faces of RP. Contacts can be found at Pinky Paradise  my face can be found in the wild.

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Ok Bye.

xoxoxo,

RP

Tortilla Making with FOUR Generations!


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This weekend the incomparable Vanessa Gritton shared her family with a few lucky folks to learn the art of proper tortilla making from an absolute expert- her grandma Vilma Landaverde!

Grandma Vilma Landaverde was in Los Angeles visiting from Guatemala where she has spent a life time mastering her cooking, and taught us tips for mixing the dough, forming an even tortilla and grilling it to perfection.  On hand to help, Vanessa and her mother Sidia Landaverde translated from Spanish, brother Luis snapped some photos and sister in law Carolina Lanuza carefully helped all the newbies with their baby tortillas while their daughter roamed around making friends and snacks!  I was thrilled to have the chance to photograph this important occasion and I hope you all enjoy them!

Now for some words from Vanessa herself:

"Growing up I was envious of other kids that got to spend weekends at grandmas. The ones that would moan about having to spend yet another holiday at Grammas House. I longed for that.

Half of my family lives in Guatemala. I have half of my heart in another country at all times. I only get to see my grandmother every few years. I really wanted a chance to get me my mother and my niece in the same room to cook. Making food and feeding people we love is how my mom and I communicate. Break up? Have some bread and coffee and tell me what happened mija. Bad day at work? I made some sopa de rez, sit down and eat. Congrats! You had a great show! I made you some plantains and beans.

Even as an adult, to feed is to love for me. I know so many folks that wish they learned how to make a loved one’s recipe and never made time for it, the chance to share my wise, wonderful, intense grandmother with a group was an honor. I think I’m a comedian because after having four generations in the same room, we all really thrive with a crowd. I’ve never seen her smile like that."

Mixing the dough.

Sidia Landaverde prepares some tortillas to start everyone off.

Kneading the dough.

Vanessa instructs the class on the recipe, it's background, types of flour, importance of lard or oil and shares how her grandma measures.  Sidia and Carolina jump in to help.

We learn about the importance of touch to determine when dough is ready.

The group gets some help and starts working on shaping.

Grandma Vilma Landaverde whips up some empanadas stuffed with ground beef, potatoes and peas as well as a sweet version with homemade pineapple jam.

Sharing some tips and tricks.

Everyone enjoys themselves while snacking on the fruit of their efforts.

Tortillas, Guatemalan cheese, fry bread, pina jam and honey from a relative's bees!

Thank you Vilma Landaverde!

xoxo,

RP

Mooncakes: Mid-Autumn Festival in Echo Park


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Sorry this is a little late but I wanted to share a new food experience from last week.

The Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival is traditionally a harvest festival centered around the full moon.  This year it took place around the full moon of October 4th.  Originally celebrated in China and Vietnam, it has spread to many parts of Asia and found some attention from communities in the United States as the diaspora of tradition unfolds.   The Mid-Autumn Festival seems to mean a little bit of a different thing to each community but the major ideas are family, gathering together and celebrating the harvest.  One of the shared treats of this festival are Mooncakes.  

These small cakes are stamped with intricate designs and filled with a variety of flavors like red bean, lotus paste, and mixed nuts, and often have one or two egg yolks in the center, which are sometimes salted duck yolks.  Most commonly these cakes are circular with a flour crust and have imprints special to the bakery or relevant to the festival, but in some places are made of a jelly type exterior.   There are such a range of types and specialties, from sweet to savory they are a beauty to experience.

In my Mooncake mission I sought out some advice and was recommended to a great bakery in my neighborhood.  I can't tell you how many times I must have driven by not knowing what was inside, but was thrilled to stop in and see.  Kien Giang Bakery (1471 Echo Park Ave) was in an incredible flurry of mooncakes!  They had beautiful gold tins of different flavors stacked up, and a bakery shelf full of different individual variations.  Since I was the only one snacking I tried to exercise the smallest restraint but it was basically impossible, there were so many things to taste!  I settled on two "mini" mooncakes without egg, one lotus paste and one mixed nuts and a full sized, special flavor Abalone and mixed nuts  which had one yolk inside.  If you still have time to go bakery hunting I'd highly recommend checking out this spot!


Lotus Paste and Mixed Nut "Minis"



Abalone and Mixed Nut with One Yolk


These little cakes were sweet, dense and hearty, one slice packs a punch!  It is reccomended to eat them with tea to balance the flavors.  The yolk was not overpowering and added a nice savory quality.  The abalone cake was sweet with a light taste of the ocean.  I think the lotus paste was my favorite out of all of them but one thing is for sure, these little cakes are a beauty to behold!

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Happy Mid-Autumn festival everyone! 

xoxo,

RP

 

For everyone interested:

Kien Giang Bakery, Inc.
1471 Echo Park Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone: 213-250-0159
Fax: 213-250-9047

Buried Diamond: Rad Maker Alert

Welcome back to another edition of "look who updated her website".  Pleased to have your attention!  As you all know it is Halloween season, also known as the best time of the year.  In preparation for building out my costume I've been doing a lot of digging for cool accessories that can add a little accent to the cape I am definitely going to make but haven't yet.

A big selling point for me to part with my dollar bills is supporting small businesses, so when I found Buried Diamond I was beyond thrilled.   Their owner Martha Porter makes very reasonably priced, brightly colored, spooky-ish accessories and they are a dream.  I'm not getting anything for saying this so appreciate an honest gush.  I snagged the green glitter Magic Eye Brooch and it arrived today so naturally I am doing a very mature happy dance.   Check this bad dude out...

So sparkly...

So sparkly...

It came adorably wrapped in the most cheerful tissue paper ever.

It came adorably wrapped in the most cheerful tissue paper ever.

And there were presents inside including stickers and candy so obviously I was thrilled...because snacks.

And there were presents inside including stickers and candy so obviously I was thrilled...because snacks.

Sooooo sparkly... 

Sooooo sparkly... 

Basically Buried Diamond is my new favorite brand and I'd be remiss if I didn't share a cool thing with everyone. This is going to be the best addition for my totally going to happen cape, and some definite year round wear.

Here is the link if you are into it: Buried Diamond Etsy

This concludes my PSA.

xoxo

RP

Breakfast + Snack Goals

Last night I had a dream about food photography.  I am actually thinking about taking photos of food while unconscious now. It's pretty much the best thing you could dream about, but still I blame my new food project. Fortunately I was also awoken to the sounds of my wonderful partner making breakfast.  This is also never a bad thing.  

Today he made Keto friendly breakfast sandwiches with homemade biscuits, tomato and fried egg!  He even brought coffee home so I could drink it cold right away, which is necessary because ICED COFFEE IS LIFE.  What a hero right?  Here it is, beautiful breakfast and coffee in a vintage Federal Glass holographic mug my dad rescued from someone in MA...

 

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Now that you've seen a snack let me woo you with my food project!  

The idea is to document our identity, who we are and where we came from, though food.  So many of our meaningful meals come from memories of childhood, things a parent or grandparent made, or something we learned to make ourselves- I want to capture some of that and save it.  We live in a world of instant gratification, and are growing always into new blended family units and new adults, what we keep and treasure is important.

If you have a special meal you would like to share with me please shoot me an email (rebecca@rebeccapeloquin.com) and we can figure out how to make it happen!   I'd like to photograph you making a snack, meal or beverage, you with the special something, and the creation on it's own!

Happy snacking, over and out.

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Playing with food

Lately I have been trying to appreciate the small things in life as much as possible while we struggle to exist under an idiotic and dangerous president who seems single-mindedly dedicated to encouraging racism.  In the meantime, while we fight against racism, xenophobia and fear I think it's best to try and take in the tiny things that can make life worth participating in- produce from a garden, light coming in from a window, warm summer afternoons and the company of good people. 

Don't let the bastards grind you down.

xoxo,

RP

 

 

In Between: A Practice Comic

Hi everyone,

Life has been a whirlwind lately between taking classes, handling work and mentoring a student for the Las Fotos Project but I managed somehow to squish in work on the first section of a mini comic I'm illustrating based on a wild dream had by the eternally cool Kelly Chou.  At some point when it's done it will all be up for free here somewhere but until then I'm going to release it bit by bit so stay tuned.

Happy spring or whatever,

RP

 

Smelling the flowers- Antelope Valley California Poppy Edition

Los Angeles is going crazy for flowers this year, and for good reason.  With years of drought plaguing the ecosystems of California, we finally got some rain this season, and with that we got flowers- a whole "Superbloom" of them.

After a good drive down the freeway I spent the afternoon with my favorite space alien musician Nyxe, carefully walking on paths to not crush anything, admiring the poppies, wildflowers and landscapes of Antelope Valley.  While there is a lot going on behind the scenes right now with your faithful photographer, I am doing my best to occasionally, take a moment to smell the flowers.

Here are some photos of things seen along the way.  

January, Faces, Ms Yenny

It's been a rough couple of months.  A lot is going on but I haven't felt much reason to update or create lately and I'm sorry to say, this set of the totally divine Yenny Gar got buried for far too long.

In all this darkness I want to be sure not to forget any of the faces along the way.  Your faces are what inspire me.

xoxo,

RP

Star Trek

Because I am tremendously mature and handling Halloween being over super well (we are never taking the Halloween decorations down ever...) I thought I would share some of the impromptu shoot I did last week with cosplayer extraordinaire/all around excellent human, Darrell Mashia, in one of his many amazing looks- Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge!  

Happy Halloween 24/7!

 

 

 

 

Ghosts, Goblins, Terrifying Children- Halloween Print Edition is LIVE!

Boils and Ghouls,

Are you excited for Halloween yet?  I am!

This week has been full of snips and sews at Repel Industries HQ working on our Halloween costumes!  Wigs were altered, gauntlets were made, faces were covered in silicone goop but most importantly my Halloween Print Release went LIVE!  (Wooh! Yay! Crowd sounds!)  Right now in the store section of this very site is the chance to own one of only 25 limited edition Halloween Print sets featuring my spooky, nightmarish set with the handcrafted masks of Kirsten Bosio, modeled by her tiny human dolls (aka children) in the wild of secluded Topanga.

The details:  each set includes (7) 5x7 prints, sets are signed and numbered (only 25 made but you already read that) and bound in twine. 30 bucks.  These babies look rad.  Take one home with you while you can.  Until then here are some shots included in the set and remember to check Instagram for outtakes! 

Happy Halloween!

xoxo,

RP

 

Special Halloween Print Edition Coming Friday!

Starting Friday, to celebrate Halloween (best holiday ever) I will be coming out with a super limited edition print release!  

Inspired by 1920's Halloween costumes and the dark mystique of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, this collection "And Then You Wake Up In The Forest..." features (7) prints of my mask series, shot in secluded Topanga with paper mache masks made from Loose Morals Craft Club founder Kirsten Bosio, and starring her two young daughters, playing in their own reality. 

Each set includes (7) twine wrapped 5x7 prints, hand numbered and signed.  Limited run of (25) sets/  $30.

Teaser images of our cover and some spooky outtakes below. 

Get excited <3

 

Glitter Glitter Glitter: New Shoot with Pat McGrath Lip Kits

Last month I had the privilege of shooting a really cool set with my long time collaborator Sunny Drissia, who cooked up some goopy gilded makeup that turned out better than I could have even dreamed, finished off with some expertly applied glitter lips courtesy of the Pat McGrath Labs Lust 004 kits.  Plus some frosty white accents and a peacock/mermaid look for good measure!

Take a look at the full set here or see what people are saying about them on Instagram!

Super proud of our all female team!

Photography/Retouching- Rebecca Peloquin

Makeup - Sunny Drissia

Lips- Lili Kaytmaz

Model- Tiffany McColl

xoxo,

RP