Hello from Oaxaca!
I’m currently sitting in the courtyard of our tiny hotel, surrounded by a small jungle of flowering plants. I’m here for a photography workshop with Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers, two supremely talented photographers whose work is a continual source of inspiration for me. I can hardly believe I managed to snag a spot. (I might need to pinch myself in a minute.)
I’ve been here for two days, shaking off my jet lag, soaking up the ample sunshine and exploring a bit before the workshop starts.
Oaxaca is a buzzing, bright, welcoming city. The streets are full of life. As far as I can tell, everything of interest happens in the street: buying, selling, gossiping, yelling, singing, working, flirting. Oaxaca feels like Seattle’s polar opposite; it is warm, sunny, loud, colorful, gregarious.
Already, I love it here.
For the next nine days, we’ll be rising with the sun to visit markets, artist studios, restaurant kitchens, gardens and farms. There will be lessons on the technical aspects of photography, how to shape shadow and light, and the subtle art of asking a stranger if you can take their portrait. There will be mole and handmade tortillas and mezcal and even a traditional goat roast.
It’s going to be amazing. And intense. I don’t anticipate I’ll have very much down time while I’m here. Which is why I wanted to drop in with a quick post before it all begins.
Citrus season has arrived, so this week I have a recipe for Citrus with Rose Water, Mint and Lime. The recipe is adapted from Diana Henry’s excellent A Change of Appetite and it feels like the perfect thing to post while I’m in a city brimming with every manner of tropical fruit.
Here’s the gist: get some ripe, fragrant citrus. Add any other tropical fruit that strikes your fancy. Whip up a light, floral syrup. Pour the syrup over the fruit and you’ve got a dessert guaranteed to brighten up grey winter days. (If I were you, I’d make a double batch of the syrup. It’s stellar shaken or stirred into a cocktail. It’s especially magical with a floral gin like Hendrick’s or Aviation.)
The other workshop guests are trickling in as I type, so I'd better sign off for now. But I’ll be back soon to share my Oaxacan discoveries with you!
P.S. To embark on your own creative voyage, join Yossy Arefi and I in Paris this May for 4 days of food, photography and exploration! There are just a few spots left. Click here for details and registration.
Citrus with Rose Water, Mint and Lime
- 6 oz. granulated sugar
- 3-4 wide strips of lime zest cut with a vegetable peeler
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 small bunch mint, plus small sprigs of mint to serve
- 1/4 to 2 teaspoons rose water
- 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and cut into rounds or supremes
- 2 large cara cara oranges, peeled and cut into rounds or supremes
- 1 large navel orange orange, peeled and cut into rounds or supremes
- Small handful kumquats, thinly sliced
- 1 large mango, peeled, pitted and cut into large pieces
- Fresh or dried rose petals, to serve (optional)
*Note: I used Nielsen-Massey rose water, which is quite strong. If you are using a more delicate brand, you might need to use a little more. Always add rose water in very small amounts (drops are good) because once you add too much, your whole dish will taste like soap. And we don’t want that.
Place the sugar in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of water and the lime zest. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for four minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and mint. Set aside to cool.
When the syrup has cooled add the rose water and strain out the mint sprigs.
Put all the fruit in a large bowl and pour the syrup over it. Place in the refrigerator to chill. When cold, use a slotted spoon to transfer some of the fruit to individual serving bowls. Top with a few tablespoons of the syrup and garnish with fresh mint and rose petals before serving.
Recipe adapted from A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry.