My Favorite Food Blogs: Photography Inspiration

My Favorite Food Blogs:  Food Photography Inspiration

This is the second post in a little series about all my favorite food bloggers.  The first was about my favorite food blogs, in general, across the board.  Basically –who I go to for cooking inspiration, tips, and just a general “like” that I have for them. 

This second post is a little different.  I’m telling you I read a lot of food blogs, like dozens.  Some aren’t as applicable to me and my style of cooking, per se, but I am obsessed with the aesthetic and photography.  When I started blogging, my 2 biggest weak spots were photography and baking.  Truly those are still my weakest.  I’m getting more adventurous with baking and certainly better with photography, but I look for inspiration everywhere.

For instance, I play a game with myself when looking at food photos to figure out where the light source is (lame, right!?).  I also like to figure out how to replicate an angle, which colors and textures specifically appeal to me, and which garnishes I like.  When I first started, I thought “Okay, I cooked this spaghetti, and it tastes really good.  Lemme just snap a quick iPhone pic and post that.”  No.  Actually –hell, no.  It just isn’t that easy!  

As an ambitious amateur, I’ve learned that lighting is a lot about what makes food look appealing on camera.  And photography is all about translating how something looks to you in your mind successfully to film.  It may look amazing to you, but on camera, it looks wonky, dark and shadowy, the garnish went limp, the spoon has a reflection, and all the components just blahh-ed together.  That happened to me so many times in the beginning!  

Now I’m at a point where I do know how to make food look appetizing.  And what I’m working on now is creating my own personal style.  A lot of my pictures look similar to me now because I’ve found certain angles and light sources that work for me, and I’m not confident enough to change it up.  Plus I don’t have tons of equipment.  

I went from using a point and shoot to this:  Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens.  Before you buy it on Amazon, though, check out Ebay.  I got a brand new one for $100 cheaper than the list price.  The lens it comes with is pretty nice, but I ended up buying this one too (with the UV filter):  Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Auto Focus Lens + 49 UV Filter for Canon T6i, T6s, SL1.  It’s really good for food photography and other still life, and it’s actually really good for photos of kids, too!  I never knew the price range was so broad, and this lens and filter combo cost me about $120.  But lenses range up to the thousands, and I’m just not there yet.  

Anyway, I’ve found, like always, that the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.  But if it’s something you love to do, it’s really fun to learn more along the way!  I’m about 1 year into my blog going full speed.  I technically started it 2 1/2 years ago, but I didn’t really get into it until last summer. 

So…here’s my list of my favorite food bloggers, based on photography.  I find TONS of inspiration from these guys.

1.   Half Baked Harvest (by Teighan Gerard):  Teighan’s aesthetic is a little dark with bright contrasts, and all her photos are taken in her barn in Colorado.  She pairs earthy ingredients with some crazy over-the-top add-ins, and it makes for some truly beautiful photographs.  (Pictured:  Marinated Cherry Tomatoes with Burrata and Toast)f79b191185aaf343c4f730b9f439ebb8.jpg

 

2.  Sally’s Baking Addiction (by Sally McKenney):  Yep, I know I listed Sally on my original list of favorite bloggers!  But in addition to having tons of tips for uneasy bakers, she’s also got tons of photography tips and some super gorgeous photos.  Some baked goods are easier to make look good than other.  Cookies?  Easy.  Pies and puddings?  Not so easy, in my opinion.  (Pictured:  Salted Caramel Turtle Brownies)

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3.  Local Milk (by Beth Kirby):  Beth’s photography style is dark and earthy.  Most of her recipes are not something that’s in my wheelhouse, but the way she photographs her food in her kitchen really can transport you to another time.  It feels like walking into the 1930s…but like a really fancy 1930s with really nice pots and pans. (Pictured:  Valentine’s Day Cake:  All Natural Red Velvet Beet Cake with Goat Cheese Thyme Icing

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4.  Cookie and Kate (by Kathryne Taylor):  I loooove Cookie and Kate.  I’m so not a vegetarian, but I love her commitment to fresh and healthy ingredients, and I especially love her photographic eye.  Like Sally, Kate has lots of how-to posts for beginners and people interested in blogging, and I really appreciate that!  Her food always is photographed in such a clean, yet colorful way.  Her West African Peanut Soup truly is what got me to venture outside my cooking comfort zone with new flavors!  Now I make my own twist on her original.  (Pictured:  West African Peanut Soup)west-african-peanut-soup.jpg

 

5.  Minimalist Baker (by Dana Shultz):  Minimalist Baker focuses on lots of gluten free, vegan, and other special diet recipes.  But!  There’s also tons of tips and tricks for other bloggers, from everything to photography to building your brand and social media presence.  As a newer blogger myself, I look to experienced bloggers for advice, and I really admire the aesthetic and lighting in their photographs.  (Pictured:  Gluten Free Onion Rings)EASY-Gluten-Free-Onions-Rings-Crispy-savory-spicy-PERFECT-for-dipping-in-my-Vegan-Chipotle-Aioli-plantbased-vegan-glutenfree-recipe-768x1152.jpg

 

6.  Cafe Delites (by Karina Carrel):  My favorite Cafe Delites pictures are the salads!  In my experience, entree salads are one on the most difficult things to photograph.  Why?  Because you want everything to be super fresh and crisp.  I mean, who wants to see an avocado turning or some parsley limping off the the side?  The composition of her photos gives me a warm feeling, like this looks so good, but I could totally do this at home.  Most people who are making recipes don’t want something too intimidating (myself included!).  (Pictured:  BLT Balsamic Chicken, Avocado, and Feta Salad)BLT-Balsamic-Chicken-Salad-26.jpg

 

7.  Donal Skehan (by Donal Skehan):  Yesss I know!  I totally double dipped Donal, but I am obsessed.  His creativity is just beyond when it comes to recipe development.  But it doesn’t stop there.  All his pictures truly evoke this homey,  cozy feeling inside me.  I think we’ve stumbled on a theme here.  Home cooks don’t want a super tweezed and tweaked version of dinner because we would NEVER make that at home!  We  want something that looks earthy, warm, cozy, inviting — like a Norman Rockwell painting.  Something we want to plunk down on the kitchen table and everyone says, “Mmmmm!”  Save the fancy restaurant stuff for the restaurant.  At home, we want this.  I mean, I reallllly want these meatballs, though.  (Pictured: The Best Baked Meatballs)Baked-Meatballs-3-copy.jpg

8.  The Food Gays (by Adrian Harris and Jeremy Inglett):  The Food Gays are a couple of Vancouver-based guys who could honestly make a piece of toast look amazing.  They specialize in gorgeous appetizers, like this colorful, summery crostini.  Let’s say that if Teighan’s photos evoke a warm and earthy feeling inside me with a long wooden dining table, Adrian and Jeremy’s pictures make me think of a rooftop terrace cocktail party in the summer, and I’m RSVPing “yes.”  (Pictured: Honey Lemon Goat Cheese Crostini with Blueberry Salsa)4403e70877d031e512dfdcab23b6c224

 

 

 

 


Pretty Things: May 2017

Pretty Things: May 2017

1.  H2o Plus:  Sea Salt Collection. I have been waiting to share this product for months because it didn’t feel right sharing a sea salt spray in the middle of winter.  I found this stuff last year on clearance because they were changing their packaging, and now I’m hooked.  I was worried when I bought it that the “clearance” sticker meant they were discontinuing it– thankfully that wasn’t the case.  There’s a whole line of sea salt products, but the spray is my favorite.  It’s an alternative to moisturizer during the hot months, and it smells like the beach.  Not in a fake banana-coconut sunscreen way, but in a real authentically beachy way.  It’s so refreshing.  I also used it in my hair.bodygloss_hero_h20plus

 

2. Alton Brown: Pickled Watermelon Rind.   Alton Brown is kind of a mad scientist when it comes to food. I love the idea of pickled watermelon rind for several reasons.  First, I usually throw away the rind, but it would be cool to turn it into something new.  Second, I love pickles.  And third, I love watermelon (but who doesn’t??)alton-brown-watermelon-pickles

 

3.  Heather Christo:  Cilantro, Corn, Potato, and Poblano Chowder.  The colors in this soup are so beautiful!  If you’ve never checked out Heather’s blog, it is one of the most inventive and unusually photographed I’ve come across.  Many of her recipes are vegan or gluten free, and the are all made with allergies in mind.  Everything she makes really is this pretty.27136811955_17eceecccb_b

 

4.  A Cozy Kitchen:  Spicy Cucumber Margarita.  If you’ve never tried a cucumber drink, you should!  I love infused cucumber water, cucumber soda, and cucumber sparkling water.  I also love jalapenos and margaritas.  Since Cinco de Mayo is coming soon, it’s a perfect time to buy some tequila and try something new!margarita.jpg

 

5.  Bobby Flay:  Grape Focaccia.  Grapes are at their best between May and September (even though I tend to buy them all year).  I love focaccia because it’s airy and crispy while also being chewy and doughy –kind of like a round baguette, I guess?  But much more flavorful because of the salt and olive oil.  This grape focaccia would be perfect on a warm night with some wine and a good salad.cq5dam.web.400.300.jpeg

 

6.  Soap Queen:  Soothing Floral Bath Salts.  Every time I find a new homemade beauty product, I always swear it’s the prettiest one I’ve seen so far.  And this one is no exception.  This would be a really gorgeous homemade gift for a good friend.Floral-Bath-Salts-Tutorial.jpg

 

7.  How Sweet Eats:  Summer Skillet Gnocchi.  Look at the char on the corn!  And the basil!  And the cheese!  Something about Jessica’s recipes make me want to use exclamation marks.  Her pictures seem to jump off the page, and this is basically like summer in a bowl.  And in May, I’m pretty much behaving as if it’s summer anyway.summer-gnocchi-I-howsweeteatscom-6.jpg

 

8.  Giada de Laurentiis:  S’mores Pizzette.  However, if it’s still a little too chilly to hang outside at night, you can always make these s’mores when you feel the need.  It’s all done indoors, and would be a perfect treat for a kid’s sleepover. 20170108_163630_10358_3095.jpeg

 


Sausage + Pepper Cast Iron Frittata

Sausage + Pepper Cast Iron Frittata

I have only had this cast iron skillet since November, but it has already been broken in quite nicely!  The 2 things I’ve cooked most in it so far are Ina Garten’s Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken (a big hit) and frittatas.  I now love frittatas so much that they’ve become a weekly staple.  I pretty much always use Italian sausage, just because I love the complex flavor.  But as far as veggies go, I have tried a lot, and the follow recipe is my favorite combination. 

This meal isn’t exactly healthy, but it’s not terrible for you, either.  It’s got tons of protein, plenty of vegetables, and it’s very filling.  Plus everyone in my house likes it, even Ben.

When I see people scramble eggs on TV, I always get frustrated.  They always just start with the eggs whole and go in there with a whisk.  I have found a way that is so much easier, especially if you’re scrambling 24 eggs at the same time.  Once I crack all the eggs into a bowl, I take a fork and use the prongs to physically tear each yolk before I start whisking.  Once you start whisking, it’s hard to see if any yolks haven’t been broken yet. 

And for removing the sausage from casings, I like to use a pair of scissors.  I start at one end and just cut all the way up.  It may sound like common sense, but it took me a while to figure that out!

Lastly, I’ve tried shredded hash browns for this frittata, and they mostly just got stuck to the bottom of the pan while I was trying to sauté them.  If you use the diced hash browns, they stay together better.

I eat my frittata with lots of ketchup.

 

Total Time:  1 hour 15 minutes1

Serves:  8

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

2 ½ cups frozen diced hash browns

24 eggs

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

6 links of Italian sausage (about 1 pound)

1 ½ cup thinly sliced onion

1 ½ green bell pepper, medium diced

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

8 ounces freshly grated provolone or mozzarella cheese

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove the hash browns from the freezer, and let them defrost while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and use a large whisk or fork to break the yolks and mix everything together.
  4. Coat a large cast iron skillet with plenty of olive oil. Turn to medium heat.
  5. While the oil heats, remove the sausage from the casings.
  6. Add the sausage to the skillet, and use a wooden spoon to break it apart as it cooks. Cook until almost done, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.
  8. If necessary, add more olive oil to the skillet. When it’s heated, add the peppers and onions to the pans.  Season the peppers and onions with salt, pepper, plus the paprika and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
  9. Create a large space in the center of the skillet by moving the veggies off to the side.
  10. If necessary, add more olive oil (if not, don’t). Add the diced hash browns to the skillets and sauté until they become translucent.
  11. Now, mix all the potatoes back in with the peppers and onions so it’s all incorporated and in an even layer.
  12. Add the sausage back to the skillet in an even layer.
  13. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sausage and vegetable mixture.
  14. Pour the mixed eggs evenly over everything.
  15. On medium heat, let everything cook for about 10 minutes on the stove. Do not stir!
  16. Carefully put the frittata in the preheated oven, and cook until the top has just started to brown, and the center is set (about 25-30 minutes).
  17. Slice, and serve hot or at room temperature.

 

 


Butter Lettuce Salad with Tarragon Grilled Shrimp + French Artichoke Vinaigrette

Butter Lettuce Salad with Tarragon Grilled Shrimp + French Artichoke Vinaigrette

This is the perfect lunch for 2—not really kid-friendly, but that’s okay.  Not everything needs to be.  As someone who loves all things French (but who has never been to Paris), I think this salad seems like something Parisians would eat. 

Do you ever get butter lettuce?  It’s got the creamiest, crunchiest texture that goes really well with both vinaigrette dressings and creamy dressings.  I didn’t want to overwhelm the salad with too many ingredients, so a few different veggies plus the shrimp felt just right.

The difference between a French vinaigrette and a regular vinaigrette is Dijon mustard.  It makes the dressing creamy and luxurious without adding mayonnaise.  The pureed artichoke hearts make the dressing extra creamy.  This salad makes 2 generous entrée portions, but the dressing will make enough for 6-8 servings. 

While I’m letting the shrimp marinate, I prepare the dressing and the salad ingredients.  I like to serve the shrimp at room temperature so they don’t wilt the lettuce.  If you don’t have shrimp or don’t want to use it, try it with some pulled rotisserie chicken instead!

 

For the Butter Lettuce Salad

Total Time:  10 Minutes (not including shrimp and dressing)

Serves:  2 Dinner Sized Portions

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Ingredients

1 head butter lettuce, roughly torn2

3 radishes, thinly sliced

6-8 jarred artichoke hearts, drained

4 scallions, tips cut off

Grilled Shrimp, cooled to room temperature (recipe follows)

Parmesan cheese

French Artichoke Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Directions

  1. Preheat an indoor grill to high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, to a large bowl, add the butter lettuce.
  3. Arrange the sliced radishes and artichoke hearts.
  4. Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray. Add the whole scallions (with the tips cut off), and sear on high for about 3 minutes, or until you can see some grill marks.
  5. Arrange the scallions to the salad.
  6. Arrange the shrimp on top of the salad.
  7. Use a vegetable peeler to cut shavings of parmesan cheese directly onto the salad.
  8. Drizzle with French Artichoke Vinaigrette, and eat immediately.

For the Tarragon Grilled Shrimp

Total Time:  45 minutes (including marinade time)

Serves:  2

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

1 pound of raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 ½ tablespoons of dried tarragon

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Add the shrimp, tarragon, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a bowl, and toss to combine. Let marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  (Go ahead and assemble the rest of your salad, and make your dressing while it marinates.)
  2. Preheat and indoor grill to high heat. Once it’s preheated, spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Add the shrimp to the hot grill, and cook until pink (about 6-8 minutes). Watch carefully after 5 minutes to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
  4. Remove the shrimp from grill, and allow to come to room temperature before adding to the salad.

 

For the French Artichoke Vinaigrette

Total Time:  10 Minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

½ of a 14 ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1 cup of loosely packed whole basil leaves

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 3 lemons

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Extra virgin olive oil (about ¾ cup)

Directions

  1. Add the ingredients except for the salt, pepper, and olive oil to a food processor.
  2. Pulse until the artichokes and basil have been broken down.
  3. Stream in the olive oil while it’s running to blend everything together to a salad dressing consistency.
  4. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pulse again, and serve over salad.

Banana Berry Bee Pollen Bowl 

Banana Berry Bee Pollen Bowl

This bowl!  I made this on a super warm February day when it felt like spring.  I had been wanting to do a bee pollen post for a while, and it finally felt springy enough.  Also, my friend Megan surprised me with this Olivewood Tea and Toast Set, and how pretty does the honey dip look?  I’d put this set on Pretty Things:  January 2017 because I was so drawn to it.  But in person, it’s even prettier.  The wood is gorgeous, and the pieces feel quality.  Now I feel like I have to have a tea party or something just to display it! 16473764_550727958455582_6492892044207083527_n

I love making smoothies for my kids, and this is like a smoothie, deconstructed.  One of my staples is a bag of store bought frozen strawberries.  For this bowl, I turned them into a puree.  It’s simple:  just let a few cups of strawberries thaw out or come to room temperature.  Pour them into a blender, and blend until smooth.  You could use this on smoothie bowls, as a topping for ice cream, or in something with gin or tequila…

Bee Pollen.  Who would have thought?  It’s supposed to work as an anti-inflammatory, immune system booster, anti-oxidant, and hormone regulator.  I got mine on Amazon.  They’re crunchy little granules, and I guess they’re like the new chia seed!  There is always a new natural food discovery with amazing properties and why haven’t we been eating it all along?

In addition to pouring them over a smoothie bowl, they taste really good blended into a regular smoothie, too.  To turn this into a regular smoothie, add a cup of your favorite milk (I use unsweetened coconut milk)—to turn this into a meal on-the-go.  If you do turn it into a smoothie, add some frozen banana slices to make it thicker.  Instead of buying frozen bananas or freezing them whole, I wait until my fresh bananas are about to turn, then I slice them up and freeze them for smoothies.  It’s much cheaper, and they’re easy to portion with they’re pre-sliced.

 

Total Time:  10 minutes

Makes:  1 large smoothie bowl

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

1 cup of plain, fat free Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons of strawberry puree (see above)

1 banana, peeled and sliced thinly

2-3 strawberries, rinsed and sliced thinly

¼ cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons of bee pollen

2-3 tablespoons of honey

 

Directions

  1. Add the Greek yogurt to the bottom of a large bowl.
  2. Add the strawberry puree on top of the yogurt and swirl it through.
  3. Layer the banana, strawberries, and blueberries around the bowl.
  4. Sprinkle the bee pollen on top.
  5. Drizzle with honey, and enjoy. (**see note)

 

**Note:  Alternately, add ingredients to a blender with unsweetened coconut milk and some frozen banana slices.  Puree until smooth, and enjoy very cold.)


Quinoa + Chicken Stuffed Pepper Soup

Quinoa + Chicken Stuffed Pepper Soup

This is the lightened up version of my Stuffed Pepper Casserole.  The casserole is already pretty healthy, but the soup is even healthier.  And it’s just as filling.  I like to flavor stuffed pepper things with Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.  I know stuffed peppers aren’t a Greek recipe, but I feel like the flavors of the soup need to be bold and savory, but not necessarily spicy. 

I didn’t start using Worcestershire sauce regularly until about a year ago.  If you’re cooking a meat or dinner dish, and it’s missing something, but you’re not sure what…add some Worcestershire sauce.  It’s especially good with beef.  Since I don’t eat beef very often, I use it when I’m mimicking beef flavors (like in this soup). 

Traditional stuffed peppers are filled with rice, but I just felt like doing something different.  I use quinoa in this soup, but you can always use rice if you want to.  For this recipe, I’m using my 5 ½ quart French oven, but you can definitely adapt it to a slow cooker!  Add all the ingredients in the same order I’ve listed below, and cook for 6 hours on high, stirring once or twice.

I always serve Stuffed Pepper Soup with hot sauce, grated cheddar or mozzarella, and sour cream.

 

Total Time:  2 hours (but longer is better)featured

Serves: 8

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ red bell pepper, diced small

1 green bell pepper, diced small

1 medium sized onion, diced small

2 large (or 3 small) garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons Cavender’s Greek Seasoning

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 pounds lean ground chicken

1 cup quinoa

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

24 ounces marinara sauce

48 to 60 ounces water

2 tablespoons of beef bouillon powder

 

Directions

  1. Heat a French oven over medium heat. Add olive oil.
  2. When you can smell the oil, add the diced bell peppers and onion. Sauté over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, and dried thyme. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the ground chicken. Brown the chicken while breaking it apart with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the quinoa, Worcestershire sauce, marinara sauce, water, and bouillon powder.
  6. Bring the soup up to a boil for 5 minutes.
  7. Reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking for at least 1 ½ hours (but longer is better).
  8. Serve hot with grated cheddar or mozzarella, sour cream, and hot sauce.

Vegetable and Polenta Soup with Crispy Bacon

Vegetable and Polenta Soup with Crispy Bacon

This recipe is a variation of a soup I made for Jon right after we got married.  He briefly decided to become a vegetarian for some reason, and I found this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.  I just substituted vegetable broth for chicken broth, and there you go. 

Jon’s vegetarianism is long gone, and it has literally been years since I’d even thought about this soup.  As I was writing Pretty Things for December, I took note of one especially pretty dish:  Martha Stewart’s Sicilian Beef Stew.  Her version goes over mashed potatoes, but I think it would be better over polenta.  I was so inspired that I’ve decided to make that for our Christmas Eve dinner, along with Persimmon Pudding—both new dishes I’m really looking forward to! 

I went ahead and got the polenta to go with the beef stew, and it jogged my memory about this soup.  Adding polenta to the soup is kind of an alternative to adding rice or pasta.  It makes it more filling and a little creamy.  Growing up in the Deep South, I never heard of polenta until I was an adult.  But of course I’d heard of grits.  Polenta and grits are almost exactly the same thing.good

This time, though, since we’re all meat-eaters again, I decided to up the ante with bacon and some white wine.  I have to say, I like my version of the soup better than the original.  I decided to cook the bacon first, remove it, and add it back at the very end because I wanted it to be crispy on top of the soup –not soft inside the soup.

 

 

 

Total Time:  1 hour and 15 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

1 pound of bacon, diced

1 onion, medium diced

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into half moons

2 large zucchini, cut into half moons

4 teaspoons of garlic powder

2 teaspoons of dried oregano

1- 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes

10 whole sprigs of fresh thyme

8-10 cups of chicken broth

1 cup white wine

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of basil pesto

1 cup polenta

½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

  1. In a soup pot over medium heat, add the diced bacon.  Cook until the bacon is done and crispy, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon, and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
  3. Cook the onion and the carrot in the bacon fat for about 5-6 minutes. Add the zucchini, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic powder, oregano, diced tomatoes with juice, thyme (sprigs and all), chicken broth, white wine, Worcestershire sauce, and pesto.
  5. Bring the soup up to a boil, and cook with the lid off for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the polenta, cover, and continue to cook for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Right before serving, add the parsley.
  8. Serve hot and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and the cooked bacon.

(inspired by Giada de Laurentiis)