As the weather starts to cool off and fall begins, comfort food sounds really good. Nothing warms you up more than a thick, hearty soup or sauce. Our shot features a special mocha sauce with meaty rib tips – great with crusty bread and a fine Oktoberfest beverage.
We wanted to present comfort food in all its glory. Our client requested a shot from above to capture the meat as it cooked. The challenge was to project light into a deep pot that would normally tend to absorb light. So to start, we brought in a very large, soft light source from the left. This light allowed us to capture a lot of highlights on the meat, and started to give the pot itself some definition. The light was very directional from the left, so we needed to fill in on the right side. To accomplish that, we brought in another large soft light source from the back right. This light helped to control the contrast on the pot and the surface or background.
Our shot started to have a breath of life, but the hero (the stew) still appeared flat/dead. When shooting sauce, it’s practically a mirror that reflects the light source back, so the light source had to be broad. But if we put a box above, it would tend to look very flat, so we needed to get some fall-off. To do this, we hung a 4×8 white card directly on top of the camera (since we were shooting straight down). We then took a point source of light and aimed it at the card. This allowed us to have control of where the highlights appeared, and also gave us some nice fall-off of light where we needed it.
Finally, we brought in another point light source from the back right to focus some spectacular highlights on the meat. Yummm.
Rib Tips in Mocha Sauce
2 lbs. rib tips, bone in
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup sugar
3 tsp sesame oil
2 egg whites
4 tsp flour
2 tsp mocha essence or ground coffee
2/3 cup A-1 Steak Sauce
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup marmalade (produced from lemons, limes, grapefruits,
mandarins, sweet oranges or other citrus) fruits, or any combination thereof)
1/4 cup apple jam
2 tsp salt
¼ cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1-1/4 cups water
1/2 cup onions or shallots, chopped
1/3 cup carrots, sliced
1/3 cup celery, chopped
Marinate the ribs overnight.
Discard the marinade; pour oil into a large pot.
Stir in 2 garlic cloves; add ribs with just enough water to cover.
Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered over medium heat until the water has completely evaporated, about 25 minutes.
When all of the water is gone allow meat to brown, turning occasionally.
Use a spatula to scrape up browned bits and softened garlic from the bottom of the pot, and toss them with the pork.
Remove the ribs to a saucepan.
Whisk together mocha sauce ingredients.
Place the ribs in a saucepan with a lid, and pour the mocha sauce over the ribs.
Cover the pan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, and simmer the ribs in the sauce for 45 minutes or until they are tender and meat is no longer red.
Rib Tip Ragout
Simply add vegetables, including celery, carrots, shallots, mushrooms, etc., to the ribs in sauce, about a half hour before they are finished cooking. Serve over penne pasta cooked al dente (firm, not hard).