Lobster Fettuccine with Fennel and Thyme Cream Sauce

Photographically, I did something I don't believe is seen often these days. With a few friends going to photography school (Alexis, Erin L., Sarah and Mike E.) I'm curious if they will know what I'm about to do? (If not, they need to drill their instructors.) 

I'm measuring for my D.O.F.  (I know, right? why not chimp it by see ing what's on my monitor?)

For this meal, I want my DOF to be very minimal. I want the field of focus to be about an inch. 

This is easy to calculate, even by hand. (I will be posting a tutorial this weekend on how to do so, but it involves  . . . GASP! . . . .  8th grade math). 

Why can't I just "chimp" it? (why can't I just shoot and see how it looks on the big screen?) Well, it's food. Food is very unforgiving. It doesn't allow you to have the time to shoot and check.  Even with a dummy stand-in, I have to be sure. Especially with this recipe. Even in the two exposure I made, the sauce started to harden. Not pretty photographically. 

Why would I want such a shallow focus? Well, for this meal, I wanted the main subject to be what's in the focus - I wanted the lobster, garnish and pasta to be the star. Now, since the pasta would solidify quickly (and it DID - like, in a major way, so when serving this, use hot bowls), I wanted to hide the rest of the plate. My focus is to be on the few main ingredients at the top where I placed them. This meant a focus within an inch.

Here is a preview of the setup:

 I lifted up the plate to help blur the cloth background further by placing the plate on a small box. As you can see, I used a tape measure to calculate my dof. 

I lifted up the plate to help blur the cloth background further by placing the plate on a small box. As you can see, I used a tape measure to calculate my dof. 

 But, I digress. Time for the goods . . . . really draws the eye, no?

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 medium fennel bulb, cored, and chopped fine

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 cup dry sherry

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1 pound fettuccine (dried)

Meat from 2 chicken Lobsters (about 1/2 pound)

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.. Add the onion, fennel, and pinch of salt and cook until softened. Stir in the thyme, garlic, and cayenne and cook until fragrant.  Stir in the sherry and simmer until it has nearly evaporated.

2. Stir in the broth, water, and cream. Stir in the pasta and bring to a boil stirring often, until the fettuccine is tender.

3. Reduce the heat and add the lobster. Cook, tossing, until the lobster is just warmed through.

4. Season with salt and pepper, extra thyme and serve immediately.