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Manny Rodriguez

Manny Rodriguez

Winter months are cold and nothing warms you like a hot dish. Food photographers master the art of seduction with their images, tempting you plate by plate. Scrolling through images leaves your mouth watering and tongue craving every sensuous morsel.

We won’t leave you hanging. Blend recently caught up with photographer Manny Rodriguez and asked about his gorgeous gourmet shots. Manny was gracious enough to share some of his favorite dish recipes’ with us and we, in kind, give them to you. Enjoy!


Torta de Palmito (Heart of Palm Casserole)

Manny describes this dish as the only casserole they ate growing up a Brazilian family living in the US suburbs.

“This is a Marquart Family favorite, present at all holidays and celebrations. Popular in Brazil, not many Americans have ever had the chance to try it. Enjoy!

By my mom, Elisa Marquart”



1 can of hearts of palm, sliced

1 can of petite diced tomato

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup of olive oil

2 eggs

12 tbsp all purpose flower

1/2 cup graded parmesan cheese

1 tbsp baking powder

Salt and pepper

1/2 onion

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped





Blend the following in a blender:

1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 eggs
12 tbsp all purpose flower
1/2 cup graded parmesan cheese
1 tbsp baking powder
Salt to taste


Saute onion, garlic and parsley in olive oil. Once cooked for a bit, add tomato, hearts of palm, green olives and salt and pepper and saute until thickened.

In a greased baking pan (with some depth because it doubles in size), pour some of the batter mix to cover the base, then add the filling evenly and pour the remaining batter on top.

Bake at 375 F, for 45 minutes until golden brown.

KC’s East Texas Chicken Dumpling

Manny describes KC (the chef herself) talking up this gem and watching her eyes get huge and shiny with building excitement. KC writes a letter to Manny explaining her mother would make this recipe on days the frost was thick outside and everyone was home from school. You can read the full transcript on his website.


Chicken and Dumplings

1 batch buttermilk biscuit dough (recipe below)

1 whole chicken, quartered

(neck and innards removed and discarded)

2 bay leaves

1 carrot cut into thirds

Salt & pepper


Extra flour


Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

8 tablespoons ice cold butter

3/4 cup buttermilk


Place chicken in a large stock pot with enough water to cover it over medium/high heat. Salt water. Add bay leaves and carrot portions. Boil chicken until cooked through (should fall off the bone). While chicken cooks, make dumplings using the biscuits recipe.

Dumplings: Slice butter and put on a plate in the freezer. Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork. Add the buttermilk and continue to cut the dough together. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently bring together.  Knead a little longer than you normally would for biscuits.  Gently press the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Dust with extra flour.  Cut into strips and then into small squares.

Once chicken is done, remove chicken and reserve cooking water. Discard bay leaves and carrot.  Debone chicken and finger shred the meat.  Set aside. Bring cooking water to a boil and add dumplings a few at a time. Add chicken back into pot with dumplings. Salt and pepper to taste. (Use plenty of pepper, should be able to see it clearly when it is done.) add milk for consistency. (Final consistency should be like a thick stew not too soupy.)

Ok, for a little bit of a tease, we will leave you with a few other pictures from Manny’s other amazing recipes you can find on All of these images will be available to license on next month. As always, exclusive sneak peak on the Blend blog first!


Manny Rodriguez is a professional photographer living and working in Dallas, Texas. Born in Havana Cuba, and raised in Miami, he didn’t pick up the camera until the age of 18 when he bought a Canon for no other reason other than boredom. That was the moment he realized he wanted to be a photographer.

Read more about Manny’s work and background on his website, and check out his work on

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