And I think I nailed it. Well, you tell me:
Denise's advice for photographing cat food: Stay far away from the food, put something recognizable on top, use an interesting vessel. Check, check, check. I also decided on a black background to set off the color and design of the plate. It's a piece of black posterboard from the art store - I have a portfolio in the kitchen with posterboard and foam board in a bunch of different colors. A good $20 investment for those of us who take food pictures.
I also used the photography advice from Art Ramirez, another Camp Blogaway presenter, in this shot. Took the darn camera off auto. Set the white balance to "cloudy," as it was early morning in foggy Santa Monica. Bounced some light with a big piece of white foam board to fill in some of the shadows. I still haven't bought a tripod, but that's next on my list.
I'm going to write about this dish for The Mushroom Channel in a few weeks, so stay tuned for the recipe. But at least now I know I've got the photo in the bag.
Thanks to @rockenwagner for the naming advice - I couldn't call it "Cat food with mushrooms," now could I?