Monday, September 28, 2009

Breakfast without Eggs

I ran out of eggs this morning, and still wanted something full of protein and savory... So I made a "farm sandwich". Whole wheat Tuscan Pane (from Trader Joes), olive oil, farm tomatoes (jellies removed), ham off the bone, Manchego, toasted. Next time, I will put the ham down first and then the tomatoes so that the bread doesn't get so soggy.

Keep Cup

Great price on reusable coffee/tea cups. They come in three different sizes, and lots of cute styles!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sandwich 1

My sandwich yesterday was inspired in part by my sister's description of her Spanish breakfasts... but then I added to it!

Olive bread, sliced and toasted
Rubbed with garlic cloves
Fresh tomatoes squashed into the crevasses of the toast
Drenched (not drizzled) in olive oil

then I added

Baby spinach leaves
Curried tuna salad with chopped apples, raisins, celery, and carrots


A boy and a girl!

Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather

My sister is in Spain doing an apprenticeship with Seth Cardew. She has been blogging about her experience here. Her current post is just lovely! I'm going to repost it here:

I'm waiting for a friend at a local gas station. A beautiful tree next to me has large oval leaves with an incredibly fabric-like crinkle to them. There are vines growing around the root of the tree, bursting from the cement that surrounds it and I just noticed that there are grapes hanging from these vines. The land is prolific!

I love to go for runs and take long walks. There are endless directions for my expeditions around the Masia (the term for a cluster of houses). I usually end up in groves of almonds or olives where the earth is churned up regularly by local farmers. This loosens the dense clay and rock around the trees and rids the tree of its competitions -- weeds. The trees all have curious growth patterns very carefully monitored (or in some cases not so carefully) by the farmers. Branches are pruned so that the nutrients can flow well to the fruits. Each tree has branches that reach out, droop down, and splay back up with the fruits popping out all over. Its interesting to think about the process of trimming off fresh, healthy growth in order to achieve morefruits in the future. That takes a serious amount of trust in the process and foresight.

Last week Seth introduced me to his way of making pitchers. They are rounded bodies with taller, straighter necks than I'm used to. After watching him throw once I sat down to my second teacher, the wheel. Well, I spent the day with these blasted forms and had three mediocre ones to show for it by the end. I was so frustrated and disappointed that once Seth left the studio I sat down on one of the rickety old chairs (that almost toppled) and cried pitiful tears. All work has its frustrating days and art is no different. I had run out of steam completely.

I was being pruned. Painfully and laboriously. I had mentioned to Seth that I was having a hard time. He merely said to keep throwing and there would eventually be that moment of light ... hopefully. I just stood there with my eyebrows raised and mouth open. That was it.

So, I threw more. I threw smaller versions at Seth's suggestion and then upped the weight as I felt more comfortable. Yesterday I threw some. I asked Seth, who isn't one to come checking up on me, to come look. My form was a bit rounder than his but echoed the idea quite well. I was ready for his short comment on what was wrong, ready for a good pruning but got almonds instead! He said thoughtfully, yes, yes thats quite nice. Different but rather nice. Maybe that will be the new Albadas (the name of his casa) syle.

It was brief and not much but it was growth. My eyes popped and heart fluttered. I wonder if thats how the trees feel as the almonds finally emerge?

Vin de Noix

My husband, friends and I tried making Vin de Noix this year! I'll let you know the final verdict in a couple of months. It is a liquor made with green walnuts. I will not give the recipe here, unless it's requested, as one can find many recipes online. I will say though that we used a white Burgundy that was young, so that it would mature as the liquor ages, and GF vodka, with szechwan peppercorns (which turn out not to be peppercorns at all, and have a zillion different names!), cloves, vanilla bean, orange slices, & maple syrup. Here's a version from Lucy's Kitchen which looks fantastic. And a link on straining and decanting the stuff!

Btw, if you are going to try and make this, and are looking for szechwan peppercorns, you can find them online, but they are also available at Chinese groceries as well (like Great Wall in Falls Church), but not at regular Asian groceries (like H Mart).

Fall Sale is coming up!

I'm trying to focus exclusively on illustration this year. Here's something I've been working on.

Home Depot

I was at Home Depot last Saturday morning picking some things up for our upheaval project... and found out about the kids' activities HD sponsors the first Saturday of each month. On these Saturdays kids can go and get a HD apron, pins, and a project... all for free. It's usually a project that requires adult help, so it's a fun activity to work on together. Last week we made a bean bag toss thing. I can't find info about this on the HD website, so am not sure if every HD participates. The ones in Fairfax do!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Julia Child's Kitchen

Architectural Digest resurrected this great article by Child on her Mass. kitchen, with an accompanying slideshow.

Aga Ranges

I found my dream stove! I love the way these Aga Ranges look, and all the colors that they come in! They have a really great solid, and kind of retro feel to them.

Design Sources

I was recently invited to One Kings Lane--a design source for discounted items. If you'd like to be invited, let me know, and I'll send you an invite. This site would bankrupt me if I let it! The deals are great, and they have such cool things.

There are also ShopAD from Architectural Digest and 1stDibs. Mostly fun for looking!