progress

the last week has been kind of bananas.  last friday i had pretty much run out of clay and took the opportunity to go to the clay store and get more, thinking i had another week of building ahead.  that afternoon we had the monthly kiln meeting and i realized i had more like 3 days left.  yikes!

wall collection.

i have amassed a pretty good collection of wall pieces for the installation i will mount before the end of my stay.  i am using a mixture of local clays, both a smooth white and black shigaraki clay and a black clay with the ubiquitous feldspar inclusions.  i am also using (sparingly) arita porcelain from kyushu.

tiny black and white trade pieces.

i have organized a mini- trade with the other residents.  these are my little guys.  see that fake grass under them?  i found a whole case of 12″ x 12″ squares of it in the dumpster and might try to use it for something….

soon to be floor pieces.

floor pieces drying.

lightweight templates.

middle floor piece.

working here the last couple of weeks has been awesome!  i love that all i have to do everyday is just eat, sleep and work.  and being able to wake up and walk right to my studio pretty much rules.

i have been able to put everything else out of my mind and i’ve even had time to do some cooking.  sometimes the residents get together to cook and eat.  i invited everyone to share some nabe one evening and the other night everyone cooked something and shared, kind of like a potlock.

yumie working on her dish.

nabe night.

kimchi nabe.

potluck!

ok, maybe not everything else.  i keep having dreams in which my kitties wonder off.  it’s so weird.  during the day i think “this is so wonderful i hope i can come back and stay longer some day” and at night my brain feels guilty or something.  miss those little nerds:(

violet and junior.

critique time!

my students had their first critique today.  i think these folks have ceramist blood because they brought amazing food for our potluck and gave really useful and thoughtful feedback.   more pics to come.

xmas barks and brittles.

thank you martha!

 

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honeycomb brittled

ingredients

  • vegetable oil, cooking spray
  • 1 1/12 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

directions

coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. bring sugar, honey, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. reduce heat to medium-high. cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. remove from heat, and whisk in baking soda until combined and mixture bubbles. gently pour mixture onto baking sheet without spreading. let cool. break into pieces.

brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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basic brittle recipe

ingredients

  • vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • mix-ins, according to variation

directions

  1. coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until sugar dissolves. cook, swirling occasionally, until mixture just starts to turn golden around edge.
  2. stir in mix-ins. cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is pale amber, about 8 minutes. pour onto baking sheet without spreading. let cool. break into pieces.

brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

 

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add-ins (slightly modified by yours truly):

cashew and cayenne:
2 cups whole raw cashews
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp sea salt flakes
extra salt to sprinkle on top

coconut and spice:
¾ cup large unsweetened coconutflakes
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chinise five spice powder
¼ tsp salt

pepita and lavender:
½ cup petites (green pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp dried lavender (and extra for sprinkling)
¼ tsp salt

 

 

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peppermint m&m bark:

  • melt 12 oz. of  white chocolate in a double boiler (aka bowl-in-a-pot).
  • spread over parchment on a sheet pan.
  • bash up a large package of peppermint m&ms and sprinkle over the melted chocolate.
  • cool and break into pieces.

peanut butter crunchy two tone bark:

  • melt 125 oz. of white chocolate  in a double boiler.
  • add  3 cups of puffed rice, stir.
  • spread over parchment on a sheet pan.
  • melt 6 oz milk chocolate in double boiler.
  • add ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter and stir.
  • mix in 1 cup crisp rice.
  • spread over white chocolate.
  • cool and break into pieces.

chocolate of choice and nut of choice:
as above, with whatever you’ve got hanging around
🙂

 

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hope everybody enjoyed!

 

going local.

lancaster, pa skirt steak. one of my first attempts at responsible meat purchasing.

i have really fond memories of going to local farms with my family and picking tons of tomatoes and eggplants.  eating them fresh for weeks and freezing or pickling (pickled eggplant!) what we couldn’t finish.  of course growing up in florida, you can’t really help but eat local, with the mass amounts of oranges, lemons, mangos, avacados and grapefruits literally falling of trees into your hands.  i’ve stopped at a strangers house to ask if i could pick their tangerines, and they grab the grocery sacks, press them into your hands and and say “yes, please, there are too many for us to eat.”  at my parents place i grew up plucking loquats, mulberries, prickly pears and papayas off the plant and sticking them in my mouth  (ok, ok, not the prickly pears.  they require use of a special picking tool and complex cleaning to avoid cactus needles in your face).

despite this, markets are full of seasonless imports and most of us have gotten into the habit of expecting anything anytime, i know i have.

but a few weeks ago i went to a workshop on sustainability and education.  hearing about so many awesome ideas and projects really got me fired up.  my favorite lecture of the day was about economics (a class which i fully slept through in high school and have never revisited) and the local foods movement and it illuminated SO MUCH for me.  all of the attendees got a copy of barbara kingsolver’s “animal, vegetable, miracle” which (like her fiction, which i’m a big fan of) was an amazing and engrossing story.

and now, like so many others (thankfully) i am getting amped to go local.

i think the local foods movement should just be called being awesome!  i mean, you give your money to actual real people in your community who work really hard doing something they love.  and then, you casually get to eat fruits, vegetables and meat that actually taste like fruits, vegetables and meat.

so i’m gradually trying to educate myself on what comes from where here in pennsylvania and starting to research what i can expect to find once i move to gainesville, fl.  incidentally i’ve gotten a renewed sense of excitement about cooking and baking.

being back on familiar ground will be nice, things falling of trees will be nice and getting to know the more agricultural central florida will be awesome.  yay exciting!

anatomy of an installation.

fauna installation.

this week i was honored to be part of a four person show curated by kara walker tome in west palm beach.  the show took place at the whitebox at the whitespace, the personal collection of west palm beach couple elayne and marvin mordes.

the space was mind blowing.  you enter from the back and walk into a beautiful, labyrinth of a museum-like space.  white walls and gray floors act as a backdrop to the fanciful and exciting collection of cutting edge contemporary 2D and 3D art including gilbert and george, frank gehry and gelatin (among many, many others).  one of the back walls actually turns on an axis point and allows access to the mordes’ home.  it’s totally wild.  a portion of the space has been used this season for a series of exhibitions featuring regional artists.  the last of the series, “approaching nature” opened on friday.

the very good company i was in consisted of ryan toth, rick newton and bethany krull.

on a warm and fuzzy note, i really could not have pulled off this installation with out tons of help from my friends (and a lot of cooperation and understanding from the curator.)  i flew in on wednesday, then second day of installation for the show.  a.w. my bestie, was in philly with me so we flew down together.  we got picked up by m.m. just in time for surprise brunch for 4 other friends who were in town.  the brunch graciously swelled to include us and we got to breakfast on home made eggs, greens, plantains, potatoes, tortilla’s and beans (yummmmm).

after that we headed to AAA sod and supply, my “sponsors” who helped me out with my crushed shell needs.  the owner there is such a cool guy.  he totally remembered me and asked after j.w. my partner in crime during the 2008 10 x 10 show (during which he gifted a van full of crushed shell and garden stones).  we then loaded up and headed to the whitespace.

installation went pretty well, we ran into a few snags but a.w. and j.g. were there helping out with heavy lifting and strategies.  i don’t think i could install a show with out a.w. lending her good eye and moral support.

of course all this running around was done in the car m.m. so lovingly lent.  a lot of other people where involved behind the scenes to make that happen (c.j., w.) and s.s. came out the day before the deliver my work to the space and i’ve been crashing on her super comfortable couch all week.  all this not even including everyone who came out to the show, or my new friend l.a. who i’ve been hanging with all week.

basically, i didn’t realize just how much would go into making this installation happen.  somewhere else i would have had to rent a car or truck, run around, hire an assistant (or something??)  but it feels really good to have so much support and encouragment from my friends.  it was highly tight, budget wise, for me to make it down here, and i really appreciate everyone who helped make it happen.  :- ) love love….

don’t buy fukinoto on sale, get it straight from the source.

tempura udon (with fuki no to)

tempura udon (with fuki no to)

i have to make a bit of a correction.  after our adventures with sansai tempura, i went out to visit kusakabe-san in fukushima.  in his small town of miharu i had the pleasure of eating some tempura udon, with fukinoto tempura.  it was freshly picked and tempura’d and totally different from those tokyo sale fukinoto.

a little bit bitter and very green tasting with the crunch of the tempura totally rocked on top of the tasty udon tsuyu.  yum!

we ate a lot more delicious food as well, such as:

appetizer

appetizer

 

10 or so different kinds of tofu at the tofu restaurant.

10 or so different kinds of tofu at the tofu restaurant.

 

11-dessert.

11-dessert.

Tempura-a-rama and mountain veggies.

there are a plethora of random interesting looking veggies in the super market called sansai or mountain vegetables. i have been a little intimidated to try cooking some of them, but the other day when masa and i went grocery store we found, on sale, kogomi (ostrich fern) and fukinoto (giant butterbur). we also picked up some renkon (lotus root), carrots, eggplant and mushrooms and decided to do tempura.

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actually, that’s all kind of a lie, i saw these veggies on sale and wanted to get them cuz they looked cool, masa was like, what are those?  and i was like, i have no idea, but i’ll look them up on the internet.  in the end, the fukinoto tasted terrible and we decided to do tempura because we had the other veggies in the fridge and we do have a tempura nabe (pot) after all.  we thought the bitter fukinoto would taste good fried but we were WRONG.

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Ostrich fern: there’s a whole lotta fern up in there, raw, stretched out and tempura-ed.   Unlike the fukinoto, the kogomi or ostrich fern was great!  very densely green tasting and just overall cool.

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Pot for cooking tempura and finished product.  We made tempura bananas with nutella for dessert.  yum.

Lemons.

sarah’s lemons

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my inspiration…

my lemons

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i made three kinds from world vegetarian. the first one is salted lemons, morroccan style, my favorite that i tried at sarah’s house. i ate so many of them, sorry sarah! blue jar is simple lemon pickle, next is sweet and sour lemon chutney and last is the same but with the wrong ingredients, but it still tastes yummy.