Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Fungus Among Us

I should mention the great dinner we ate last night. Last Saturday, at the Farmers Market, we saw some good looking mushrooms for sale. After admiring them, we turned and walked away, but then I started thinking; Portobello Burgers! So we returned to the 'farmer' and I found two nice sized ones. I think we paid about $3.50 for the two of them. Truth is, I have never made my own Portobello Burger before so I had to use Google to find the basics for me and that turned out to be sufficient. Most recipes called for a brief marinade in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and I had those ingredients. After that, you're free to use whatever inspires you for seasoning and condiments. I decided to sprinkle some of TJ's 21 Season Salute on the marinating mushrooms; both sides. I didn't want to go through the hassle of making my own aioli so I took some regular mayonnaise and added some crushed garlic and then some pimentos for color…and a little flavor. I roasted some tomato slices and slices of red onion on the Farberware grill before putting the two prime mushrooms on. I grilled them for about 5 minutes on each side while brushing them with the remaining marinade. I had already prepared the new style 'thin' hamburger buns with a layer of melted TJ's Quattro Formaggio cheese and some TJ Aioli Mustard. Then I put the onion, tomato and some lettuce on it. Wow! They were so good…I can't recommend them enough.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

After the loss…

Speaking of rebuilding, as I was… the blood bank recommends various foods to help rebuild the iron loss suffered when donating whole blood and on that list is liver. Which made me think; it had been a long time since we had enjoyed a good liver dinner. So I looked for a recipe and I think I found a real keeper! If you never liked liver before, this is the recipe that would change your mind. I'm not kidding!

Truth, I did change a few items in the recipe; I can't help myself. I started with .8 pounds of fresh beef liver. For $1.54. I added some olive oil to the pan and sautéed about half a yellow onion, sliced thin. When the onion was translucent, I removed it and set it aside. I put together a half a cup of flour, salt and ground pepper, plus a generous portion of Trader Joe's 21 Season Salute, a blend of 21 spices. I cut the liver into 4 serving sized pieces, dredged them in the flour mix and then browned them quickly on both sides. Then I opened a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes; the ones with basil and garlic already added. I poured that into the pan and made sure that the tomato mixture got under the liver as well as on top. Sprinkle some Italian seasoning on it. Now add the onions back to the pan and set the whole thing to simmering for 8 to 10 minutes. Don't go beyond 10 minutes as liver quickly grows tough when overcooked. (I was able to cut mine with my fork) I cooked some mashed potatoes to go with it and it was superb! And with 4 pieces cooked, we have reruns for a meal later in the week.

Now I'm thinking that with the proper spices, you could enjoy a Mexican Style dinner with liver; just add cumin and cilantro to the mix. And how about New Mexican? Just add green chilies…there's no end to what you can do with it and it's cheap!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

More on TJ

I just made a nice dinner from leftovers. I had half a bag of TJ's Potato Medley, a little more than half of a cooked chicken breast, a banana, and some salad dressing; Wish Bone Simply Santa Fe dressing, to be exact. Cut up the banana and the chicken and then it all goes in the frying pan with the Potato Medley; splash on as much salad dressing as you want along with a splash of olive oil. Now it's stirred frequently on high heat for about 5-8 minutes. Voila! A very tasty and low calorie dinner for two.

But, what is happening with Trader Joe's…I couldn't find any Grillers for the second week in a row and they still don't have any frozen tilapia? Then I spotted some TJ's frozen Veggie Burgers, a new product. Apparently, TJ doesn't want any competition so the Grillers are out. Or so it seems.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Art for Arts Sake

Who is 'Art'?

I'm still doing the usual gourd art but I want to branch out and do something a little more exciting. I saw some gourd art yesterday that had me inspired and frustrated. How could I ever learn to do some of the things I saw? I guess I should use Google and find out!

(Later) I shouldn't have looked at the Google search results for 'gourd art' as I'm now somewhat pessimistic about my chances of doing something truly fine in this medium. What I should try and remember is the fact that my art is just that…mine. I have a style and look that comes only from me and my imagination. What I need to do is to let my imagination grow! And I think I need a good wood burning set. One that will do very fine lines.

Well, it worked out fine…I've explored on-line and found a good and much less expensive wood burning set. I also found that YouTube has all sorts of videos for alcohol inks and gourd art. I just need to sit down and watch some these and get motivated.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I'm still busily engaged in gourd art…my escape from painful reality and an outlet for some pent up creativity. I do have 3 blank canvases ready for something, but what? The gourds are easy, but a stark white canvas is a real challenge. OK, my canvases (canvii?) are not really canvas, they are 11x14 canvas panels that I buy at Michaels for a relatively cheap $2 each. So I'm not risking a lot of money when I put a brush onto them, still they are daunting. (I need to get over this!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More Gourds

A new one...

A different view of the new one

A work in progress

Another one I'm working on

An old one...take a shriveled and useless gourd and make an 'egg for an alien' out of it

Friday, April 10, 2009

More stuff...

Not the best images...

I've been busy. The creative side of my brain has me out in my 'studio' as much as possible. I can only sit for so long and it's the same with standing. So I play a little at what I'm doing. The small crucifix's (or is it 'crucifii?) come from my fascination with the shape of the cross in art. Ever since I went to that gallery in Santa Fe...or was it Taos? Anyway, there was a display of folk art featuring the crucifix and I was captured by them. And now that I have a large collection of Black Walnut to work with, I'm going to make some larger pieces...

The large gourd is a work in progress...

The small gourd is finished. I was fascinated by the patterns that the mold/fungus had left on the shell and I outlined them before sealing it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Workplace and Work

Where I work...I have a large mirror as a work surface. It's easy to clean and I think it adds light to the area

The camera is unforgiving and shows every little defect. I need to learn how to soften the images so that the gourds appear as they do in 'real life'.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More of something?

I'm continuing with the gourds and finished one more today...

And here is one I'm still playing with. I've discovered that if you dilute Perlacryl acrylics, you can use them as a wash..

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Been a Long Time

I was supposed to make this my eating, reading and art blog...or craft blog if you please. I have left it alone for too long. So here's what I've been doing since I became less than mobile. Gourds. Canteen gourds are my favorite as I can sit down and work on them. Large watercolors, acrylics and stained glass require standing. Can't do that for long. Same with the step stool project. I have the legs for Shannon's step stool, but that is it for awhile (Stay tuned Shannon)

Anyway, the canteen gourds can be done in a minimum of time as they are only 6" in diameter at most. And each feels like a blank canvas, just waiting for me. They also work as pain relievers. I can tune out a lot of stuff when I'm working on one.

I've done a few larger gourds and I will include them here sometime...

This one, below, was one of my early ones and the macro view shows me some sloppy work. Darn! Well, it's the overall look that counts, right?

What are they used for? I fill them with sand and expect that they could be a paper weight.