I am a cook at heart. I earned my way into the kitchen as a way to financially survive college. To be honest, i was shoved into the kitchen since i was not busty enough to serve. To this day i still thank that chauvinist bastard for introducing me to my second passion that follows art which is cooking.
For the past year, struggling through a mystery illness unable to muster the energy to open a can, i have admit when i rose from bed it was for the kitchen. The least i could do for my family was feed them good food and to be honest, there is no better way to lose myself than cooking.
One of my challenges in the kitchen these days is making do with very little. Stock has been my go to for adding depth to many meals; beans, rice, home fries, greens… Waste not what you can make into liquid gold. Save all those carrot ends, celery leaves, onion butts, potato peels, and even those mushy apples no one will eat. Toss them in a pot with fresh herbs, salt, pepper and water. Boil and simmer until deep enough for your taste buds and gold is forged. Remember the bounty of asparagus? The cut ends, i discovered are mmmmm mmmmm good in stock!
Can’t use it all? Freeze it. Sometimes i freeze it in ice cube trays to drop into greens or home fries.
Made do tonight for dinner. Not much in cupboards and garden still young. I managed to pull out a black bean shepherds pie. No great recipe to follow. Onions, celery, carrots, the great trilogy, sautéed with salt and herbs of choice. Added a can of last years garden tomatoes, and yes a can of beans, a little stock an simmered. Added a layer of corn frozen from local farm last summer and a layer of garlic mashed potatoes, also with a touch of stock for moisture. Baked at 350 until bubbly.
Reason#265 why I love my new studio!
So much asparagus! I always make refrigerator pickles with the hoards of cucumbers in the summer. Knowing you can pickle just about everything I tried pickling the asparagus I can’t bear to eat. Yum! Now I don’t have enough asparagus!
I usually double this and add more garlic.
1 cup vinegar
4 cups h2o
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
Boil and cool.
Pack large jar with asparagus and add:
Clove of garlic
Handful of fresh dill
Tbsp pickling spice
Tbsp whole mustard seed
Fill with pickling juice and set out for 24 hrs. Put in fridge. Don’t be tempted! Wait at least another 24 hrs until sampling. Will stay good for up to 6months in fridge. As I wrote above, yum!
Had first day at hay loft! Made paper. Still struggling to get word out. If anybody out there in pioneer valley knows of some kids ages 10 and over who love art send them to this site. Also on facebook @ facebook.com/HayLoftStudio
Like hayloft and help spread the word!
To add to my fascination with human anatomy, cemeteries weave in and out of my history. My family always had cemeteries on or beside their property, and as a child I spent many a moonlit night creeping about the dilapidated graveyards creating stories about the people buried there.
Around 5 years old, my best friend Pepper and I ran to the edge of one of these cemeteries to cut through to my house. We were itching for a sleep-over. When we hopped upon the stone wall the fire station alarm blasted. Surprised, we screamed and jumped back down. Our wide eyes met and soon melted into giggles. Just a coincidence, of course. So we plowed forth, but once our feet landed on the wall the siren blasted again! The pounding of my heart nearly choked me. Pepper was ready to run back to her house, but I was ever the rough and fearless tomboy. “No! We have to go through the cemetery! It’s just the fire alarm. There is no way it’s going off ’cause we stepped on the wall. Come on!” I grabbed her hand and pulled. I was a bit of a pushy bully too. We hit the wall and sure enough the siren went off for the third time. That was enough for me. We ran way around the cemetery to get to my house. Pepper never went near that graveyard again. I, however, could not stay away. I truly believed it was the souls of the dead trying to communicate with me and spent the remainder of my childhood days at that house jumping the wall every chance I could hoping for the sirens’ return.
I spent hours with my grandmother riding bicycles through the huge cemetery by her house. My favorite uncle was buried there. I stopped and talked to him a lot. I now have my grandmother’s gravestone as a step into my studio. It had a misprint of her middle name so my mother had another stone made for her grave. I have studied the history of grave stones, taken courses on stone reparations and walked many a graveyard with my son, mapping out histories and family lineage.
I just found out today that I was elected cemetery commissioner for my small local town. I have already helped the commission to obtain funding for a reparation assessment of the local graveyards. I am thrilled and a bit humored that I can now say I am a gravedigger. It ties perfectly with my slightly morbid interest and artistic endeavors exploring the flesh and bones of the human body.
Just a quick mash-up of life on River Road. One of our girls passed on over the weekend. She was a buff orpington. One of a set of twins. No reason that we could see. She had a sluggish couple of days where she bunched herself up into a tight fluffy ball and sat in the corner of the yard. A good sign she was sick. She kept fooling me though by perking back up, stretching her neck out and bobbing around for bugs. I checked her out and could find nothing. It was a quick passing as chickens go. Two days, then she lay down in the corner and poof. That yew in the corner of our yard (ie. the chicken cemetery) is freakishly larger than all the rest.
Remember my recent posting Twenty Years and Still Farting? Well I’m sorry to say that the house has been painfully silent as of late. No, my spouse did not leave me, but she decided to try a wheat free diet. Fart free diet is more like it. Oddly enough, I have to admit I miss the midnight giggles from her rising bubbles as she turned over.
Spine? A natural progression from my most recent felted piece the pelvis. I have begun to felt a spine. This one is a mind bender. Turns out each vertebrae is different from the other. This is going to be a long-term project for sure. Here are the first three cervical vertebrae:
Lastly, I come to the subject of puppy love. My partner and son have been conspiring to get a second dog for over a year now and I have fully protested. I like my peaceful home which is challenging enough with a cranky pms partner, barking dog, puking old cat and a son who lives life bigger than broadway! They ignored me. For his tenth birthday my son got a puppy. He wanted a small dog he could hold. Great! A little shaky, yippy thing that like to sneak attack. Well, we found a mini long-haired dachshund mix at the shelter. 4 months old. Jo-Jo is his name, which we all agree is unfortunate but we make do with nicknames, joe, joey, joseph, goat(he eats anything). He has charmed his way deep into my heart. He is calm, smart, attentive, easy to house train, and totally dedicated to my son. This ten-year old boy has about faced when it comes to responsibility and accountability. The clincher and heart melter for me was when my son stopped me after saying goodnight and said: “You know how fun it is for you to get into bed with mama and snuggle while you fall asleep?” Withholding my sarcastic comments I said “Yeah”. “Well,” he said “now I get to snuggle with Jo-Jo at night and I’m not lonely anymore. I love going to bed now.” My knees just about buckled. Here he is helping me with laundry: