Monday, March 28, 2011

Trying Something New

Picture from bloodorange.org. Fitting, no?
I will eat anything once as long as it's legal for me. Some of my exotic food choices have included octopus tentacles, baby octopus (I hated eating its little head), shark and tripe. I understand that tripe isn't as exotic as all that, but when it's something you haven't had on your plate growing up, it's fancy and weird.

Today someone brought a blood orange to work. There were two segments left and I saw an opportunity to further my gastronomic horizons. So to speak. When I picked it up, I saw *why* it was called a blood orange. Some of the little pulp parts looked like blood blisters. Still, I bit into it. It was so great! Tangy and delicious and strange and unusual - all in one bite!

I should have included trying new foods on my 101 goals list, but it will just have to wait for another time...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Inspirations

Paper stitching done by Jessica over at paperstitch.net
Just recently I read an article about how to be inspired by something, but how not to steal it. The idea was to look at all the things that really strike you and ask yourself what it is about them you LOVE. It's usually not the exact item, but something about it that you like and that something is You.

For instance, in the picture above, I love the idea of stitching on paper. It's not the artist's design in particular that I love. So if I were to try this for myself, I'd have to think about what I'd like to stitch on paper and not just copy.

Anyway, take a peek at paperstitch.net. It's lover-ly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BREAD 2: Four Orange Bread

Here's another bread I've done for my 101 goals. If I were able, I'd eat the whole loaf.



Four Orange Bread

1 cup mandarin oranges (I used 1 small can, drained) (don't eat any) (really)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
1/4 cup orange marmalade (I had apricot preserves which I used)
1 1/2 T orange zest
2 t yeast

Put all ingredients in your bread machine. Keep an eye on it to see if it needs more flour. If it looks too sticky while kneading, throw in another 1/4 cup. It all depends on *how* sticky it is. Bake it on the regular or dark setting. That will let it bake a touch longer.

You don't even need butter to eat with this.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Watercolors in the Works



I love watercolors: the jewel tones, the clarity of color, the transparent magic. This is a picture of my working box of watercolors. I've had the same box since high school. I replaced the colors with artist quality tube colors over the years and even have two large palettes that have samples of all of my tube colors. This is my go-anywhere set with my most-used colors.


 I draw with pen and ink first and then make several layers of color.  Because I have to wait for layers to dry, I work on several paintings at once. My favorite size is 3" x 5". Ish.
 

I love strong compositions. And corn dog trees.  And little red houses. And metallic powder.


I also love how forgiving watercolor is. It never mentions the weeks, months or years I neglect the art. When I come back, it still lets me make beautiful pictures.

Monday, March 14, 2011

BREAD #1: Banana Chocolate-Chip Nutella Swirl Bread

I have a goal of making 50 different types of bread for my 101 goals. Here is the first.

I'm not big on bananas. Kiff is the only one in the house who eats them regularly. When he doesn't finish, I feel REALLY bad throwing the bananas in the garbage. Many people suggest you use old bananas to make banana bread, but, again, I'm not keen on bananas...

But I found a recipe for this banana bread that makes bananas yummable:

Banana Chocolate Chip Nutella Swirl Bread

2/3 C water
2/3 C mashed banana (equals one regular-sized banana)
2 T butter
1 egg
3 C bread flour
3 T sugar
1 1/4 t salt
2 1/4 t yeast
1/3 C mini chocolate chips (chop up regular chocolate chips if you don't have minis)
1/3 C nutella (plus whatever you eat off the spoon)

Gather ye together these ingredients:


I put mine into a bread machine on the dough setting. I couldn't begin to tell you the steps. It takes 1 hour and 3 minutes, that much I do know!
When the dough is done, put it on a clean surface with a bit of flour and sprinkle more on the top. The dough is rather sticky.


Roll it out (it will still be thick) and sprinkle it with the chocolate chips.
Next, fold the two sides over into the middle.


Roll this out and sprinkle with more chips if you need to. Fold a second time and roll out to 1/2" thickness.



Next is the tempting part. Get a large spoonful of Nutella.


Spread it around, leaving an inch on the edges.


Start rolling it up, folding in the sides to keep the filling from spilling. (oh yeah) I roll starting at the short side so that I get more swirls of chocolate. You can do it longwise, but you'll have to squish it up to make it fit in the loaf pan. Your choice.


After rolling it up, pinch to seal the top edge and put seam down in a prepared loaf pan. I always line my pans with foil and oil. (there is that rhyming thing again!) Spray the top of your loaf with oil so that the dough won't separate the crust when it bakes.

This is when I fire up my oven to 400º and put my loaf to rise on the stove top. In about a half hour to an hour, your dough will rise almost double. Spray with oil again and slash three lines through the top layer of dough to the filling underneath. YOU MUST DO THIS. If not, you will have "flying crust." If you don't want to slash, you can also poke several times with a skewer. I do that, too.


Bake at 400º for 45 minutes. Wait as long as you can before slicing. It will squish if you do it too early...

flying crust and big pockets!
Then delight in the fruits of your labor. And give your family the opportunity to hone their begging skills. They has them...

This photo was absolutely not posed.

What I've Been Doing

Again the time has FLOWN! I've been working on sooooo many things that I didn't realize I hadn't blogged. It wasn't until I received an email from one of my blog friends asking me if everything was okay that I kinda looked up and realized, oh it's been a long time since I poked my head into blogland...

But I have been doing good things. I've been working on my 101 goals. I've made seven different types of bread (orange loaf, banana chocolate-chip Nutella swirl, carrot-horseradish, lemon poppyseed, chocolate-vanilla, chocolate to die for and another chocolate one that doesn't have a memorable name) in my bread machine, been working on my personal cookbook (putting all of my recipes on 4x6 cards into a photo file box), decorating my studio/room (OHMYGOSHIHAVEASTUDIO!!!!), making silhouettes of my family (easy-peasy, done in a couple of hours) and more.

I've also been having lots of problems (my stepdaughter is telling her mom that my husband and I say her mom doesn't love her because we take her to Disneyland - and her mom doesn't. We did go to D once, but we saved up for it and didn't have Christmas except for that! And we've NEVER told the kids their mom doesn't love them for any reason - in fact, quite the opposite - we remind them that their parents do love them in spite of getting mad at them or whatever) and family worries. Most of it is stuff that my mind ping-pongs about back and forth from thought to idea to conclusion to revision, etc. How can I blog when I never reach an answer about stuff like that? I can't, that's what!

A very nice woman has been convo-ing me (Etsy's messaging system) about my alphabet tutorial. I think I need to get to work and finish that up...

Oh, Lord, grant me the focus to finish the things I have started, to be patient about the thousand other things I don't have time to do in this life and the faith to remember it doesn't matter...