19 November 2011

Roasted Apples with Cardamom

Roasted apples with cardamom

These were a riff off of the roasted apples at Remedial Eating.  I roasted mine at 450 instead of 400, used only 1 Tablespoon each of butter and brown sugar and roasted them for 45 minutes instead of 60.  I also skipped the cinnamon and used a full teaspoon of freshly crushed cardamom.  I love cardamom, and just like I think you should grate your own cheese I think you should grind your own cardamom.  In this case I just crushed the seeds on the cutting board with the back of a spoon, no special equipment required.  

If you don't want to use them on top of waffles, you could use them on top of ice cream, or just by themselves.  

16 November 2011

Successful

On the second night of class we sat around the table marking slabs of clay. My slab of clay was not behaving. I kept carving, stamping, rebuilding. We chatted as we worked, getting to know each other. I put down my tools and stared at the clay. It was wrong.

“Nope” I folded the slab in half. Sandy, the teacher, gasped in horror. I reslabbed the clay and started over, building where I had carved. It was better. I built my slab into something useful. It was declared “cool.”

I kept making things that were not as cool. Objects cracked and broke, dried with waves in places I wanted flat. The carving I put on a box didn't come out at all the way I'd hoped. I achieved far less than I had hoped.  Several objects were crushed into small pieces to be recycled.

Weeks later we glazed. The glaze on my useful object dried and I left it on a shelf in the kiln room. I retrieved it this evening, pleased with the results. Sandy told me it has created quite a stir when the kilns were unloaded. I fingered the smooth surface, tracing the design and the places where the stain and glaze had mingled.

I started building a bowl from an idea I'd had in my head. Sandy was not sure it would work, but she became increasingly engaged in the project as the final form began to emerge. I layered clay and slip, pushed the pieces into position. Sandy's chair moved closer to mine. She said she had to go, but didn't get up. She asked if I was going to return tomorrow to finish it. When I told her I had to finish tonight she settled into her chair and waited.

“You're just waiting to make sure I don't crush it.” I said

“Yes, I am.”

“Because you know I will just throw the whole thing in the recycled clay box.”

“I know you will.”

Clay and slip, clay and slip. Would it be any wonder if the bowl refused to remove itself from the mold after all those layers and all that pressing? The edges of the bowl would not survive much fussing. I attached the last piece and eyed the recycled clay bucket. Sandy sat waiting.

I slid the clay and mold from the table and wiggled my fingers at the edges. I was asking a lot from clay and slip. Sandy has been doing this a long time, and she was not exuding her usual airy confidence.

Was I holding my breath? I don't remember. “I don't think this is going to...” The clay and the mold slipped apart as if I'd unlatched them somehow. The mold in one hand, the bowl perfectly cradled in the other I saw the interior for the first time. “It worked! I love it!”

Sandy loved it, too; delighted at my delight and at the object itself. It is now wrapped in a coveted piece of “good” plastic so that it will dry slowly and evenly, and sitting on my shelf awaiting an uncertain future. It must dry evenly so that pieces don't fall off. I must put a foot on it. I must be very gentle with it before it is fired into hardness. I must decide how to glaze it. I must be patient enough to do the glazing. It must survive the kiln, the kiln operator, and all the people who take things off and put things on the kiln room shelves, at least twice.

But for now it is enough that the thing exists outside my head. It worked. I love it.

02 November 2011

What's for Lunch

What's for lunch

A trip to the grocery store not withstanding I didn't have dip on hand, so this is a mix of buttermilk, sour cream, and a salt-free spice blend.  It's a small step up from making french onion dip from soup mix.

There are roasted pumpkin seeds in the bag.

All this fiber and vitamin filled goodness is brought to you by the big bowl of Halloween candy in the closet.

Bento Lunch

01 November 2011

Does every day mean EVERY day?

I'm pretty sure trying to post something every day will end in tears (mine from stress and yours from boredom), but a solid percentage of the uncool kids are doing it (the cool kids don't need to do it because they already have readers.)  So I shall dip my toe in the water and see what happens.

I made a chickpea curry tonight (more on that later) and needed two onions cut in large dice.  My v-slicer is perfect for that task, but I hate (and/or lost) the guard that is supposed to hold the food and protect my hands from being sliced by the many sharp blades.  Fortunately I have watched enough Alton Brown to know that the correct answer is a pair of Kevlar gloves.


I bought mine from Amazon in a size Large which are just the right size for my perfectly average sized hands.  (I think they're average.  Nora, do I have meat hands and no one has told me?  And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.)  They are not perfect.  I managed to cut a small hole in them by taking my serrated and quite sharp long knife and pulling the glove across it with great vigor.  If I were ever to try that trick with my hand in the glove, well, I'd deserve what I got, quite frankly.  But for holding an onion while I run it across a mandoline or for holding onto ginger while I grate it on a microplane the gloves are fantastic, well worth the money I spent on them.  They do need to go in the wash to be properly cleaned, but there are two of them, they're ambidextrous and I only need one at a time, so it's not a big deal.

Other food news today: 

I managed to make a cup of tea so strong my Irish guest couldn't finish it.  (Enormous American-sized tea bag plus a small child who prevented me from removing the bag from the cup on time.) 

I managed to randomly throw together a place of edible things to restore a guest who felt a bit wobbly.  I would like to be confident in my ability to put together a plate of things anytime a visitor arrives, but I'm not.  As it happened I made a trip to the grocery store this morning and was well stocked.

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