Monday, September 27, 2010

behind your shoulder while you cook

I have gotten a lot of reader response from people wanting to buy the illustrations I have been making.
So, I decided to set up an online store to sell them. I will update it with every blog post so you can get your hands on the most current artworks!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fruits of the Earth, Fruits of Longing

Moroccan Lamb and Asian Pear Tajine. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

Friday I was in a class all day, so i didn't get the news that I had advanced into the next round of "Project Food Blog" until 4pm that afternoon. How exciting!

The challenge: To cook a dish from another culture that is out of my comfort zone.

My initial thought was something Greek, or Turkish, because I love the cuisine, but I knew that it was also important to stay true to my purpose and my cleanse. I sat on my front stoop in the sun, in cut off jean shorts, sipping mint iced tea, the weather tricking me back to summer. I think of myself as an intuitive cook, rarely using recipes, but for this challenge I knew who to look to for inspiration, what tome would guide me on a spice tour that was delicious, nourishing body and soul, and honoring the ground rules that I have been following for the past 5 weeks.

An additional and self imposed challenge to go along with the cooking is to embroider and sometimes paint all of the food that I make. This time it proved very challenging! How does one embroider rice! I think I did a pretty good job, considering the time frame...
Preserved Lemon Rice. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

I decided to embroider this one last minute! The paint was still wet on the scanner! Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper
Diana Henry is my new favorite cookbook author. She is my foodie muse. Her book, "Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons" is, as one of my diners said: food porn. I browsed the many delectable North African, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern dishes, and arrived at a perfect late summer menu:


The rice isn't traditional. Couscous is, but that is a grain I just can't eat right now, so I substituted rice. Also, the recipe called for Quince, but there weren't any at the store, so I opted for asian pears instead.

My car was in the shop, so my boyfriend said I could borrow his:
My beau's awesome 1976 BMW 2002. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

I picked up the groceries, and arrived at his house to cook at 7:45. oops! dinner was planned to be at 9, but the recipes called for at least 1.5 hours of cooking, plus all the prep. He had at the very last minute gathered a party of 6 together, and I was excited and nervous to cook this meal, lamb shanks being something I had never prepared before.

the ingredients for everything:

olive oil
cinnamon stick
preserved lemon
stock(used homemade from a chicken I had made the week previous)
lemon rind
lamb shanks
asian pear
fresh figs: turkish and black mission
manouri sheep cheese (for the figs)
salt and pepper

A pretty simple list of ingredients for a delectable and complex meal...and no wheat! no dairy! (except for the manouri sheeps cheese, but that was for the other guests...)
Chilled Avocado and Cilantro Soup. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

The lamb was fairly easy to cook! hooray! I braised it briefly in my favorite Le Creuset pot (the one I found at the Goodwill for $2), and let everything simmer, stirring the spices into the butter, mixing the garlic, onions and rich spices and letting it cook for what seemed like hours, while the fruit reduced in water, filling the room with perfume. I could almost imagine the heat, scents and colors of the far away lands where this food was born.
The soup chilled in the fridge, and I took a hand blender to it. I love these things. The ease in which they blend!
Fresh Figs, Manouri Cheese, Chestnut Honey. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

Everything took a little longer than I expected, we didn't sit down to eat until 10:30, and I made a huge mess chopping onions for some reason...but the guests arrived and played cards, drank wine, ate dates, and joked, as the darkness grew around us, and the evening breeze tangled with the sweet heady scent of the stove.

The end result was a table of smiling, too full people, and one happy cook. Excited that I had challenged myself with a dish that was foreign to me, I tasted success with every taste bud, felt deep gratitude for and from the room of friends, and best of all, I didn't have to clean up the mess...

Vote for me here: Project Food Buzz

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday Monday...part two...

Bacon and rosemary Chicken

After such an amazing breakfast I had the energy to run around and take care of errands, clean my room, do a little vintage store browsing...
Sunday night after our woodland adventure, we stopped by New Seasons and picked up a chicken that I had mighty plans to roast the next day. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But in the spirit of my cleanse, my guidelines are

Only Meat and Veggies. Butter. Olive Oil. Vinegars, Eggs. Fruit, but only if it's local. Herbs.

It seems like a difficult thing to do. Not have any grains. No bread. No Cheese. No Sugar. ALSO: no corn, potatoes, caffeine, alcohol, nuts, seeds, chips....

It stresses me out to think of all the things I CAN'T eat. But honestly the list above of the amazing things I CAN eat is pretty vast. And I am happily exploring it.

The Menu for our magic Monday Meal...

Artichokes with handmade aioli
Roast Chicken with bacon, rosemary, evoo, salt and pepper
Wild Chanterelle gravy with pan drippings, bacon grease, shallots, and arrowroot powder
Roasted root vegetables: parsnips, carrots, baby turnips, kolrabi, garlic
Baked apples with blueberries and cider reduction

I let myself in the garage door of my beau's house. It was empty and quiet. I put a Fela Kuti record on the stereo, let the meowing cat in the front door, and pulled the chicken out of the fridge.
the well salted chicken. I had ever put bacon on one before, but it seemed like a good idea, and helped keep it incredibly moist.

Below is the meal that I prepared and we thoroughly enjoyed.  It took 2 hours from start to finish, and I had enough time to work at my leisure, clean as I went, feed the cat some chicken liver, sweep the floor, and set the table...

The apple on the left was the tastiest one I have ever tried. And so pretty! pink inside!
And even though I am not supposed to have any alcohol, I did cheat a tiny bit with a few gulps of red wine, with which I will toast to many many more delicious everyday feasts that are healthy for my body and lifting of my spirits...

it was my first time making aioli, and I added too much oil too quickly, but it still made a tasty dip for the artichokes!

I cut open the apples, cored some of their insides to make little bowls for the blueberries, a dash of cardamon, apple cider, and a little red wine...baked at 400 for 45 mins.

Monday Monday...part one...

I was in a small auto accident last month, and I haven't been back to work. In fact I quit after a month of being unable to run food. Unable to cook for my father as much as I wanted. Unable to dance. But recently I have picked up the chef's knife and started making meals for my beau and his team of designer buddies over at OMFGco. I wake up there many mornings, and since I haven't been feeling motivated due to my hand and shoulder being injured, I decided that cooking for them would kill two birds with one stone: make me happy to feed them, and make them happy to be fed...

We went chanterelle hunting on Sunday, and Monday morning this was our breakfast:

our chanterelle bounty.
eggs over kale from the garden, chanterelles, shallots, and butter...
bacon from New Seasons on a T:BA paper

Fried Green tomatoes from the garden.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


This morning I decided to make breakfast for a team of friends. We had bacon from Olympic Provisions in the fridge, farm fresh eggs from the market (some with pink and blue shells!), and gluten free pancake mix (to honor my cleanse).
I just added water to the mix, a few eggs, whisked it together and voila!
I decided to make the pancakes into the shape of the letters in their names. Also, that is a giraffe on the left...just for fun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Cleanse, that begins and ends in Feasts.

Seven years ago, I began my creative career as an artist/fashion designer. Embroidering whimsical designs on vintage clothing under the label Bonnie Heart Clyde, then creating 4 seasons of my eponymous eco-fashion collections.  But despite all the magazine articles, the rave reviews from countless women who loved my rainjackets, I was deeply craving a life that brought more pleasure and less stress.

So recently, I put down my needle and thread, said goodbye to the faster than light trends, the fickle nature of fashion, and decided to spend more time curating a fantastic and delicious life for myself.

I put the brakes on fashion, intending to return. But in the meantime I worked for one of Portland's restaurant sweethearts Clyde Common as a food runner. I loved this job. After being self employed for 7 years, I never realized how important working with such a wonderful and diverse group of people is.

But now I am embarking on a new adventure. Again, under the supervision of a  super Naturopath, I am 4 weeks into another crazy cleanse. My goal is to live a rich, long, and healthy life. And as much as I hate it, that might mean eliminating many of the foods I love.

The first words he said to me were:

no dairy

no wheat

no sugar

ok. so then what am I going to eat!!!?!?!???

So here is my mission: To come up the with most amazing delectable mouthwatering feasts, that fall into the realm of WHOLE FOOD. I want to write a cookbook, and pulling from my embroidered past, I plan to illustrate the dishes that I prepare, eat, and enjoy.

Bacon from Olympic Provisions, eggs and wild chanterelles, roasted padron peppers, strawberry salad with mint and lemon cucumbers.

the best part about this meal, besides sharing it with the man I love, is that everything we ate came from within 30 miles of home....