Who thinks of casseroles in the summer? Potters, that's who. I've been making some now so they will be glazed and fired and ready for the cool weather. Pottery is not a quick process. Summer is also a time when I experiment with something new. You may have read my posts about making a faceted mug. I've taken it a step further and made a faceted casserole.
The handles and the knob on the lid are textured to enhance the texture on the facet but I left the lid smooth. I think it gives the eye someplace to rest but I think a few lines around the rim would be okay too. What do you think?
If you've ever been to the Penland Benefit Auction you've seen this slogan on a bumper sticker. You might have even picked one up and put it on your car or somewhere else. If you read the smaller type you'll see it promotes Laurey's Catering in Asheville, NC. Laurey and her team catered the auction dinner until Laurey lost her battle with cancer this year. They still cater the auction, Laurey is there in spirit.
I've been thinking about this phrase a lot in the past few weeks as I experienced my father's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and his death only 5 weeks later. We never imagined it would be that fast, we felt that we had another moment to spend with him, and then we didn't.
About a week or so before my dad passed away I read a post in the wonderful blog Zenhabits that asked the question "..if you had a month to live: how would you spend it?" I've sat at the bedside of several people with only one month to live and I can tell you, you would spend it in a hospital bed surrounded by people saying good-bye while they tried to keep you comfortable. I brought dad some figs from the tree outside my house. We raised it from a twig and now it produces ample fruit for us, our friends, the birds, and the squirrels. He was excited when I told him I brought some but didn't want one at that moment, he wasn't hungry. He never tasted one. Don't postpone joy.
Yes, my head is in a weird place right now. Thankfully, I have some clay to stick my hands into with the hopes of making something beautiful and bringing some joy into the lives of others. Not everyone is so lucky as me. Maybe today you'll call someone and tell them that you love them or stop and pet a dog that wants nothing more than a belly rub. If you live in New Jersey and want to do something maybe you can participate in this Walk for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Whatever you do and however you spend this day I hope you find some joy.
This is a very old recipe from the time before refrigerators were common in every home in America. It was rather popular during the depression when certain foods were hard to find or had to be used for something less extravagant than a cake. Now it should be popular with people who are vegan or can't eat eggs or dairy. I suppose if you needed to make it gluten free you could try using rice flour, let me know how it turns out if you try making it that way.
This is just the cake recipe, it's very quick and simple to make but it is delicious. You can cover it in frosting like we did for Ginger's birthday or you can try vegan options like sprinkling powdered sugar on it, making a glaze of powdered sugar and water or just drizzling some chocolate syrup on top. The thing is, this cake is very rich and delicious all by itself and doesn't need any thing extra.
Chocolate Cake with White Frosting and Faux Dog Treats
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup cocoa (dark cocoa is good, add up to 3/4 cup for serious chocaholics)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional, brandy works also or leave it out entirely)
1 Cup water or leftover coffee
1 teaspoon vinegar (use balsamic for a richer flavor)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a small square or round cake pan with oil then flour to prevent sticking.
Mix all ingredients together in a batter bowl. Pour into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Since this recipe does not contain eggs you can lick the batter from the bowl as the cake is cooking.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Galleryby Lori Buff
This is a favorite dish for people that like hot food. Really hot food. I mean, scorching hot food. If you need to clear your sinuses this is the meal for you. It's also really delicious. Of course you can adjust the pepper for your taste. Some like it hot.
The way I enjoy the tofu best is by making Crispy Tofu with Salt and Pepper. I actually don't really like tofu unless it's Salt and Pepper Tofu. I've had it served at a wonderful, authentic Chinese restaurant and our local East Atlanta Village Vietnamese restaurant, Soba Noodle House. It's delicious from both places so I thought I'd give it a try cooking it. It's just as good at home.
Fiery Pits Dinner
800g firm, fresh tofu (usually 1 package)
Cornflour/cornstarch, to dust the tofu
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 stick butter (I have also used ½ butter and ½ olive oil)
12 small shallots (or 6 large), peeled and thinly sliced
4 red chilies, thinly sliced (or mixture of red chilies and jalapeno peppers)
12 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
6 tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp caster sugar (superfine sugar)
16 small, thin spring onions, cut into segments 3cm long
jasmine rice for serving
Cut the tofu into 3cm x 2cm blocks and toss them in cornflour, shaking off the excess. Pour in enough oil to come 0.5cm up the sides of a large frying pan, and bring up to frying heat. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel.
Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan and throw in the butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots, chilies, garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the contents of the pan are shiny and totally soft.
Sautéing the Vegetables
When the shallots and chilies are soft, add the soy sauces and the sugar, stir, then stir in the spices. Warm the tofu in the sauce for about a minute, then add the spring onion and stir through. Serve hot with steamed rice.
The Penland Auction is over and was a great success. It was so good to see my Penland family and friends. It was a weekend full of hard work, laughs, tears, and hugs. The beautiful mountains of western North Carolina and all the art were so uplifting. All things good for the soul.
I'm back home now doing laundry and repacking my bags because I will be flying up to New Jersey to visit my family. My dad is very ill and I need to be with him and my mom now.
Mom and Dad
While I'm away visiting my parents you can publish a link and thumbnail image from your blog. After all, people are here to read about art, craft (especially pottery), and food. So let's give the people what they want.
How this works:
If you participated in Mudcolony you already know most of this so it should be easy. If you didn't participate in Mudcolony it's still easy. Just click on the link and fill in the short form with the url from your blog then hit submit. People will come here, they will see your blog link and image and they will be able to visit your blog if they see something they like. Yay! So you might want to use one of your favorite blog posts (it doesn't have to be brand new). This link will stay open until 8 PM EST on August 17, 2014. If you miss that date check back next Tuesday, I may host another blog party then if people are enjoying this one.
I do ask that you keep the posts to things that are art, craft, or homemade.
Share the Love:
Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter or your other favorite social media to check out all the blog posts here.
A link back in your post would be very nice and very appreciated.
On several occasions potter/blogger Michèle Hastings has written about the Korean Pancakes that she and Jeff Brown like to make and eat. They make them sound really good so I tried them too.
Yes, they are yummy. They are also very versatile and easy. You can make them with so many different veggies. I made these with shrimp but tofu is the more vegetarian option. It seems like you could swap out the veggies that are in this recipe with whatever is in season and juliennes well. I used the food processor to cut up the veggies but they can be cut small with a knife too.
Traditionally they are served as a six to eight inch pancake cut into wedges. I made them into traditional American size pancakes for ease of flipping.
This is another quick and easy recipe, perfect for a Monday night. Thanks Michèle.
For the sauce:
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 teaspoons lightly toasted sesame seeds
For the pancakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 pound finely chopped shrimp
3 ounces green onions, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 small zucchini, cut into fine julienne
1 small carrot, cut into fine julienne
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chives for garnish
For the sauce, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, crushed red pepper and sesame seeds in a small bowl, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside, you can even make this a day or so ahead of time.
For the pancakes use a large batter bowl and combine the flour, water, and eggs and mix gently until just combined. Add the shrimp, green onions zucchini, carrot, garlic, and salt and fold together briefly just to combine.
Heat a large skillet then when hot, coat with 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil. Set the heat to medium-high. Drop 1/4 cup or so (for each pancake) of the pancake batter into the hot oil and use a spoon to spread into a circle, trying to get the filling ingredients as evenly spread out as possible. Cook until the pancake starts to become golden, about 4 minutes. Once the pancake has begun to set and is golden brown on the bottom, flip the pancake to the other side, pressing with a spatula to compress ingredients. Cook until golden brown on the second side, about 2-3 minutes longer, transfer to a warm plate and cover loosely to keep warm while you prepare the remaining pancakes.
Serve warm, sprinkled with the chives and serve with the dipping sauce.
international multimedia juried exhibition (includes fiber art, paintings-water media/oil/pastels/printmaking, photography, sculpture/glass/wood/fine pottery, jewelry). Deadline for entry is August 31, 2014, with exhibition November 1 through November 16, 2014. Cash awards. 9 entries allowed, @ $15. per entry.....phone: (970) 586-5882 check prospectus on website: www.artcenterofestes.com/LIS/call.htm E-MAIL: email@example.com
It's that time of year again. I drove up to Penland School of Crafts from Atlanta yesterday. It was a great day for a road trip. Nice and sunny, light traffic and an audio book playing through the speakers. Very nice and relaxing.
Now I'm here seeing friends that I only get to see once a year. It's fun catching up with what they've been doing. It's really good to see them.
I've been doing this since 2010 and hope to do it for many, many more years. It's a good cause, supporting the arts, and it feels like home.
Time to write and internet connections are hard to find but I still appreciate your comments and I'll write or post pictures a few times if I can.
They say bad things happen in threes. Actually, a lot of superstition is based on the number three and there appears to be a much greater number of speculations as to why and what stuff is involved. Like it's supposed to be a problem to hang around in a group of three people or light three cigarettes with one match. Maybe they were thinking about three times the opportunity for lung disease. But I am going off on a tangent.
I wrote on Friday about some electrical issues with the outlet in my kiln room. The electrician came out on Friday and was able to rewire everything, no problem. Yay! So I got up at 5:30 Saturday morning and started the kiln. Everything seemed to be running as usual until I noticed that it wasn't really getting hot, it wasn't even getting warm. I shut it off and unplugged it but I had to leave for a few hours so I figured I'd get to it on Sunday morning.
Sunday, 6:30 am I went out and checked a few things at the kiln. All the connections were tight, nothing looked or smelled burned. I reset the kiln sitter and tried to fire again. Of course this time I listened for the relays. They were silent, just the hum from the kiln master. Odd. And the kiln didn't get warm again.
I came into the house to consult the internet about the trouble with the kiln when Janet said "the refrigerator isn't working." Crap. It's an older unit and has been repaired once already several years ago. This time the freezer was working but not the refrigerator. It didn't seem like it was worth it to spring for another expensive repair when a new one would cost just a little more. We don't need all the bells and whistles, just cooling. I've lived 50 years without water coming out of the door of my refrigerator, I'll be okay using the tap or pitcher for a while longer.
When we returned home from refrigerator shopping Janet mentioned that it felt pretty warm in the house. I thought it was a hot flash, I checked the thermostat and sure enough it was a few degrees warmer inside than what it was supposed to be. I checked the AC unit and found ice. Awesome. No blower but ice on the compressed and lines. Shoot me now.
But it's all good. That's three so we are done. Nothing else will break until the next set of three.
Just to prove the superstition of the threes, the AC repair cost $333. I can't make this stuff up.
I hope you had a great weekend and have a great week ahead.
We have oregano growing in our garden so when I harvested some to put in our dinner one night I brought in a few blossoms. For some reason we decided to taste them. I don't recommend just tasting random plants, some can be deadly but we were willing to risk it. They were very spicy, imagine that. Hot and delicious. This inspired me to grab a couple glasses (I know, I should have used a pottery cup, what was I thinking) and muddle some oregano blossoms in the glass. Then I made a mojito.
Oregano Blossom Mojito
Oregano is a really pretty plant in your garden, it has tall stalks that dance in the wind. We have it as a landscape plant in a sunny spot and it's just happy as can be. Of course it also is nice to walk outside and cut the herbs I need for a recipe as soon as I need them. If you have a little sunny spot in your garden you should try some. Go ahead, make a cocktail with the flowers.
A few blossoms from an Oregano stalk
1 1/2 tbs sugar (more or less to taste)
1 1/2 ounces amber rum
1/2 cup sparkling water or club soda
1 lime, cut into wedges
Muddle the oregano blossoms in the glass, squeeze 1 - 2 wedges of lime and the sugar onto the blossoms and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the shot of rum then fill the glass with ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with more lime and blossoms if desired.
Invitational Group Show, 3-4 pieces each by 20 artists.
We are seeking original clay works, ranging from beautiful studio pottery to small ceramic sculpture and combinations thereof, with other incarnations of clay also a possibility. Functional, full of purpose, or just celebrating the joy of candy - it is all up to you!
The show will celebrate the childhood glory days of CANDY - sandwiched between Valentine's Day and Easter, this show happens at the perfect time of year to turn your thoughts to candy. Are you inspired by jellybeans, Easter Peeps, boxes full of chocolates, creamy centers, candy dishes, or stories of witches luring kids with candy - show us your sweet side or your dark side. OR...simply show us the perfect candy dish - a fishbowl for swedish fish, a beautiful box for your favorite chocolate bar....and tell us your favorite candy in your application. We'll be serving up candy at the opening and we'll want to know your favorites!
October 1, 2014 Submissions Due at MudFire for Consideration October 15, Final Invitations Issued October 25, Acceptance Deadline January 1, Artwork Arrives at MudFire (early shipments welcome ) February 15, 2015, Show Opens
No, it's not the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz. I wish it were. It's the electrical outlet where I plug in my kiln. I always give the area around the kiln a little inspection before I fire it. I'd hate to have something flammable sticking to the side of the kiln when it's hot or some other thing like that which might cause a fire or something else to go wrong. That inspection also includes the electrical wires and such. I think this is a good practice.
Today, after I loaded the kiln I noticed that the electrical outlet that the kiln is plugged into looked a bit soft. I unplugged the kiln and looked at it closer and it looks melted. No way I was going to fire a glaze kiln with the outlet looking like that.
I called my electrician but his voice mail was full. I had to resort to email which means waiting. I hope he's not on vacation or without a smart phone. Isn't it funny how we expect such instant results from email and the like these days?
Anyway, the only reason it was really important to fire the kiln today is because I had two mugs that I wanted to donate to the Penland Auction Volunteers Party when I go up there in a few days. They were engraved with the date so they won't be good for next year. Damn.
The good news is that I found it before something caught fire.