1. A wee bit of smashing opera
My CD club was offering this album,
so I thought I’d give it a go. I typically eschew anthologies, but listening to clips online, I decided it was far too excellent to pass up. You MUST listen to Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma from Turandot. It’s my favorite Nessun Dorma of all time. It’s very sad to me that people of my generation associate Pavarotti not with his younger days when he was really truly a powerhouse of a tenor, but with the cheesy opera lite 3 Tenors stuff (Okay, perhaps I should back up and lament that few people of my generation appreciate opera in the first place). My students are in LOVE with his La Donna e Mobile from the 70′s (I use it to teach 3 beat meter). Anyhow, what a marvelous album. I think there should be fireworks going off when you listen to it.
2. Something icy to replace your afternoon tea
Strawberry Lassi–Gourmet had this recipe (I’ve since changed it to suit my tastes better) in the April 2005 issue and I’ve loved it ever since. When it’s really hot outside–so hot that your cheeks are flushed and your head feels like it’s going to explode, this drink will cool you off from head to toe. Plus it’s tasty.
photo Romulo Yanes, Gourmet
1 cup strawberries, tops cut off
1/2 cup ice
1 cup plain yogurt (I love whole milk)
1/2 cup milk
pinch ground cardamom (not essential but good)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Sugar to sweeten–I usually use about 2 T, but use more or less depending on your taste
Whiz everything in a blender until smooth. Pour in a tall glass and enjoy the waves of coolness that will spread throughout you and the fact that you are drinking a milkshake that will not leave you with that–whoa-I-just-drank-a-milkshake tummyache.
Well, I don’t really hate photo emulsion–it’s a great thing when it works, but I need to take a class because trying to figure it out on my own is a little more than frustrating. My accordion print only partially burned, so I tried burning it again and the lamp cracked the glass somehow. Photo emulsion definitely is the best screenprinting method for really detailed work, it just has what seems like this monumental learning curve. The worst by far is trying to clean the emulsion out of the screen.
You would think that reclaiming a screen for screenprinting would be a relatively easy process–and true enough, MOST of the photo emulsion comes off in one pass…but not all of it. Some of it clings for dear life to the screen and it will fight vehemently to stay there despite all your scrubbing and rinsing and soaking and scrubbing. I hate chemicals…I do everything humanly possible to avoid chemicals in cleaning, in makeup, in my food, but I’m about ready to throw in the towel and buy the stinkiest chemical I can if it means my screen will come clean. I’m ranting, I know.
When I finally DO get my screen clean today, I will try the screen filler/drawing fluid method. There’s a really cool tutorial here. This seems pretty foolproof, and since my print is so small, it’s probably a good solution for me today. And I don’t want to deal with procuring another piece of glass today.
Amy Karol at AngryChicken put up this amazing image showing techniques for Furoshiki, the art of Japanese cloth wrapping. I can’t wrap presents without weird corners, which causes my perfectionist self to cry a lot while wrapping presents. Plus, the mountain of crumpled and torn paper causes the neat freak in me to scream/be tremendously overwhelmed with mess. So, what a lovely idea, wrapping things instead in cloth that can be used again for more wrapping or something else. No more mental meltdowns. Yay!
Apparently this image is from the Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan (sounds kind of 1984 to me–but this is a really cool idea).
I really like the two-book fold. It looks just like a handbag.
I made a huge blockprint for my Mom, at her request of a dahlia-ish stamp that I carved. It turned out really well–I’ll post a picture when I have a camera again… I would try and wrap this lovely thing in fabric, but it’s about 3′X5′, and I’m sure I don’t have that much fabric handy at the moment.
Nathan has the camera at a conference this week and this weekend we get to go to Yellowstone! I love Yellowstone, but I hate camping. Thankfully they have bathrooms with running water, so my rule is not violated where camping is concerned (No water, no way).
I’m screening my accordion onto a t-shirt that I reconstructed into a baseball t (super easy!–I’d post a tutorial, but again, no camera).
I need to trace this now so I can make my positive. I’ll have to go low-tech and trace it by hand with India ink onto the transparency.
I feel so much better when I actually eat a very small snack before lunch and at tea time. My blood sugar thanks me very well. Usually I have a small bit of fruit and a small bit of cheese, but today I decided to make some marinated beans. I love the marinated chickpeas that I make, but today I wanted to make a version of 3-bean salad. My aunt in Houston makes 3 bean salad and I always loved it, but most recipes are way too sweet. Here’s what I came up with:
1 can each kidney beans, yellow wax beans, green beans, drained and rinsed
Small bunch of green onions, sliced thinly
all of the inner yellow stalks with leaves from a bunch of celery, sliced thinly
Juice of 1 large lemon
3 T tasty vinegar
1/3 cup oil (I used a combo of canola and olive)
2 T sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. You may need a little salt, but not much because the canned beans have quite a bit. I think it’s tastes better chilled, but as I made this this morning around my snack time, I couldn’t resist.
My Mom and Aunts and I had a wonderful time at the Antique show in IA this weekend. There were rows and rows of people all along the streets in this little town. We walked until it was too hot and we were tired. We could have been there for a week for all of the antiques that were there.
This is what I found:
I love vintage tablecloths…not just for strudel-making, but because they’re so cheery with their bright patterns and colors and they are impeccably made. I defy anyone to find a modern mass-produced tablecloth that will last 50+ years.
Mom bought me this tea cup which coincidentally matched the lemonade set that I found and bargained for. Sadly, part of the top broke off on the trip back to Colorado. I’m trying to find a food-safe epoxy to fix it. It shall just have to be pretty until then.
Before we went, Mom made her famous apple fritters and I taught my aunts how to pull strudel dough. They were quick students and did a beautiful job on a batch of cherry strudel. My Grandpa watched us, giving us hints that he remembered from my Great-Grandma when he was a kid watching her pull strudel.
Today I’m trying to see if strudel dough can hold up for 10 hours before pulling it. I’m visiting family in NE this weekend and I really want to make strudel with my aunts, but there’s not enough time to make it on Saturday morning and wait for it to be ready. I’m hoping I can make it before bed on Friday and just wake up and have it be ready. I’ll try and make all 3 fillings (cherry, apple, cheese), but I may not have time to cook my apples when I get to my aunt’s on Friday. Today I’m making cheese strudel because it’s the fastest and takes the least amount of ingredients.
Cheese filling for strudel (also tasty for kolaches): this makes enough for 1 strudel
15 oz. whole milk ricotta (some people use cottage cheese–ricotta has better flavor and texture)
2 T melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
nutmeg–25 gratings on a microplane or a nutmeg grater
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup golden raisins
1 tsp vanilla
2 T flour
Mix everything together. And you’re ready to fill your strudel. Be careful with the cheese–move quickly when you put it on the dough to cover it with the overhang of dough. Cheese likes to leak. Also be careful when you transfer the strudels to the pan to bake. They have a pleasant wiggly quality to them that makes them rather fragile before they’re baked. Bake cheese strudel for 45 min. at 350 or until golden brown and no longer pleasantly wiggly.
Silkscreening is neither quick nor easy as I have discovered. I burned my image only to discover that it had been overexposed and the image only partially washed out. So I destenciled the whole thing, scrubbed it, let it dry, put on emulsion again, let that dry, exposed the image again, overexposed it again and repeated the whole process one more time before we figured out that the exposure time on my directions was nearly twice what it needed to be. Third time was the charm and the image turned out really well. Somewhere in all this, I decided a hair dryer was an essential tool and miraculously, things have been going much faster today than the past two days have.
Printing a repeat image is a little tricky, and I messed up my registration marks that I so carefully measured. They’ve still been helpful in eyeballing where to put the next one, I’ve just had to make sure that I let the area dry before I print the continuation of the image because the screen overlaps by quite a bit. It’s not perfect, but it’s been fun and challenging and I’ve learned a lot from messing everything up. I’ll finish it tomorrow, and then that little ottoman will finally have a cover to it! Yee haw!
Sadly, you cannot see the pretty light blue home dec fabric that I’m printing on in this picture. It’s a pretty contrast.
I have wanted to screenprint for years. Literally. One of my family’s friends screenprinted all of our Junior Bible Quiz t-shirts when I was little, and I always thought that was the coolest thing ever (I still have my shirt from when I was 8, and though things have changed a bit, it still fits me. I cook in it–it’s my favorite t-shirt). I remember getting a book at the Houston Public Library when I was–I don’t even know–12, maybe?–about screenprinting and I remember being very very overwhelmed by it. But I never stopped being interested in it. So after years of being intimidated by it, I decided to give it a whirl.
Nathan has been so wonderful in helping me figure out the minutiae of the process. He went shopping with me to get all of the supplies, he cut foam for the screen for me, he figured out the height of the lamp, but the best was that he all on his own, created this image for me:
I had an image of houndstooth (which I love but I can never find in the colors or fabrics that I like), but it was wavy and it wasn’t a repeat image. I was going to make it repeat by hand, but Nathan volunteered to draw it in Gimp. What a super husband I have!
So currently the image is burning in the screen, and I think I’ll print when we get home from church today. I’m excited!
Such a lovely way to waste some down time.
I thought I throw my hat in the ring with this game that I saw at Creative Little Daisy. This is my first Flickr mosaic–what a fun thing. I’m always seeing these beautiful collection of pictures people have, but my (ahem) limited photographic abilities (or lack thereof) always intimidate me from making my own collection. This is super because you use other people’s images. That’s what I’m talking about.
A note on the I heart Julia toast…why do I love Julia Child? Because she above all things was a teacher of cooking and she believed to her core that being a home cook was a noble profession. She taught technique, not just recipes which is ultimately far more valuable. I hate that now you have to be a “chef” before you have any street cred in the food world. And “home cook” often, sadly means that you do things sloppily or quickly or with buckets of pre-fab ingredients (you know who they are on Food Network). So Viva la Julia for teaching us all that we can do it and do it well without fancy degrees or subpar ingredients.
Oh–I don’t want to be a cow either…just a Mom.