Saturday, April 28, 2012

Artists Against AIDS This Weekend

For all y’all in Shampoo-Bananaland (Champaign-Urbana to the rest of you), Artists Against AIDS runs through this Sunday in the old Champaign YMCA on Church Street...go out and buy art!  Link to their website for hours HERE.

Here are some of the new pots I have on display there:


Two weeks ago was total insanity getting a couple submissions together for Lark’s upcoming new “500 Teapots” book.  Once I did some test shots in the high resolution that was required for the submission, I found that my old photo setup just wasn’t up to snuff- not enough depth of field; and too many colors used for reflectors, so it was impossible to get accurate color.  After four days of staying up past 3:30 am, this is what I came up with:

Things that make me happy #396

Last night I went to the Y to check out the Artists Against AIDS show, and I saw this bumper sticker in the parking lot: “Squirrel...It’s What’s For Supper”

This last week was also the last week for the March/April session of classes at Boneyard Pottery...and we’ve already filled the Wednesday session for May/June to capacity!  Anyway, the last classes ended in a glazing frenzy...and I brought munchies!

Ginger “Cinnamon” Rolls

These contain no cinnamon, but the technique is the same.

4 Cups Flour
¾ Cups Sugar
2 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Cup Butter (2 Sticks)
2 Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Half and Half

1/2 Cup of Ginger Preserves
1/4-1/3 Cup Hot Water

1/2 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp. Powdered Ginger

Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. cut in the butter to the size of small peas.  Make a well in the flour and beat together the eggs, vanilla and half and half, then mix with the flour. Dust the counter with flour and knead lightly, adding more flour as needed tom make a light dough.  Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness (12" x 20"), then spread with the ginger preserves thinned with the hot water, then mix the sugar and powdered ginger together and sprinkle on top of the preserves.  Roll up and cut in 1.5 inch slices, arrange in a buttered pan and bake at 325 F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Refined Gluttony Edition

I was planning to have this be another go at my Clam Chowder recipe, but when I was getting ready to make it, I realized that I had forgotten to get bacon! (Travesty!!!)  To help make up for this gaping hole in the flavor, I added some minced mushrooms and garlic to the onions in order to make a mirepoix to base the soup on...instead of that half a cup of wonderful bacon fat and trimmings.  One side effect to the lighter base was that, once I had finished making the soup, I realized that adding the cream necessary to make it a proper chowder (a tenuous claim already due to the lack of bacon) would ruin the I left it plain.

Light Clam and Scallop Chowder

1 Medium Sweet Onion, finely chopped

1 Clove Garlic, minced

3 Mushrooms, finely minced

2 Bay Leaves

1 Tsp. Dried Thyme, crushed

Dash Ground White Pepper

2 Tbs. Butter

4 Medium Yellow Potatoes, ¼ inch Dice

1 Tbs. Bourbon

¾ Cup Dry Chardonnay

6 Cups Water

1 Cup Raw Scallops (cut up if large)

_oz Can Clams and Juice (I used Trader Joe’s Cherrystones)

Salt to taste

Sauté the onions, mushrooms and herbs in the butter until the onions are transparent, then add the potatoes and stir just until well blended. Deglaze the pan first with the bourbon, then immediately with the wine, (don’t breathe the steam- it will knock you flat!) stir briefly, then add the water.  Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.  Once the potatoes are done, add the scallops and the clams and juice, and continue to simmer until the scallops are just done, about 3-5 minutes.  Serve immediately with crusty bread.

...Of course, now I had two pints of heavy cream sitting around without a purpose...and strawberries!  Dessert, anyone?

Strawberries with Lime Custard and Crème Anglaise

Crème Anglaise

4 Egg Yolks

¼ Cup Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream

Puncture the yolk sacs and drain the yolks into a mixing bowl, discarding the membranes.  Add the sugar to the yolks and beat with a mixer until very pale, then slowly beat in the vanilla and cream.  Cook over low to moderate heat in a double boiler, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the spoon.  Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and allow to cool, stirring occasionally- it will thicken further as it cools.

Lime Custard

4 Egg Whites

1/3 Cup Sugar

Juice of 4 Limes

Beat the egg and sugar together until well blended, then beat in the lime juice.  Cook over low to moderate heat in a double boiler, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the spoon.  It should be thicker than the Crème Anglaise.  Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.

While had strawberries with these, they would probably also be excellent with shortbread or angel food cake...

How about some pots to finish with?

Finally I have a use for copper red glaze in massive quantities...oxidize it so it looks like soda-fired oribe!

This piece has been my baby for the last few weeks- total clay weight is about 16 lbs, pre-carving, and it’s around 15 inches tall at bone dry (shrinkage is a killer!), and has fairly light, evenly balanced weight.  The biggest non-bowl pot I’ve ever thrown...and it just went boom in the bisque because it still had retained water in the bottom, even after two weeks of own darn fault for trying to rush it and have it done for Artists Against Aids.

I also threw and trimmed 20 small bowls this weekend for A. A. A. and glaze tests and carved some small boxes.