31 October 2011

29 October 2011

Autumn's Bounty

Since word is out that I cook, I get a lot of food related gifts, from snapping turtles to homemade wine. A couple of weeks ago, a truck pulled into my drive way and Dina carried in 3 enormous bags of apple and 6 equally enormous bags of pears. I immediately stared making preserves. I cooked and cooked.

I made apple jam with Chinese 5 spice. I made apple butter. I made apple preserves with Bourbon soaked currants.

I pear preserves with white balsamic. I made pear and ginger preserves.

I went to DC for several days and left a huge pile of apples and pears that I didn't get to. Even after the raccoon came in and at his fill of apples, I still have more to do. Clearly I need a big old commercial kitchen!

26 October 2011

Women Reading

Simone de Beauvior by Gisèle Freund, 1952

24 October 2011

Dora at Doe Run Farm

I am a big fan of Dora Carrington as well as the Omega Workshops. One day I was flipping through a book of Carrington's art and came across a small woodcut illustration she had done at the Omega Workshops. The woodcut was done for David Garnett, whom she later painted.

David Garnett by Dora Carrinton, 1919

The woodcut was for David Garnett's honey.

I later found another version of the woodcut, this one printed in two colors.

We make honey here at Doe Run Farm... actually the bees make the honey and I just watch. I wanted a nice label for our honey and when I saw Carrington's label I knew I wanted it for our honey. So we appropriated the Garnett label as our own.

It is our homage to Carrington and to our bees.

19 October 2011


While we are talking about The London Design Festival... during the Festival The Finnish Institute in London installed Reddress.

Aamu Song & Johan Olin are Company, a Finnish firm of artists artists designers. In 2004, Aamu Song designed Reddress.

The gigantic dress
is made of over 600 yards of Kvadrat’s classic Divina wool fabric. A performer climbs a hidden staircase and is fitted into the bodice of the dress to perform. the skirt, reaching 65 feet in diameter contains 238 pockets. Audience members climb into a pocket in the folds of the dress and become a part of the performance. Here Aamu Song discusses Reddress.

A View From The London Design Festival

In 2003 The London Design Festival was founded. It is a free flowing call to view design in a large way. Cultural as well as commercial, it has all the things a good festival needs including posters and t-shirts. The other major element of the Festival is a selection of "Landmark Projects." These are large commissioned works that spring up during the Festival. Two caught my eye.

Credit: Dennis Gilbert

The first was produced by AL_A, some say the leading architectural firm in England, helmed by Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete. Levete was chosen to build new galleries for the Victoria & Albert Museum. For The London Design Festival AL_A produced Timber Wave, a three story lattice cascade that, according to Levete, "respond[s] in some way to the entrance of the V&A. For us it was about making very explicit the London Design Festival residency there. We wanted to take the V&A out onto the street."

Credit Stephen Citrone

The second was by John Pawson. I admit from the start that I have very mixed emotions about John Pawson. At times his minimalism strikes me as kind of a joke, like a giant white box with a single chair and tiny vase. And sometimes, his work seems magical. Mostly, my attraction to Pawson came from a cookbook he did with Annie Bell, Living and Eating. I liked the book, though not Pawson's kitchen.

For The London Design Festival, Pawson teamed up with Swarovski to created a meniscus – the largest lens possible to manufacture. Pawson sets the lens Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral. The installation entitled, "Perspectives," shows off the rarely seen Geometric Staircase. The meniscus sits on a reflective hemisphere at the bottom of the stairwell. Suspended in the tower’s cupola above the stairwell is a spherical convex mirror.

Credit: Dezeen

According to Pawson these optical devices create an extraordinary composite image of the view up through the tower for visitors gathered around the hemisphere at the base, allowing them "to see beyond the level of the naked eye."

Credit: Philip Sinden

For Pawson, "It has never really been about what we put into the space, so much as how we enable people to see what is already there."

Bag'o Meatloaf *Update*

We do like to be on the cutting edge.
Yesterday we posted about using The Paper Chef's bags.
Today... The New York Times posted about them.
Plus, our readers have some additional ideas about using these cool little bags.

18 October 2011

Bag'o Meatloaf

I had a revelatory moment in the kitchen. I was thinking I would like to have a meatloaf sandwich. The problem was...I didn't really want to have eat the meatloaf before it became the sandwich. Then it hit me. Why didn't I just make a planned over meatloaf and cut out the "dinner" part of the meatloaf experience.

Since I cook a lot on Sundays, it seemed natural to stick a meatloaf in the oven and then just throw it in the fridge. But then there is the problem of cooking meatloaf. Even though I have one of those meatloaf pans that supposedly holds the meatloaf out its greasy residue, it is a pain to clean. Then I had a second revelation. At the big Food show in D.C. I was given some "en papillote" bags. It seems that The Paper Chef took the difficult origami out of the "en papillote" and just made paper bags suitable for cooking salmon. I had been looking for a way to use these nifty bags and then I thought, why not bag my meatloaf. The paper bag would make nice sandwich sized slices and the paper would wick away most of the fat. I would be left with a baking sheet to wash and a cold meatloaf without that congealed fat issue.

I made my meatloaf. I took The Paper Chef Bag and gentle pushed out its square corners to give me a more rounded loaf. I put my meatloaf mix in the bag and shaped it a bit. The length of the bag allowed me to just wrap it around and place it on the baking sheet, also providing extra paper to wick away the fat.

I baked it and then removed it to a rack to cool and allow any residual fat to drip off. I too some extra paper towels and dabbed the meatloaf. When it was cool, I just wrapped the whole thing in foil and tucked it in the fridge. the next day I unwrapped the foil, removed the bag and sliced the meatloaf.

I don't think I will ever make meatloaf any other way.

While The Paper Chef might take exception, I am sure a plain brown paper bag would work, or just plain parchment, it you wanted to wrap up the meatloaf and tie it off with string. Either way, it makes a great sandwich.

16 October 2011

Women Reading

Girl On a Red Carpet, Felice Casorati, 1912.

15 October 2011

Teddy tries "dear" hunting

It has been very Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings here at Doe Run Farm, as a yearling has made the backyard her home, showing up every afternoon to munch on acorns and an occasional tree limb.

Recently we posted a photo of doe by the run, Doe Run, the name of the farm. Our reader, J.W., has been following Teddy's exploits as a hunter and wondered if he had tried to take down a doe. Well, J. W., recently he thought about giving it the old "college try."

As I was enthralled in taking fairly poor photos of the yearling, I noticed that we had company.

Teddy began creeping up, closer and closer.

I yelled at him and he retreated.

Acting all innocent.

Only to pick on Kitty Carlisle.

But our yearling was safe.

12 October 2011

Alice Neel

Alice Neel paintings are like car wrecks. You don't want to look at the mayhem, but your eyes are inexorably drawn to it. I have always loved her work, but always feel a bit uncomfortable when I look at the paintings. Perhaps that is Neel's greatest gift.

This weekend I read Phoebe Hoban's new biography of the artist, Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty.

I used to read a lot of fiction, but lately I have found that there is nothing better than real life. It would be hard to "make-up" Alice Neel. In fact, she seems almost made-up, like the character a first time novelist might try to write. The novel would be about a woman artist in the 2oth century and the character might be...

born a few weeks into the 20th century. She would eschew the domestic confines of her family and become an artist. She would be a portrait painter in the age of abstraction. She would marry a fellow artist. They would have a daughter who dies and a second spirited away to her father's native Cuba. She would have a nervous breakdown and slew of lovers. She would have hundreds of paintings destroyed by a jealous lover. She would paint for the WPA. She would be both a communist and a feminist. She would have a son by a nightclub singer and one by a communist intellectual, but she would raise them alone. She would appeared in the beat film, Pull My Daisy. She would paint Andy Warhol and children from the street. After painting for nearly 7 decades, she would get some recognition and then die. She would be a great fictional character...

except she was real. Hoban biography might as well be a biography of the last century. In fact, Neel said if she ever wrote an autobiography it would be entitled, "I am the century."

And indeed, she was.

11 October 2011

Halloween is approaching...

Rare Variable Flying Fox pup twins with mom.
Photo credit: S. Mulder, Lubee Bat Conservancy

... and what better time to profess my love of bats. I rather love bats. I always have. They have wonderfully expressive faces and eat their weight in pest-y insects. If only we could find a way to vaccinate them against rabies, I would let them live in the house. OK, I would let them live in the barn.

One year, my friend, Ann, gave me a bat for my birthday. It was adopted from the Bat Conservancy, so I did not actually have to take possession of the critter. Recently she sent me news of the rare birth of twin bats. (Well, the actual birth was a couple of years ago, but bat birth announcements are so hard to come by...)

Twinning is very unusual in the bat population so when 0.1 Variable Flying Fox “Charisma” gave birth to her boy and girl there was much excitement and more excitement when she raised them both.

No word as to names.

07 October 2011

Famous Food Friday -- The Fabulous Beekman Boys

Well, we think the Fabulous Beekman Boys, Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, are famous and just getting more famous and fabulous as the days march on. (Though we are not sure they could get any more fabulous.) We would like to take some credit for their success and why shouldn't we. We were in their camp and encouraging everyone to buy their book and take a gander at their television show before it ever aired and long before they graced made the pages of Food & Wine.

Since our blog, Cookbook Of The Day, is simply enamored of cookbooks we were beside ourselves when we found out that a Beekman Boys cookbook was in the works. It went immediately on our pre-order list and it arrived last week.

Let me tell you that it was worth the wait. For those of you who watched every episode of the Fabulous Beekman Boys, you know there was controversy over the title of the cookbook which was resolved in Dr. Brent's favor. You will also remember the preliminary photo shoot for the cookbook. If you saw that, you know that ever detail was meticulously thought out and shot and re-shot until it had the Beekman stamp of approval. Needless to say, the picture of the food by Paulette Tavormina are works of art.

The recipes are bright and homey. There is a good mix of things you have heard of, like fried green tomatoes and roast leg of lamb and interesting twists. The Harvest Beef Chili not only has beans but nice big chinks of pumpkin, which we find to terribly underused. We are big fans of augmenting the plain mashed potato and this recipe is a fine way to do just that.

Sorrel Mashed Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds of baking potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 bunches of sorrel(about 2 ounces each), tough ends trimmed, leaves torn
3/4 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the potatoes with salt water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return to the pan.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the sorrel and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is very tender and soft, about 4 minutes.

With a potato masher or a handheld mixer, mash the potatoes with the milk, salt, and remaining two tablespoons of butter, Stir in the melted sorrel and serve.

While The Beekman Boys might live way up there in New York, their cookbook has a gentle Southern vibe mixing rustic fare with recipes that offer a nice addition to Sunday Dinner.

If there was an element we were not overly enamoured of, it would be the keepsake addition of removable cards allowing the reader to make the cookbook, "their own." Seriously, Dr.Brent, you know that people will scribbling notes in their ratty old handwriting and stuffing in articles and before you know it that nice The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook is going to be a mess. But then...

...they could always buy another copy.

Our Mistake

Clearly no one but Gillian is reading our blog. I would like to say that I inserted Unity Mitford instead of Jessica Mitford as a test, but it was just downloading a picture from a file with only a thumbnail to go by. As I told Gillian, I am going to have to get Teddy to help me label those Mitford pictures. As an aside, the Beatles song Decca covered was Maxwell's Silver Hammer. Here's a YouTube video for your enjoyment.

06 October 2011

Think Different

In 1890, Thomas Edison sent his assistants to the home of the Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson to record his voice on wax cylinders. For 1:16 minutes, Tennyson read from The Charge of the Light Brigade. As far as I know, it was the only time his voice was recorded. I listened to that recording this morning on my iPod.

In my personal opinion the greatest achievement of the 20th century is the iPod. I will never be able to thank Steve Jobs enough. In the nonstop coverage since word of his death literally shut down twitter, he is often compared to Thomas Edison. There are over 31,000 recordings on my iPod, including Lord Tennyson reciting The Charge of the Light Brigade.

I have 131 songs with "Lucinda" in the title and 158 songs sung by women named "Lucinda."

I have 41 covers of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, as well as 35 Cohen covers in Polish

I have a recording of 4 year old evangelist, Marjoe Gortner preaching and 236 shapenote singers

I have most of the dance music ever recorded for the Martha Graham dance company

I have an album of Anthony Perkins singing, his sister-in-law, Marisa Berenson singing, and every CD his son, Elvis Perkins, has recorded (including his shapenote singing.)

I have Vita Sackville-West discussing Virginia Woolf's Orlando and Grace Higgens, Virginia Woolf's cooks disusing all the painters she sat for, in addition to her cooking, and Virginia Woolf, herself speaking about "craftsmanship."

There are four generations of the Carter family keeping the circle unbroken.

I have Maya Angleou singing calypso, Sebastian Cabot singing Bob Dylan, Vincent Price reciting his recipe for rumaki, and Jessica Mitford covering the Beatles.

There is ABBA to Zooey Deschanel.

There are Kate Bush, Kate Campbell, Kate Fagan, Kate Gafney, Kate Havenvik, Kate MacKenzie, Kate McGarrigle, Kate Mann, Kate Micucci, Kate Nash, Kate Rusby, Kate Taylor, Kate Walsh, Kate York, and Kiss Me, Kate.

There are 2221 Christmas songs, including the Jingle Cats, the Chipmunks, the Squirrel Nut Zippers and the Roaches. I could go on and on for 77 days, 14 hours, 29 minutes, and 13 seconds.

And every last song fits into the pocket of my Levi's. Thanks, Steve.

05 October 2011

Happy Birthday -- Breakfast at Tiffany's

Today is the 50th Anniversary of Breakfast at Tiffany's. And I must say, it doesn't look a day over 49.

Earlier this year, I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's during a lazy Monday holiday and I found it held up quite well.
I had also read Sam Wasson's Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audry Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Dawn of the Modern Woman. A bitch and thoroughly witty look at the making of this iconic film. Read his article Why They Couldn't Make Breakfast at Tiffany's Today.

Over at ABC, they are offering up 5 Things you didn't know about Breakfast at Tiffany's. My guess is you know them all! (They also have a list of the 5 most memorable movie cats and while you might think that I digress...one of the top is -- Cat from...Breakfast at Tiffany's)

In any language... Happy Birthday.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin