Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Walnut and Spinach Quesadillas (as tweaked by moi)

Having a teenager who suddenly decides he wants to be a vegetarian is a challenge I hadn't anticipated. I confess: I feel a little betrayed that my home cooking isn't cutting it, but I know it has nothing really to do with me. Trying to develop Vegetarian dishes that wow - we tried out tofu the other night: marinated it with a host of savory flavors and then tried it seared and added to stir fry, and then we rolled some in panko to see how it differed. Apparently marinating makes the tofu much more tender and melt-in-your-mouth.Our most recent foray into Vegetarian cooking was Walnut-Spinach Quesadillas. I found the recipe online but it called for making a Walnut-Black Olive Butter, which frankly, didn't blow my skirt up, so we improvised.

The Walnut and Spinach Quesadillas were a lot better tasting than I thought they would be (Resident doubter here, reporting for duty), and the Professor was right there, doing his part in making them.

We started with:
a heated cast iron skillet with some lovely extra virgin olive oil added to it,
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
half an onion, chopped semi-fine
6-8 baby bella mushrooms (was about a cup and a half)
1 and a quarter cups walnuts, chopped roughly (tip of your pinkie size)
salt and pepper
parsely flakes

We sauteeed this until it was tender, adding a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar(for meatiness)
and a quarter cup of water near the end, to help the walnuts soften - the water was fully absorbed before we took it off the heat. This concoction went into a bowl to cool while we cleaned up the skillet and got it ready again (more lovely olive oil)

On a cutting board we assembled the quesadillas, using:
1 flour tortilla
handful of shredded mozzarella (I think gorgonzola would be killer in this as well, btw)
serving spoonful of walnut/mushroom stuff
handful of fresh spinach leaves (take the big stems off when you wash this)

Grill in skillet until brown and crispy on both sides, remove and cut in half.

We served this with fresh sliced local tomatoes and it was delicious!
As a non-Vegetarian, I was pleasantly surprised by how meaty and satisfying this dish was.
Thumbs up!!!

Sadly, no picture this time: we ate them too fast!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hurry Up And Wait

Okay, so no photos in here yet, as part of the cataloging process, but I have gone through my fairly sizable collection of paintings to see what I already have, and what is (in my opinion) suitable for showing to the public. Example: Brown-skinned woman in the Temple of Bast painting who still has no nipples - not suitable. Cher with a snake in her hair - suitable. Tree series - suitable. Unfinished and very boring painting of the seaside - unsuitable. First of the Water's Edge series - suitable, I think. And so it goes.

I'm halfway through another of the tree series, which frankly, will make up the bulk of this show (which i'm still waiting to hear back about, but chins up (sigh! that could apply to just me - ugh!) it's going to work out - I have faith) and pondering the possible ways to fill an immense brick wall in a trendy restaurant/bar. Too many small paintings could get lost, but I really don't want to do an entire series of huge paintings, just to fill that wall. The tree series has been a lot of fun - every one is different, even though it's more of a formula than I've used in the past. I think I like working in series - it gives me more comparison/contrast to look at and learn from. The next series will be The Water's Edge, and will be more dreamlike. The title comes from lyrics in Peter Gabriel's song "Red Rain" and has to do with dreams, portents, and a ghost that I am searching for still. I'm still formulating this series; not sure if they might not include mixed media to achieve what I'm looking for.

A Moment's Venting:
On top of these lovely distractions comes the news that my dad has cancer. He's been taking his sweet ambivalent time to tell the rest of the family, which is pretty true to form for him, and I feel sure he's still in the (internally) freaking out stage (pretty sure I would be too). The good news is that the cancer is encapsulated, contained in one area, and the doctors are optimistic he'll make a full recovery, and that's the story I'm sticking to. It is scary to think of though, the physical reality of what was an academic thought - that your parents DO get old, they DO get sick, and eventually, they DO die. You would think at 49 years old, I would have come to terms with the physical reality of this, and I have, kinda. I always thought it would be my mother who got cancer first - I've been preparing for that inevitability for some time, because she isn't in great health, but my dad - he's 78 years old and doesn't look it at all - more like 60 maybe - so it's a shock that he would be the first one to have cancer. It doesn't help to know that his father died of cancer, and that his sister died last year from complications due to esophageal cancer, but I'm trying to remember that his mother lived to be 96, and that he is far more like her than he would care to admit, though maybe not so much now.

Not to worry, dear reader: the basket case of crazy will not be unleashed just yet.

And I will try and get some photos up of stuff that I'm considering for the show in September.