Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Locavore Kitchen: Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Tahini Dressing and Parmesan Pastry Twists

This post doesn't have just one recipe, or two recipes, but three recipes (hooray!) It was inspired by some gorgeous golden beets from the farmer's market, a desire to eat salads ALL THE TIME now that it's warm out, my love of tahini, and my need to use two extra pie crusts I had sitting in my fridge after I accidentally doubled the recipe when I made the dough for this pie and this quiche last week.

These recipes can easily be made separately...the salad would be great with other dressings, the tahini dressing can also be used as a dip for pita chips and veggie sticks, and the Parmesan pastry twists would be great with soup, or as a snack on their own!

Let's start off by making a salad with lots of colorful Spring veggies, shall we?

Scrub your off any fine little roots that are attached to them. Cut them into bite-sized pieces, staining your fingers a beautiful goldenrod color. Toss them with oil and salt and pepper and roast them till they're as sweet as candy.

Slice your scallions. Soak them in ice water...mellow them out.

Slice your cuke in half, scoop out the seeds, slice fancy!

While you're at it, grate your green apple. Chew on the apple core for a while...don't waste any of that apple-y goodness! (P.S. I totally forgot to take pics of this step...oops!)

Thinly slice your lettuce (or tear it into pieces with your bare hands if you're getting super tired of cutting things up).

Make homemade'll be glad you did. Throw a bunch of things in a food processor...allow your culinary robot to do most of the work for you.

Pile your salad things on a plate, add some dressing, anticipate yumminess.

Time to make something cheesy and flaky and heavenly.

Liberally flour your work surface (and your rolling pin, and your hands, and the floor.)

Roll out your pastry dough...feel SUPER accomplished when it doesn't get any holes.

Brush your dough with olive oil (basil-infused oil is twice as nice!)

Sprinkle a quarter cup of Parmesan on your dough. Decide it's not NEARLY enough and sprinkle a quarter cup more.

Give your cooking assistant some cheese...he'll appreciate it.

 Roll out your second pastry dough. Feel slightly less accomplished when it gets LOTS of holes in it. Layer it on top of of the first dough. Cut it into strips.

Twist your layered dough strips...don't worry when they fall apart. The cheese will melt in the oven and hold everything together.

Pull them out of the oven when everything starts to get super golden brown.

Serve with salad and your homemade dressing. Totally a perfect lunch!

Roasted Golden Beet Salad
Makes 2 Servings
Original recipe

1 bunch golden beets, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used leftover basil-infused oil)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 purple scallion, thinly sliced
1 small hothouse cucumber, cut in half length-wise and thinly sliced
1 small green apple, shredded
1/2 head of red leaf lettuce, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss beets in olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 15-20 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, soak sliced purple scallions in ice water.

Layer lettuce, cucumbers, scallions, apple, and roasted beets on two plates. Serve with tahini dressing.

Tahini Dressing
Makes about 1 1/2 Cups

1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 small garlic scape (or 1 clove garlic)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add additional water to thin the dressing to your desired consistency. Refrigerate leftover dressing.

Parmesan Pastry Twists
Makes 16 Twists
Original recipe

Pastry dough for 2 pie crusts (preferably homemade - I used this recipe)
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used leftover basil-infused oil)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Grease two baking sheets.

Flour your work surface and roll one of your pastry doughs into a rectangle (approximately 6"x12").

Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Roll out your second pastry dough into a rectangle and place on top of the first pastry dough.

Slice your layered dough vertically into 16 strips. Carefully twist each strip by hand, and place on one of your prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

The Still Life: Apple Pies and Dragonflies

Here's a little glimpse at the past week in my quiet life as an artist and locavore.

I love the smell of pencil shavings.
My favorite cookbook ever.
I couldn't decide if this dragonfly was awesome or gross.
Playing with my colored pencils.

Dylan has the coolest toys...these are MY favorites to play with.
I gave Ed a haircut. It made him happy... also made a mess.
Dylan got his first tummy bug and ate his weight in crackers.

My "Joy of Cooking" is well-loved.
Farmer's market caprese.
Fiesta time! Making salsa...
...and cumin lime tortilla chips.

The first roses of the season.
Organic locally blended tea + local honey = the perfect cup
I ate pie...with ice cream...for breakfast...twice.
It's azalea season...there are bright, brilliant colors everywhere!

This week felt like it was at least 9 days long...9 good days though. I went to Gossett's Farmer's Marketbaked my first pie in months, gave Ed a haircut, finished my color study for "Triad," played around with some new recipes, watched lots of Portlandia, and watched my baby boy walk on his own for the first time! The only down side was that poor D had his first ever tummy bug, but luckily he's over it now. I hope the past week has been full of beauty, joy and inspiration for all of you too!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Locavore Kitchen: Quiche with Golden Beet Greens and Feta

Quiche might just be the perfect food. It all starts with delicious pie crust, which is filled with fluffy eggs, tender vegetables and melty cheese. It's good for breakfast, it's great for lunch or dinner, and it's amazing at 1AM when you know you should go to bed but you're super hungry from reading way too many recipes on the internet all evening long.

This quiche features the greens from a gorgeous bunch of golden beets. I never had beet greens until a few years ago...I didn't even know that you could eat beet greens. I thought beets were metallic-tasting soggy things that came from a can. I was so very, very wrong.

If you're lucky enough to buy beets with the greens attached, first rejoice, then cut the greens and stems off of the beets and store them separately. The greens don't last nearly as long as the beets, and the last thing you want is perfectly lovely beets attached to spoiled greens that look like some sort of scary swamp monster.

Gather your ingredients cause....

Separate your beet greens from the beet stems...make two happy piles. Slice 'em up.

Chop your onion by hand. Or, if you're like me and you're unable to chop an onion without fleeing the kitchen and splashing cold water on your eyes every 30 seconds because they're burning so badly you think you're going blind, have a machine chop your onion. (I use this handy-dandy chopper attachment for my immersion blender. It's my best kitchen friend.)

Cook your veggies in oil till they're soft and fragrant. Sample the mixture...have another sample to make sure it's perfect...and another.

Mix the best tasting feta you can find into the cooked veggies and dump the mixture into your pie crust. Start getting really, really hungry.

Pick out your 4 prettiest eggs. Marvel at their different shapes and sizes (unless your eggs are all the same in which case, marvel at their uniformity).

Crack the eggs into a out all the egg shell pieces because you're terrible at cracking eggs. Add whole milk (or better yet cream) and whisk till frothy.

Poor your egg mixture into your pie crust. Learn from my past mistakes. Don't try to fit it all in if their isn't enough room. This will prevent you from spilling uncooked quiche filling all over the kitchen floor while trying to get the quiche into the oven.

Bake until everything is golden and firm and perfect. Allow the quiche to cool all of 30 seconds before you ravenously slice into it.

Enjoy your quiche with roasted sweet potatoes and the people you love.

Quiche with Golden Beet Greens and Feta
Makes 6 Servings
Original Recipe

1 pie crust
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used leftover basil-infused olive oil)
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bunch golden beet greens, stems and greens separated, thinly sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk (or cream)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a large deep pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sliced beet stems. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook stirring frequently until onions turn translucent and stems start to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the sliced beet greens and cover the pan. Cook an additional 10 minutes, until the greens have wilted and reduced in size.

Allow the vegetable mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a medium bowl, add the milk and whisk vigorously until the egg mixture is frothy.

Add 6 ounces of the feta cheese to the pan with the vegetables and stir well. Fill the pie crust with the vegetable and feta mixture. Poor the egg mixture over the vegetables, and top with the remaining 2 ounces of feta.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until the filling is firm and the cheese has started to turn golden brown.

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Art for Sale: Triad Study (Graphite Pencil Drawing)

"Triad Study" - Graphite Pencil on Paper
Creating a work of art is a process. For me, the first part process goes something like this...
  1. Go to the farmer's market...scour the produce bins for the "perfect" fruit or vegetable. Regret the fact that you got to the market at 11am instead of 9am, and missed out on the best stuff. Try to find beauty in what remains.
  2. At home, take hundreds of reference photos of your farmer's market finds, readjusting the angles and light and placement of the subjects until you get it "just right."
  3. Narrow down your photos to your best one...discard the rest so they don't eat all of your computer's memory.
  4. Edit the winning photo...straighten, crop, saturate, increase contrast...make it bold and beautiful. 
  5. Start to fret that you could never create a drawing that looks as good as your reference photo. Briefly contemplate becoming a photographer instead.
  6. Look at your previous drawings, realize that you ARE talented, become motivated to start drawing again. 
  7. Create thumbnail sketches to figure out how to transfer your composition from the photo to paper. Enjoy the visual simplicity of your little drawings. 
  8. Bust out your graphite pencils, sharpen them to dangerous points, and arrange them in perfect order. Inhale their comforting scent, and imagine being back in school.
  9. Draw your black and white value study, exploring the shapes and textures of your piece, focusing on creating bright highlights and dark shadows.
  10. Realize that your graphite pencil value study is pretty darn interesting, and decide to sell prints of it. Some folks like to decorate with black and white, right?
I'm very proud to announce that prints of "Triad Study" in a variety of sizes are available for purchase through Fine Art America. I also have designed several products with this image printed on them that are available for purchase through my Zazzle store including:

I hope you'll take a look!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eat/Art Local Links: Pretty Palettes and Pickled Turnips

Here's a roundup of some of my favorite food and art links this week....enjoy!

I totally agree with most of this list (especially #3..."Heat is the great equalizer when it comes to bagels.") My only point of contention is #14, because I LOVE radishes dipped and salt.

Helpful App for people who aren't familiar with the farmer's markets where they live, and who want to know what produce is in season.

"Organic eaters are more likely to seek benevolence in their food, so why don’t they seek it in their relationships?" 
Really interesting article about the elitism of organic food consumption...I try my best not to be judgmental about how other people eat, because goodness knows I'm no culinary saint!

Alana is so darn spot on when she describes darling little spring turnips as "delicate" and "erotic." This post makes me want to pickle things left and right (and re-watch episodes of Portlandia.)

I keep meaning to get to the Katonah Museum of Art to check out this exciting looking exhibit...maybe this weekend. (You should click on "view images from this exhibition" on the KMA site for a sneak peek!)

I recently discovered the art of Lisa Congdon and immediately fell in love. Her 365 Days of Hand Lettering blog posts always make me smile :) You should take a look!

It's no surprise to me that, when I paint. my palettes look like Vincent van Gogh's.

Really interesting article on what it takes to actually be a professional artist...I'm working my way there, slowly but surely!

Art for Sale: On the Vine (Colored Pencil Drawing)

"On the Vine" - Colored Pencil on Paper
I have been passionate about locally grown food, especially fresh produce, for a few years now, shopping at farmer's markets and participating in a CSA. I love how fragrant and delicious fruits and vegetables are when I eat them within a few days of being picked.

As I was working on "Wilting Beauty" I started to think about the aesthetics of the foods I eat and how local produce is as much of a feast for the eyes as it is for the mouth.  It occurred to me how much unexpected, unappreciated beauty surrounds us every we have an opportunity to marvel at shapes and lines and colors and textures every time we pick up a head of lettuce or a bunch of tomatoes to make a meal.

I slowly came to the realization that I wanted to combine my passions for local food and art, to use my creative talents to show others the aesthetic beauty and incredible taste of locally grown foods. Think Global, Art Local was born.

"On the Vine" is the first piece in a series based off of produce from local farms. In this piece I wanted to highlight how all parts of the tomato plant are beautiful, including the vines. We often discard the parts of a plant that we aren't going to eat - the greens of a bunch of carrots, the shells of peas, the husks of corn - without pausing to appreciate just how lovely they are. I'll be exploring many of these forgotten marvels throughout the course of this series.

I'm very proud to announce that prints of "On the Vine" in a variety of sizes are available for purchase through Fine Art America. I also have designed several products with this image printed on them that are available for purchase through my Zazzle store including:
I hope you'll take a look!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Locavore Kitchen: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Basil Oil and Garlic Scapes

What happens when you infuse extra virgin olive oil with fresh basil, drizzle it over sliced sweet potatoes, sprinkle sliced garlic scapes, freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt over it all and then slowly roast it in the oven?

The answer is magic.

I've been in garlic scape heaven ever since I purchased my first scapes of the the season at the farmer's market a few weeks ago. I've been adding them to salads, pasta, scrambled eggs, home fries, stir fries...pretty much everything.

This dish combines scapes with a fresh herb (basil) and a root vegetable (sweet potatoes). I imagine other variations...thyme and carrots, sage and beets, rosemary and parsnips. The possibilities are endless!

Measure your basil...pack as much of it as you can into your measuring cup...optimize the herbal deliciousness!

Measure your oil..appreciate its lovely golden color.

Oil and basil get together in a saucepan. Turn on the heat, step back, and allow magic to happen.

Fish the crunchy simmered basil leaves out of the oil. Sprinkle them with salt. Eat them happily. Or throw them out...totally your call.

Slice your sweet potatoes...curse yourself for never sharpening your knives.

Cut your scapes on the diagonal...this increases the garlicy surface area, plus, everything looks fancier when it's sliced diagonally.

Toss your army of sweet potato wedges with some basil oil and place them on your cookie sheet...sprinkle with delicious things.

Roast them until they get all golden brown and crispy and fragrant. Burn your fingers when you eat one of them directly out of the oven.

Make your sweet potatoes fancy...serve them with chiffonaded basil (isn't chiffonade just the most delightful word?)

I served these with a beet green and feta quiche...recipe to come!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Basil Oil and Garlic Scapes
Makes 4-6 servings
Basil Oil recipe adapted from 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian' by Mark Bittman

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into wedges
1 medium garlic scape, thinly sliced
Fresh ground black pepper and sea salt
Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Combine olive oil and 1/4 cup fresh basil in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat until it starts sizzling. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Allow to cool. Strain the basil out of the oil.

Toss the sweet potatoes in 2 tablespoons of the basil oil and spread in a single layer on one or two baking sheets. (Store the leftover basil oil in the fridge.)

Sprinkle the garlic scapes over the sweet potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Roast for 30 minutes. Flip the sweet potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Roast for an additional 20-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes start to brown on both sides.

Remove from the oven and garnish with thinly-sliced fresh basil leaves.

See other gifts available on Zazzle.