After focusing a lot of time and energy preparing for next week's opening reception - cleaning up, hanging art work, making labels, etc. - I actually sat down at the drawing table yesterday and attempted to create a small watercolor sketch. It never happened. The paper was of poor quality, and the initial washes for the sky looked awful. On a whim, I began playing with pastel, rendering the mid-ground and fore-ground first, and then re-working the sky.
I thought I should post this today because looking at recent posts one would think all I do is eat pasta.
I was standing in front
of the fridge at seven o’clock debating with myself, call for pizza or cook;
what to do.And the I heard them,
the pasta angels, whispering in my ears, softly, over and over again…aglio
olio…aglio olio…aglio olio.I
swear that somewhere, mixed in with those voices, I heard my mother, and of
course that did it!Tonight we
were having aglio olio, but with a little twist.
Al Dente Pasta’s chili
Fresh parsley, finely
Garlic, finely chopped
Mozzarella cut into
Fresh lemon juice
Place the cooked pasta
and some of the pasta water in a serving bowl, add all the ingredients and mix
well.The lemon juice can be added
after all the others.
Oh what a delightful
meal!I had to force myself not to
go back for thirds.
I came in from the
studio thinking I would call for some pizza tonight – not in the mood to
cook. About one hour later,
sitting on the porch with a glass of Pinot Grigio and 3 plump raspberries
staring at me from the bottom of the glass I became inspired. Pizza! Hell, I could do better than that. After taking stock of the fridge and the pantry this is what
I came up with.
Al Dente Pasta’s chile
Organic cherry tomatoes
(one of Patience’s “finds” at Tuesday Mornings)
Garlic and onion
Dry basil, oregano,
and red pepper flakes
Cook the bacon, remove,
drain, and set aside. Replace the
bacon fat with olive oil and add the garlic, onion, and mushrooms, plus the
herbs and seasonsing.. Cook for about
10 minutes then add the tomatoes and wine and simmer for another 20-30
minutes. (I have no set cooking
time – it all depends on when Patience gets home.) I try to cook off all the wine before I put the pasta in.
When the pasta is ready
add it to the pan and mix in the arugula, add the bacon, and drizzle with olive
The next time I use
chile pepper fettucine I will not use additional red pepper flakes; by the end
of meal my head was sweating. But,
it was worth every ounce of sweat.
The meal was delicious.Much better than pizza.
What to do for
dinner?I have some homemade
sausage from Chicago that I have to use, as well as arugula and the usual
assortment of tomatoes, fresh and canned.This is what I decided to do.
Shells and fusilli (I cleaned up the pasta pantry)
Diced tomatoes with
Garlic and onion
Dry basil and oregano
Red pepper flakes
Mozzarella cheese cut
into small cubes
Italian sausage in ¼”
Place the tomatoes in a
bowl and add olive oil, seasoning, finely chopped garlic and onion and mix well
and set aside.
Cook or grill the
sausage and slice into bite size pieces.When the pasta is done place in a serving bowl and mix in the arugula,
tomatoes and cheese.The sausage can
be added to the pasta or served separately.
The dinner tasted as good as it looked. The only complaint from my lovely wife was there was too much garlic, and I have agree with her. One small clove of raw garlic would have been sufficient.
Tonight I decided to borrow a page from the pasta edition of La Cucina Italiana; it is a recipe for onions and white wine, something I have in abundance. I added my own twist with the addition of white beans and toasted ciabatta bread crumbs.
Al Dente Pasta's fiesta fettucine
Onion, cut into thin slices
Toasted bread crumbs...optional
Parsley (I used cilantro because we had no parsley)
Dry white wine
Toast the bread crumbs, but don't burn them like you know who did. In a deep skillet add the wine and onions (I used 1/2 an onion and 1 cup of white wine for the 2 of us) and cook over high heat until the wine is gone, then reduce heat and cook until the onions are soft. Add olive oil and garlic plus the white beans (I used navy beans but cannellini will also work.), herbs, and simmer while the pasta cooks.
Add the pasta plus some pasta water, mix well, and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the bread crumbs.
A delightful dish with a delightful flavor, thanks to the onions and wine. The next time I do this, and there will definitely be a next time, I will use a whole onion. For 4-6 people I would use 2 o3 onions.
If you have been a
regular, or semi regular reader of my pasta blogs you know by now that I have a
complete lack of humility when it comes to the meals I prepare. Tonight is no exception. I will tell you right now, this was
delicious, scrumptious, over the top good. The only reason there are a few leftovers is because
Patience jumped across the counter to stop me from a third helping.
It was so good that
Patience did not complain about the mess I left and the dishes that had to be
washed. (I’m usually VERY neat
Al Dente Pasta - Fiesta
Tuna in oil
Garlic and onions
Penzy Pasta seasoning
Fresh lemon juice
Anchovies, 2 fillets
Saute the garlic, onion,
celery, and anchovies is the olive oil.
Add white wine and allow it to cook off then add butter.
Add the cooked pasta and
the tuna to the pan and mix thoroughly.
Add the lemon juice and tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Add pasta water if needed
Good grief! It has been six days - six whole days - since out last pasta dinner. No wonder my right eyelid has been twitching all day. I will take care of that tonight with a pasta dish using arugula, shrimp, and pancetta, along with wine, butter, and lemon. (And anything else I can come up with)
Arugula, coarsely chopped
Sun dried tomatoes in oil
Garlic and shallots
Fresh lemon juice
Red pepper flakes
Cook the pancetta until crisp, remove, drain, and set aside. In the same pan cook the garlic and shallots in olive oil along with the red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Add the wine and let it cook down before adding the shrimp and butter. Before the pasta is done add the lemon juice, then mix in the pasta, arugula, and sprinkle with the pancetta and olive oil before serving.
A great dish, easy to prepare and even easier to enjoy. There are so many ways this can be adapted, improvised, varied, etc., scallops instead of shrimp, olives or anchovies instead of sun dried tomatoes, and on and on.
I lied! Recently I posted that I was finished with the barns and was moving on to my next project, but I must shamefully admit that I did not keep my word. Yesterday, while sitting in the studio doing nothing, I came across several small sheets of watercolor paper that I had preciously covered with graded washes of various colors, and I wondered...what can I do with these? Before I knew it I was "doodling", and the result was two more small barns. I gotta move on, and I'm realizing that it may not be that easy to do.
But...being the tiger that I am I know it can be done. (And if I should slip and paint a few more barns I simply won't tell anyone.)
Between the barns and farms over the past few weeks I did manage to make my way back to the easel and work with acrylics, and I am pleased to report that not a barn or farm made it into the work.
This was done over an older painting that fell out of favor with me. It was done quickly, exploring the use of 3 colors.
Once again I was intent on using a very limited palette, working with large amounts of Mars black.
As I do with most of my acrylics, the pigment is applied directly from the jars, and any mixing or blending is done on the canvas. I don't know if I'm finished with this; will have to spend some time looking at it. I'm thinking the darkness is an acquired taste.
I have to thank my
cousin Joan for this dish which her mother-in-law introduced to her.About a month ago I purchased some
imported polenta from Italy and this is the perfect opportunity to try it.
“Sunday Gravy with
sausage – see older posts for recipe
Prepare the Polenta per
instructions on the box – usually one cup of cornmeal to 3 cups of water.After incorporating some parmigiano
cheese in the polenta Iplaced it
in a baking dish and topped it with the sauce and grated cheese.I added some mozzarella for
appearances, and baked it uncovered at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes.
I don’t know how
objective I could be because of the sausage.I believe I would give cardboard a 9 or 10 if served with
sausage.But…this was good,A pleasing break from pasta but with
the joy of Sunday gravy.
Tonight is a first.I’ve never cooked with radicchio but
have been seeing it from time to time in recipes.I found one in one of my cook books – the pasta bible – that
also uses arugula, and since I had some of Christy’s arugula left over, it fit
Pappardelle from Al
Radicchio (1/2 a head
Garlic and onion
Pancetta ( bacon can be
Cook the pancetta, then
add the garlic, onion, and celery and cook until soft.Add the radicchio and a splash of wine
and cook until soft.At this point
I tasted the sauce and found it too bitter; to counter this I decided to add a
heaping tablespoon of caponata.This effectively reduced the bitterness.
The cooked pasta is
added to the pan, along with the arugula and mixed well. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Thiswas very good; a distinctly different
taste from what I’m used to.I
will do this again, substituting sweet vermouth for the red wine.Another option is to add fresh eggplant
instead of the caponat.
I'm ready! After several months of planning, painting, re-thinking, and re-thinking again, I am ready for JUST BARNS & FARMS to happen. The work is finished, and all that remains is for me to get: everything cataloged, the gallery and studio organized, posters and postcards out, and a plan for hanging the show. This should keep me busy and out of trouble for the next two weeks.
Here are three of the last five pastel paintings I completed for the show:
My favorite part of
grocery shopping is walking slowly by the fresh produce, confronting the
challenge to not buy more than I can use.On my last trip I could not pass up the Brussels sprouts.I originally planned to roast them and
serve on the side of a rib eye steak, but something clicked in my head this
afternoon, and I knew they would find their way into a new pasta dish.
Brussels sprouts, halved
Garlic and onion
Sun dried tomatoes
Dry basil, thyme,
Red wine vinegar
Marinate the Brussels
sprouts in olive oil, red wine vinegar, and seasoning for about 30 mintues
before cooking in skillet over medium-high heat. Stir frequently and cook until
the B S is soft and beginning to char.Remove and keep warm.
Cook the bacon, drain,
and mix into the B S and keep warm.While the pasta is cooking sauté the garlic, onion, and celery in oll,
then add the B S and bacon and about ¼ to 1/3 cup of broth and simmer until the
broth is reduced.
Add the pasta to the
pan, mix well, and drizzle with olive oil, adding some pasta water if
If you like Brussels sprouts
you will love this dish.The bacon
and sun dried tomatoes go perfectly with this weird but delicious vegetable.
I would like to begin
this narrative with an excerpt from my journal written in 2008.
“What role does faith play
in my life?J. Cash had his faith
in God,and in Christ, to sustain him through the darkest hours.There was a time when I thought I had
that faith, but everything seemed to shift for me.
God went from something
beyond me to a spirit within me, and my “faith” became “trust” - accepting that
the mystery that is God is within me, as it is in everyone of us.And it is our responsibility to
discover that in ways that suit us best.
Stories of God, and Jesus,
help by giving structure and concreteness to that which is numinous.Some find this to be their way.I am more comfortable with the
mystery, with the unknowing.Either way, faith and/or trust work by releasing the strengths we all
possess within ourselves.”
from journal, 8-7-08
Faith is what takes
where reason cannot.Theologians
refer to this as the epistemological leap of faith, the point at which reason
and physical knowledge must be left behind.For some, this is an easy step to take, for others it is
difficult, if not impossible.It
is a major step that may have a profound effect on one’s life, and in my
opinion, it is a very personal one.Men and women have been creating Gods for as long as historians have
been able to determine; the need to believe in a higher power is irresistible,
both for comfort and understanding of our world. God (and Gods) has been woven
into the fabric of every civilization for thousands of years, as documented in
the volumes of spiritual writing.There are many who accept these documents as the words of God, and not
the work of man.But…even that is
an act of faith, and as such, cannot be taken as the ultimate truth.(I say this with no intentions of
demeaning the messages that they impart.)What one person believes, another may not, and neither
is right or wrong.
There is a lot of noise
today about a war on religion, which is sometimes countered by shouts of a war
on reason and free- thinking.Neither accomplishes anything but division and misunderstanding.Reasonable men and women of both sides
of this debate should be able to co-exist and engage in meaningful dialog,
without the need to convert one another.
My own journey of faith
has taken me in and out of many rooms, each leaving with me a part of the
whole.I embrace my beliefs and my
doubts with equal passion.I do
not expect others to share my beliefs, but do expect that they be respected.
OK, so for some folks it’s
nothing more than Mac & cheese, but this is unlike any mac & cheese you
have ever had.
I was feeling lazy
tonight, and considered going out for dinner until I realized I was too lazy to
change out of my work clothes, so I came up with one of the simplest pasta
dishes I knew.Now, almost an hour
later, I am sitting here patting myself of the back for exercising such good
Al Dente Land and sea
Blue cheese…just a small
amount so it doesn’t overpower the rest
Romano cheese, gratted
While the pasta is
cooking, chop and cook the bacon and set aside to drain.
In a serving bowl add
the cheeses and butter.Add the
pasta with small amount of pasta water and mix until all the cheese is
melted.Mix in the parsley and
bacon and sit down to an incredible pasta experience.
If I were into writing
about pairing I would suggest pairing this with a second helping.
This morning's post is a journal entry from the fall of 2008. It complements yesterday's notes on values and may even be a bit repetitious, but it does reflect my intense interest and concern about the matter of faith and public discourse.
Is it necessary to believe in God in order to be righteous,
moral, honest, loving, and compassionate?
Does the belief in a God provide one with a set of values that cannot be
otherwise obtained”? If so, whose
God should one believe in?
For the sake of this narrative I am defining a believer as
someone who believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ and accepts the bible as
the word of God. A non-believer is
one who accepts neither of those propositions. Agnostics straddle the fence and may or may not accept part
of those beliefs. (There are also
the “Christian agnostics”, but that is another matter for another time.)
Beyond the obvious difference in a belief in a higher power, how
does a nonbeliever differ from a believer? Are there apparent character traits or behaviors that makes
a nonbeliever easily identifiable as such? Do nonbelievers live and act differently? Just how do you tell them apart?
One could point to church attendance and participation, but for
years I attended church and was not a believer. I’m willing to bet that there are many others who have, or
are, sharing that experience.
What about personal values, a term that has been so misused and
thrown about that it has become almost meaningless; do they offer a clue to a
persons belief system?
Consider the following:
demonstrated by how others are treated,
ethical behavior in private, public, and business life,
respect for people and ideas that differ from our own,
all life, not just the unborn, but criminals and civilians exposed to war,
commitment to family and friends,
responsibility to self and to family, friends, and work,
to share and help those in need,
service to country,
Is it possible to know someone demonstrating none, some, or all
of the above values and be able to predict their “level of belief”? I think not, and that is what
infuriates me when I hear or read that without religion we have no moral compass,
no sense of responsible or ethical behavior. There are people who believe that a nonbeliever is not
fit to serve this country.
Believers do not have a monopoly on moral and ethical
values. Behavior defines us far
more than our beliefs do.
3-13…Pappardelle with Salmon,
asparagus and mushrooms in a butter-lemon-wine sauce with sundried cherry
There was some fine dinning at 803
Madison St. tonight!Unfortunately
I don’t have a name for this dish.
Salmon cut into bite
White mushrooms, sliced
tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Heavy cream or whole
milk, about 1/3 cup
Garlic and shallots
Dry basil, dill and
Dry white wine
Fresh lemon juice
Red pepper flakes
Cook the garlic,
tomatoes, and shallots with the red pepper flakes in olive oil.Then add the asparagus, mushrooms, and
herbs and cook over low-medium heat.After 5 minutes (not critical) add the wine and simmer for another few
minutes before adding the salmon, butter, and lemon juice.
About 4-5 minutes before
the pasta is ready add the cream or whole milk and stir.Mix in the pasta when it is ready,
drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
Keyth joined us for
dinner tonight, It took some badgering on my part, but he finally admitted this
was a ten.P and I agreed.
Values is a word tossed
about with a demeaning casualness in today’s public dialog but is rarely
actually defined by the speakers, be they congressmen, candidates, media
talking heads, or anyone else with a political agenda. Since our country is engaged in so
called cultural wars it must be assumed that these values are self evident,
which of course they are not. This
results in assumptions that lead to misunderstandings and division.
When I hear someone say
a political candidate “shares my values”, unless told otherwise, I believe the
reference is to abortion, gay marriage, and/or religious faith (usually
Christian). One could not be faulted for inferring from public dialog that our
citizenry is composed of 2 camps, the faithful who oppose gay marriage and
abortion, and people of little or no faith who do not, an inference that is
I do not belong to any
church. I do not believe homosexuality is a sin or a choice. I am in favor of
gay marriage, and I believe in a woman’s right to make her own choice regarding
abortion. Does this mean I have no
values? Of course not. I have a set of values around which I
have lived my entire life, and I am quite confident that many others,
regardless of church or political affiliations, share them:
Love for others
Commitment to family,
marriage, and friends
tolerance for ideas and people who differ from me, and
Respect for beliefs of
Willingness to learn and
A personal faith (to be
described in a future post on this blog)
These are the values
that determine who and what we are, our personal character and our place in the
community of men and women. They have found
their way into the fabric of my life from many sources: my parents and my
extended family and friends, personal experiences learning and practicing the
craft of medicine, reading extensively the spiritual writings of others, and
simply – or not so simply - navigating the corners in my life.
From HAVE I TOLD YOU
TODAY THAT I LOVE YOU…words to my children…
“Your relationship with others will
be as varied as the people you encounter and will be determined by many
factors, not the least of which will be your own personality and psychological
style. But regardless of who and
what you are, there are certain basic tenets that I would urge you to follow.
Be respectful of others, regardless
of their position in our socio-economic conscious society. Be your real self with both the room
maid and the hotel manager.
Be tolerant of ideas, beliefs, and
behavior that differ from yours; no one has a monopoly on the truth.
With grace forgive the weaknesses of
others and do not judge what you may perceive to be their shortcomings.
Forgive first offenses. Overlook minor slights.
Enable and nurture; be one who helps
other achieve their own selfhood.
Act in such a way that others will feel better for knowing you.
Be honest toward others. Do not present yourself to be other
than who you are. And do not
deceive or use others to achieve your own way or goals.”
I cannot claim to be one hundred percent faithful to these standards, but I try, because they are within me, and not imposed by some external authority.
Tonight was one of those
meals when you use what is
available in the fridge and pantry.
Garlic and onion
Petite diced tomatoes
Dried basil and oregano
Co0k the chopped bacon,
remove, and set aside to drain.
Pour off the bacon fat, then cook the garlic, onion, and the finely
chopped anchovy fillets in olive oil before adding the mushrooms. Then add the tomatoes, herbs, and a
splash of wine and cook over low heat.
When the pasta is ready,
add it to the sauce, along with the bacon, mix well, and serve.
I don’t think I can be
very objective about this (I haven’t had any pasta all day!), but I’ll
try. It was scrumptious, and it
tasted good! I have no
reservations recommending it, or your own variation of it.
Yesterday I put my grand idea to the test; Selected work in the gallery would be sold to anyone who made me an offer. There were no minimum prices set and all offers would be graciously accepted. I knew I was putting the client on the spot, and that I was vulnerable to ridiculously low offers, but was determined to see it through.
I am pleased to report that the day was everything I hoped it woulds be. There was a constant stream of visitors to the gallery, sales were great, I was able to significantly reduce the number of paintings and constructions in my inventory, and a lot of folks walked out with the art they wanted at prices they could afford. Everyone was a winner, and I am already thinking of this as an annual event.
Did I lose money, and did people take advantage me? Although most of the work sold below the sticker price, and a few far below, I feel I recovered my cost and then some, because the work has been gathering dust in my studio for 8-9 years. My primary goal was to get the art out and into circulation.
I believe all of the offers were made in good faith and that no one was trying to take advantage me; they were however taking advantage of a great opportunity being presented to them.
This exercise was possible because I have a very large inventory of work, and am in dire need of more space. It resulted in more people seeing my other work, created the possibility of more sales in the future, and gave me the opportunity to promote my next gallery show.
The day was a success my any measurement.
Imagine that...acrylic on recycled canvas...20x26
This artwork has nothing at all to do with this post. I just finished it and wanted to show it off.
How do artists place a value on their work, and is it always in monetary terms? If it is sold in a gallery or auction house the issue is resolved and the market prevails. But if the artist sells the work directly then he or she has to set the price, trying not to over or under price the art. For the past 10 years I have been using a set price per square inch for my work in an effort to maintain some consistency. This has worked well until recently, when dire economic conditions have made it necessary to make some adjustments.
This weekend I am turning everything around and asking the client to set the price, and since I first had the idea I realized this was not going to be easy for the buyer. Will they embarrass themselves by offering a price that is too low, and offending me, or will they pay more than the work is worth in the market? I could set a price range, but since this is not an auction, and all offers will be accepted on a first made basis, that basically sets a price, which defeats the purpose of the event. It is possible for someone to take advantage of me and walk away with a real "steal". But I'm confident that people will make an honest effort to set a fair price.
I expect that some of the work will be under sold and some will be over sold, and I am OK with that. In either case, the buyer is establishing the value of a piece of artwork for themselves, and for me, that is the point of this whole experiment.
I am really looking forward to this, and want to encourage potential clients...you will not embarrass yourselves, and I will not be offended. This is a win-win situation for both of us. I would rather have my art on a wall in your home than gathering dust in a corner of my studio.
the I&O Glass Co...shadow box with interior lighting. aprpoximately 18x25"
An old friend with a new twist. Al Dente pasta with shrimp and sea scallops in a wine - butter-lemon sauce with just a touch of blue cheese and cream.
Sun dried cherry tomatoes
Garlic and Shallots
Red pepper flakes
Fresh lemon juice
Dry white wine
Dill, oregano, dill, and basil
Saute the garlic and shallots in olive oil with red pepper flakes and some coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes. Add the shrimp, scallops, parsley and cook for several minutes before adding the seasoning, and butter. Continue cooking over low-medium heat then add a splash of wine and lemon juice. About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready mix in about 1/4 cup of cream or whole milk and about one tablespoon of blue cheese. Add the pasta to the sauce, mix well, and enjoy a feast from the pasta gods.
I'm really stepping our of the box this time, and I have no idea how it will turn out. This Saturday I will be exhibiting over twenty paintings, constructions, and prints that have been part of my inventory for the past ten years. I really like the work, but have since moved on to other interests and directions, and this, coupled with a critical shortage of space, has lead me to try something really new.
The work, which takes up two walls of the gallery, will not be priced, but will be sold to anyone who makes an offer, and no offer will be refused. The buyer will decide what the piece is worth to them. There will be no negotiating and I will gladly sell the work at the offered price. The buyer will have a piece of art they can comfortably afford, and I will be happy to have my work hanging in someone's home rather than sitting in a corner of my studio gathering dust. Everyone wins!
All of the work is framed and/or ready to hang.
Will this work? I'm hoping to find out this weekend during our Second Saturday gallery walk. I will let you know.
Clay mono type banners...each approximately 30x14"
Architectural drawings on clay mono types...14x12"