Sunday, August 20, 2017

8-20-17 Linguine with shrimp

Tonight I used tomatoes from Patience’s front porch garden for the sauce that created a most delightful pasta dish.


1.     Linguine
2.     4 medium tomatoes
3.     Shrimp
4.     Asparagus cut in to 1 inch pieces,
5.     Fresh basil and dill
6.     Heavy whipping cream
7.     Olive oil
8.     Onion and garlic
9.     Sweet vermouth
10. Tomato paste


Cut the tomatoes in half and grate them on the large openings on a hand grater, preserving the pulp and discarding the skin. Prepare the onion and garlic in olive oil, then add the tomatoes and herbs to the pan and simmer to reduce the liquid. After 5-10 minutes add a splash of wine.  Cook the sauce for about 20-30 minutes, but the timing is not critical. The idea is to cook off the excess liquid.  I added about 2 inches of tomato paste to help thicken the sauce.  While the pasta is cooking add the shrimp and asparagus, and when the pasta is almost done, add the cream. (I nuked the asparagus for 1 minute to cut down on the cooking time in the sauce.


My concern about this dish early in the preparation turned out to be misplaced. It was utterly delicious, with a unique sweetness, thanks to the fresh tomatoes. I guess I will have to repeat this using processed tomatoes to see if there is a significant difference.

Try it - you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

8-9-17 Linguine with mushrooms & zucchini

What can I say - it's zucchini season

1.     Linguine
2.     Mixed mushrooms
3.     Zucchini – sliced crosswise
4.     Sundried tomatoes in olive oil- coarsely chopped
5.     Olive oil
6.     Shallots and garlic
7.     Fresh basil and oregano
8.     Sweet vermouth
9.     Panko

Cook the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft, then add the mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs, and zucchini and cook over med-high heat until they begin to brown. Turn the heat to low, add a splash of wine and simmer while waiting for the pasta.  Add the pasta and some pasta water as needed, mix well, and serve with a sprinkling of panko.

A tasty, quick meal, and a good way to get rid of all the zucchini that seems to be everywhere this time of the year.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


I posted my first blog on August 8, 2007, and followed that with 1,744 more posts, counting today’s. I guess this confirms my wife’s opinion of me – a wordy little bastard.  But in my defense these posts include artwork, recipes, and assorted photos, as well as an endless parade of reflections, narratives, opinions, and other nonsense.

Since I have nothing else to say (for now), today I will post one painting or drawing from each of the 10 years.





Monday, August 7, 2017

8-7-17 Penne with chicken and tomatoes

Patience has been out of town for the past week so hot dogs have replaced pasta.  Well – not completely – but this is my first new pasta dish for the month of August.  And we can thank Rhonda in Maryland for sending some fantastic tomatoes home with Patience.  They were the inspiration for tonight’s dinner.

The plan was to create a light/loose tomato sauce with chicken thighs, using a combination of grape tomatoes and one large over ripe Heritage tomato.

 In the pan
In the dish


1.     Penne pasta
2.     Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
3.     Olive oil
4.     Onion and garlic
5.     Grape tomatoes cut in half
6.     One whole Heritage tomato cut in half and grated on the large opening on a cheese grater.  Skin discarded
7.     Sweet vermouth
8.     Fresh basil


Brown the chicken in olive oil. Deglaze pan with wine then cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes and basil and simmer while the pasta cooks.  Add the pasta with some pasta water and serve.


Very simple and very good, and there is so much more you can do with this recipe: add mushrooms, greens, olives, etc. 

Thank you Rhonda for the delicious tomatoes.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

AWASH WITH CLAY studio newsletter #140


Here’s the thing with clay printing – at least for the way I work. You can never print just one piece. It is the nature of the process that demands you pull another print (like eating potato chips, you can’t stop with one.), and then another, and then – oh well, what the hell, and you pull 3 or 4 more.  And that is being conservative.  By the end of the session there can be a dozen or more prints lying about the studio. It is usually necessary to pull at least 2-3 or more prints to “get” the one I’m looking for. And being the pack rat that I am, nothing gets tossed out, so you can imagine the results.

I’ve been working – intermittently – with the clay for about 25 years. It lends itself to decorative and abstract work, but I also use it for more realistic images, either alone or combined with another medium, usually soft pastel. I had not done any significant work with the clay for over a year when the new Holiday Inn hotel in Paducah commissioned me this spring to create 3 prints for their lobby.  Since then I have been working almost exclusively with the clay, and had made arrangements for a show of the new work in September. Unfortunately that gallery has closed and I am left with an inventory of clay prints that threatens to completely overtake the studio and gallery. But is spite of that threat, I CAN’T STOP. There are so many new techniques and approaches I want to explore, and the work is simply too much fun. There is none of the anxiety and stress associated with the other mediums, especially watercolor.

I’m sure I will eventually get back to the watercolors and acrylics, and even the pastels.  But until then I will continue to play in the clay.  I may host a show of the new work in my own studio/gallery later this year.  You can be assured I will let you know.

Here are several of my favorites from the past several weeks.


VALOR  11X25


Saturday, July 29, 2017

7-29-17 Spaghetti with shrimp and asparagus


Tonight’s dinner is the result of our visit to the Farmer’s Market this morning where we bought a bottle of dill infused olive oil from the Paducah Olive oil store. I knew immediately what I would do with our new purchase. For a number of reasons, our crop of fresh herbs this year is short on dill, and I wanted to see if this olive oil would make up for that.


1.     Spaghetti
2.     Shrimp
3.     Asparagus
4.     Olive oil – plain – for cooking
5.     Olive oil w Dill
6.     Leeks
7.     Celery
8.     Garlic
9.     Fresh lemon juice
10. Fresh basil
11. White wine
12. Butter


While the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce – cook the ingredients in any order you wish. (It’s late and I’m too tired to write everything out tonight.)  Mix in the pasta with some of the pasta water, and drizzle with the Dill infused olive oil before serving.


The new olive oil came through and imparted a dill flavor to the dish, which was quite delicious.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7-25-17 Pasta fazool (aka pasta fagioli)

7-25-17   Pasta fazool (aka pasta fagioli)

Beans and pasta is a go to dish in Italian-American homes.  What makes tonight's dish a little special are the tomatoes I used, purchased online from Ditalia .com.


1.     Penne pasta
2.     Cherry tomatoes
3.     Small white beans (Goya -  available in Paducah at Midtown Market)
4.     Olive oil
5.     Onion and garlic
6.     Fresh oregano, basil, and tarragon
7.     Sweet vermouth


Cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft, then add the tomatoes and fresh herbs and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Add the wine and allow the liquid to cook off.
Add the beans and continue cooking over low-med heat while the pasta is cooking.
Add the pasta to the tomato-bean sauce, along with a splash of the pasta water and mix well. 


We really like this brand of tomatoes and try to keep some on hand in our pantry.  You can use any variety of white beans in this dish, and also add any vegetable you have available.  It is as easy to prepare as it is delicious.

Monday, July 24, 2017

7-24-17 Pasta-peas-cucumber salad

With fresh corn and tomatoes in abundance, it is the season for pasta salad, and that creates the challenge to avoid repetition. Two ways to do that is to vary the ingredients and the dressing. (In all of my pasta dishes I try to balance the pasta with an equal amount of non-pasta ingredients.)


1.     Campanelle pasta -  3 oz.
2.     Frozen peas – 1 cup
3.     One medium cucumber – diced
4.     Celery
5.     Fresh spearming (or mint) leaves coarsely chopped
6.     Mayonnaise
7.     Cream- about ¼ cup
8.     Fresh lime juice – ½ med. Lime
9.     Salt & pepper to taste


Cook the pasta, drain, and in a bowl add some olive oil to prevent sticking, and chill.
Later, mix in the vegetables and herbs, followed by the dressing.


The spearmint gives a refreshing new flavor to salad and goes well with the peas and cucumber. Of course having fresh corn and tomatoes lying next to it doesn’t hurt.  This is an easy summer meal and can be prepared hours ahead of time.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

7-23-17 Campanelle with creamy carrot sauce

Cooking as much pasta as I do, it is hard to always come up with something different.  It occurred to me today that I have never used carrots as the main ingredient in a sauce. (They are part of a Bolognese sauce, and have been used with other roasted veggies, but never as the main player.)  Tonight we changed that.


1.     Campanelle pasta
2.     Carrots- sliced (3 medium carrots)
3.     Sundried tomatoes coarsely chopped
4.     Butter
5.     Shallots
6.     Garlic
7.     Olive oil
8.     Fresh basil and sage
9.     Sweet vermouth
10. Heavy whipping cream


The first thing I did was to nuke the sliced carrots with a bit of water in the microwave for 4 minutes.  Cook the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft, and add the carrots, sage, butter, and tomatoes and cook over medium heat.  When the carrots are soft (the timing here is not critical-more of a personal judgment or preference.) add the vermouth and allow it to cook off.  Several minutes before the pasta is ready add the cream and stir well.  Then add the pasta with some pasta water, and garnish with fresh basil.

I used sweet vermouth because I couldn’t fine the brown sugar in our pantry.


OMG THIS WAS GOOD – he said with all due modesty. Patience loved it, and she is the "go to" food critic.  We will definitely add this to our "must serve to guests" list.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

7-22-17 Fettuccini w Salmon and fresh corn in cream sauce

I’ve been thinking about this dish for several days, but something always seemed to thwart my plans…but not tonight. 


1.     Fettuccini- wanted linguine but there was none in the pasta pantry.
2.     Salmon – skin removed and diced into bite size pieces
3.     Fresh corn – nuked for 2 minutes then removed from the cob
4.     Olive oil
5.     Shallots – chopped
6.     Garlic – pressed
7.     Fresh basil and tarragon coarsely chopped
8.     Marsala wine
9.     Heavy whipping cream


Cook the shallots and garlic until soft, then add the salmon and cook over med-high heat.  Follow several minutes later with the fresh herbs.  When the salmon is cooked through add the corn and a splash of wine and continue cooking over low heat.  Several minutes before the pasta is ready add the cream and mix well.  Then add the pasta and some pasta water, mix well, and serve.


In keeping with the “eclipse season” we decided the best description of tonight’s dinner would be -  “heavenly”.

I forgot to mention the pad of butter I added to the sauce along with the cream.  Hey…it’s good for you.

Accompanying the pasta was a Caprese salad.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7-18-17 Cavatappi with chicken and asparagus

We’re giving the porch garden a break tonight – except for the oregano and tarragon.


1.     Cavatappi
2.     Chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
3.     Asparagus
4.     Olive oil
5.     Leeks, cut vertically into slender pieces
6.     Garlic
7.     Sundried tomatoes in oil coarsely chopped
8.     Fresh oregano and tarragon
9.     Dry white wine


Cook the leeks and garlic in olive oil until soft, then add the chicken and cook over med-high heat.  After 5 minutes add the tomatoes and herbs and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the asparagus, cover and continue cooking over low heat.  Before the pasta is ready add a splash of wine.  When the pasta is done add it to the pan with the chicken, mix well and serve. 


I have no choice but to give this a ten. The caramelized leek and the sundried tomatoes add a special flavor to this dish.  We will definitely do this again.