Friday, February 19, 2010

Back to school: Pencil Case Roundup

I seem to be switching bags and their contents an awful lot lately. This includes shifting my drawing materials — mostly pencils and markers — back and forth and all around. I can never seem to get them all and inevitably have left the one I really want in the bag at home. What I really need is a good old-fashioned pencil case. Sensible, well-designed
and stylish. These are a few of my picks from Etsy…

And one bonus coin purse/clutch I found during my search that I just couldn't resist sharing. I just love it and its springy cheer!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boy meets girl

MONTAUK, originally uploaded by kevinmccauley.

It was two years ago today that the boy and I had our first date. Montauk, an old fisherman’s bar, fresh flounder, getting the car stuck in the sand, trying to dig it out with plastic cups, racing to catch the last ferry. No wonder life is good!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Artist & Illustrator Amber Albrecht

Home, From the Hill
Ink on paper, 2009
by Amber Albrecht

Leisure Lost
Illustration for Reverie Sound Revue
Ink on paper, 2008
by Amber Albrecht

Acorn & Ohbijou
7" Cover 2008
by Amber Albrecht

You are looking at just a few samples of the amazing and inspiring work of artist and illustrator Amber Albrecht. I absolutely adore all of it and wish I could see it in person. I recently found her web site via the Drawn & Quarterly blog and just love everything about her style. The line work and textures are so intricate and detailed and her color choices are perfect – especially her use of black and white. Be sure to check out more of her work on her well-designed web site, including the different sections for drawing, prints and illsutration. I just wish she posted her images larger in order to really see the detail work.

If you are lucky enough to live in Quebec, be sure to check out the Invented Memories exhibition at the Eleanor London Cote Saint-Luc Public Library through February 28. I will be jealous but do write and tell me all about it. Otherwise, you, like me, will just have to wait for the Petit Livre soon to be released from Drawn & Quarterly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Big bowl of winter: Buffalo Chili

With a package of ground buffalo packed away in the freezer from our meat CSA and the wintery mess outside, a steaming pot of chili seemed like the perfect choice last weekend. Besides, anything that should be topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream before serving is a winner in my book.

Buffalo Chili
Adapted from Whole Foods

1 Tb olive oil
2 lbs. ground buffalo meat
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Poblano or Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped (optional; Anaheim is less spicy)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/4 Tb chile powder
Sea salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
2/3 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 Tb brown sugar
1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tb adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
1 bay leaf
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 bunch green onions, green parts only, sliced in rounds, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese for garnish

In a medium sized pot (about 4 quart capacity), heat oil over medium heat and add ground buffalo. Brown meat, stirring occasionally and breaking up large chunks, until all pink is gone, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pot and discard excess fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pot.

Bring back to medium heat, add onions, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and Poblano or Anaheim (if using) pepper and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, scraping bottom from time to time to get all the browned bits of meat folded in with the vegetables. Add jalapeño pepper and cook for another 3 minutes stirring from time to time. Add garlic, cook for another minute and then add cumin, oregano, coriander, salt and pepper. Let spices cook for another minute, stirring.

Return browned meat to the pot. Stir in tomatoes and beef broth, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, adobo sauce and bay leaf, stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat to a slow simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes. Add beans and continue simmering, covered, for another 10 minutes or until beans are warmed through.

Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro, grated cheese, sour cream and/or green onions.