Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Exquisite Package

by Julie Morstad
I received an exquisite package in the mail this week — The Exquisite Book that is. And it is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Based on the Exquisite Corpse, a surrealist game developed in the 1920s in which a group of people work together to complete a drawing. One person begins a drawing on the top part of a piece of paper. That part of the paper is then turned down so just a very small portion of the drawing sticks out at the bottom. It is then passed on to the next person who continues the drawing, folding over their portion and passing it along again until the paper is filled. We used to play this game as kids. 

This book is a similarly collaborative project with 100 artists participating. Organized by Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski and Matt LaMothe, ten artists contributed to each of ten chapters and the book is assembled so that each chapter folds out in a continuous sheet. 

My photos don't do it justice, but that is as it should be because I encourage you to check it out for yourself. The project includes some of my very favorite artists and — even better — almost every image in the book is available to purchase as a print for $60. 

by Nick Dewar
The book is dedicated to Nick Dewar who passed away during the project.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Quick Bread and Soup

I finally succumbed to the pumpkin baked good. All of October seemed to be ripe with pumpkin recipes both on the interwebs and *gasp*, sputter* —even in person. I resisted. But something happened this past weekend, I'm not sure what, maybe it was the passing of Halloween. I reached for that canned pumpkin that's been lingering in the cupboard since last Thanksgiving at least and whipped up this luscious pumpkin quick bread with chocolate chips. I debated long and hard about the chips before tossing them in to the batter. I think it was the "spice" in the name that made me hesitate. Spice and pumpkin seems full on pumpkin pie-ish and I wasn't sure I want chocolate mixed in with the lot. But that combo kept popping up this fall and I fell for it. And I'm pretty sure that's the main reason I ate a ridiculous amount of this bread all on my own. Mini-chocolate chips would be a great option, too.

I found the recipe on Lottie & Doof and have only slightly modified it below to replace some items that i don't generally have on hand like grapeseed oil and Demerara sugar. 

Pumpkin Spice Bread 
(From a recipe by Karen DeMasco via Lottie & Doof)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment, and grease the bottom and sides with butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, egg, egg yolk, and oil. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, and vanilla and stir well to combine. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Then stir together gently just to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the sugar.

Bake until the bread is firm to the touch, well browned, and slightly cracked on top, about 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out the loaf onto rack and let cool.

And then what do you do with that bit of leftover pumpkin in the can? Someone on Twitter — I can't for the life of me remember who — suggested whipping up a quick soup for lunch and that's just what I did: Saute in butter a bit of onion, garlic and fresh ginger. Add a bit of stock and bring to a steady simmer. Stir in pumpkin puree and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Stir in some fresh cilantro right before serving. You could also stir in a bit of sour cream or yogurt, use powdered ginger if that's what you've got or thyme instead of cilantro. Really, you could go any which way with this one. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hit the ground running…

Been crazy running, running, running to get a project shipped out today… and I made it—just barely! That's a little peak (tee, hee) at it above, though I'm saving the details for you until next week…

Yesterday I shipped off 450 penguins, 100 Wellies, 30 masked birds, 120 mittens and a couple other items. Whew! It's a busy, busy fun time in the studio these days, so it's a good thing I made a yummy quick bread over the weekend to fuel me through. I'll have that recipe for you tomorrow!