Friday, February 08, 2013

Society of Killustrators

There exists a merry band of illustrators who are just killing it: The Society of Killustrators. A group founded to "hone a craft, further a trade, and stay in contact," the SOK regularly posts imaginary illustration assignments.

Started as an invite-only group, they recently opened up the assignments to anyone who wants to play along — similar to Illustration Friday, though they do still send out invites. I was honored to receive one to participate in their last assignment: Beer Macaroni and Cheese packaging. You can read more about the assignment here (including the real recipe) and see the results here.

The newest assignment is for an editorial illustration to accompany an article about thieves caught stealing $65,000 worth of chicken wings. Can't wait to see what happens with this one!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Mmmmm, Butter Chicken

Okay, so we're into February now. You've done your juice cleanse, you've been working out like you promised yourself you would … but your resolve is wavering and it's still winter. You're ready for a little hearty comfort. 

This butter chicken is the answer, my friends. It starts with a healthy spice-filled yogurt marinade for the chicken but then is finished with a heart-warming, soul-satisfying cream and butter-ladened sauce the most beautiful color of orange you've ever seen on a cold winter's day. The  fresh curry leaves are a bit hard to come by, but if you're in the Ann Arbor area, you can find them —and everything else you need might need, i.e. cheap cardamom — at Bombay Grocers on Packard.

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhanwala)
via Saveur

Serves 4.

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
Kosher salt, to taste
1 3–4-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed

1/2 English cucumber (about 6 oz.), seeded and grated
1/2 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated

1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 green cardamom pods, cracked
3 whole cloves, crushed
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 3" piece ginger, washed and grated (skin on)
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tsp. garam masala

4 fresh or frozen curry leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Marinate the chicken: Combine all marinade ingredients except for chicken in a food processor; purée. Transfer marinade to a large bowl and add chicken, tossing to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 500° F. 

Transfer chicken to an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and spoon any marinade from bowl over chicken. Bake until light brown but not cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack; set aside. 

Meanwhile, make raita: Toss cucumbers, tomatoes, and salt in a colander and let sit for 10 minutes. Press cucumbers and tomatoes to drain well and then transfer to a medium bowl along with yogurt, mint, lemon juice, coriander, cumin, and carrots; toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Make the sauce: In a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat, combine chile flakes, garlic, cardamom, cloves, tomatoes, ginger, bay leaf, and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often and crushing tomatoes with a spoon, for 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf and transfer sauce to a food processor; purée. Return sauce to pot and continue cooking over medium-low heat until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. 

Add reserved chicken pieces and any marinade from pan, along with 1/3 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream, butter, garam masala, and curry leaves. Reduce heat to low and cook until flavors meld, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep warm.

To serve, transfer chicken and sauce to a serving platter and serve with the raita.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Book Business Tuesday: Recommendations

As you might remember, I am participating in the Fifty-Fifty challenge to read fifty books and watch fifty movies this year. I'm nine books and eleven movies in and thought I'd take this Book Business Tuesday to share with you some recommendations from my recent reads.

Two of these are from last year's reading list, but that doesn't really matter, does it? Now, I'm no great book reviewer, so I won't bore you with some sad attempt at it. There are plenty of those over at Amazon. I will just give you a brief overview and tell you I loved these books. Do with that info, what you will …

For all you book and bookstore lovers out there. A fun, fast story about the intersection and overlap of old knowledge and new technology filled with musty bookstores and literary intrigue. It even has geeky graphic design type nerd references. Charming.

by Carol Rifka Brunt

I won't lie: I picked this one up for the gorgeous cover. It was done by the ultimate book designer to my mind: Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. Perfection. So then to have to story live up to this great design — and then some — was such a nice surprise. Wonderful character development of two lonely people who find each other through the most unlikely of circumstances.

by Julia Glass

And speaking of character development, no one does it better than Julia Glass. Ever since Three Junes, (still my favorite of her books) I have been a devoted Glass fan. She has a way of weaving together multi-generational family sagas like no other. 

by Allegra Goodman

It's funny—this one brings us full circle back to the first. It, too, brings together the worlds of new technology and old knowledge bookstores but in quite a different fashion. A story of two sisters a bit list in the world and the ways in which they get found and find themselves.

And there you have, from a true fiction junkie. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Yellow Door Art Market

I'm very pleased to announce that you can now find Sloe Gin Fizz at the Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley.

I had such a fun time thrifting for and planning the space. I have lots of other little tweaks I want to make to it, so I plan on it being a constantly changing beast. Having a more permanent space also means I can offer a whole slew of framed pieces for super convenient grab-and-go gift giving. Stop by if you're in the area and let me know what you think!