Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

...but I believe in art.

Some quotes to ponder from Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton:

"Never go to the wall text. Never ask the artist. Learn to read the work."

Artists often don't fully understand what they've made, so other people's readings can help them "see a conscious level" what the have done.

"It is a bit like yoga. You must empty your mind and be receptive. It's about being open to the possibility of what you could know."

"You have to find something that is true to yourself as a person - some non-negotiable core that will get you through..."

I believe in education for its own sake, because it is deeply humanizing. It is about being a fulfilled human being.

"I'm an atheist, but I believe in art. I go to galleries like my mother went to church. It helps me understand the way I live."

There is a kind of poetry in their impenetrable phrases. Why shouldn't art criticism have that?

"I'm looking for what the artist is trying to say and what he or she is accidentally saying, what the work reveals about society and the timeless conditions of being alive."

An artist is someone who understands the border between this world and that one.

"I love stepping out of the everyday into the space of art. I love to be immersed in an idea or an aesthetic or something phenomenological. Frankly, I get enough of everyday life."

[Anish Kapoor on his Biennale experience] "I remember... It might have been the first day of the previews that year. There were thousands of people. as there always are." He paused. "At lunchtime I went into one of the nicer restaurants near the Giardini and... everybody in the restaurant got up and started clapping." Kapoor looked at me with genuine amazement. "It was completely spontaneous," he said, "I was just a young guy. It was bizarre. It was wonderful."

Friday, April 08, 2011

In the Green

Inspired by the remains our Sunday night roasted poussin (a young chicken conveniently sized for two which we stuffed with a bulb of garlic and covered in oil and a hint of salt), Tess & I decided to make stock from scratch. But really the stock was just a secondary by-product (or rather an ingredient) for the Soupe aux herbes which I have been eying in Caroline Dumas's Soupesoup cookbook (from the eponymous Montreal restaurant).

The recipe is pretty easy once you get all the prep together. Comes out like a sort of healthy mojito in soup form. The only part I was worried about was putting our hand blender into the pot. Metal on metal, could it work? Would sparks fly? Would the kitchen blow up? But alas (or thankfully?), no fireworks. Just a quick jump to puree.

2 tsp. olive oil (we used rapeseed oil, but really who cares?)
1 leek, cut into rounds
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups spinach
1 cup watercress
1/2 cup coriander
1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup basil
Juice from 1 lemon

- Heat oil in a large pot, add leek with 1 tsp. water, cook for 3 minutes without browning.
- Add stock, bring to a boil then take off the heat.
- Add spinach, watercress and herbs. Blend immediately.
- Add lemon juice and spice to taste!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ode to the Goose Egg

Tess and I get excited when we see new things at the market (really, we just get excited by the market). So when we saw goose eggs lurking about, naturally, we got excited. And we bought two.

We weren't sure what to think of goose eggs, or at least our expectations of goose eggs. We had tried quail eggs (cute! precious! subtle & delicious!) and duck eggs (rubbery! weird! why-the-hell-would-you-use-these?). With a new type of egg the size of my palm, would it be great? Or would it be awful? The saleswoman assured us that 1 goose egg equaled 3 chicken eggs in volume, and perhaps the same ratio of richness too.

So we hard boiled one (more like soft boiled - only leaving it boiling for 8 minutes) and poached the other (taking a day in between to rest our palettes. The massive egg was difficult to poach, forming its own pod around the yolk and a train of nebula-like opalescent egg white. The hard-boiled white was almost pearl-escent.

The verdict? Rich, delicious. We'd do it again. Out with the duck and in with the goose.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Confessions of a Procrastinator, a Cultivator

I must confess, this week is the first week that I have been consistently productive, immersing myself in reading and research for my dissertation, due in a little over two months. I am still in a dense fog as to what exactly I will articulate, but the search has begun, I have begun to sift.

And for the past few weeks, what have I been doing? I've been mulling ideas. I took out a few books, I let them sit on my floor a while. I have focused on other things. All this idling, perhaps it is a luxury, perhaps it is a space for dreaming, for breathing, for letting ideas coagulate. Letting the fields of grey matter in my mind lay fallow after the condensed rush of the last semester, its presentations, papers and exam.

So now I reach into my pockets and begin sow the next crop...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Perfecting Pancakes

On Shrove Tuesday, Tess and I decided to celebrate by starting our morning in the kitchen at the pan, flipping. It doesn't take much to get us into the kitchen and it doesn't get much to get our brains scheming either. So with Shrove Tuesday come and gone, we were back at it again when the pancake-hankering or the creative culinary spirit struck once more.

We found the first recipe we used to yield rubbery results and decided to substitute other things for milk (aka the culprit) thanks to my father's insight. We tried orange juice, oat milk and just plain water. Experimenting further, we wanted to marry the flavour of orange juice pancakes with the perfect texture of oat milk pancakes and voila, we've flipped into our favorite.

Tess & Stefan's Perfect Pancakes

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
115ml oat milk
115ml orange juice
125g plain flour

Mix egg, oat milk and orange juice. Pulse in blender a few times to mix.

Sift flour and add gradually to liquid mixture in blender (pulse a few times, don't go crazy) until all flour is added.

Pour into a bowl or make sure you can ladle from container to pan.

Heat pan and add a bit of butter. Should be nice and hot.

Add batter, spread it out, let it sit and bubble. Shake the pan and work your flippin' action.

Bon appetit!