Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Steal Christ off the cross and go back for the nails." Velma Rice

"Some people are so bent on taking for themselves they would steal Christ off the cross and go back for the nails." Velma Rice. This is a quote I heard often from my mother as a little girl. I have no clue where she heard this or if she made it up herself so today I am going to give credit to my deceased mother Velma Rice. Here she is in her dining room in 1978. She was fifty four years old in this picture. My mother was the personification of selflessness.

Selfishness is nothing new. All societies and religions have stories of how it is better not to think of only yourself above the good of others. One example I can think about from the bible is the story of Cain and Able.

Two eldest sons of Adam and Eve, born after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Cain was "a tiller of the soil" and Abel "a keeper of sheep." Both prepared a thanksgiving sacrifice, but God showed a preference for Abel's offering, whereupon, in a fit of jealousy, Cain slew his brother and became the first murderer in history. When confronted by God, Cain says "Am I my brother's keeper?" and to this God replies, "Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground!" (Gen. 4:9-10).

It should come as no surprise to me how far people go to get their needs met regardless of how much it hurts others. My attention today is on the Swine Flu vaccine.

First, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no intention of getting the swine flu vaccine. I am not comfortable with a government mandate to get this vaccine.
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that certain groups of the population receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine when it first becomes available. These target groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

If you decide not to get a flu vaccine, What You Can Do Right Now ?

The National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC) site and join in the fight against mandatory swine flu vaccinations.

Educate yourself about influenza strains, vaccination risks, and the public health laws in your state that may require you or your children to undergo either mandatory vaccination or quarantine.
Take care of your health to reduce or eliminate your risk of contracting the flu. The key is to keep your immune system strong by following these guidelines:
Eliminate sugar and processed foods from your diet. Sugar consumption has an immediate, debilitating effect on your immune system.
Take a high quality source of animal-based omega 3 fats like Krill Oil.
Exercise. Your immune system needs good circulation in order to perform at its best for you.
Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is the likely cause of seasonal flu viruses. Getting an optimal level of vitamin D will help you fight infections of all kinds.
Get plenty of good quality sleep.
Deal with stress effectively. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, your body will not have the reserves it needs to fight infection.
Wash your hands. But not with an antibacterial soap. Use a pure, chemical-free soap.

I would like to add my own suggestion to use a Neti pot as a means of washing bacterial colonies out of your sinus.
Chicken Soup may also help; my mother used to call Chicken Soup, Jewish Penicillin
I know my mother did not make that up ;~) still how could you not feel better with bowl of homemade soup where the main ingredient is LOVE !!!

"that which does not kill us makes us stronger", Friedrich Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900), a German philosopher

For humanities sake I hope those that survive this pandemic are not the ones who are willing to take for themselves at the expense of pregnant women and children.

If you are sick stay home, turn off garbage television, read a good book and think of someway you can make this world a better place after you get better.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Pumpkin pie, if rightly made, is a thing of beauty and a joy - while it lasts....." The House Mother

"Pumpkin pie, if rightly made, is a thing of beauty and a joy - while it lasts....." The House Mother

The changing of the seasons inspires my choices in the kitchen for creating culinary art. The bright, fiery reds, oranges, and yellow hues of autumn leaves first gracing then falling from the trees awakens my taste buds hunger for homemade pumpkin pie.

This past weekend was the perfect time to experiment with a new recipe. Kara flew to visit Barry and his Meghan for the weekend in Eastern New York. I drove her to the airport Friday after work to meet him for a fun filled weekend. They made plans for Kara to meet their friends, Catherine in particular. Together they explore graveyards, took pics of Barry's hero Andrew Carnegie's grave site, went to an apple farm, Sleepy Hollow and horse back riding pageant to cheer on family friends. It was a joy to hear of their adventure from afar. I look forward for free time in my schedule to soon make the a similar journey.

Here at home it was the perfect weekend to brush up on my pumpkin pie making skills.

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup butter milk

Pate Brisee: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup cold buttermilk in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

After the dough has chilled sufficiently, place on a lightly floured pastry cloth, and roll into a 13 inch circle. Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself. Flute the pastry crust to make a decorative border. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes before pouring in the filling.

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1 can 29 oz. can of Pumpkin Puree
1 can (12 fl. oz.)evaporated milk
1 cup buttermilk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

You will have extra pumpkin pie custard to bake in a glass dish without the crust.

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and butter milk.
POUR into pie shell.
BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

This is the first time I tried using buttermilk when making Pumpkin Pie. I was very pleased with the results as it gives a pleasant creamy not to sweet taste to this nutritious dessert.

Jim and I spent a lovely afternoon leaf watching here in Western NY with a drive to Niagara Falls. We parked on the USA side to take pictures of the American and Canadian Falls as we walked in to Canada across the Rainbow Bridge.

Friday, October 23, 2009

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
Herman Cain quotes (American business man, author and speaker

Life must be good as I have been so busy working I have not had time to write in my blog.

Since my last entry I have been invited to create my line of clothing for Buffalo State College Runway #3 as an alumna. This so exciting since last year when I received the invitation I was swimming in the deep end of the pool at Savannah College of Art & Design, Graduate Fiber Program.

Erin Habes, BSC alumna, adjunct instructor and former boutique owner of Sweet & Dirty in Buffalo is the driving force behind the Runway Fashion shows in Buffalo. The Runway, first held in April 2008, was based on the collaboration of students from Erin’s fashion show production class and David Brinson’s senior project class. Held at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, it was featured as a Gusto at the Gallery event.

Exciting update, my one of a kind Devore scarves are going to be available at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts shop in time for the Holiday Season.

Each item is painstakingly crafted in velvet burnout with a unique hand applied pattern, then in dyed in multiple layers of hues to achieve my finish product. I see each piece as wearable art rather than a simple item of clothing. Although I am frequently asked, I always fail to give an account for the hours put into any individual item, as with any work of art I stay with it until it is complete. Obviously, the time and love I put into each item is reflected in the price. Devore is a simple technique yet not an easy technique. Even after five years of building skills in this medium I still have burnout that goes too far rendering the item useless. When I ask myself why I keep working in Devore, I always come back to my love of the rich hues playing in reflective light of the rich silk/ rayon velvet cloth. I can feel textiles with my eyes; the color makes my eyes dance. I love what I do, therefore, I will call it success ;~)

In addition to the Pittsburgh Center for the Art Shop, and ShopSCAD, my Devore is available at the Burchfield Penny Art Musem Store as well as our Etsy shoppe designed by my daughter Kara Rice Rafferty

Last weekend I made another prolific use of my time by meeting with the cheerful and friendly gallery director, Brigette Martin, to install my work for the Paper or Plastic ? show opening at the Luke & Eloy Gallery November 14th. 11-5:00 pm

Last yet surely not least, I was the guest of art critic Kurt Shaw to the opening night of, Shephard Fairey at the Andy Warhol Museum last Saturday evening.

So exciting to be the guest of Kurt, who is so respected as an artist, art critic and owner of Shaw Gallery in downtown Pittsburgh.

Now I have to get back to work with renewed enthusiasm after such a prolific weekend. Keep doing what you love and success will follow, in the mean time you are enjoying your life. Sounds like a win/win to me ;~)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment.

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”
Thich Nhat Hanh quotes (Vietnamese Monk, Activist and Writer. b.1926)

When I look at my skin I can see the patterns that remind me of my grandmother Clara Rice. As a young girl I took joy in spending time with my family as we lingered around the dinner table enjoying dessert coffee and especially family stories. Breaking bread, making an environment where people feel comfortable and welcome at my table gives me great joy. Even as a young girl I remember being very present to people with whom I spent time. I looked into their eyes as they speak, carefully listen to their voice paying special attention to the their mannerisms during our time together.
Working with my hands, sharing my abilities of cooking and sewing is the conduit for me to feel connections with my ancestors. I come from many generations of women who did not cooked for their family out of duty alone but took great pride and pleasure to share the fruits of their labor from their kitchens. Now that my children are adults the times we get together to share meals are fewer yet no less important.

In late September Barry flew in from NYC for a weekend visit at home. I always prepare for his visits by asking what he wants special for the weekend meals. That weekend we unanimously agreed to celebrate Oktoberfest with traditional family recipes. Our celebration began with German Spaten Oktoberfest to compliment generous helpings of Weisswurst, Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, Grated Potato Pancakes with sour cream, fresh Green Beans and my Grandmother Rice's Baked Apple Dumplings.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

one pound very lean bacon, often I use turkey bacon for the taste with less fat
one medium onion thinly sliced
one medium red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
6 Tbsp raw sugar
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Cook bacon in a large cast iron skillet until cooked, remove from skillet place on paper towels to drain excess drippings from the bacon.
slice one medium onion
add cabbage and sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes,
add sugar, toss to coat evenly. Add vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover, simmer until cabbage is tender, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I usually put the skillet in the oven to keep warm until the rest of the meal is ready to serve.
Serves 8-10 Baked Apple Dumplings

Pastry :2 cups flour(I use half whole wheat, half all purpose)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup nonfat milk
In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Cut in the shortening until the dough looks uniformly "not together"
Add the milk, and stir until moistened.
Roll out the pastry into a large rectangle...enough to make 6 dumplings. Cut into the squares. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar,if desire Preheat the oven to 375F.The Apples:Most will tell you to PEEL and CORE the apples, but I leave the peel and just remove the core. I use Cortland apples because the tartness complements the sweetness of the rest of the dish.
Before you core them:Make a compound butter with three tbsp sweet cream butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Do a taste test to decide how sweet you want this.Core the apple, and spoon the compound butter into each core.Place each apple on one of the dumpling squares. Moisten the edge of the pastry with water and fold up to the top and seal the edges.
Place in a Pyrex baking dish

Apple Dumpling Sauce:In a saucepan bring 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg to a boil. Stir constantly to create a caramel sauce, add 2tbsp of butter. Mix it thoroughly and then pour on top of the apple dumplings.

Bake the dumplings for 35-40 minutes.

We enjoyed a beautiful Saturday at Niagara Falls then returned home to linger over our Oktoberfest celebration. After a long day of cooking, sun and fresh air I was more than happy to go to sleep when Barry and Kara went out to visit with local friends. Upon returning home in the wee, wee hours of the morning Barry and Kara commented how the house held the aroma and memories of celebration at their Rice Grandparents home when they were young. To give my children a sense of history, a connection with my parents and my childhood home is the greatest compliment they could give me. Make time to share meals, recipes and family traditions with the people you love.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

" Paper Roses,Oh how real those roses seem to be."

Ever experience something that you thought was real that turned out to be more of a reflection than what you mistook for reality? How often do we mislead ourselves into believing in what we want something to be?

Although I was not thinking about the song made popular in the 1970's, Paper Roses, when I created my latest work, perhaps it was my subconscious guiding me that inspired these floral elements made of handmade abaca, cotton linter paper pulps.

Paper Roses
I realized the way your eyes deceived me,
with tender looks that I mistook for love.
So take away the flowers that you gave me
And send the kind that you remind me of
Paper Roses, Paper Roses, Oh how real those roses seem to be
But they're only imitation, Like your imitation love for me.

I thought that you would be a perfect lover.
You seemed so full of sweetness at the start
But like a big red rose that's made of paper
There isn't any sweetness in your heart.
Is there any hope for incurable romantics like me?
Perhaps it is better to keep your eye on reality and not get caught up in romantic dreams. Is there a better tomorrow out there somewhere or is it all an illusion of what we want it to be?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First you eat with your eyes.

Went to the Wegman today for a few items when the Purple and Orange Cauliflower caught my eye. I love vegetables, love to eat by color so I had to put one of each in my basket. Traditional white cauliflower with cheddar cheese sauce was something I loved to make a young girl. Cauliflower in split complementary color adds the fun of eating with your eyes before the fork ever gets near your mouth.

A quick research in wikipedia reveals health benefits from these vegetarian beauties.

Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower shares with broccoli and cabbage several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed. In addition, the compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appears to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate.[8] Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver's ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances.[9] A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.[10]

Orange cauliflower (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis) contains 25 times the level of Vitamin A of white varieties. This trait came from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada.[5] Cultivars include 'Cheddar' and 'Orange Bouquet'.
Purple cauliflower color is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine.[7] Varieties include 'Graffiti' and 'Purple Cape'. In Great Britain and southern Italy, a broccoli with tiny flower buds is sold as a vegetable under the name "purple cauliflower." It is not the same as standard cauliflower with a purple curd.
Cauliflower cheese, sometimes called cauliflower and cheese, is a British dish usually eaten as a main course for lunch or dinner. It is similar to macaroni cheese, though using cauliflower instead of macaroni. It can also be eaten as an accompanying vegetable to a traditional British "meat and vegetable" type meal - the most popular accompaniment being roast beef.
Cauliflower cheese consists of pieces of cauliflower lightly boiled and covered with a milk-based cheese sauce, for which a strong, hard cheese (such as cheddar) tends to be preferred. A more elaborate Béchamel sauce flavoured with cheese, English mustard and nutmeg, may also be used. The dish is topped with grated cheese (sometimes mixed with bread crumbs) and lightly grilled to finish it.
Pasta and extra ingredients, such as tuna, are sometimes added when it is served as a main meal. In the 19th and 20th centuries the dish was often served as an accompaniment to the roast meat and potatoes that were eaten for the traditional Sunday lunch, normally in the winter months.

I'm thinking Liz and Kelly are going to be trying new recipes with these colorful beauties.

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