Monday, October 10, 2011

Into The Village!

This falls into the category of 'everything I'd wished for, but way more than I'd hoped for'. If there's anyone who didn't hear about it, I have now officially moved into The Village Potters to become one of the Resident Artists as well as an instructor in their (our!) Teaching Center. Yay!!

Honestly, I've been so lax in blogging lately, and the last year has been so very, very ... well it's just too much to try and whittle down into a paragraph, so why not let's just pick up our story with Lori happily and excitedly accepting the offer to join The Village. The first phase of moving was a delight; with the help of some good friends with a parade of hand trucks and dollies, we moved my 'mini' studio set up that was in another part of the building over to the other side, down the dark elevator and into the new space. There's more studio to re-discover from my storage unit, much of which will be used in the Teaching Center, but that waits till after my next firing. I'll fire off-site once again, as it will be a month or two before we get the kiln installed here, and then I'll be all in one place and with a most excellent group of artists and mentors!

my new studio space, before phase one of the move-in

Phase One - ready to work, with some favorite studio juju in place

I am beyond pleased and excited to be joining my fellow Village Potters Judi Harwood, Cat Jarosz, Melanie Mitchell Robertson, and Sarah Wells Rolland. I'm already cherishing the friendships that are developing, and I can tell you right now, the artistic relationships will have a tremendous impact on my work in the very best way (ie, they're gonna kick my butt). Case in point: among my first tasks is to start building a portfolio for application to the Southern Highlands Craft Guild.

The Gallery at The Village Potters

Right now, the Gallery is open (Mon-Sat, 10-6), and if you're in the area you can stop by and see the work of all five resident Village Potters, as well as that of other regional artists. I'll be in the gallery on Wednesdays, so come by and say hi if you can! We're going to take the next month or so to get everyone moved in, and to begin our first session at the Teaching Center. I'll be teaching classes for beginner and beginning potters, much like I did in my old studio. The classes will run in 10-week sessions - check out more details at the website.

And now a very special word about how one gets to a place like this. I've had tremendous support in all shapes and forms since I've embarked on this pottery kind of life, even as I've been out here 'on my own', and I hope I've always properly expressed my gratitude. When this opportunity came along, I knew I'd need help in making it happen. It's a lot easier to say that than actually do the asking, but ask I did, and I am humbled and honored by the support that has come in all forms, from encouraging words to monetary investments that are indeed making the difference in my joining The Village. So a very big thank you to my "Village", which stretches over years and across many regions. Those of you who have made that investment will start seeing updates here (why, here's one now!). The new website is under development, and that will include a special place of thanks to all who have made this possible. Anyone curious about that whole thing, here's the link to the original letter that went out. It's going to be pretty crazy over the next month or two as we all get settled in, but I hope to keep updates here much more frequently.

And if you're in the area, please come by and check out the new studios, gallery and teaching center. Give me a heads up and I'll give you the tour! And please come celebrate with us as we host our Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, November 19 from 6-8pm. We'll be open our regular hours that day, but at 6 we'll put on the party music, bring out some nosh, and word is there may even be some fire dancing! I hope you can come join the festivities at The Village!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

sage wisdom

So it's only been a month since the last post, but after posting daily during the Eat Local Challenge, it feels like it's been much longer. I think it feels longer too because shortly after the last post, my hard drive crashed, taking everything with it (at least for now, future recovery is possible). I do have some tasty tidbits to share from the time since the crash, but those will come in snippets later when more time allows. For now, I'm noticing that while some herbs in my spiral garden are waning in the cooler weather, some still doing their thing at about the same pace as summer, the sage plant is going crazy! I know I haven't made daily garden visits, but it did seem like it doubled practically overnight!

So what to do with a bounty of fresh sage? I've been using it all season, chopped into egg dishes, added to salad greens, fried up for a snack, etc. And in this abundance, I've got visions of brown butter sauces and even rolling the leaves into fresh pasta, but what else is there? 

When in doubt, or on a quest, google! I got a kick out of the fact that the first link I followed talked about wanting some ideas, so naturally the author went to Twitter. We all have our muses. I've been on the Chocolate & Zucchini site before and have found great recipes, so it didn't surprise me to find a bounty of information to rival my growing sage crop.  Here is a compilation of suggestions that came from the Twitter query, and if you go to that archival page and scroll down to the comments, you'll find even more to add to the list:

Sage pairings:
- Sage + eggs (i.e. in an omelette)
- Sage + chicken (i.e. roast chicken with sage and lemon inside the cavity)
- Sage + lamb (i.e. in lamb burger patties)
- Sage + fried liver + croutons
- Sage + polenta
- Sage + onion (i.e. in stuffing)
- Sage + white beans (i.e. in white bean hummous or anopen sandwich)
- Sage + apple
- Sage + pineapple
Sage + roasted peanuts

Sage uses:
- Sage butter on gnocchi
- Sage butter on ravioli, especially pumpkin ravioli
- Sage butter on trout
- Sage olive oil with pasta and parmesan
- Put some leaves into pesto with other herbs.
- Add sage to duck sausage.
- Add sage to bean dishes.
- Infuse honey with sage.
- Use with parsley, rosemary and thyme in chicken risotti and soups.
- Add along with fresh parsley, basil, thyme, and rosemary to tomato sauces.
- Deep-fry the leaves and serve as an appetizer, or use as a garnish for poultry, meat dishes, or pasta.

Recipe ideas:
- Sandwich an anchovy between two leaves, batter and fry for great antipasto.
- Feta, prosciutto and sage involtini
- Sage on asparagus with shaved pecorino
- Lay two sage leaves over a long slice of sweet potato and wrap with a slice of prosciutto. Roast for 20 minutes or so with some olive oil (credit to Mark Bittman).
Italian bread and cabbage soup with sage butter
- Roast butternut squash on a thick bed of it.
- Sage and goats' cheese gnocchi
Sweet potato gnocchi with chestnuts and fried sage
- Put leaves on fish, wrap in prosciutto and sear in clarified butter and olive oil; finish in the oven.
- Take half a chicken breast, place 2 or 3 sage leaves on top, wrap in Parma ham, pack in foil, bake at 180°C (360°F). Open top side of package, pour in some dry white wine, and leave open in oven for 20 more minutes or until done.
- Wrap a flattened chicken thigh in prosciutto with a leaf of sage and pan-cook.
- Pan-fry chicken breasts, add sage, red onion, lemon & crème fraîche.
- Sauté chicken livers with shallots and sage, season, then add a little cream. Toss through pappardelle.
- Sauté lamb chops with a sage leaf on each side.
Saltimboca (veal, sage and prosciutto)
Pork, sage and apple burgers
- Mold around a piece of pork sausage (out of casing), batter and fry.
- Sage and cheddar biscuits or pumpkin sage biscuits
- Sage ice cream
- Sage panna cotta

Other uses:
- Freeze in ice cubes for summer drinks.
- Go native and use the dry sage leftovers to purify your kitchen from evil spirits (see smudge sticks).
- Sage tea is a great remedy for sore throat.
- Sage plants give the most beautiful blooms!

WHERE to start?!