Tuesday, December 11, 2012


It used to be that a busy studio life meant less cooking. While that's true of 'home' cooking, the increasing functionality of our studio kitchen means I can get an idea for a meal on the way to the studio, and actually cook it up at the studio!

That's sort of what happened the other morning. On the way to the studio, a flyer from my Co-op fell out of one of my bags and I spied a recipe for latkes. It being Hannukah and all, I felt I should make my mom proud and make some for my studio mates. I scanned the recipe and knew I could make it 'more or less' as written, and the results were very well received!

homemade tastes better on handmade, the village potters, crazy green studios, sweet potato, parsnip, latke

With thanks to the Co-op flyer (I'm sure many who are used to my vague lists of ingredients and cooking process will delight in an actual recipe!) - with my adjustments:

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Latke

Makes 12 latkes.

2 cups shredded sweet potatoes
1 cup shredded parsnips
1/2 small onion, grated
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup polenta style corn meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Peel the sweet potatoes and parsnips and shred using a food grater or food processor. Wrap the shredded bits in a few paper towels and squeeze out the excess liquid. Grate the onion and wrap that in a few paper towels to squeeze out excess liquid. Add onion to sweet potato and parsnips.

Dust the shredded veggies with the cornmeal, salt, and cayenne pepper. Toss to mix and coat evenly. Lightly beat the two eggs, then pour over the veggies and mix till evenly coated.

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with vegetable oil, and come up the sides about 1/4 inch. When the oil is hot, scoop a large spoon full of the latke mix into the pan, then flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Repeat until the pan is filled, but not crowded, and lightly sprinkle the flattened tops with sea salt (this side only).  Brown the latkes on each side for about 3-4 minutes, then remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the mix.

** ** **

I think there are many options to play with in the mix. Half way through cooking these, I happened upon a leftover roasted corn on the cob in the fridge, so I scraped off the kernels and added them to the remaining latkes. Very good! Next time I'll probably add some fresh herbs, maybe some other root veg, maybe do a curried version...

Toppings: The co-op flyer suggested a topping of sour cream mixed with a minced apple. I had a container of coconut milk yogurt (apricot) and used that instead, but they were quite good even without a topping.

Happy Hannukah!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cool Craft Market: December 14-16

Join me in downtown Asheville December 14-16 for some holiday fun and great handmade gifts at Handmade in America!

Cool Craft Market: Holiday Edition and VIP Preview Party
December 14-16, 2012

VIP Preview Party
Friday, Dec 14, 5pm-8pm
$10 + one item for Homeward Bound of Asheville. See below for items to bring.

Saturday, 10am -5pm, free
Sunday, 11-4pm, free

Location: HandMade in America Office HandMade in America is located at 125 S. Lexington, Suite 101 Asheville, NC 28801. HandMade in America's front doors are located on Hilliard Avenue between S. Lexington Ave. and Church Street.(Paid parking located across from front doors. Free parking available as you can find arounf block)

This December, HandMade in America is excited to  host its first annual Cool Craft Market: Holiday Edition. This Market will feature 25 vendors from around Western North Carolina, selling both functional and decorative items including clothing, accessories, pottery, natural products, kitchenware, and ornaments. The Cool Craft Market will be a fantastic place to find one of a kind gifts ranging from $5-$300, just in time for the holidays!

On Friday, December 14th from 5-8:00pm HandMade in America is having a VIP Preview Party, with item donations to benefit Homeward Bound of Asheville, a group with a mission to end chronic homelessness in the city. Guests of the party will have their first choice on market items as well as free food and drink to celebrate the holiday season. Come enjoy local craft and local music by The Willows. Local wine and food will be served. Tickets will cost $10 and HandMade asks that everyone bring one item from the Homeward Bound of Asheville necessity's list. (See below)

This Party is sponsored by Element Advertising, WNC Magazine, Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro, SignARama, Asheville Brewing Company and Homeward Bound.

Items to Bring

*Homeward Bound items are not required on Saturday and Sunday but we will still accept donations throughout the weekend.

Ground Coffee
Toilet Paper
Disposable Razors

For Pathways to Permanent Housing
Cleaning Supplies – Trash bags, paper towels, all-purpose cleaners
Toilet brush, Broom, Mop, Dust pan
Plates, Bowls, Cups, Silverware
Pots and Pans
Coffee Pots
Dishrags/Dish Towels
Shower Curtains, Liner, and Rings
Sheets (full and queen)

Participating Artists

Ryan-Ashley Anderson
Linda Azar
Anja Bartels
Elynn  Bernstein
Amy Brandenburg
Julie Fawn Boisseau
Melanie Carreira
Chad Alice Hagen
Linda LaBelle
Jude Lally
Cara  May
Sandra McCartney
Mary  Mikkelsen & Henry Pope
Dyann Myers
Christopher Perryman
Susan Seidman
Michon Sentner
Matthew Smith
Cara Steinbuchel
Lori Theriault
Barbara Updike
Anita Walling
Doc Welty
Sheree White Sorrells
Daniele Wickel


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Liebster Blog award

Thank you New Day Pottery for nominating me for the Liebster blog award.  

The Liebster Blog award is given to bloggers who have less then 200 followers. "Liebster" is the German word for "favorite".  Here's how it works:

Each blogger should post 11 facts random facts about themselves.
-Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award on to.
-Choose 11 bloggers (less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them to your post.
-Go to their page and tell them about the award.
-No tag backs!

Random facts about me.

1. I am originally from Vermont
2. Random past job: I drove an ice cream truck.
3. I worked in theatre for over 10 years.
4. I was in a Freddie Mercury video while in London.
5. I collect vintage cookbooks.
6. I have six very cool studio-mates.
7. I just got a smart phone, and luckily my 14 year-old goddaughter is teaching me how to use it.
8. Random past job: talent agent.
9. One dog, one cat, lots of 'mo-hair' clothing.
10. My mom and stepdad are in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and they look very sharp when in uniform.
11. Oddly, I love to travel almost as much as I love to nest.

New Day Pottery's Questions for me:

1. Where did you grow up.
 Central Vermont, then moved to Georgia during high school.
2. What is your favorite place to visit?
Someplace I've never been.
3. How many pottery mugs do you own that are not made by you?
hmmm...not sure I've ever counted. At least 40, probably more.
4.What is your favorite book?
Hopefully the one I'm reading.
5. How many art shows do you participate in every year?
Not as many over the past several years as I've been trying to 'nest' my studio, but still 4-6 locally/regionally.
6.What is your favorite pizza?
Thin crust, no cheese, spicy sauce, black olive, caramelized onion, baby bella mushrooms, roasted garlic. Sometimes a little julienned prosciutto too.
7. What kind of music do you listen to most?
Depends on what I'm doing - in the studio I may listen to 'All Songs Considered' when I want to hear new or off beat music, but then I'll also loop Springsteen albums on the ipod for 'comfort and joy'. One of my studio mates loves to blast Tom Waits, and another likes broadway soundtracks. It's all good.
8. Beach or Mountains?
9.Favorite TV show?
It used to be CBS Sunday Morning when I had a tv. 
10. Last movie you saw?
Looking for Sugarman -  HIGHLY recommend it.
11.Favorite child hood memory?
Riding the bus from Tampa to Atlanta with my bestie after a week at soccer camp, probably driving everyone else on the bus crazy with our constant laughter.

My nominations:


Crazy Green Studios' questions for you.

1. Where did you travel last?
2. When did you know you wanted to do what you're doing now?
3. Who was your favorite teacher?
4. What's in your fridge?
5. Who was your first 'hero'?
6. Who was your first 'crush'?
7. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
8. Favorite board game?
9. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
10. Words to live by?
11. What advice do you have for the next generation?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shop Early. Shop Local.

Crazy Green Studios accepts the 2012 and 2013 Asheville Go Local Card. For all purchases over $100 of pottery by Lori Theriault at The Village Potters' Gallery, use your Go Local card to receive a 10% discount.
Use your card on December 2 at our Holiday Open House for an extra 10% off that!

Shop Early. Shop Local.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What a Crock

The Village Potters (photo by Kirsten Fuchs).L-R: Melanie Robertson, Bernie Segal, Karen Dubois, Cat Jarosz, Sarah Wells Rolland, Lori Theriault, Judi Harwood
 Almost a year ago, I joined a collective of other potters to form The Village Potters, and while we still have our growing pains and developmental challenges, it's been a most fantastic venture. Food-wise, it's been an interesting blend of backgrounds and eating styles, but we're all lately on the same page about trying to cut down on the celebratory sweets and focus on the good, local, energy-providing foods that will keep us happily productive.

We have a small kitchen here, but well enough equipped to provide more than the microwaved frozen dinner. My trusty Foreman grill has already toasted up several sandwiches, a few portabello mushrooms, some salmon, and most recently some peaches. And my little rice cooker has done its duty as well, whipping up quick soups and stews with silky aromas gliding throughout the studio. My studio-mates have taken notice, and they're quite excited about the prospect of the endless possibilities I promise them as we move into the cooler fall months.

Grilled peaches off the mini-Foreman grill.
So yes my little appliances have been working well, but they're meant for small meal production, and there are up to seven of us here at any one time, so sexy smells wafting through the studio will not do if there's not enough to share! Studio-mate Sarah to the rescue, arriving today with a larger crock pot for our collective nourishment! 

The newest member of the collective, already smellin' up the place good!

Today's inaugural concoction of lentils with seasonal, local veggies, a bit of chicken broth with some curry seasonings was a big hit. I see more goodies simmering in our future. Next up may be a larger grill, and then perhaps a larger kitchen area. 

So you see, 'Homemade Tastes Better on Handmade' aren't just empty words in a catchy slogan to me - we field test it every day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Studio La Chouffe: Community & Collaboration

It has indeed been a busy summer, and anyone who only follows me here can tell it from the lack of regular posts (something I'm always trying to improve). So thanks for following if you're still paying attention here, and if you didn't know, you can also keep up with the many doings of Crazy Green either on the facebooks, or on my webpage (linked on the right side bar) or via my endeavor as one of The Village Potters at our website or facebook page. Thanks again.

studio la chouffe

Something I've been wanting to do with this blog is to highlight other sources of my own inspiration. In this case it comes in the form of a visit to Studio la Chouffe, the home of Holly deSaillan clay & mosaic. Holly and I became friends when we both had studios at a community clay studio, and we have remained mutual fans, sources of inspiration and instigation for each other.

My first goal was just to highlight her wonderful slip-straw built studio where she makes her beautiful mosaics, and show how her unique approach of tumbling her clay and glass components makes her works beautiful to see and touch. Well, that's still my goal, but Holly was recently commissioned to make a large (over 30 feet long!) mosaic for the private 'Visiting Garden' at the Department of Social Services in downtown Asheville. Her "Appalachian Animal Parade Mosaic" will feature animals of the area along with tiles representing indigenous plants, and her approach to the project most definitely fits the description of a collaboration, and a true community collaboration at that. The mosaic, and the entire Visiting Garden project, is the brain-child of talented native plant specialist Sadie Adams of Growing Native Nursery.

Holly de Saillan, unloading more ceramic shards

To make a mosaic of this size, Holly will use a combination of glass and ceramic shards, along with ceramic tiles. For the tiles that depict indigenous plants, Holly had help from the kids attending the Asheville Community Design Lab through Roots & Wings School of Art (where she will teach this fall). 

native plant tiles (even poison ivy!)

The tiles will line a portion of the wall, and ceramic and glass shards will make up the animals. For the ceramic shards, Holly has called upon Asheville potters to share their rejects and broken pieces*, and I'm very happy that my glaze tests and 'oops' pots will have a good home and a second life in a beautiful piece of art that will bring much happiness to children and their families visiting this garden. 

array of donated pieces awaiting the hammer and tumbler.pieces shown donated by myself, Sarah Wells Rolland, and Kyle Carpenter

My studio mate Sarah at The Village Potters has also made some contributions, and I'm sure more members of The Village Potters will be donating by the end of the commission! 

one of Holly's beautiful mosaics greets you on the path to studio la chouffe

I made a visit to Holly's studio to see the initial process involved in getting ready for this installation, which she will begin in the next week and will complete by the end of August. That seemed daunting itself to me, and after seeing what she's doing to prepare, it's no less daunting in my mind, but having seen Holly's work on other levels, I know she's just the person for the task!

the sweet little 'hula kiln' that will tirelessly fire all the tiles for the Appalachian Animal Parade

Studio la Chouffe is, as I mentioned, of slip-straw construction, and I'm happy to say I helped there too! After the studio frame was built, we had several work parties to fill the walls with a mixture of clay slip and straw bale, packing in beautiful colored bottles that now bring beautiful light into the studio.

inside the cool, clay walls of studio la chouffe, with beautiful, diffused dancing light of many colors!

Holly's partner Basil has continued more studio construction, including a gorgeous back deck. Holly's work and esthetique add to the landscaping that they've done together to make the studio grounds a welcoming place for humans and critters alike.

another happy member of studio la chouffe

I also mentioned Holly's unique approach of tumbling her glass and shards. It's hard to describe the difference this makes. Tumbling of course takes the sharpness off the edges, and gives glass shards a soft hue  and actually brings more depth to the tones in clay shards.

the tiny tumbler, hard at work!

Her little tumbler has been working 24/7 since she started preparing for this commission, making her what I like to call a "small batch" mosaic artist. Each time the tumbler completes a cycle, she has another box full of shards ready to go in, and as they come out, they get added to piles of other shards that she carefully sorts based on how they'll be used in the mosaic.

chards, out of the tumbler

I've already made this into a much longer article than intended, and I've only scratched the surface! So this is just the introduction - you'll learn more about Holly as I continue to follow the progress on this project, and you'll get to see the mosaic wall develop before your eyes! Take note and follow closely, because this finished project will not be open to the public, but only to those families visiting the Social Services office.

If you have been following me at all, you know that I've been happily immersing myself in the experience of being a part of the Collective at The Village Potters, and the collaborative atmosphere that is leading toactual collaborations with my studio mates. Collaboration is nothing new in the art world. Many gifted artists find alignments with others and I think it's very natural that they explore the 'what if' of working together. I'm happily experiencing that in my own studio, recently beginning a series of collaborations with Sarah Wells Rolland, the first of which is now showing in The Village Potters Gallery. One of the pots I'll be donating to the mosaic project is an early glaze test in preparation for that collaboration, and it makes me so happy to know those pieces will be a part of another piece of art!

*any Asheville-area potter with high fire (cone 10) shards to donate, please contact Holly deSaillan via her website. And if you're on the facebooks, you can follow Holly's progress in her Appalachian Animal Parade album on her page.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Handed Down Homemade

I love cookbooks, and I know I'm not alone in that feeling. I read them like novels, and hunt down vintage books sometimes to only read the forewords. Talk about social anthropology! 

When my friend Karen and I were roommates, I gave her one of my favorites that she often borrowed, and it's nice to see she's still putting it to good use (it may be the worse for wear, but that's not always a bad thing!):

Today's post and recipe are actually from K. Crane, that same friend who is also an Art Therapist and Artist in Lexington, KY. Her words follow (with an insert from me below the title):

Nana's Oat-Wheat Bread. From Jane Brody's (falling apart) Good Food Cookbook(and the 'Handmade' element to this story is the lovely wood cutting board sitting under the bread. It was made by the author's father, given to her mother, who always thought it 'too nice' to use. K, on the other hand, thinks it's too nice NOT to use!)

(My notes): This is a healthy bread, with 3 types of grain, sweetened with molasses (I used local). Local sorghum would work too. The recipe calls for one kneading, but please note that I always use two. In the photo, the bread on the left was kneaded twice and the one on the right only once. The one on the right still tasted great, but you get a more beautiful rise if you knead twice, plus, it only takes a couple minutes to give it that second kneading. Listen to me, talkin bout bread like I know what I'm doing. I just know I like this bread a lot.

Also, the original recipe calls for the traditional way of blooming yeast but I now use instant yeast (thank you Alton Brown), so I'll put my instant yeast directions in parenthesis.

1. If using traditional active dry yeast, do the following:
place 1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees) in a small bowl, and stir in 1 1/2 packages (4 teaspoons) active dry yeast), and set aside until the yeast starts to bubble.....OR you can use 3 teaspoons of instant yeast (see below)

1/4 teaspoon ginger
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (I use old fashioned oats myself)
3 1/2 cups boiling water
4 TBSP butter or vegan margarine such as Earth Balance
1/2 cup light or dark molasses
1 TBSP salt
1 cup of 100% Bran flake cereal
2 cups whole wheat flour
4-5 cups white flour

2. Place the oats in a big-ass bowl along with squares of the butter, molasses, salt, and ginger. If using intant yeast instead of the traditional active dry, put that in now too. Pour the boiling water over it, stir to dissolve and combine well.

3. Add the bran cereal, whole wheat flour, and, if using the traditional proofed yeast, put that in now too.. Combine well, Start adding the white flour. You will probably get through about 4 cups of flour and use the 5th cup after you turn out the dough to start kneading. When the dough starts to pull away from the bowl easily turn it out.


4. Turn out the dough ona floured surface and knead it for 8-10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Dough will be soft not stiff. Put the dough into another large bowl that has been greased and turn it to coat it. cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until is has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (see photo)

5. Punch down the dough, take it out and divide into thirds. Briefly knead each little loaf, about 3-4 minutes then put each in a bread pan (9x5x3), cover with a towel and let them rise until they double in size, about another hour or so.

6. Bake the bread in a preheated 350 oven for about 35 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.


Let them cool then release them from the pans and enjoy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

carving away at new works

just a quick peek at some of what's going on inside the studio:

these are being developed as a 'thank you' to a lovely group of supporters who helped me join The Village Potters. It's a celebration on many levels to make them!

And the celebration continues in a collaboration with my studio mate & mentor, Sarah Wells Rolland. It's still in process, with more whittling to come today.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A new design born of love and happiness...

Introducing a new design line, one that I will call the "F&A" line in honor of the groom & bride who inspired it with a special wedding commission:

There will be some adjustments as I work out the design on new pieces, but I quickly fell in love with the elements while decorating these mugs, and I'm looking forward to seeing where else they'll grow.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!

Happy Mother's Day Mom!! I know you wish we could spend the day together, and so do I, but you also know that you're with me every day, and it's not just because of the daily phone call!

So while I cannot bring you dozens and dozens of roses today, I hope you know that if I could, I'd shower you with them daily, just like our phone calls. 

But you would run out of vases, so just consider every phone call a single rose (like I do), and then you'll always have a beautiful bouquet (like you!) on hand.

So I hope you'll accept this 'virtual' showering of roses, along with my continued showering of love, admiration, and awe for all that you are, as a small but sincere Mother's Day gift.

And there will be a visit soon! Details are in the works - till then, I look forward to my 'rose a day' on the phone, and the strength, love, and grace that comes with having a mom like you!

Happy Mother's Day Mom - I Love You! xoxoxo

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Out of the Kiln, Into the Show!

all loaded and ready to go
Well it's finally happened, dear readers. The kiln was built, the inspectors all nodded, the sprinklers were changed, and we fired. And oh boy, did that kiln fire! 

going into reduction

The first firing in a new kiln, and even though this kiln has been working for someone for over 25 years, it's pretty much brand new as it was deconstructed, moved, then reconstructed partially with new brick and a slight adjustment to its layout. So the first firing was fast, and a little hotter than we intended, but the work that came out was still very pleasing, and with the information learned, we'll move ahead to more firings and soon will have the entire process finely tuned. I'm now working on some very special pieces for my next full kiln - small tokens of great appreciation to many people who have supported my transition into The Village Potters, and I'll be sharing that process in the blog soon.

two of the pots headed for display at The Junction

But for now, almost as quickly as they came out of the kiln, much of what was fired in this load is already out the door or soon to be out the door. Some so fast I didn't even get a picture, like the oil bottles and olive oil dipping bowls that were delivered to The Tree & Vine, or the mugs delivered to The French Broad Chocolate Lounge, or the water cups and aromatherapy diffusers that went to the Downtown location of Sensibilities Day Spa. Luckily, I won't load in my display at The Junction until next week, so I had a chance to take a couple of quick snaps (above). I'll take some very quick snaps of the rest, and what you don't see here you'll be able to see soon at my facebook page.

Much of what is left will go with me this weekend (Saturday & Sunday) to the Weaverville Art Safari, where I am a visiting artist to my lovely host, textile artist Susan Webb Lee

coneflower tumblers

Susan and I worked together back in the days of Echo Gallery, and it was there we learned how nice our worked looked together, and I'm really looking forward to having her gorgeous textiles beneath and around my pots again! 

small plates

The Art Safari is a self-guided tour of artists' home studios in the scenic area surrounding Weaverville and Barnardsville, NC. This year I will be among 41 artists and visiting artists, showcasing all media of work. If you're in the area, please stop by and see me and Susan, we're at stop number 19 on the map, or come by the Preview Party on Friday night and say hi!

coneflowers in bloom at The Village Potters

You'll also find some of what came out of the kiln at The Village Potters Gallery, and after this weekend you'll also find me there feverishly working away at another kiln load for more exciting developments ahead. Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

more ramps...

The weather of late has been so mild, it's almost easy to forget it's only slightly past mid-April, and still officially Spring. The recent bounty of ramps and spring greens is a good reminder, and happily last night and this morning are nicely cool, the way a Spring morning should be. It's motivated another ramp-inspired dish from inside the oven, this time calling up one of my favorite ways to use leftovers.

In short, a leftover saute of kale, garlic, and ramps were mixed up with eggs, veggie broth, and cornmeal, with just a little salt and cayenne, then baked until it puffed. Yes, another take on the frittata, but adding the cornmeal gave it a nice heartiness that suits this morning's chill, and goes nicely with a late morning second pot of coffee.

Friday, April 20, 2012

More Spring Ramp-age

Spring continues to bring more and more out of the gardens, and luckily for those of us who love them, that still includes ramps, both cultivated and wild. And as crazy as it sounds, when there are several local Tailgate Markets that happen well within reach of my home or studio, my time and budget have not allowed me to venture into one of them yet this season. Thankfully, I have one other option, and that's studio delivery of delicious eggs and vegetables from a local farm, Mudluscious Pottery & Gardens.

Today's delivery: eggs, ramps, kale, and shiitake mushrooms. And I'm still on my budget. I'm allowing myself $20/week toward the market veg, when I have it and when I can get to the market, and this delivery came well under that and will be a part of meals throughout the next week (ramps and mushrooms in more egg dishes, and in a soup, kale chopped thinly for a nice raw salad base, egg salad for a light lunch at the studio ... and more I'm sure!), along with pantry stock.

Tonight was a quick frittata using a bit of everything in the bag, plus a small local sweet potato and some dried thyme from my old spiral garden. I find that when I cook this fresh and seasonal for myself, I barely season at all, so I can really enjoy all the immediate and earthy tastes of things recently harvested. I've just finished a few bites of frittata, and I'm enjoying the resonant flavors of the ramps, the mild musk of the shiitake, the tangible green taste of the kale, all enveloped in a silky mix of fresh eggs ... paired with a nice Pale Ale, and dinner is served.

My enthusiasm for the dish is illustrated by the way I practically hacked it out of the pan, remembering too late the pretty picture I intended to take for the blog. I also fully intended to measure amounts, but was more hungry than analytical when I got home with my bag of goodies, so these are educated guesses, feel free to tweak as you please:

Frittata with Ramps, Kale, Shiitake, and Sweet Potato

2 TBSP extra virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic clove, smashed & chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme leaves (or 1 TBSP fresh leaves)
1 cup chopped ramps (bulbs & greens)
Approx 6 medium size leaves of kale, taken off the stem and chopped
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 small sweet potato, cut into quarters and then thinly sliced
5 eggs, beaten
2-3 TBSP almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Use an oven-safe skillet and heat olive oil over moderate heat. Saute the ramps, garlic and shallots lightly, then cover and let simmer 2-3 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste, then add sweet potatoes. Stir to mix, cover and let simmer another 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and kale, stir to mix and let cook, covered, another 3-4 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk/beat the eggs with salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and almond milk. Uncover the saute pan and pour the eggs over as evenly as possible, shaking the pan lightly to distribute. Immediately place the pan in the pre-heated oven and cook until eggs puff (you can switch it to a broil as it sets if you want to brown the top more) and set, 4-5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes, then cut into wedges and carefully remove. You can also try loosening the entire frittata by running a spatula around the sides and under the bottom, then inverting the entire pan onto a plate. For serving, if you do it this way, I suggest you then invert it again onto another plate to show off the prettier side. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ramps, and Local on a Budget

I said there'd be ramps, and here are some. I picked up a bunch at the local market and quenched my cravings for a good breakfast ramp dish:

Sweet potato hash w/ramp bulbs & greens,
ginger & tart apple under poached eggs

Nothing fancy recipe-wise. I let the thinly sliced ramp bulbs soften slowly in olive oil over med-lo heat, then tossed in the greens and sweet potatoes and let it all cook down slowly, adding only a bit of salt and a splash of veggie broth. I added in thinly sliced ginger and tart apple toward the end, and let it continue to cook until they were softened. I poached the eggs till the yolks were a creamy soft (I admit - I got distracted making coffee and forgot about them until they almost boiled over, but they were just about perfect). It's a very local affair - the ramps, sweet potatoes, and ginger were grown locally. The olive oil came from the Greek olive tree farm of a local family, and the eggs are from my favorite 'farmers who will deliver to your studio'. The budget it tight this week, so my $22 in groceries that included the ramps and sweet potatoes will stretch to cover the next 10 days or so with what's in the pantry, and there will be more ramps!

Budgets are a big consideration for many these days, and it brings to mind the perception that eating locally or organic is too expensive. It can be, but it doesn't have to be, and I'll likely mention that often as we go into this new market season. As I do, please keep in mind that I'm speaking from my own perspective - I'm not feeding a family, but I'm also not brimming with disposable income. My 'day job' is that I'm a full-time studio potter & instructor, in a new business venture that's still relatively young. If you've ever started (or, as is my case, re-started) a small business, you know how long it takes before the 'money out' column finally gets shorter than the 'money in'. It would be very easy for me to stock my pantry with inexpensive, processed foods, or fruits and veggies from big box stores that have low sticker prices.

But little as I make, it's up to me to track the quality and nutritional value of the foods I eat. And because I can't write big checks to social and/or political causes I may support, my financial contribution and my voice comes in where I do spend my dollars. So I choose to carefully support local farmers and producers, and local small businesses. Yes, there are steady menus of PB&J at times, but with planning I can enjoy the bounty of what is available to me locally and seasonally, and will share it here (maybe not so much the PB&J, although there are some delicious options when you grill them, so maybe you will see them here).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

catching up...

Thank goodness I didn't actually make a resolution to post every week this year (and thank goodness I don't believe in resolutions!). The intention was certainly to examine different and delicious ways to enjoy local, seasonal fare throughout the year, and I have been DOING that, but the sharing of experiences and information here did not fare well after January.

I did enjoy local and seasonal fare through February and March, although life, the universe, and everything seemed to stand in the way of much documentation or posting.

In February, I continued to enjoy local winter squash and sweet potato based dishes, focusing on curries and stews like the Chipotle Curry I did in January, but with the more mild weather upon us already, I lightened it up by using the newest flavor of Asheville-produced Roots Hummus: Thai Coconut Curry (you can use the same recipe linked above, and change veg to your taste).

March brought even more warming weather, and happily earlier appearances of spring greens, so it was easier to lighten meals, one of my favorite ways being a lovely chopped salad of sorts: julienned kale, collards, red cabbage, romaine, and tart apples, with some grated carrot. Mixed up with a light vinaigrette or your favorite creamy dressing and toss in a handful of sunflower seeds. It made a great side as well as the perfect mid-day snack to keep going. No pictures of that one, but it will make another appearance as we move into the heart of farmer's market season.

I had a little culinary indulgence as well by attending the Blind Pig's Escoffier dinner. I apparently had the wrong settings on my camera, and the picture above of our table and beverages was practically the only one to be deciphered. It was a fine evening, one that may get a closer look back in a future post, but you can see more images of it at the Blind Pig site, along with a few that I collected from other attendees and posted on our facebook page.

And here we are in mid-April. Ramps abound and if you want to indulge yourself, you can take part in a local Celebration of Ramps later this month. I'll be taking a more moderate approach, still living with the distractions of the aforementioned life, the universe, et al. But there shall be ramps. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's Getting Closer

There's a light at the top of the stack ... a little further up, a little more iron, a few more inspections, and it'll be time to fire!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Awakenings

If you only follow me here, you'd think I've been hibernating, but that's far from the truth. Here's a glimpse of what's been happening since the first of the year:

teaching some classes...
making some pots...
bringing back a favorite design...
...and they're blooming up nicely...
I finally got the new logo on cards, website, and blog...

working on some marketing for The Village...

...where I worked the bevvie table...
At The Village, we threw a party for our friend
Cara to celebrate her growing business... 

attended Nan Jacobsohn's workhop at
The Village Potters - looking forward to
the next one with Barbara Knutson!

Was invited to join Susan Webb Lee
at this spring's Art Safari in Weaverville
moved again, dog and cat settling in nicely (with roomie's cat)

And most recently and exceptionally thrill-producing: the kiln is moving into the studio!!