When I am not cooking, I might be painting. It is all art.

 

Painting.jpg

I am taking a painting class at the Winslow Art Center on Bainbridge Island on Tuesday and enjoy the camaraderie of other artists and learning to paint small. We paint from small photographs on to 8 x 10 inch or 9 x 12-inch canvases.  This was my painting from the first day of class.

The teacher David Marty asked us to do a homework assignment, and I just finished mine.

Dock.jpg

This another 8 x 10-inch painting.  I find it interesting as I usually do paint in a much larger format, but am finding this satisfying for some reason.

Normally I paint abstracts in larger formats.  The one below is 36″ x 24″ and as you can see, it is very different from my smaller ones. Painting one.jpg

This one is 30 x 48 inches with black, gray, and gold leaf interspersed in other colors. I was looking at in the studio and think it is the perfect Halloween painting.  Look at the “evil” eye of the predator on the right side of the painting.  This guy is watching you, and it was totally an accident.

Painting 2.jpg

Just thought I would share something other than food art and interior design. I am doing a 3 x 5-foot commission right now and love the big scale of it.

When I am not cooking, I might be painting. It is all art.

Worst Generation of Cooks in the Kitchen

I found this article interesting, as all three of my sons and my daughter-in-law love to cook and have made some wonderful meals.  My sons would make me breakfast in bed for my birthday and for Valentines Day, starting when they were eight or nine.  They are all excellent cooks and they definitely know what and where to put a butter knife.  We sat down and ate with candles and cloth napkins whenever we could at home.  I thought it was important that they have good manners and know the basics in the kitchen. I always wanted them to be comfortable with any and all dining situations!  And, you what!  It worked.

According to Tasting Table, Millennials Are the worst generation of cooks in the kitchen

Only 60 percent can confidently identify a butter knife
Millennials Don't Know How to Cook

They might be able to apply Snapchat filters better than you can, but if there’s one thing millennials can’t do, is find their way around the kitchen.

According to a study from Porch, between millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers, millennials rate themselves as the worst kitchen cooks of all, with only 5 percent of twenty- to thirtysomethings considering themselves “very good” at home cooking. They rate themselves last in being able to tackle (very) basic dishes like fried eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and lasagna. (Though, they do feel more confident than baby boomers at baking store-bought plop-and-drop cookie dough.)

And while many baby boomers aren’t so great at identifying a salad spinner, Thrillist notes it’s not so bad once you consider about 40 percent of millennials can’t even recognize a butter knife.

The one thing they are good at? According to the study, millennials are the top generation investing in meal delivery services and utilizing internet videos for cooking advice. Hey, at least they’re trying.

 

Worst Generation of Cooks in the Kitchen

THE WARM SIDE OF MINIMALISM

Here is a wonderful article from Kohler about designing a simple, but wonderful bathroom.

Veil Master Bathroom Suite from Kohler

Minimalist design centers around de-cluttering space and providing more room for both the mind and the body to breathe. Too often this design style is mistaken for being stark, bare or monochromatic—but that is a far cry from the inviting feeling of warm minimalism. Follow these simple guidelines to carefully curate your space and ensure your bathroom can feel both pared down and cozy at the same time.

Well-Rounded Silhouettes:
Minimalism has evolved from harsh corners to the gestural, organic rounded edges seen in the pieces of the Veil Collection. By incorporating ergonomics and asymmetric spherical shapes into the minimalist world, this collection forms a powerfully comfortable design.

Overhead view of the Veil freestanding bath from Kohler

Beyond White:
White fixtures are a staple of minimalist suites like the Veil Collection, but they instantly become more inviting by adding décor and paint colors in a neutral color palette. When a room utilizes these subtle accents of taupes and shades of white, it creates a subdued energy that’s perfect for rejuvenation.

Tantalizing Textures:
While the overall aesthetic of minimalism shies away from the extravagant, bringing in textured fixtures creates interest without becoming overwhelming. When seen from far away, pieces like the Artist Edition Shagreen Sink don’t steal attention but upon closer inspection, its fine details add eye-catching depth and shimmer.

Oyster Pearl Artist Edition Shagreen Sink from Kohler

Nature as Nurture:
Intentionally choose a few perfect pieces of décor like plants or other natural materials to add to your design in order to help your bathroom feel less bare. Wood accents can be painted over as a way to blend the outdoors into your color scheme and bring energy to a space. The contrast of treated wood or splashes of greenery soothe the environment and bring the outdoors in.

Layers of History:
Items with a lived-in vibe can actually enhance a clean, minimalist design. For instance, distressed and oxidized metal finishes like the Composed Faucets in Titanium Finish present as sleek and contemporary but still have warmth. These designs infuse a sense of charm and intrigue in a modern space.

Composed Faucet in Titanium Finish from Kohler

Stay Versatile:
One way to keep out the clutter in a bathroom and still provide function is to expertly choose pieces that are multi-purpose. For example, the Verdera Lighted Mirror has built-in lights which eliminate the need for additional light sources. Hidden storage inside of a vanity or mirror also keeps your grooming items close but out of sight. In this way, minimalism emphasizes quality over quantity—a sentiment that translates to more mindful living in general.

The Verdera Lighted Mirror with built-in Amazon Alexa

Invisible Technology:
Tech innovations should elevate your bathroom experience without ever feeling intrusive. The Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror uses voice control to center your routine around mindfulness and immersing yourself in a relaxing escape from the modern world.

By following these warm minimalism trends you’re sure to create a space that feels as good as it looks.

THE WARM SIDE OF MINIMALISM

Granite or ???

Is Granite Going Out of Style? This is an article from Home Advisor with some interesting information.  You have lots of options.  Here is a place to learn a little bit about some of them.

Could granite’s 30-year reign be coming to an end?  Granite remains a solid choice, as it is both durable and attractive and it’s become increasingly affordable. But there’s just no denying granite’s seeming decline. As homeowners opt for more modern kitchen designs, they’re also opting for more understated countertop alternatives.

Here’s a quick look at some of the countertop’s hottest contenders:

Engineered Quartz:

Perhaps granite’s top competitor, engineered quartz offers the beauty of stone without the maintenance. It’s tougher than granite, and it’s highly resistant to scratching, cracking, staining and heat. Unlike granite, which offers the unique qualities of natural stone, engineered quartz is largely uniform; because it’s engineered, there’s no choice of one-of-a-kind slab. There are, however, a number of colors and designs available from stark modern whites to options closely resembling marble. And, because engineered quartz is non-porous, it never has to be sealed like natural stone.

Wood:

Homeowners seek and appreciate natural wood countertops particularly easy butcher blocks and those custom-created by quality craftsmen. While wood countertops can add warmth, balance, and beauty to any modern home, they require a fair amount of maintenance. Because wood is susceptible to damage from heat and moisture, it must be sealed about once a month. The best part about wood, though, is that it can be refinished in the event that damage does occur.

Soapstone:

Soapstone is an attractive, natural quarried stone that ranges from light gray to green-black in color. While the material is soft and pliable, it’s nonporous so doesn’t require regular sealing like granite. Soapstone is resistant to stains and acidic materials. The downside to soapstone is that it is susceptible to scratches and deep indentations. Light gray soapstone will weather and darken over time, occasionally developing a patina finish. The material comes in smaller slabs so seams will be visible in soapstone countertops longer than seven feet.

Concrete:

Concrete countertops came onto the scene in the 1980s and they’ve evolved since. These days, precast concrete countertops are available in a number of different colors. Generally, they’re flat and smooth, and they can run from 1.5 inches to 10 feet long. While concrete countertops have historically cracked and chipped easily, recent innovations have made them less prone to damage. Concrete is naturally strong and heat-resistant, and slabs can be sealed to prevent staining.

Stainless Steel:

There’s a reason restaurants use stainless steel countertops in their kitchens. It’s heat-, rust- and stain-resistant; it’s easy to clean, and it won’t absorb or harbor even the toughest bacteria. The downside to stainless steel countertops is that they scratch easily and they show it. For this reason, it’s best to use a cutting board anytime you’re prepping food on a stainless steel countertop. It’s a good idea to choose a brushed stainless finish that will help conceal any marks. At first blush, you may think that stainless feels ultramodern or cold, but a balance of stainless steel and wood can create a warm, timeless and uber-functional kitchen.

Not Sure Which Countertop to Choose?

When you’re remodeling your kitchen, the most important question to ask yourself is this: Are you remodeling for yourself or a potential buyer? If you’re remodeling for yourself, go with what you like best. And if you love granite, by all means, go with granite! But if you’re remodeling with an eye toward selling, go with a more neutral option. You’ll get the upscale look you’re going for without alienating granite-tired buyers.

 

Granite or ???

Kitchen Remodeling by Kohler

Here is a great article about kitchen remodeling by Kohler.  Enjoy!

FOUR KITCHEN REMODELING MYTHS

Prolific Kitchen Sink with Accessories

The kitchen is an everyday anchor; it’s where we gather with family and friends to truly feel at home. It’s a space that has so many demands; it must be practical, functional and welcoming all at the same time. So it’s not surprising that kitchens are a top priority when it comes to home remodels. It’s easy to fall prey to common misconceptions when planning a new kitchen or renovation, so we’re setting the record straight to get your started on the right foot.

Myth 1: You Don’t Need a Specific Goal for Your Kitchen Remodel

Highrise Kitchen Pot Filler

All projects should have a goal in mind, and a kitchen remodel is no exception to this rule. Your goal should go beyond just having an updated space. Consider whether or not resale value is important to you and think about how you actually use your kitchen. Is this your forever kitchen? If that’s the case, focus on making it your own and having the kitchen design fit your tastes exactly, no matter how unique they may be. Do you cook large meals frequently? If not, maybe you don’t need that top-of-the-line range you’ve been eyeing that’s too large for your space anyways. On the other hand, if you’re a home chef, perhaps it’s time to consider adding a prep station and pot filler to make cooking that much easier and streamlined.

Myth 2: You Don’t Need a Designer

Garden Galley Kitchen

While not every project requires a designer, most can certainly benefit from one. Kitchen design comes with many idiosyncrasies. For example, whether or not you’re right-handed or left-handed; the answer could greatly impact how a designer would approach your kitchen layout. Additionally, having a designer onboard will also make it easier to track your budget and the bigger picture to ensure your dream kitchen can become a reality.

Myth 3: Kitchen Storage is Less Important than Kitchen Style

Bungalow Bliss Kitchen

Ideally, there should always be a balance between functionality and style; both are equally important to consider when planning a remodel. Whether we like it or not, life is messy and that’s why adequate storage space is essential. A good way to understand just how much storage space is needed is to take stock of what you actually use in your kitchen, from food items to dish-ware and everything in between to eliminate kitchen clutter.

Myth 4: A Bigger Kitchen is Better

Copper Cottage Kitchen

It’s a common misconception that the larger a kitchen is, the better it will be when it comes to functionality. While you definitely want and need space to move and work, a room’s functionality isn’t dictated by its size, but instead by its layout and efficiencies. Smart kitchen planning is key, like thinking through the work-flow, selecting sinks with multiple accessories and being mindful of the kitchen work triangle.

Here’s to a seamless remodel or renovation in one of our favorite rooms in the house!

Kitchen Remodeling by Kohler

White Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

One of my dear friends is turning 70 tomorrow and a lot of people are giving her a party on a Tuesday.  Since I work I had to come up with an “appetizer” to share that could sit in my car and be made with what I had in the pantry.  So Brownies are not exactly an appetizer, but I don’t think anyone will complain.  These should be yummy.  Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 7.49.46 PM

People think that box mixes produce the perfect combination of chewy and moist brownies. Results should be at least as good as a mix without all the processing and questionable ingredients without dirtying many dishes. For one-bowl brownies with the proper level of chewiness both butter and oil is used. Using both cocoa and unsweetened chocolate add to the intense chocolaty richness and create a platform of flavor for any add-ins. By being strategic with the addition of ingredients, saved dishes and combined the batter all in one large bowl. Baked on the lowest rack in the oven, the brownies cooked nicely on the bottom and edges without overcooking and drying out. Folding white chocolate chips into the batter and swirling in raspberry jam gave the brownies colorful character and a fruitiness to offset their deep chocolate flavor.

INGREDIENTS

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 ½ cups (17 1/2 ounces) sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips

I used a combination of milk and semi-sweet as that is what I had on hand. 

cup raspberry jam
White Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

Drinking Wine might be good for you!

basic-glass-shapesI do love my glass of red wine with dinner in the winter and a little white in the summer.  This article just came out talking about the benefits of drinking a couple glasses of wine or beer everyday.  Since most of my friends enjoy a glass of wine (more than on occasion) I thought it might be good to share.

New research presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference found that moderate drinking is linked to a longer life. Drinking about two glasses of wine or beer a day was linked to an 18% drop in a person’s risk of early death, an even stronger effect than the life-preserving practice of exercise. The results came from the 90+ Study, a research project out of the University of California Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders that examines the habits of people who live to at least 90.

Though the study has not yet been published in a scientific journal, it triggered a spate of booze-praising headlines. But can alcohol actually help you live longer? Researchers have gone back and forth on that question for years. Here’s what the research really says about alcohol and health.

Alcohol may be linked with longevity

The new study isn’t the first to link alcohol with a long life. A 2015 study of people with mild Alzheimer’s, for example, found that moderate drinkers were less likely to die during the study’s follow-up period than teetotalers. A large 2017 study also found that light and moderate drinkers were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who never sipped. Red wine, in particular, is often singled out for its anti-aging benefits, usually because of a compound called resveratrol,  though that explanation may be a little oversimplified, and more research is needed.

Many of these papers come with caveats. Most of them are observational, meaning they can detect patterns in a dataset, but not cause and effect. That means it’s hard to tell whether the beverages themselves are imparting longevity benefits, or if the health effects come from other lifestyle factors common among moderate drinkers, such as a strong social network. Plus, most research focuses specifically on moderate drinking, which is typically defined as no more than a drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men. Research has generally not found health benefits for people with heavier drinking habits and, in fact, a recent report says that alcohol abuse is contributing to a decline in U.S. life expectancy.

Alcohol may or may not be good for your heart

The relationship between alcohol and cardiovascular health is perhaps the most contentious of all. Quite a few studies have linked moderate drinking with better heart health, but some researchers have questioned these findings based on something called the abstainer bias: the idea that many non-drinkers teetotal because they have other health issues, or because they’re recovering from addiction. Including these folks in studies could skew the data to make people who don’t drink look unfairly unhealthy, and to falsely equate booze with health benefits.

A large 2017 study looking at alcohol and heart health, however, was designed to eliminate the possibility of abstainer bias. It still found that moderate drinking may protect against heart attacks, strokes, chest pain and fatal heart disease.

Alcohol may be associated with cancer

The link between alcohol and cancer is strong enough that the American Society of Clinical Oncology came out with a new warning in November underscoring associations between drinking and at least seven types of cancer. The relationship between alcohol and breast cancer has been particularly well-studied, with scientists theorizing that alcohol may increase estrogen levels and therefore feed breast cancer. Other research suggests that alcohol may disrupt DNA activity, potentially leading to cancers of the breast, colon, liver, mouth and esophagus. These risks may be even more severe if you have certain other habits, such as smoking and drinking hot tea.

Alcohol may contribute to weight gain

It’s easy to forget, but alcoholic beverages are often quite high in calories. Regularly imbibing, then, can sneakily contribute to weight gain and obesity. Those can come with their own set of health problems, ranging from heart disease to type 2 diabetes.

The bottom line

There’s still a lot scientists don’t know about drinking, but the research clearly suggest that moderation is key. While it’s smart to cut back if your drinking veers into bingeing territory, there’s likely no reason to stop drinking if you do so in small amounts — just as you probably shouldn’t feel compelled to start sipping if you don’t already.

Drinking Wine might be good for you!

Joined a Photography Group

Our first “assignment” was to bring in photos of our local ferry.  Since I live right down from the Kingston Ferry, I just looked back to see what I had photographed in the last year.  Here are my offerings. I would love to know which one you like best.  This is more “Food for Thought” than food, although the Hot Dogs on the ferry are not bad!  f10f11f12f16f20f22f24f25ferry 1

Joined a Photography Group

Shaved Mushroom & Celery Salad

salad

I found this recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Mediterranean Cookbook and since I had all the ingredients, decided to give it a try.  I added a little and left out a little.  I made notes below the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ pound cremini or white button mushrooms, very thinly sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, from the heart of the celery, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives or tarragon
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces shaved Parmesan

Toss together the mushrooms, celery, parsley, and chives, and season with salt and pepper. Mix together the lemon juice (or lemon juice and vinegar) and olive oil, and toss with the vegetables. Just before serving, toss again with the Parmesan.

Notes:

I used a little dried tarragon, as my chives are way out in the garden and probably frozen.  I did not use any vinegar as the recipe from the book did not call for any, but I did use EVOO (1/4 cup) and mixed it with the lemon juice, then added the very thinly (1/8 inch or less) mushrooms and thinly sliced celery to the mix and let it set for 10 minutes.

Since I had 2 ounces of grated regiano parmesano in the refrigerator I add that, then shaved the same for the top of the salad.  My garden is a little short of parsley this time of year, so I added baby arugula.

This would be a lovely salad to serve for dinner with friends, as it is a bit different, but delicious.  Hope you enjoy making it.

 

Shaved Mushroom & Celery Salad

Perfect Pasta

Must be the weather….  Rain – Rain – and more – Rain.  I found an article by Claire Saffitz in the recent edition of Bon Appetit and could not find it online, so scanned it (thus a tad crooked) and share it here.  I think it makes some good points.  
Carbonara

At restaurants, those noodles get coated in a silky, glossy sauce—the secret is an emulsion of fat, pasta water, and cheese.

Here are the 5 key steps to replicating that at home.

There’s something about pasta at a restaurant that just seems different. The sauce clings to each noodle perfectly, as if separation were physically impossible. That alfredo or carbonara is so sublimely smooth that it could never be replicated at home, right? Wrong. Here’s how to make pasta at home that is every bit as saucy and glossy as it is at your neighborhood trattoria. Get out your Dutch oven (or sauce pan or large skillet), and follow these 5 easy steps to at-home pasta perfection.

pasta-dutch-oven-sauce
Nikole Herriott

Photograph by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

1. Start in a Dutch Oven

A big one, so you avoid half-cooked pasta caking onto your stovetop, which can happen easily when saucing with a skillet. Higher sides mean the pasta won’t flip out as you’re tossing—and there’s going to be a lot of tossing.

pasta-dutch-oven add-flavors-cheese
Nikole Herriott

Photograph by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

2. Build Your Flavors

Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into the Dutch oven (enough to cover the bottom) and heat over medium. Add some aromatics like garlic or shallots, then cook mushrooms or other veg in the oil until they’re tender.

pasta-sauce-dutch-oven-drop-noodles
Nikole Herriott

Photograph by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

3. Drop the Pasta

In a pot of very salty boiling water, cook noodles until they’re several minutes shy of al dente. Transfer them to whatever you’ve got in the Dutch oven, along with a ladleful of pasta water. The noodles should swim, and the liquid should be bubbling.

dutch-oven-pasta-finish-butter-noodles
Nikole Herriott

Photograph by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

4. Marry the Noodles and Sauce

Toss, toss, toss as the pasta finishes cooking. Then add a bit more pasta water. Toss some more, then slowly stir in some finely grated hard cheese—Parmesan, Pecorino, Grana Padano—little by little so it melts evenly and completely.

5. Finish It Right

Keep tossing until each strand or shape is coated and no bits of cheese remain. Remove from heat, stir in a spoonful of butter, and top with more cheese and some crispy bits (prosciutto FTW), then serve directly out of the Dutch oven at the table.

Perfect Pasta