Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Newest Frida Kahlo Piece of Art, Making Cotton Candy + Chicken Curry with Spring Vegatables, Chinese Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry & Japanese Christmas Cake Recipes

I've spent some focused time during the last few days trying to finish this piece, "Frida in a Shawl," so that it can be included on the poster for the Bella Frida part of the artwalk in Louisville in June. It is very exciting to have this opportunity. This piece is not actually finished, but it is close enough to be photographed. I actually like it better when viewed in person, than viewing the the photograph of it.

Here's what it started out as:
It starts with a drawing based on the following photograph.
Then I colored the image with colored pencils.

And then I added the encaustic wax and the wax covered tissue paper flowers. I really like this piece. Hopefully it will sell, so I might make another one, though a second one would not look the same as the encaustic colors are very organic in the way they combine.

I have an idea for a third piece in this series that I am hoping to start very soon.

We are also getting geared up for Ellie's graduation party. Natalie's kids have lent us their cotton candy machine. Ellie, Kenzie and Katy had fun figuring out how to use it. It was both fun and a bit scary. It was sort of like electric, tasty spider webs.


I made this for Ethan and I this evening, in between working on the "Frida in a Shawl" encaustic. I worked on the encaustic a little, worked on making dinner while the wax cooled, etc. I served rice cooked in chicken stock. Ethan suggested that next time I make rice cooled with coconut water. That is a great idea.

Chicken Curry with Spring Vegetables
via: Eat Well 101

Serves 6
2 lbs (1kg) skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 red bell pepper, minced
4 cups fresh spring vegetables: asparagus, green peas, snap peas…
2-3 tablespoons curry powder*
1 teaspoon ground cumin*
1 ½ cups (350ml) chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup (240ml) coconut milk
Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional, for garnish)
Lime wedges, for garnish
(Cashews or peanuts for garnish)

* I doubled the amount of seasonings to make it more intensely flavored.

1. Season chicken pieces with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces in batches and lightly brown. Remove and transfer to a plate and continue cooking all the chicken the same way. Avoid crowding the pot because the chicken will steam instead of browning.

2. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pot and cook about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the bell pepper, asparagus, green peas and snap peas. Cook another few minutes.

3. Add the chicken back to the pot. Add the curry powder and cumin. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the stock, cover the pot and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through.

4. Add the coconut milk, and simmer gently uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring until the sauce is thickened. Serve over rice, with lime wedges and chopped cilantro for garnish.

Ellie and Kohlton made this for dinner and dessert recently. It was a lovely meal:

Chinese Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry
via: Steamy Kitchen

3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, sake or dry white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch or cornstarch
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 pound beef sirloin, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh or 10 ounces dried noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
1.25 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 pound Chinese broccoli or regular common broccoli, cut into bite-size chunks or florets
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon each soy sauce, oyster sauce and rice wine. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until completely dissolved. Stir in the tapioca starch and continue stirring until smooth. Add the sesame oil and beef, and mix well. Marinate for 20 minutes. Drain and discard the excess marinade.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles until 1 minute shy of done and drain. (We'll finish cooking the noodles at the end)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a skillet or wok over high heat and stir-fry the garlic until fragrant, about 1o seconds. Add the beef and stir-fry until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and when hot, add the Chinese broccoli, stir frying so that the oil coats the Chinese broccoli. Pour in the 1/4 cup of the stock, turn the heat to medium-low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook the Chinese broccoli until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the Chinese broccoli to the same plate.

Add the remaining cup of stock and the remaining 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and rice wine to the same skillet and bring to a boil over
high heat.

Add the noodles and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, leaving the noodles lightly moistened,2 to 3 minutes. Return the beef and broccoli to the skillet and toss to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Season with pepper to taste and serve.

Japanese Christmas Cake
via: Sugar and Snapshots

2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons honey
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour, sifted

2 cups heavy cream
4 tsp cold water
4 tsp agar agar or unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup frosting sugar
1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled, washed and halved.

Preheat oven to 350° F
Use a large 5″x9″ loaf pan or 8″ spring form pan. Line it with waxed paper.
Place milk in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat just to warm (about 10 to 15 seconds). Mix honey in the warm milk, set aside.
Fill a large bowl with warm water, set aside.
Using an electric hand-mixer, whisk the eggs in a large bowl, adding the sugar gradually until completely combined.
Place the bowl over the large bowl with warm water, continue to whisk the egg mixture until it becomes light yellow (almost white), remove from heat and add the honey and milk mixture and whisk to combine and cool the mixture slightly
Sift flour, holding sieve nice and high above the bowl to get plenty of air in the flour as it goes down into the bowl, into the egg mixture. Using a large bubble whisk gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter in lined pan and tap the pan. Tap very gently on the table to release any air bubbles. Bake at 350° F for 10 minutes, then turn down oven temperature to 300° F and continue to bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the Kasutera comes out clean.
Remove Kasutera from oven and grasping the parchment on both sides of pan lift the Kasutera out, carefully remove parchment and place on wire rack to cool.

In the bowl of your stand mixer pour the heavy cream into the bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill bowl and cream.
In a small microwaveable bowl combine the cold water and agar agar or gelatin into the bowl and whisk to combine, keep whisking until the mixture is thick and looks dissolved.
Place in microwave for 10 seconds until warm and continue to mix until cool. It should thicken slightly and not look grainy but smooth and syrup like.
Put the chilled bowl of cream onto the mixer and on medium high speed with a whisk attachment, whisk until almost at soft peak. Add in the sugar slowly to the thick cream, and when it is at the soft peak stage slowly drizzle in the agar agar mixture into the cream until it thickens to desired constancy, I stopped at stiff peaks.

Stabilized whipping cream (above)
Kasutera sponge (above)

1 pint of strawberries, hulled, washed and halved.

In the same container that was used to bake the sponge, line it with wax paper leaving an over hang enough to lift out the cake when assembled and chilled.
Cut the sponge in half as evenly as possible. Place half of the sponge cake in the bottom of the pan. Layer a very thin layer of the whipped cream on top of the sponge.
Arrange the strawberry halves around the entire pan. You can arrange them how ever you wish. I stood them up on the bases.
Layer 2/3 of the cream over the strawberries until you are unable to see the tops through the cream.
Add the last layer of sponge on top of the cream and gently push down to spread the cream in between the berries.
Using 1/2 of the remaining cream spread a thin layer on top of the sponge cake in an even flat layer. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, You can use the remaining cream to pipe a decoration along the edge of the cake when ready to serve.

When ready to serve. Place your cake container next to your serving platter, and gently lift it out of the pan (or remove sides if you chose to use a spring form pan) and place on the platter. With a kitchen assistant and a large flat angled spatula you can then gently peel down the sides of the paper and lift the cake to remove the parchment on the bottom. At this point you have an option to use the remaining cream to pipe a decoration along the edge of the cake. Gently slice and decorate with extra cream and berries.
Recipes adapted from La Fuji Mama

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