That’s my jam

Angie Brown

 

I made the most delicious jam from my homegrown serrano peppers. We’re blessed with a long growing season here in the coastal south (high of 77F yesterday), so the serrano bush is still pretty heavily-laden—and here it is first of December! This will probably be our last batch though. *sadface*

I discovered rather late that we might’ve been picking them too young. I peeped the peppers at Publix, and theirs were twice the size of ours. Oh. well, damn.

But mmmmm, they did make a mighty fine jam.

As an Intuitive Cooker, I don’t really measure anything (and often stray far from the recipe unless I’m baking, baking is a science). So I just sort of looked up basic jam-making how-tos online, and then went for it. I used 4 or 5 thingies of berries + about the same amount of peppers + 2 or 3 cups of raw sugar. Roasted half of the peppers first, then blended them into a pulp—seeds and all—with the remaining peppers and berries, and cooked it all down with the sugar. Didn’t even add any pectin and it’s jelled just fine, yielded 3 or 4 little jars.

10/10 would do it all again next year. Need cheaper source of berries tho.

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Feasting with Furiends

Angie Brown

What’s more fun than dining with friends? Feasting with Furiends! Today I made a cut paper collage for the good people at the Feline Freedom Coalition, a feral rescue group that does really great work saving kitty lives in the Charleston area. They’ve got a busy fundraiser season ahead and will be requiring lots of whimsical drawings for their posters and banners and bits. The ol’ blog here may get cat-saturated in the next few months, but I’m okay with it. What else is the internets for, if not for cats?

OH Sweet Heaven on a Biscuit!

Angie Brown

Ta-da! My newest recipe for They Draw and Cook was created to celebrate the meeting and mingling of all my favoritest flavors in a single dish—quite literally, The Most Delicious Thing I Have Ever Tasted. I had been in my studio all day, working on a “map” of my recent trip to New York for TDAC’s sister site, They Draw and Travel. (map, coming soon!)  In a state of heightened creativity, my rumbling belly inspired me to put all the Most Delicious Things in my fridge and pantry on a single English muffin. From the very first bite of sublime flavor gestalt,  I knew I had created something utterly magical, something worthy of commemoration and honor. “Sweet Heaven on a Biscuit!  I gotta illustrate this recipe so’s I can remember it!”

So I did. This is it. My life will never be same.

Illustrated Soup

Angie Brown | galacticbloom.com

Another recipe for They Draw And Cook and the display of my favorite recipes growing in my kitchen. I started  making experimenting on this soup a few months ago, and it gets more delicious every time I make it.

When I first found it on Pinterest, there was no mention of any herbs, and it called for broth. I don’t have broth. I used about a tablespoon of Bragg’s liquid aminos in 2 cups of water and that was pretty tasty (just decrease the salt if you go that route.) Then one day, I happened to have half a glass of red wine that I’d fallen asleep on the night before. I poured it in le soup pot and as George Takei would say, oh my~. It changed my life and the way I think about soup for all eternity. I also stopped pureeing the boiled vegetables. I like chunky, hearty soups. And I’m a little  lazy  busy with other stuffs. Also, you should know that the measurements for the herbs are guesstimations. I rarely measure in the kitchen unless science depends upon it (as in baking). I cook with my intuition and a daredevil sense of adventure, eyeballing, tasting, sipping wine, and dance-step-tripping over cats. It’s chaos, but it’s delicious.

The anthropomorphic vegetables were fun to draw. I should doodle more characters and stuff. I also did a map of Las Vegas for They Draw and Travel.

In other news, I’ve been redesigning my website to focus more on illustration and stuffs (the sideways scrolling experiment was a meh,) and I’ll be uploading it very, very soonly whether it’s finished or not. I can work out the kinks later. There’ll be loads of new, never-before-seen stuff, so yay!

Illustrated Recipe: Bread

Angie Brown | bread recipeMMMMMMM. Fresh bread. I’ve been fascinated with visual recipes like this one and these, so I’ve decided to illustrate all of my favorite dishes and make a lovely and (functional) display of them in my kitchen.

I ran across this recipe many, many moons ago, and with a few modifications toward the end, I have perfected a fine rustic loaf, which I am now addicted to. I usually make a rosemary/garlic/parmesan slurry to fold into the dough, but the jalapeno/cheddar variation is (almost) equally delicious.

Yet another on-going (never-ending) project… I must tell you about the furniture-making endeavor that I’ve been immersed in for 4 months. Next post, I promise. I really do need to spend today making something… besides more bread.

Catching up

I’ve fallen behind on my bloggings. I would be ashamed, but I have three very good reasons for this.

copyright 2013 Angie Brown1. I was working on stuff.    A.)  I finished putting together a portfolio and submitted it to the Academy of Art in San Francisco in order to waive out of taking all the prerequisites for an upper-level class called Eccentric Illustration. I’m not pursuing a degree there, so they call it the “Personal Enrichment” path. I can dig it. I got in, by the way, and I’m really excited about it. Starts in September.  B.)  I’ve also put together a submission for a large fine art show in le capitol city. I’ll hear back if I got in June 17th. Pins and needles, y’all.  C.)  I’m also currently taking a class through Skillshare.com called Constructing a Story: Advanced Visual Storytelling. It’s just begun, and I haven’t had any feedback from the instructor yet. I’m about halfway through thumbnailing my book Annabelle & the Bear. 


2. I went to Philadelphia.
Melissa, the author of the other book I’m working on, Square Dog in a Round World, lives there, so we hung out and talked about books and stuff. Melissa showed me ’round the city and I took some amazing pictures. We went to the zoo, the Philadelphia Art Museum, 3 life-changing restaurants, met an incredible cheese called Humboldt Fog, drank a good bit of Spanish wine, and strolled about the city and the UPenn campus, which is inhabited by an army of creepy gargoyles. She also took me to a truly awesome comic book shop, Locust Moon. You must go there and buy stuff next time you’re in Pennsylvania.

Literary Jenksy3. I got kittens. I wanted to get a little friend for my 3-year-old cat Vivi, but I knew it’d take some time to convince her that’s what she wanted too. So to keep Jenkins company during the transition phase, I also took in her sister, Zoe, on a temporary foster basis. And while we will all miss her dearly, I’m thinking my household will be slightly more peaceful, as Zoe Does Not Sleep. Ever. Unless it’s on my laptop keyboard. Then, apparently, it’s super warm and fuzzy snooze time.

So, with most of that in the bag for now, I hope to get back to my regular bloggings. Did you miss me?

Serendipitous Squash

Top news story this weekend? I finished the portfolio case! Project Self-Promo is coming along on schedule. Business cards have been ordered, and I think they’ve already been delivered to my staff the apartment rental office, according to the note left on my door by UPS. The final portion–the map-folded layout–is currently in the design phase. It took me 20 minutes to successfully explain this project over the phone last week, so I get that it’s kind of a hard to visualize. Pictures coming ASAP. For now- the 2 paintings that comprise the sides of the case:

portfolioFINAL2

portfolioFINAL1

Also finished, is my Illustrator portrait of a certain Film Director.
angiebrown_scribble

In other news, there was this: Serendipitous Squash Pad Thai
A startlingly delicious twist on the classic dish, which substitutes steamed spaghetti squash in place of noodles.

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I randomly purchased a spaghetti squash for no other reason than that I had never done so before, I had no idea what to do with it. But then suddenly, out of the blue, a friend of mine commented on one of her friend’s links on Facebook, which I stalkily followed, & discovered this lovely little blog. And this lovely little recipe (seen here with my own vegetarian, bragg’s-centric & anti-plastic/anti-microwave modifications):

Ingredients:
1 large spaghetti squash
1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas
1 large bell pepper, cut into strips
2 green onions, chopped (white parts separated from green)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup water or veggie broth
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (plenty, plenty)
splash of lime juice
2 Tablespoons dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
cilantro

Directions:
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape away the seeds. Cover and steam for 12-15 minutes, or until a fork can semi-easily pierce the squash flesh. Let sit 5 minutes and then “shred” the squash free with previously mentioned fork. Set aside.

In a large wok, saute garlic in canola oil. Add the snow peas, bell pepper, and white onion parts, and stir fry over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Remove vegetables to a plate. To wok, add water (or broth), peanut butter, Bragg’s, rice wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper. Heat until smooth. Return peas, peppers, and white onion parts to the wok, as well as the spaghetti squash. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes or until sauce has coated all the vegetables.

Divide among plates and top with peanuts, cilantro, green onion parts, and spritz with lime juice.

it’s freakin delicious, y’all.

Next time: Paul and I venture into the $15 wine territory, and Architects named Frank. And also, I feel a rant coming on, due to the book I’ve been reading.

alligators and alligator pears, oh my!

CawCaw County Park! After 3 days of rain, the sun pokes out her little head long enough for us to revisit CawCaw, this time with my camera.

our favorite picnic spot- cawcaw

This is our picnic spot on the reclaimed rice fields trail- see the little bench under the tree? And what you don’t see is the alligator snoozing in the sun just 20 yards away. shyah. More photos of CawCaw to come, but first– a bit about nutrition, yay!

So a few weeks ago I fell deeply in love with the eggplant, that gorgeous and mysterious vegetable of so many asian stir fries,  italian pasta dishes, and of course–the french ratatouille. And while I will always hold a special fondness for that rather attractive and delicious vegetable, I find that this week, I’m falling for the avocado.

Oh, avocado, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… I love you with my eggs at breakfast, I love you in spinach-based salads at lunch, I love you on the side of my stir-fry for dinner… but most of all, I love to mash you up in guacamole, OLE’!

After extensive research on the interwebs, I determined that all you really need to make guacamole is a few avocados and a little imagination. Ingredients vary from recipe to recipe- some people even added in mayonnaise or cream cheese… bleh. So I made up my own recipe:

OH MY GUAC!
Mash 3 avocados, mix with 4 scallions, finely chopped  (white and green parts), 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, and  1 fruit’s worth lemon or lime juice (to keep avocado from browning). Refrigerate for 1 hour so flavors can properly mingle.

Some terribly interesting facts (no, really) about the our featured fruit(?), the  “alligator pear”:

  • Avocados are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Not only does adding avocado to a salad of carrot, lettuce and baby spinach or to salsa greatly increase the absorption of carotenoids from these foods, but the improvement in carotenoid availability occurred even when a very small amount-as little as 2 ounces-of avocado was added.
  • Adding avocado to salad increases absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these carotenoids absorbed when avocado-free salad is eaten.
  • Add avocado to your favorite creamy tofu-based dressing recipe to give it an extra richness and beautiful green color.
  • Spread ripe avocados on bread as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise when making a sandwich.
  • For an exceptional salad, combine sliced avocado with fennel, oranges and fresh mint.

And now, to go with that delicious guacamole, how about some Black Bean Burgers & Salsa? I found these recipes online (probably allrecipes.com) and modified them (as always) to make them my own.

Black Bean Burgers

  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • big dose of  sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix black beans, bell pepper, onion, and garlic with a fork until thick and pasty.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce.
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
  5. Place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Serve in sammich form on whole wheat bread with spinach, sliced tomato, onions and bell peppers. Or mash up the patty & serve in burrito form in a whole wheat wrap with a little  Best Salsa Ever (drained well to preserve burrito integrity),  and OH MY Guac! In place of sour cream, use plain organic yogurt.

Best Salsa Ever

  • 1 can or frozen box of shoepeg corn, rinsed, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, torn into small bits
  • 1/2 cup scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

mix and refrigerate for at least an hour.

And before we get to the photos, here’s an interesting factoid I found on another site: When crushed garlic was heated its ability to inhibit cancer development in animals was blocked; yet, when the researchers allowed the crushed garlic to ‘stand’ for 10 minutes before heating, its anticancer activity was preserved. A sulfur-based compound called alliin and an enzyme called alliinase are separated in the garlic’s cell structure when it is whole. Cutting garlic ruptures the cells and releases these elements allowing them to come in contact and form a powerful new compound called alliicin which not only adds to the number of garlic’s health-promoting benefits but is also the culprit behind their pungent aroma and gives garlic its “bite”.

Now, without further ado, I give thee CaCaw County Park:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/galacticbloom/5424128032/&#8221; title=”our favorite picnic spot- cawcaw by galacticbloom, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5260/5424128032_b3322c323e.jpg&#8221; width=”500″ height=”334″ alt=”our favorite picnic spot- cawcaw” /></a>

cawcaw

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and here’s me, standing in the marsh grass, 20 yds from an alligator.

cawcaw

not a care in the world… but I never really realized how big those sunglasses are– they’re gigantor, omg.