and our Spring Promotional Poster is on our blog-
The Dust of Everyday Life!
Please visit PicturBook Artists Online Store see the wonderful
poster created by our PBAA Promo Committee (and more!)
Can you spy my Green-House art in the poster? GO-GO GREEN!
This photograph is a sneak peak at my website. I am happy because my website will make its debut within the next week. You see, I made my deadline my birthday. [April 6th, in case you're asking]. The site will still be a work in progress but it will showcase my books and designs.
What a difference a roasting makes. Sometimes things that wouldn’t normally appeal transform themselves into the sublime when put through extreme conditions – like diamonds, and people, and bell peppers. Add heat (or pressure) and a rock turns into a brilliant gem, a girl becomes a queen, and a crunchy red bell pepper which I don’t really enjoy turns into a soft, sweet, succulent piece of deliciousness. I say, magic does exist for those who believe!
I was never fond of red bell peppers. Call me unsophisticated, but I never properly made friends with its flavour and texture when in its crunchy, semi-raw state. So I lived in ignorance, unaware of the pleasure that waited down capsicum lane after a good roasting. Now I am a convert. Roasted red bell peppers are one of my favourite things. Especially since roasting them is eye-crossingly easy and the rewards are tremendous. When I see those shiny, bright red specimens in the market, a round of roasting is never far away.
But even as I line up for every capsicum-roasting opportunity, I still found myself late for this round of Hay Hay It’s Donna Day, where our lovely host Soma of eCurry has chosen Donna’s Chicken & Roasted Capsicum Pasta. Thankfully she has been kind enough to extend the deadline to Monday, March 30...so I, and all of you, still have a chance to join! And I encourage you to do so – especially if it’s warm and busy wherever you are, and making a fresh and simple pasta dish would be very welcome!
You can find the original recipe here at eCurry. For my entry, I changed things around a little to suit one of my favourite causes – recycling leftovers and avoiding food waste! Instead of the roasted red peppers and chicken in the original recipe, I used the leftovers of this Roasted Capsicum and Chickpea Salad which I had made the night before. In keeping with the spirit of this round, I tossed cooked short pasta (I used fusilli) with the leftover salad.
The salad itself is a cinch to make – chickpeas and roasted capsicum are tossed with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic (and salt and pepper!), showered with fresh chopped parsley, and topped with chunks of garlic-infused goat’s cheese. When I find myself with leftovers, I usually chuck everything in the processor and blitz it into a delicious dip. With this round of HHDD upon me though I decided to turn it into a pasta. Just as with the original HHDD recipe, it is a combination of fresh flavours, with the lemony dressing providing the “sauce”. The goat’s cheese tends to melt and blend with the dressing when tossed with the hot pasta, which may be bending the rules a bit, but it was still very light and, as it is on my shores right now, summery. Toss more freshly chopped parsley in before serving!
Totally by accident I realized that I also made this vegetarian! So if you are vegetarian, love Donna Hay, and do not want leftovers to go to waste...this one’s for you :) If you believe roasting is a magic spell cast on capsicums to turn them enticing...this is also for you! If it’s summer where you are...this is also for you! If you think we can emerge brilliant and all the better from difficult and taxing situations...this is for you too!
*** Hay Hay It’s Donna Day was created by Barbara of Winos and Foodies and is now under the care of Bron of Bron Marshall.
Still working hard and I see light at the end of the tunnel. I am working on a new design and hope to bring it to you in a while. The web site development is humming along. Funny thing, each feedback and comment came back to one thing, "That's not you. You're so much more vibrant." So, back to the drawing board a couple of times.
Stems. Ends. Odd bits. Leftovers. Overlooked and misunderstood things. Often chucked into the bin for lack of a better idea. Well let me tell you, one man’s trash is this girl’s treasure! I’ve always loved end bits and odd things. The end part of a roast beef carving where the fat and meat have caramelized into an almost-burnt butt of goodness. The rind of a hard hunk of cheese which I save scrupulously to toss into a pot of soup. Pig’s ears. The sugary edges of brownies and cookies (I’m sure I’m not the only one here). The grub at the bottom of the pan. Celebrities who seem beyond all hope. I love them all.
In truth, I’ve been a bit of a scavenger all my life. As a child I used to collect old receipts with much relish and excitement, going through them and filing them away like they were documents of utmost importance. Now, I collect leftovers (even the tiniest bits!), bones, veggie stems and trimmings, the oil that renders when I fry bacon or chorizo – all are tucked away in the freezer until the time comes when inspiration, or necessity, hits and they come out to be reborn.
This dish is not technically made with leftovers – the long stems of kangkong (water spinach) are usually used in the same dishes as the leaves. I do feel though that there is something sadly afterthought-ish about them – like they were only used because their leaves were used and “saying naman” (what a waste) if we tossed out their stems (which make up more than half the plant!). So in save-the-underdog fashion, I set out to make a dish where the stems played the starring role (and the leaves became the afterthought) :)
This is inspired by a local dish called Gising Gising (which literally translates to something like “Wake up, wake up!”) which typically uses green beans (string beans or what we call “Baguio beans”) sliced thinly and cooked with coconut milk and chilli (I am assuming the chilli is supposed to be the wake-up call). It is usually flavoured with patis (fish sauce) and some powdered seasoning (Maggi or Knorr or whatever), but I decided to use bagoong (shrimp paste) instead because I think it works much better with kangkong.
Coconut Kang Kong Stems
- Stems from one bunch of kangkong, sliced thinly (roughly 1 1/2 cups when sliced as pictured on top)
- 2-3 pieces sili pangsigang/sili mahaba (long green chilli), sliced on the diagonal quite thickly (I slice it this way so some poor unsuspecting diner does not mistake it for the kangkong)
- One small red onion, chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 1-2 rounded teaspoons of bagoong (shrimp paste)
- 1/3 cup coconut cream
- Canola or vegetable oil
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Heat the oil in a wok or skillet. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and chilli and sauté until onions are soft and everything is fragrant.
- Add kangkong stems and bagoong (shrimp paste) and toss. Sauté until kangkong stems are bright green.
- Add coconut cream, stir, and cook until the cream bubbles and kangkong stems are cooked. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.
Although this is a recipe for the stems, if you haven’t already used the kangkong leaves, and have them on hand, you can toss them in with the coconut cream and cook until wilted (which is actually what I did here). This is all about the stems though – letting this otherwise-considered-second-class part really shine as it is the crunch that gives this dish its engaging personality. The combination of shrimp paste, coconut milk, and chilli is something I borrow again and again from Bicolano cuisine (a region in the Philippines known for its liberal use of chilli and coconut milk!). And why not? It is a fantastic mix of richness, intense flavour, and heat that provides an exciting backdrop for our oft-neglected kangkong stems!
So don’t knock the odd bits and off-beats. Those unlikely suspects that are left at the corner of a serving platter, or the edge of a dance floor, may just be what you never knew you always wanted!
Originally uploaded by Paper Treasure
You can now find Paper Treasure at Noun: A Person's Place for Things located on S.E. Belmont St. in Portland, OR. This shop has the most beautiful estate sale finds ever... I am in love with everything the shop has to offer.
Xtabay has had an amazing makeover... go check it out and feast your eyes on new P.T. jewelry in stock there as well.
Little Paper Planes has all new P.T. jewelry too!
All new jewelry in my shop as well with more on the way all month!
Enjoy and Happy-Almost-Spring!
The weather outside is still cold and wintery!
But spring has officially arrived in the studio with
this new painting (just completed) for a custom invitation.
Please respect the © Thanks! Happy Spring!
Here's another up close look at Dawn Gerber's Remembrance quilt. Lovely details.
I love the whimsical quality of this next little quilt by Joanell Connolly.
Gloria Hansen's quilt shown below had a luminous feeling to it because a lot of the dramatic effect of the colors was attributed to all of the thread colors that she used in machine quilting this piece.
I loved this modern piece. Unfortunately, my photo of the entry label is lost but the designer and quiltmaker did a fabulous job.
This following quilt, Peace Makers, by Janet and Karen McTavish is so realistic. It won Honorable Mention - Innovative.
The large portraits are made up of small squares of other photographs for shading. Awesome!
Wow. You know that color rocks my world. Look at this beauty. Kay Preston won Best Use of Color - Innovative for her quilt, Heavy Lifting.
Here's one that caught my eye but it wasn't the use of color that did it. I think the simplicity and modern design drew me to it. Cynthia L. Vogt won 3rd Place for her design, Ishi-Datami.
Often times I only hear about projects that people have made from my designs. I am thrilled when people send me a photo. Enice Burke from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area sent me a photograph of her wonderful adaptation of my free pattern for Better Homes and Gardens, Hugs & Kisses. That swirly black and white fabric sends me over the top. Swoon! She made it for her niece, Amy. Lucky girl! Thanks for sharing, Enice!
More tiny circles.
I am writing this at a local cafe enjoying my latte and free wifi while C diligently chases endorphins in a gym nearby. How different we are in that respect. He is high as a kite after working out while I just end up feeling sticky and, pardon my French, pukey. Food for me is a whole world of tastes and textures and colors and smell and memories and experiences...while he, although no less adventurous in that department than I, tends to plunk them into boring categories like "carbs" and "fat" and "protein".
(i know these categories exist and I probably should be paying more attention to them...but I'll stay in my fairy tale food world for as long as I can thank you very much!)
"Carbs" in particular have been the most recent persona non grata in C's life. The "war on carbs" is being waged hot and heavy over here with C and my mother as co-conspirators. And me? I'm sleeping with the enemy ;)
You can only sneak about so much though before a feeling of discontent sets in. I haven't bought a loaf of bread in weeks and I'm going bananas. And don't even ask what it does to my Asian heart to hear the words, "No rice tonight hon."
So I'm exploring other, healthier, types of grains that we can substitute for rice. Not forever mind you -- as there is no real substitute for steaming white rice in my life -- but just for every-so-often. Grains are oh-so-chic now and because of this you can find a slew of choices at groceries and health food stores...with health benefits that outweigh the "carb" content. A fantastic selling point for my husband! And for me? "It's yummy!" is all the reason I need :)
Barley & Sausage
- 1/2 cup barley, cooked as per package instructions
- 200 grams country sausage, sliced
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 big white onion, sliced into half moons
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- a pinch dried thyme
- a pinch fennel seeds
- olive oil
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Add onions and potatos and sautee for a couple of minutes. Add garlic, dried thyme, and fennel seeds. Toss. Add sausage and sautee until potatoes are soft, onions are slightly golden, and sausage is nice and seared in places.
- Add cooked barley and toss so everything is evenly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sautee a bit more just to mingle flavors. Take of heat and serve.
- Serves 2.
After this dish I will definitely be exploring more of barley! Soft with a nice bite to it, and a delightful nutty-ness, this grain is all set to be experimented on in my kitchen :) Especially as both C and I enjoyed this so much!
You must have noticed that I was totally sneaky by adding a bit of potato to this dish :) I plead guilty! But I love the taste of the soft potato and sweet onions amidst all the yeilding crunch of barley...like a healthful hash. I've kept the potato at a minimum but you can do without it if you wish. I used country-style sausage made by the cousin of a friend of mine which she sells from her home (better than supermarket-bought by a mile!). This would be wonderful with fresh thyme but I only had dried...so please use fresh if you have it! This makes for a very satisfying meal (barley is digested slowly, making you feel full longer) -- the sauvory-ness of the sausage cushioned perfectly by the barley and potatoes, and the sweetness of the onions. Fennel and thyme get on famously with sausage I feel, which is why I've used them here. I think I'll stir through some crumbled goat's cheese at the last minute the next time I make this.
Although I continue to look for healthy alternatives in eating, don't think I've gone over to C's and my mom's side of the fence. I certainly don't see myself ever waxing poetic over "whey protein". And I still have a few tricks up my sleeve...like the pasta sauces C loves (which of course will involve pasta!) and dishes C cannot eat without rice! ;) Ssshhh!
All New Work!
Originally uploaded by Paper Treasure
It's been a long time coming but the wait is finally over! I went back home to the East Coast for a fantastic little visit with family and close friends in Rhode Island and New York. I gathered lots of great new supplies along the way and have been hard at work on a large batch of new jewelry just in time for Spring. I'm just beginning to unveil it here:
The rest will be added to the shop over the next few days. Enjoy!
Some days your mornings look like this. Or this.
Some days you can barely scrape together three things before hurling yourself into the mêlée.
Yogurt + jam + nuts. Fast and easy doesn't have to mean mediocre and hyper-processed-for-your-convenience. Thick and creamy Greek-style yogurt from a local dairy farm, artisan mango jam (also local), and some of your favorite nuts (aside from this one).
Guess which day today is?