Archives for posts with tag: sign painting

star anise

Hello All! I’m sorry I’ve been missing from my blog for the last few weeks. It’s been a busy and exciting month. My art show opened last week (I’ll share more in a moment), my mom and sister visited, and immediately following their trip, two of my best friends from college came to stay with me. There’s been a lot of touring San Francisco and catching up to do, so I haven’t been able to squeeze in Illustrated Bites (I know… excuses, excuses.) All of that is a lot of fun, but I’m glad to be back on a normal schedule and regularly blogging again.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with the new-to-me spice, star anise. Star anise has a wonderful licorice-y flavor that pairs well with tomato sauces, and is great for braising meats. It was once only common to eastern cooking and has medicinal uses in traditional Chinese medicine, where it’s used to aid digestion and as a warming herb. I was actually first introduced to the spice by a roommate that was studying to be an acupuncturist.

It has become more common in western kitchens as a substitute for anise. I really enjoy throwing a pod into boiling rice to add an unexpected flavor. I also really enjoyed this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with star anise, from the Kitchn. The Kitchn has several other recipes featuring star anise that I’m looking forward to trying.

I know I’ve been writing a lot about my Illustrated Bites art show, but if you’ll bear with me once more, I would like to share some images of work from the show. I hope you enjoy seeing them, I sure had a great time putting it all together!

asparagus

yogurt

bok choy

chicken

 

Scallops and AsparagusMy sweetie, Andrew, usually takes the role as dishwasher rather than cook in our kitchen. He rarely cooks, but when he does, its always awesome. I’ve been super busy the last few months and with the increased workload I haven’t been cooking as much as I usually do. In my culinary absence, he’s definitely stepped up his cooking game.

This past Sunday, while I was busy with a project, I asked Andrew to run to the store and grab something for dinner. Fully expecting him to return with pasta, I was super excited when came home with sea scallops, asparagus, fresh herbs, meyer lemons, and wine… I have such a great boyfriend.

More about the scallops in a minute, I just want to share with you the aforementioned project I’ve been slogging away at this year. I’m doing an Illustrated Bites art show!! I’m super excited to bring Illustrated Bites out of the internet and into the real world. The show is going to be at The Curiosity Shoppe starting April 13. I’m putting my sign painting skills to work to make hand painted recipes and food illustrations. There will also be a little screen printed work and an Illustrated Bites Zine.

If you’re in the Bay Area, I would love if you could make it to the opening on Friday, April 13th 6-9PM. If you can’t make it to the opening, the show will be open for 6 weeks.

Here is a little sneak peek of some of the works in progress:

painted signs EAT

More about the show later, back to those sweet sea critters:

When you’re buying scallops, buy either the larger sea scallops or the smaller bay scallops. Avoid the tiny calico scallops, which are most often too rubbery.  Also, try to buy scallops that are “dry,” meaning that they haven’t been soaked in phosphates.

This scallop dish is delicious and easy.  It pairs nicely with roast asparagus, tied together by the lemon but standing apart in texture and flavor. Both dishes are done in 15 minutes or less. This is a gourmet meal, literally in minutes.  So, if you’ve got a hot date you’re trying to impress, but not a ton of time… this would definitely be a good meal to go with.

Scallops

Sauteed Scallops:

From Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1TSP Minced garlic
  • 1-1.5 pound scallops (sea or bay)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 TBS minced fresh chives
  1. Heat your skillet over medium-high for 3 minutes, then add the oil &  garlic. After 30 seconds, add the scallops and cook on each side for 2 minutes. (Shorter for those under an inch across, slightly longer for those over one inch.)
  2. Season them with salt and pepper as they cook and remove them to a bowl as they finish.
  3. Add the lemon juice to the pan, and reduce the liquid to a glaze. (1-2 minutes)
  4. Return the scallops to the pan, add the chives, and stir to coat the scallop with the sauce.
  5. Remove from heat and serve immediately

Roast Asparagus:

  • 1.5-2 pounds of asparagus, with ends trimmed off.
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • lemon wedges
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the asparagus in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bake until the thick part of the stalk can be pierced with a knife. About 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with lemon wedges.

FUN FACT: Did you know that scallops swim? I didn’t either!! I always imagined scallops just sitting on the sea floor, inactive and passive. Not so! Those little suckers can go. They look like a Mario Brothers character, or a little Pac Man. It’s fun to watch, I can’t get enough of these underwater videos.

pumpkin pie  As much as I hate to admit it, autumn is here.  I realize that for most of the country, this summer was a particularly hot one and the cool weather is a relief. But here in the Bay Area, we hardly got a taste of summer. It’s not that I dislike fall, but I really miss the warm weather of the south. The weather here was foggy and cool June through September and the promised indian summer never came. Now, the rains have returned, which ends any hope of warm weather.

Since there’s no use fighting it, I decided to embrace the autumn weather by making my favorite seasonal dessert, pumpkin pie. If anything is going to get me exited about the fall, it’s pumpkin dishes. There’s something about the earthy sweetness of pumpkin that is just so comforting.

Before I get to the pie recipe, I wanted to share a few other things I’ve been working on and some ideas for the blog. I’ve been quite busy lately with sign painting, screen printing, and illustrating. I recently finished up my end  an exciting project with Justin “Scrappers” Morrison for the Maui Time. I’ll share more when the project is finished and in print but for now, here’s a little peek:

sketchesseek peek

Also, as some of you may know, I work as a sign painter in San Francisco at New Bohemia Signs.  I’ve wanted to incorporate more sign painting into Illustrated Bites for a long time. My new and exciting plan for doing that is to create food-related signs and do occasional give-aways here on the blog. In conjunction with that I’ll also be selling some signs online. This new project was inspired by a sign I recently  painted for my lovely friend, Emily.

chiffonade

So, yeah…I made a pumpkin pie AND it was awesome. I will admit that this pie was pretty labor intensive because I made it completely from scratch but it’s TOTALLY worth it. The good news is that this recipe made enough filling for a second pie, so it’s sort of a two for one deal.  My sweetie’s folks were in town and his mom helped me though the process, which made a world of  difference in the workload (Thanks Nancy!)  I highly recommend getting someone to lend a hand when you make this.

pumpkin

Step one: Pick up a pumpkin. I used a sweet pie pumpkin I bought at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market. Slice the pumpkin into wedges and scrape out the guts. Use a paring knife to cut the flesh away from the rind. Don’t worry if you leave some flesh on the rind, it’s pretty hard to get it all.

Step two: Steam the pumpkin. Put all the pumpkin flesh in a pot with about a half a cup of water. Turn the heat to medium and cover.

Step three: While the pumpkin is steaming, make the pie crust. It’s easiest if you have a food processor.

Crust Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse.  Add the butter and process until the butter and flour are blended.
  2. Place the mixture in a bowl and sprinkle in the ice water. Mix with a spoon and then gather into a ball. If it is too dry add a little more water; if it’s too wet, add a little flour.
  3. Wrap in plastic, flatten into a disk and freeze for ten minutes.

Step four: While the dough is in the freezer, puree the the steamed pumpkin. The pumpkin should be steamed until it’s soft, and easily  punctured with a fork. Puree throughly, until there are no lumps. It will be easiest to do this in small batches.

Step five: Take the dough out of the freezer and sprinkle the countertop with flour. Unwrap the dough and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough with light pressure from the center out. Add flour as needed.

Step six: When the dough is about 10 inches in diameter transfer it to your pie plate. Press into the plate and tuck the excess edges into itself and pinch for the crust. Return to the freezer while the oven preheats.

Step seven: Preheat to 425 Degrees F. Find something to weigh down the crust while it bakes. I used a cast iron skillet but you could use tinfoil and a pile of dried beans or rice. Anything that will lie flat. Just make sure to butter the side that will be in contact with the pie crust.

Step eight: Puncture the bottom of the crust with the fork and put the weight on the crust. Bake  for 12 minutes. Then take it out of the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees F then carefully remove the weight and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

pumpking

Pie Filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups light cream or whole milk

Step nine:  Beat the eggs with the sugar, then add the spices and salt. Mix in the pumpkin and the milk. Warm this mixture in a sauce pan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.  Get it hot but not boiling.

Step ten: Pour the mixture into the the crust and bake for 30-40 minutes until mixture shakes but is still moist. Cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.

Extra credit: Homemade Whipped Cream
I told you this was an intense recipe!

  • Half pint heavy whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the cream with a whisk until peaks form. Again, this is much easier with a partner to take turns with. When the cream is stiff, fold in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Viola! Whipped cream.

Phew, that’s a monster. Anyways, you’ll feel great once it’s done and it’s so delicious you’ll forget it took like, three hours. If you’re like me, as it cools down and the winter rains start, you’ll look for any excuse to spend an afternoon in a warm kitchen. I hope you enjoy. Please let me know if you tackle this beast, I want to hear all about it!

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