Saturday, May 31, 2008

Panang!










The way to get Thai curry in a hurry is to use curry paste from the Asian market. It comes in cute, tiny cans, in a few varieties--I like panang and yellow. And, although Ben and I always make our Indian-style curries from scratch in order to get the spice ratios we prefer, Thai curry is another story. It's something I haven't tried very hard to personalize, because the inscrutable store-bought pastes taste heavenly (if you buy the right ones). Just saute the stuff with some tofu and vegetables and start a pot of rice boiling. Or do what I do and mix the curry paste with coconut milk to create a seriously luscious curry sauce to pour over rice and vegetables.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Burritos, again











No, we're not opening a vegan burrito bar, we just really love to make and eat burritos. We had five giant tortillas left over from last time, so, the very next night, I made mashed potato and black bean burritos. The mashed potatoes aren't the conventional, buttery kind (although we love that kind with some mushroom gravy and a tofu cutlet). For the mashatatoes that we roll up in a burrito, we just mash up the russets with some soy milk and salt. Roll that business up with spicy black beans, shredded spinach, chopped tomatoes, fresh salsa, and homemade guacamole, and call it good.

Here's my easy and awesome guacamole recipe, in case you seriously have never made guacamole.

Baked-apple porridge











Steel-cut Scottish oats are finer than the oatmeal most of us in the U.S. grew up with. Both are nice on winter mornings, but somehow I prefer the porridge-y texture of Scottish oats; it's just so Dickensian or something. My favorite way to enjoy this breakfast is with baked apples, maple syrup, and soy milk. The fruit and maple syrup are perfectly sweet, so you don't even need any brown sugar.*

Vegan baked-apple porridge

1 baking apple
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. water
Pinch of salt
1/3 c. steel-cut Scottish oats (Bob's Red Mill brand is easy to find)
1 T. maple syrup
1/2 c. soy milk or almond milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and cube the apple. Place in a baking pan. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, cover, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

When the apple is nearly done, combine the water and salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the oats and stir (actually, I use a whisk for this). Immediately turn the heat down very low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the baked apple pieces in the last 2 minutes. I kind of like to retain a few for garnish, but you might not be quite as high-maintenance.

Spoon cooked oats into bowl. Add maple syrup and soy milk.

* But, you know, whatevs. Don't let me stop you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How to be adorable while making spaghetti











My friend Becca, who is mentioned elsewhere in the records, sent me this cute apple-green apron! Is this adorable or is this adorable? Seriously.

Dog gets bath












Our dog's thick, husky-style fur takes truly forever to dry, so she can only be bathed on sunny days. At least, that's what Ben tells me. (Kidding, I've seen this sad business with my own eyes.)

Here's our diggety-dog, clean and fresh, after her first bath of the season. The poor thing hates getting the ol' wash, and actually sits in the hall physically trembling (o, the pathos) or comes running to find me, the nice lady who has never put her in a tub. The terrified creature puts her [filthy] head in my lap, gazes up with a single baleful blue eye, and seems to beg me to hide her someplace where Ben and his bath will never think to look.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cell phones & pregnancy

Even scarier than realizing you like Conway Twitty is the
mysterious, but apparently real, connection between
using a cell phone when you're pregnant and having
your kid develop emotional and behavioral problems.
(I read about it on S.'s blog. She links directly to the
research, like a dutiful public policy analyst.)

Now, clearly, more rsch is needed to clarify what factors
are really linking these two things. It could be that
talking on cell phones has a causal effect here, but it
could, of course, be something else entirely. Probably,
there's something else, something complicated, going on
here. I'm unwilling to venture a guess/generalization,
but I am willing to give up my cell phone minutes
if I get pregnant. Please, that would be tons easier than
giving up coffee, which is apparently the thing to do.

5 words I never thought I'd hear myself say

"Where's my Conway Twitty CD?"

Monday, May 26, 2008

Robbed!

Some jerk stole my bicycle from our fenced-in back
yard!

It wasn't even a fancy bike... I bought it on the
cheap at a po-po auction in Madison, and the bike was
permanently stuck in a single gear. It probably couldn't
be resold for more than thirty bucks. Still, it was my
two-wheeler, and I liked it. It even had a cute basket
attached to the front, which was useful in the extreme
for trips to the store, or for carrying parcels to the
post office, or toting a lunch and water bottle.

Plus, I'd just had it tuned up over at the Alt, and
had only gotten to roll around town on it once.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Form Follows Function (or, We Love Burritos)





















Long, skinny ingredients like the sauteed sweet potato sticks pictured above are perfect for rolling up in a burrito. I didn't specifically learn that in my art and design history classes, but come on -- it's just Good Design!

I'm pretty certain everyone knows how to make a decent burrito, but the challenge is making your burritos more delicious and less expensive than the ones you can get at the taco places in your city's international district. Otherwise, why bother, really? To make the hauntingly yummy and not-too-expensive burritos Ben and I put together this weekend, we rolled up our sauteed sweet potato strips and spicy pinto-and-black-bean mixture with some avocado slices*, chopped tomato, fresh spinach (way more delicious and vitamin-y than lettuce), sauteed summer squash, and fresh--although not homemade--salsa. Easy.

Just be sure to season whatever beans you use with a bunch of cumin, basil, orgeano, and whatever you've got that's hot'n'spicy (as usual, we used Sriracha sauce). Cilantro would be nice, too, and it seriously costs like ninety-nine cents for more fresh cilantro than you could possibly use.











Above: 'rito fixings

*Also a long, skinny, burrito-appropriate ingredient.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

cupcarrotcakes
















At potlucks, folks of all dietary persuasions* lose their minds over this carrot cake. It's so delicious, and is my go-to dessert when I'm baking to impress. The batter works beautifully for both cupcakes and frost-in-the-pan cakes, but, sorry, fancy bakers, it is too divinely moist to use as a layer cake. Regardless, I can't say enough about how really, really wonderful it tastes. I sometimes add a little fresh lemon, orange, or tangerine juice or zest to the fluffy Tofutti cream cheese frosting.

Vegan carrot cake

1/4 c. soy milk
Scant t. baking powder
1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. canola oil
2 medium-sized carrots, shredded
1/4 c. soy milk
1/2 tub Tofutti cream cheese
2 T. soy margarine
3/4 c. powdered sugar
Optional: 1 t. grated peel of a citrus fruit, or 1 1/2 t. citrus juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together the soy milk and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside to foam up. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in the baking powder/soy milk mixture, then add the canola oil and shredded carrots. Add the soy milk little by little, stirring gently (use more or less depending on how thin the batter gets).

Pour into oiled pan or cupcake tins; bake 15-20 minutes for cupcakes or about 35 minutes for a cake, or until a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Make the frosting by creaming the Tofutti cream cheese with the margarine. Scrape sides of bowl and add the powdered sugar. Whip together. Add the optional zest or juice, and, if necessary, drip a little soy milk in while mixing. (I recommend being extremely conservative with the soymilk; your frosting can become a sugary soup in the blink of an eye! That's why it's always nice to have more powdered sugar on hand than you'll think you'll need, so you can even out the ratio if you mess it up--as I often do.)

* Okay, except gluten-free and soy-free and raw foodists. Sorry, sweeties.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More bootay












A toddler pal of mine will be receiving these in the mail next week. They may be a little too warm for the upcoming Cleveland summer, but that's what happens when I don't do any knitting all winter long, and pick up the sticks again in mid-May.

Too lazy to be a real artist

Grabbed coffee with a school chum today and was completely floored by her account of how she's been passing the summer break (which is only two weeks old). A papermaker, she has already finished a slew of handmade books, taken a weekend box-making class at the MCBA, cleaned her house, and had friends over for dinner. I haven't done anything arty, really, so I feel like a total wastrel. I'm not sitting around all day or anything, but reading, baking, biking, and knitting aren't going to make me any better at drawing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sunflower seed buns











I have lots of time to bake bread these days, and I don't take it for granted. These vegan sunflower seed buns were called upon on Veggie Burger Night.

1 T. dry yeast
1/2 c. water
3 c. flour (I used half whole wheat and half unbleached white four)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/3 c. canola oil
2 T. sunflower seeds

Dissolve the yeast in the water. In mixing bowl, combine flour and sea salt. Slowly add the canola oil, then the yeast/water. Knead by hand (on a floured surface) or with your mixer's bread hook attachment. Cover in bowl and place in a warm place to rise. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and scrape the sides of bowl. Cover again and allow to rise one more time. Punch down, scrape sides, and turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Next, preheat oven to 350 degrees and cut dough into 6-8 pieces. Shape each into a ball and place on lightly oiled baking sheets. Flatten each bun slightly and press sunflower seeds into the top of each bun. Brush a bit of water across the tops to make sure the seeds don't fall off. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted into the center of a bun comes out clean.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron...











I won't insult your culinary intelligence by posting a spinach dip recipe. If you've spent any time at all in the Midwest, you know how to make a very Minnesotan spinach dip with sour cream and mayo (I used vegan versions), frozen spinach (I like a mix of frozen and fresh), some scallions, and a bit of water chestnut. Oh my god, I love spinach dip with big hunks of pumpernickel bread! (The crackers might look nice, but they tasted like a manila folder.) This gluten-free dip is also super-duper with veggies, so, you know. Do that up.

Bike, Twain, dog

"Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live."
--Mark Twain

Today I biked over to Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun.
Minneapolis has the best system of bike paths I've ever seen!
It's set up like a little highway, with well-marked exits on
the right. I'm awfully slow (okay, lazy) on the bike, but
it's still fun and the weather is very agreeable.

If our dog were one of those that would run along next to me
as I bicycled, we could do that... but she's not. As slow
(again, lazy) as I am, though, maybe she could in fact manage
it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Chuck D, serialized








I'm not talking about the hip-hop artist from Public Enemy. I did love his radio show on Air America, but the Chuck D. I'm thinking of was a little more Victorian.

This neat site will help you read (or re-read) Victorian novels in something like their original, serialised format. Subscribe to a novel (I picked Dickens' Hard Times) and receive it in installations by e-mail. Why would one want to do this? Well, assuming one enjoys nineteenth-century literature to begin with (and if you don't, I have one word for you: Villette), there are a few reasons to read a Victorian novel in its serialized form. Many novels of the time (including most of the novels of Dickens) were originally published in installations in popular magazines. Although we tend to look back and think that the installation format was just a regrettable by-product of Victorian pop culture, there are plenty of good reasons to revisit the serial texts.

If I may make a low-brow comparison: have you ever watched old episodes of a popular sit-com captured on VHS? I'm not talking about the modern-day godsend of TV on DVD, but rather, say, a few half-hour episodes of "The Facts of Life" that you taped off of NBC back in the early '80s. For me, the commercials are almost as interesting as the sit-com, and at any rate it gives me another lens to see this bit of pop culture through. In the same way that the commercials tell us something about the culture and popular values of the time, reading a Victorian novel in its original serial text gives us a little more context for the work. One specific example--the modern printings of Victorian novels often exclude the illustrations that helped Victorian readers follow a complicated narrative over an extended period of time. Today, being able to enjoy those plates gives us another means of understanding the story and its social context.

Plus, isn't it just cool to imagine a time when literature was so great a part of popular culture? I mean, at certain points in the mid-19th century, more Londoners were reading installments of the latest Dickens novel than the daily newspaper! That means that when Nell dies in The Old Curiosity Shop, the nationwide response was akin to when Bob Newhart woke up next to Suzanne Pleshette, or when Clarabelle spoke, or when Lt. Col. Blake's plane crashed, or when Luke and Laura got married. Or maybe it's more like the death of Dumbledore in the most popular serialized story ever.

The site offers a catalogue of serialized novels by, among others, H. Rider Haggard, Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope, Henry James, and William Thackeray. A couple of women writers, too, mostly American.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my first installation of Hard Times. If you decide to try out a serial too, let me know. We can encourage one another, because I may need a little rallying in order to actually do the reading, since staring at a laptop is an inferior experience to actually holding a book in the hand.

I actually made a second bootie!













In this case at least, I am victorious in the struggle.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Denouement (report #3)











Buying myself a pair of twenty-five dollar ebony knitting needles is not something I would ever do. I mean, I'm a student. My husband and I rent. The Minnesota state budget is nearly a billion dollars in deficit, which means jobs at his St. Paul office are about to be cut (including, very possibly, Ben's job). And general poor-ness is something he and I have come to terms with. So how do I justify twenty-five dollar ebony knitting needles? Two words: gift certificate.

Oh my god, these needles are a dream: soft, smooth, and genuinely a pleasure to hold in the hand. Knitting with the double-pointed needles of Heaven, that's what it is like. Makes me averse to ever using the regular old bamboo ones (which until now I've always liked) again... not to mention the old metal and plastic needles which, despite their vintage charm, bring no pleasure or joy to my knitting. (I just keep the metal ones in case I ever have to defend the family from a burglar.) Anyway, I won't go so far as to say that all of my future projects have to be able to be done on six-inch #3 double-pointed needles, because that's a bit (just a bit!) limiting and I do have dozens of perfectly nice bamboo needles of various sizes. But let's just say I'll be prioritizing socks and baby sweaters for a while.

Oh, and if you're a knitter: my ebonies are made by Lantern Moon.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You had me at arb

The weather in Minnesota was gorgeous today, and Ben and I spent most of the afternoon at the arboretum in Northfield, on the edge of the Carleton College campus. We walked the prairie trails for a couple of hours, spotting lots of birds and a snake, then visited Dacie Moses House (there weren't any cookies, though, and we were too hungry to bake). We bought lunch snacks at a new natural foods store in Northfield, then listened to the oldies station on the drive home. Saturdays are the best.

Chibi!














Second report in a series of three on What I Bought with my Yarn Store Gift Certificate:

I probably should have photographed my new Chibi next to a twenty-five cent coin or something. Anything to clarify that its size is about three inches long and maybe an inch in diameter. It's not, as my photo suggests, a nine-inch "massage" toy.

Anyway, the Chibi is a cute little container for tapestry needles, which is what most knitters use to weave in the yarn ends when a project is done. (Some people use a crochet hook, but I associate that method with misery.) Tapestry needles, though, are slim and weigh almost nothing, even the metal ones, and are easy to lose (I was down to ONE, a crappy plastic blue one that I kind of hate).

I've been wishing for a Chibi for ages. They're not expensive or anything, but I haven't seen them at many yarn shops and I just haven't wanted to bother ordering something that costs $3.99 over the Internet, then paying the same amount to have it shipped, you know? That's where the gift certificate comes in. By the way, they come in various colors; I lucked out and got a green one. Oh, and each Chibi comes with three tapestry needles!

Apparently I'm not the only Chibi lover.

But as far as knitting luxuries go, I'm saving the very best for last. The forthcoming third report in this series will be about something very, very special.

Friday, May 16, 2008

First ethanol, now sock yarn!












This cute skein of yarn is made of corn! I went for a single skein of this lightweight yarn (color: "hibiscus") because it has the same subtle shine as mercerized cotton, which makes for lovely, machine-washable baby booties. (I probably don't need to tell you that giving a new parent a pair of hand-wash only baby booties is punishable by law in Minnesota and in several other midwestern states.)

Crystal Palace makes the Maizy line, but I bought my single skein online at the Yarn Market with a gift certificate from my wonderful parents-in-law. Tune in tomorrow for the second in a series of three reports on What I Bought with my Yarn Store Gift Certificate.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

In praise of ganache











The title was supposed to be a play on the name of the Buddhist (and Jain) god with the elephant head: Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles! But it didn't really come off, did it?

But the ganache-topped cupcakes did work out. Usually ganache, an elegant chocolate glaze, is poured onto flat-topped cakes and cupcakes for a lovely, smooth result, but I think it looks pretty cute on my fluffy, fully-risen Winter Pudding Cupcakes, too!

I made these with the European winter pudding mix sent to me by the very kind Pavotrouge. Thank you, Internet friend!


Winter Pudding Cupcakes

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. soy margarine
Scant 2 c. flour
1 envelope Arche Naturkuche winter pudding mix
1 T. cocoa powder
1 t. baking powder
scant t. baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 - 3/4 c. soy milk or almond milk

For the ganache:
Scant 1/4 c. soy milk
Heaping T. soy margarine
4 oz. vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream the sugar and margarine. Stir in the flour, pudding mix, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the soy/almond milk by the teaspoon until the consistency is right--it should be able to fall of the spoon, but slowly. You might not need all of the soy/almond milk. Pour into cupcake tins (oil the tins first, or use cupcake papers) and bake at 325 for 12-16 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. (Don't worry, the ganache will cover up the little hole!)

When the cupcakes have cooled, make the ganache. Heat the soy milk, margarine, and chocolate chips in a double boiler until fully melted and combined. Pour the warm ganache over the cooled cupcakes, or spoon it on. The ganache takes a while to firm up, so no need to race.

Leftover ganache can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, and melted again later for another baking project.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Second Sock Struggle












I'm one of those knitters with a basketful of single socks. The completion of a pair of handknitted socks is, for me, always a long -- really, really long -- time coming. One and a half cute intarsia socks have been sitting in my closet for close to two years, for example. Pathetically, even tiny baby booties present me with this same struggle with the self--the Second Sock Struggle.

To be fair, I do always finish the pairs eventually... it's the honor student in me. Even the closeted sock and a half mentioned above will probably have a long weekend devoted to their completion someday. But it is always an internal battle. As soon as I finish the first sock (or bootie, or, hell, mitten), the temptation to start some other project is enormous! (The cable-knit glove--note the singular noun--I made for Ben last winter is a heartbreaking example that downright haunts me.) The challenge and the giddy excitement disappear once the first of two symmetrical (or, worse, identical) items materializes, finished. (For proof, see my list of works in progress. Many unfinished pairs of things are documented there.) Sometimes I can't believe the vague despair I feel at the thought that I have to knit another one, or the eager exhilaration I experience while planning my next project. Planning the next project, though, is generally at the expense of the Second Sock. The pathos!

Hopefully I can get over this particular instance of Knitter's Defeatism. Here is the first bootie of, lord willing, a pair I'm making for the new baby of a grad school friend.

Rauschenberg













The proto-pop artist Robert Rauschenberg died yesterday. Known for his assemblage works (which he called "combines"), Rauschenberg was one of the American visual artists whose work in the 1950s and -60s reacted to gestural abstract expressionism (you know, like Pollock). Rauschenberg was also an influence on the Fluxus movement of the 1960s. Oh yeah, and he and Jasper Johns were luhh-vers! Of course, most art history sources nonchalantly refer to Johns and Rauschenberg as "friends." (Yes, believe it or not, these two male painters of the 1960s who lived together for six years were GAY.)

Anyway, I like Rauschenberg's work, especially the mid-'50s stuff like Rebus (1955), above (image stolen from some online poster store -- forgive me). But I also love the fierce, early '50s stuff it was reacting against.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Curried sweet potato stew














Mashed sweet potatoes, left over from one of last week's weeknight suppers, inspired this thick, creamy soup. It is both sweet and spicy.

Vegan curried sweet potato soup

2 T. olive oil
1 T. mustard seeds
1 1/2 T. curry powder
1/2 t. cumin (most curry powders contain cumin, but I like extra)
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 sweet potatoes, baked and skins removed
2 c. water
2/3 c. Coffee Rich vegan creamer*
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
Squirt of Sriracha sauce
Optional: 1/4 c. green peas, fresh or frozen

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds, cooking until they begin to pop. Stir in the curry powder and cumin. Sautee for a minute or so to form a paste, then stir in the onion and garlic. Mash the sweet potatoes with a fork or hand masher and add to the soup pot. Add the water. Cover, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. When boiling, add the Coffee Rich, brown sugar, salt, and Sriracha.

Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for a few minutes (longer if you want some of the liquid to boil off), then cover and simmer for at least twenty minutes (longer if you want... it brings out the flavor of the curry). Add the optional green peas in the last few minutes of simmering.

*Coffee Rich is one of those inexpensive vegan edibles whose makers may or may not realize that their product is vegan, and probably don't give a damn, really. They certainly don't market it as vegan, although the Rich company is committed (it seems) to creating dairy-free foods. Anyway, the company makes the awesome soy-based creamer used in this recipe (and also used in my morning cup of coffee), as well as Rich Whip--the soy-based whipped "cream" with which Ben and I were obsessed during the summer of 2007. Tragically, we can't obtain Rich Whip in Minneapolis. My treasured Coffee Rich, though, is available at the Uptown Rainbow in the freezer section. If you don't have Rich's, you can use the more expensive (and, in my experience, thinner) creamer by Silk brand. It is almost certainly less unhealthy.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Great new search engine

Friday, May 09, 2008

The glistening snowpea











I'd been dying to use the two handfuls of beautiful snowpeas I'd gotten at the market, but tofu and snowpeas just didn't hold the dazzle I was looking for. Then, we bought these faux chicken strips on sale. They ended up costing approximately the same as a block of tempeh, so what the hell. (Of course, they're both more than twice the price of the tofu we get at the Asian market, but man and woman cannot live on tofu alone.) Anyway, the snowpea stirfry was both pretty and yummy. Also, proteiny.

Snowpea Stirfry

1 1/2 c. fresh snowpeas, ends of pods trimmed
Scant T. sesame oil
1/2 c. white onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 t. sea salt
1 T. rice vinegar
1 package Lightlife Smart Strips

Combine the snowpeas and the sesame oil, coating the pods. Set aside. In a large nonstick pan over very high heat, quickly sautee the onions and red peppers for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with salt and rice vinegar and continue to sautee for two more minutes. Add the snowpeas and continue to sautee. Drizzle in a bit of water or olive oil if the onions begin to get too dry. Lower heat to medium-low and toss in the faux chicken strips. Cover and allow to cook through, 6-8 minutes.

Serve over brown rice.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Vegan apple dumplings: cute.












Apple dumplings are the treat at the end of a country-stylin' dinner such as we had last night (mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, tofu cutlets, fresh carrots and spinach). The dumplings are really something special with a little vanilla soy ice cream, although we had none on hand last night. Oh, but you have to remember to start the dough early in the day, because it has to rise twice (worth it).

Vegan apple dumplings

3/4 c. unbleached white flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. canola oil
1 1/2 t. yeast combined with 1/4 c. warm water
4 baking apples
1/4 cup (4 T.) soy margarine
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. sugar mixed with 1/4 t. cinnamon
Optional: additional 1/4 t. cinnamon and 1-2 T. maple syrup for topping

Combine the flours, salt, canola oil and yeast. Knead well by hand or with the bread hook attachment of your Kitchenaid. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down the dough, scape sides, and cover. When the dough has doubled in bulk again, punch down and scrape sides, then divide the dough into four pieces. Shape each into a ball. On a floured surface, flatten each slightly by hand, then roll each out to 1/4-1/2" thickness. Allow to rise while you peel and core the apples. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place an apple in the center of each circle of dough. Put a T. of soy margarine in each apple, along with 1/2 T. brown sugar and 1/4 T. cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough, then wrap up each dumpling by pulling up the sides and twisting together at the top of the dumpling. Sprinkle a little extra cinnamon over the tops and drizzle with maple syrup.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Here's what they look like before baking: cute!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Come again some other day

Got caught in a ton of rain on the way home from school/the co-op/the thrift store, after dropping off my last project/buying vegan sushi/scoring a few used books. It's really coming down and I had about ten blocks to cover... but, it's better than cleaning up poop.

Don't they have anything by, like, Hopper?

Over the weekend I finally checked out the Richard Prince exhibit
at the Walker (the same museum where Ben and I were nearly
trampled by voracious Cubist-lovers on the final night of the
Picasso exhibit). I'd heard a lot about this Richard Prince. He's
notorious for for his appropriation of images from popular culture,
but not exactly in the Warholian way. He really takes this shit
further than Warhol ever did. Pop artists like Warhol and
Lichtenstein appropriated “low culture” images (comics, soup
cans, images of celebrities) to make art that critiqued the
methods of mass-media and the idea of art as commodity. But
what Prince does, more drastically, is re-photographs existing
photographs and mass-media images, including print ads and
pics from magazines, and position them as his own. For example,
you know those biker mags from the 70s (maybe they're still being
published, I don't know) where they'd print pictures that biker
dudes sent in of their girlfriends draped seductively over
motorcycles? Well, it was a thing. Anyway, in the mid-80s Prince
simply re-photographed a bunch of pages from those magazines.
Now they're hanging at the Walker. This extreme appropriation is, of
course, scandalous, and Prince has been involved in plenty of
litigation. (Brooke Shields is bizarrely involved!) Even the
title of Prince’s current exhibition, Spiritual America, is
appropriated from a photograph by the twentieth-century
photographer Alfred Stieglitz.

As for me, I guess his work leaves me pretty cold. But it sure does
create interesting questions about authorship and originality, and it
was fun to see contemporary work that is obviously influenced by
many of the art movements I care about: Dada, Surrealism,
Conceptualism, Pop.

Still, though.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Fetching her

On my way to take an exam this morning, I realized that
I'd put the dog in the backyard and had forgotten to let
her back in. As some of you know, our pooch is no junkyard
dog and isn't used to being exposed to the elements. She
basically sleeps on a giant pillow all day, with short
breaks for her three walks per twenty-four hours (if that
sounds like a lot of walks, you feel the same way our
reluctant dog does). Conclusion: I will walk-run home
between classes to bring our exiled queen back into her
castle. I'm really dreading the "why hath thou forsaken
me?" look she is going to give me when I get home.

Pettirosso



Our last cartoon of the semester is finished! Watch it above or at our YouTube channel!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Is it summer yet?













It's a busier-than-usual Sunday. This morning I completed a school project at the Walker Art Center. Ben is playing music this afternoon with some work friends, and tonight he and I will finish our last cartoon of the semester. (It's about a pinkish-red bird with, apparently, limited capacity for movement.) In addition, I'm simultaneously baking bread and studying for tomorrow's final on visual art and globalisation... the last exam of my annee scolaire.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Never too old to watch cartoons

video

Ben and I collaborated on this cartoon, our second together! (Want to watch the first?) This new one has been about a month in the making; Ben did the really beautiful sound/foley/music and I did the animation.
P. S. Some of you will recognize the star... despite aggressive courting by Disney (our competitor), she's sticking with us. It's either because she's disdainful of their labor practices or because our house is where all of her chew toys are.
P. P. S. Below is a second way to watch it... I'm experimenting to figure out which of these two fabulously free video-publishing options is less crappy. I think you can watch it BIGGER if you go to the actual YouTube page.