Sunday, September 29, 2013

to market, to market ...

Sunday morning at the market ...

If only these pictures could capture the smells and sounds too ...

Recipe of the Week: Wok-braised Pork Belly

This last recipe of the month-long Asian food series, is courtesy of my mom! My mom is a great cook. I remember following her to cooking lessons as a kid. She was an avid baker back in the day and our house always smelled of all sorts of local "kuehs" (cakes). Since I am currently in Singapore, I was able to bug and beg her for a recipe that could be easily replicated in the US. I wanted something with ingredients that can be easily found, and a dish with a rich flavor that would appeal to many of our blog readers. So even though I do not eat pork, here's an awesome Singaporean recipe for braised pork belly!

1lb pork belly
3 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2.5 tbsp sugar
1 cup water

Make a marinade by combining garlic, light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar.
Marinate pork belly for at least an hour (overnight is best).

In a good size wok, bring 1 cup of water to a boil and then add in pork belly.
Cook at medium heat for 10 minutes, and then turn. Keep turning meat every 10 minutes until the water runs dry and turns into a thick gravy. The meat should be slightly golden brown at this time.
Remove, cut into slices.
Serve hot over rice.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

butterfly and painting in attica

when i woke up this morning and let the cat outside something caught my eye sitting on our chair.  olestra, the other caterpillar we found in the garden, had emerged.  we, quite honestly, thought she was dead.  the saran wrap we kept over the dish had long been thrown away.  i guess i'm glad i caught her before she flew all over the house.  i picked her up on my finger and then took her outside.  i put her on one of mindy's favorite flowers and watched her flap her wings a bit.  i couldn't stay to watch her fly away, because i had to get to attica to paint more on the mural.  but here are some pictures i took while she was still rubbing the gravel from her eyes.  i'm sorry mindy missed this, we had waited so long for her to emerge that we really had given up on her.

my favorite picture perhaps.
free at last.
stretching her wings
cool little peddle car
after playing around in the garden a bit i drove to attica to paint.  we worked until nearly 4 pm, and got a lot done.  there's really just a couple more days to go on it.   i got a lot more of the pattern filled in and created the covered bridge painting.  one of the kids who has been helping suggested a peddle car.  i said ok, and we've now got a cool little peddle car on the floor by the bookcase.  the mural is coming along.  the pattern is quite striking in the way it meanders through the wall.
where we stopped today.

Garden Update: September 2013

September's harvest continues to be bountiful! Our goal for the next couple of weeks is to save as much of this harvest as we can. And to that end, we've been canning, pickling, dehydrating, and freezing. 

The beets that we planted at the end of July and the radishes and turnips that were sowed just 3 weeks ago are ready! Zach is on a pickling kick so we are pickling all of these root veggies.

As for the remaining cherry tomatoes,

they are best in dehydrated form. Dehydrating help keeps all of the sweetness of the tomatoes. And Zach has found that they have a great consistency that is useful in making tomato paste.

As for the peppers,

we are freezing the sweet bell varieties, dehydrating half of the hot peppers, and pickling the other half. 

The herbs are, for the most part, still going strong. The chives are even blossoming! We dehydrate the woodier varieties (oregano, thyme, etc.), and freeze the tender ones in oil (basil, scallions).

On the first day of fall, we planted another round of beets, radishes, and turnips. We also planted kale, red choi, and gai lan. Our chinese veggies always get eaten up by worms before we can get to them. Hopefully they'll do better with row covers this time around.

How is your fall garden coming along? I'd love to hear what people are growing and harvesting this time of the year!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

From Chicago to Singapore

Okay, so the real reason Zach and I spent Monday in Chicago is because he had to take me to the airport on early Tuesday morning.

@ Chicago O'Hare, the fancy underground walkway that crosses from the domestic to the international terminal.

I am in Singapore for the next 10 days. A short trip for sure, but a much needed one. I've prepared a couple of posts to share, but I'm also going to try my best to write a bit while I'm here. Or at the very least, I'll have my mom share something delicious for the last installment of our current series of Asian recipes ...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

robox: comedy on the steps of the art world

robox: on the steps of the art world
mca chicago, 9.23.13
photo credit to mindy
yesterday mindy and i spent the day in chicago.  none of the places we really like to visit were open, because it was monday, but we found ways to have fun anyhow.  we ate at our favorite spots, GTs Fish and Oysters and Yuzu, and drove around a bit in some places we had not yet explored.  while aimlessly driving down halstead we saw a great little patch of what looked to be good graffiti, including an icy and sot up on a roof top.  so perhaps, next visit we figure out how to get to it.

then i wanted to do something a bit shameful in the gallery/museum art world.  i decided robox should be at the MCA, so we grabbed a few handfuls and set them up at the MCA.  ok so maybe this is trying a bit too hard.  but who gives a shit.  it was fun and i think the photo on the steps is great.  a couple of guys who were wandering around saw us setting up and then approached us, and seemed to really enjoy it, taking pictures and moving then around.  i gave them each one to take home.  a little comedy on the steps of the art world never hurt anyone.  now that i think about it, it is kind of an appropriate comment on my place outside the art world.  on the steps, but not in the building.

after playing around on the steps we decided to take some around michigan ave as well.  we struggled with the wind and sun, but it was cool and comfortable, and we had fun just wandering doing nothing really, playing with our photo toys.
we also took some around michigan ave.  here they sit in traffic.
and then the breeze of speeding cars happened.

from the river walk.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Attica Mural: 9.23

Zach and Ladonna will not be working in Attica until Wednesday, but there is a nice write-up of the progress of the mural in the Journal and Courier today.

We are taking the rest of the day off and heading to Chicago to play! I think Zach deserves it. He has been working non-stop on this mural. If he's not out painting in Attica, he is busy drawing, cutting, and prepping stencils at home. Some rest will do him good!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Thai Pineapple Shrimp Curry

It's the first day of fall, so it feels appropriate to be sharing a recipe for a sweet and sour, warm, flavorful, and delicious thai pineapple shrimp curry. The best thing about this recipe, is that it takes less than 1/2 hour to prep, cook, and serve. I hope you try it out!

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp lime juice
4 dried kaffir lime leaves, crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pineapple, cored and cubed
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat coconut oil over medium heat, then add curry paste and fry until fragrant.
Add coconut milk, lime, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower heat; add shrimps and pineapple and cook until shrimps are done.
Serve over steaming white rice.

Next week will be the last installment of our month-long feature of Asian recipes. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

window shopping

The last Gallery Walk of the season was yesterday. If you braved the rain and stopped by Artist's Own, you'd have seen our new window display. For fall, we decided to spruce up our window with something fun and colorful.  There were lots of ideas tossed around in our discussions, but in the end we wanted something out of the ordinary.  We eschewed the typical scatter of fall leaves, gourds, and twigs and went instead with a collection of town buildings, umbrellas and prints.  I went to work on a little village and fellow Artists' Own member, Linda LeMar, collected some dried flowers and fabrics.  Then, the two of us started building.  After a couple of hours, here are the results.

Friday, September 20, 2013

flooded studio

foam city gallery walk

The torrential downpour on Wednesday night flooded the studio at Foam City. Zach has been hard at work trying to clean up the mess, but it looks like we're not going to have everything ready for Gallery Walk tonight. So if you were planning to come see us, we're sorry we won't be there. Head on over to Main Street and pop in Artists' Own instead. There's lots of Zach's work there to see too! And if you live around the Attica area, Zach will be working on the mural all day tomorrow. Stop by and say hi to him, Ladonna, and all the other volunteer painters!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

attica mural: 9.18

attica indiana mural

ladonna and i put in a little more work on the mural today and some of the lower details are starting to come in. we worked on the bookshelf a bit and around the stand where the lamp sits, but we were only out for a couple of hours.  while walking around town, i found a bunch of classic blue and white porcelain pottery around in the windows of antique shops, so i added a stack of mugs and a bowl, using a stencil and some free hand techniques.  i like how the sharpness of the stencil and looseness of the freehand lines work together to create the image.  i'm finding that the different styles of working can be challenging to manage.  i like how things blend together but also stand apart.  the real challenge is going to be making sure that everything is consistently spread around the wall.  but in the end i think that the blending of styles will be the strength of the piece.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

attica mural

last weekend we began the mural in Attica.  i am teaming with local artist ladonna vohar and the attica community to complete this piece.  the theme is antique shop, with the goal of incorporating the windows of the building into the work.  we are more or less creating a whole bunch of framed images and items stuffed into the space.  the background will be wall paper patterns.  as we get further into this mural i'll post more pictures, but so far we've got a good start.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Stir Fry Tamarind Beef

Are you familiar with tamarind? There are many tart/sour Southeast Asian recipes that have tamarind as its base flavor. In Singapore, tamarind comes in either pod or pulp form, and to use it, you have to extract the juice. The most convenient way to use tamarind though, is definitely in paste form. Here in the USA, you can buy tamarind paste from your Asian grocery store or online.

For this week's recipe, we are sharing an easy but flavorful tamarind beef stir fry. This dish is also a great way for you to use up some of your late summer peppers. Yummy.

(recipe adapted from Savory Spice Shop)

1lb skirt steak, sliced thinly against the grain
1/4 cup tamarind paste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 shallots, sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
3 tbsp honey
4 tsp soy sauce
4 tsp yellow mustard seeds
4 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp ground coriander
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 thai chili peppers (optional, you can use more if you want it more spicy)
1 tbsp cooking oil

Marinate beef in tamarind, garlic, honey, and soy sauce for at least 1 hour.
In the meantime, dry roast mustard and cumin seeds until the seeds start to pop (about 3 minutes), then remove.
In a wok, heat oil until hot, then stir in bell peppers, chili peppers, onions, and carrots. Cook until soft.
Add steak and marinade, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add in cumin, mustard, and coriander.
Finish cooking meat. We like ours medium rare, so that is about 1-2 minutes; add more cooking time if you like your beef well done.
Serve over rice.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thank you!

tippecanoe arts federation

We tore down the show at TAF this afternoon. Thank you to all who came out during the last six weeks to see County Fair. Lafayette was the homecoming stop for this show and it was so nice to be able to exhibit here and share it with everyone in the community! :)

Friday, September 13, 2013


There's nothing quite like the experience of driving on Purdue's West Lafayette campus. The conditions on the road are so bad i no longer want to drive myself to school if Zach can take me. The students are careless and reckless. As pedestrians, they have their eyes glued to their phones and music blasting in their ears, they cross roads with a mistaken sense of entitlement, an attitude of challenge, and an air of invincibility. As motorists, they drive like maniacs, hot heads, and fools. And just to add to the mess, there are too many cyclists who do not observe the laws of the road when they are riding. These feckless students are, no doubt, the reason for the increasing number of accidents.

As a solution to the growing problem, Purdue now uses crossing guards during peak hours on campus. And no, I'm not making this up. Crossing guards for college students. Crossing guards Purdue calls PSA - Pedestrian Safety Advocates. How's this for a better PSA (public service announcement): PAY ATTENTION!!!!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Super duper busy!

We've been super busy. I've been spending a whole lot of time on school projects, and Zach has been running around planning and painting murals. On the rare occasion that we are home at the same time, we are canning. We started with peach jam, then we did a round of tomatoes, and today, we tackled roasted red peppers. We are exhausted. And sadly, as a result of all the busyness, the blog has taken a backseat. 

To catch you up on one of Zach's many murals, here's an article in the local Journal and Courier on the latest project in Attica.

Downtown Attica art project a community effort
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