cilantro salsa

Originally uploaded by anne m bray

Cilantro Salsa
makes 1 cup 

2 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro, stems trimmed off
1-4 tomatillos, roast + remove skin
2 key limes - juice
olive oil

pulverize garlic in food processor
add other ingredients, puree
add more oil as needed

store in fridge


termite attack!

I made an alarming discovery today.
I was gathering up work to take to the framer. One was an older piece, stored in a black cardboard portfolio on top of my red bookcase.

Upon close inspection, I noticed a perfect round hole in the foreground area of the piece

How did THAT get there?
I looked further and the ENTIRE portfolio had been bored with the same perfect hole:

Under the portfolio was a pad of newsprint

Oooooooh, termite candy.

Guess it's time to get the (metal) flat files that I bought last year functional. (Moved off the back patio and into the house)

What did I do about the hole? For this drawing, I'm chopping off 2" from the bottom. Re-signed it (but am retaining the hole + old signature under the mat). Some of the others have the hole in the middle. Not sure what to do with those yet...


gentle pea soup

gentle pea soup
Originally uploaded by anne m bray

an adaptation from The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two

Gentle Pea Soup
(for those times you crave veggies but can't masticate)
makes 6 1/2c servings

olive oil
1/2 med onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

1/4 sm cabbage, finely chopped

1 15oz can chicken or veg broth
1lb bag frozen petit peas

greek yogurt or sour cream


Saute onion + garlic in olive oil until soft
Add cabbage, keep sauting until soft
Add broth, peas, salt
Bring to boil
Puree with immersion mixer

Serve, garnish with yogurt or sour cream


Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup
Originally uploaded by anne m bray

this recipe is a variation on this one from epicurious

Cream of Broccoli Soup
makes 4c

2 tb olive oil
med onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
1 carrot, sliced thin
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 head broccoli, chopped coarse
3 c chicken or veg broth

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
greek yogurt or sour cream

saute 1st group of ingredients until soft
add broccoli + broth
simmer, covered 15-20 minutes until broccoli is tender

puree with immersion mixer
add lemon juice

serve garnished with yogurt or sour cream

freezes well
a good way to use overcooked steamed broccoli (adjust proportions as needed) -- use the cooking liquid


an art retreat and a new batch of pastels

I spent a few days at Dorland Art Colony to rest and recharge with the intent of getting some new pastels done for my show in October.

The Colony completely burned to the ground during the 2004 Palomar wildfire. Originally there were 10 cabins, two have been rebuilt. I stayed in "Horton II"

here is my cottage

Neither of the cottages are set up for indoor messy studio art making. (I think there are plans to build a central studio). I was DETERMINED to get some work done, so I cobbled together a set-up that worked quite well. (Which makes me think - why don't I have this type of gumption at home, where I also lack a studio?)
my set-up on the porch

I am delighted to report that I completed five pastels (in three days)!

Big Orange Cloud, ©2010 Anne M Bray, pastel, 16 x 21"

I worked from photos that I captured on a cross country road trip taken last October. Most of the shots I used were from one leg between Williams and Kingman AZ. Pure serendipity that I drove it at sunset... I was booked at a Comfort Inn in Williams, but I couldn't locate the branch that had my reservation (Williams has three). I could tell that a good sunset was developing so I ate the room charge and reserved a room in Kingman. Worth every extra penny!

bite size greek salad

bite size greek salad
Originally uploaded by anne m bray

a very cute idea. I'd 1/2 the cherry tomato (easier to eat) and add onion...

I saw this while on retreat, so it was facebook on my iPhone. Sketched up the outlines so that I'd remember it + where it came from, then colored it up when home.

link: http://cookingwithmykid.com/recipes/bite-sized-greek-salad/


the bookcase garden

Originally uploaded by anne m bray

3 plum tomatoes, nasturtiums, basil ][ cucumber, dill, tarragon, thai basil, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, marjoram, lavendar


which writer do YOU resemble?

Here's a fun little web program - it analyzes your writing and tells you what author's style you most resemble.

I tried it out with some of my art statements...
 "Irwindale" was Dan Brown. (gah!)
"249 Miles: A Day on I-10 Texas" was Charles Dickens (better)
"Pattern Recognition" was Stephen King (oh no)
my Roadworks statement was Margaret Atwood (yes!)

how about a blog post?
the banana muffin post (not including recipe) was Stephen King again (nooooooo)
OK, one more try, a long post from my "spygirl" fashion blog was  Margaret Atwood again

hmmmm. what are your results?


rose petal "freezer" jam

Originally uploaded by anne m bray

I love to add a large spoonful to plain yogurt - YUM 

recipe from:  recipegal.com (url no longer active) 
Yield: about 3.5 cups 

1 c fresh rose petals (must never have been sprayed with any chemicals)
3/4 c water
juice of one lemon (no substitutes)
2 1/2 c cane sugar
1 pouch Certo pectin

In blender -- puree petals, water + lemon (be sure to put lid on blender)
Slowly add sugar, stirring as you add
Add pectin, blend for about 1 minute
Pour into clean jars quickly (it sets up fast)
Let set for 6 hours


banana nut muffins

revamp of an old favorite

banana muffins
Originally uploaded by anne m bray

When I left for college in the early fall of 1974, my mom gave me my grandmother's copy of The Boston Cooking School Cookbook, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1943 edition. I arrived at my (rented over the phone from a printed listing) room in Isla Vista to discover that by opting for the cheaper "apartment" THERE WAS NO KITCHEN! What I had for $120/mo. was a motel room. (They were upgrading and slowly adding kitchens to all the rooms but I didn't get one until about April). So, with the addition of a mini-fridge, an electric 2-burner "stovetop", and a toaster oven, I was ready to try cooking whatever I could. The banana bread recipe was a favorite. I liked the fact that it didn't call for shortening. It was also very "forgiving" if I was low on ingredients (like eggs). It was a big hit at student pot-luck dinners (well, students will eat almost anything).

after 36 years,
here's how the recipe now looks (click on image to see bigger):

I continue to experiment with additions, the latest being the newly discovered coconut flour. Ended up not as coconutty as I had hoped -- more modifications shall ensue!

Originally uploaded by anne m bray

banana muffin, milky ginger/green tea, fannie farmer cookbook (1943 edition)

Banana Nut Muffins Recipe
preheat oven to 325

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c turbinado sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c liquid (buttermilk? used ginger water*)

1/4 c coconut flour
1 3/4 c flour (whole wheat pastry flour best)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
spices as desired (I use ground cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cardamom)
1/2 c chopped nuts (pecan or walnut favored)

mash bananas into large bowl, add sugar + other wet ingredients, mix well
measure dry ingredients into 4 c measuring cup, mix well
pour dry into wet and mix
pour batter into treated muffin pan
bake 40 min @ 325 or until inserted toothpick comes out clean
(if made as 5x9" loaf, 1 hr @ 325)

*ginger water is fresh ginger (about 2") cut into 1/4" cubes and boiled in 4 c water for 15 min.


coconut biscotti

preheat oven to 325
position rack in middle of oven
1/2c butter, room temp
3/4c sugar (can use less, I used 1/4 by mistake)
2 eggs
1/3c milk
2tb coconut amaretto or milk and 1/4tsp almond extract

1/3c coconut flour
1-2/3c unbleached flour
1/2c shredded coconut
1-1/2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp ground nutmeg
1/4tsp salt

2/3c chopped nuts (macademia, almond, whatever)
also - some chopped macapuno* or/and dried apricots (didn't have either but want to try next time)
cream butter and sugar until light + fluffy
beat in eggs and other wet ingredients

measure dry ingredients in 4c pyrex measuring cup, mix
add to mixing bowl, mix until blended

treat large cookie sheet with Pam
shape dough into two logs 1/2" high, at least 2" apart
bake (middle rack) 25 min or until lightly browned
transfer from sheet to rack (cut in 1/2 if easier)
let cool 5 min
using serrated knife, cut about 1/2" width slices
lay slices flat on sheet
return to oven for 10 min, turning them over once
let cool on rack

store in tightly covered container

*macapuno is baby coconut, sold in jars at asian markets

adapted from Biscotti by Lou Seibert Pappas (amz aff)


gringa albondegas

Makes about 10 servings

I freeze the leftovers in pint size containers, 5 balls in each

This is a combination of various recipes, mostly this one from the Simply Recipes blog.
I reduced the fat by eliminating sauteeing the onion + garlic in oil before adding the stock... start that way if you wish! My version is also doubled on the meatballs on typical proportions.

Use a large stock pot for cooking and large mixing bowl for mixing meatballs

3 quarts of chicken or veg stock
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can chopped tomatoes or 2 10oz cans Ro-tel
2 large carrots, sliced

2/3c raw bulgar (or rice)
2 lbs lean ground beef (I use 94/6)
1/2c chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2c chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
2 raw eggs
dash of cayenne

More vegs:
2 med potatoes, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2-3 summer squash (zucchini, yellow, calabacita, etc), sliced
whatever else suits your fancy
1/2c chopped fresh cilantro


Put bulgar into 4c pyrex measuring cup. Pour boiling water over to 1-1/3 line. Let fluff up. (If using rice, you can skip this)

Put broth items in large stockpot. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer.

While that is cooking, prepare meatballs. Mix everything thoroughly.

Form mixture into 1" (walnut size) balls. Drop into broth one at a time as they are formed. Stir to evenly distribute them.

Add potatoes + oregano. Cover and let simmer for at least 30 min. Add remaining items near end of cooking time so they don't get mushy.

When serving, garnish with more fresh cilantro if you have the energy to chop more. A squeeze of fresh lime is nice too.


Apricot/Mango "Freezer"Jam

Recipe proportions:

3 c total mashed fruit (can be combination of apricot, mango, peach, nectarine)
6 c sugar
1/4 c lemon juice
2 pouches Certo liquid pectin

Follow instructions on included recipe sheet
yield: 8-9 8oz jars

This is an uncooked recipe -- jam will keep for 1 year in freezer



The Enabler went a bit nuts at the 99¢ Only Store:

We're wondering if Today's Toblerone tastes the same as in The Olde Days...

We were alarmed to see that Kraft now distributes the chocolate. Did they just buy the company or have they changed the recipe to be more cost-effective? The package says still made in Switzerland.

The Enabler thought there was less nougat. Me, my tastes have gone "darker" since my high school years (when I would polish off a bar in one sitting). It tasted like Hershey's milk chocolate to me (not that great).



sweet rose creamery

The Enabler took a field trip to a new creamery that opened in Brentwood:

Ice cream is his weakness -- resistance was futile!
He got a pint of caramel to go ($8.00 egad). Caramel is his favorite flavor.
I sampled some and at the first lick, it reminded me of something... something... something...
I couldn't put words to the taste, needed a second spoonful... something from the past...
AHA! burnt marshmellows!
This is the first time caramel anything has evoked such a memory -- but we still like Bi-Rite's salty caramel better.


cornbread muffins with roasted poblano chiles

makes 11
use cast iron muffin pan treated with Pam or olive oil spray
preheat oven to 400

3 roasted + peeled poblano (or other) chiles (7 oz total), chopped
1 bunch scallions, cleaned, chopped

1 c cornmeal
1 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

2 tb butter, melted
1/4 c honey
1/4 c sour cream (or crema mexicana)
1/2 c milk
2 eggs

1) prepare chiles + scallions

2) mix dry ingredients in large bowl

3) briskly whisk eggs into wet ingredients

4) add wet mixture + chiles + scallions to dry ingredients, mix

5) spoon batter into muffin pan

6) bake approx 30 minutes -- until inserted toothpick comes out clean

7) enjoy!

adding corn (fresh or canned) a good idea too
this is a combination of 2 recipes: one from epicurious
and one from Fannie Farmer (1941 edition)
 The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: Anniversary



We had a "perfect storm" of leftover chips from el Tarasco, an abundance of roasted chiles, and huge appetites. Not having been to Austin in a while, I Googled the recipe.
Found something close to what I wanted at Homesick Texan

here is my version:

Migas De Walgrove Manor por Dos


4 stale corn tortillas (or roasted on burner) (or already deepfried)
dollop of bacon grease (or canola oil)

1/2 md onion, chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, minced or mashed
3 roasted + peeled poblano (or hatch) chiles
salt to taste

4 eggs
1/4c milk

1c grated cheese (I use NY extra sharp cheddar)

fresh cilantro, chopped


1. In a medium iron skillet, heat up grease on medium-high, and place tortillas into pan one by one, cooking for a bit, turning once. Remove from pan, set aside. (If using already fried tortills, skip this step)
2. Add onions, garlic + peppers to the pan, and cook for a couple of minutes.
3. Add eggs + milk to pan and mix with fork immediately. Add salt, if desired.
4. Crumble tortillas into pan, stir.
5. Sprinkle cheese on top of eggs and continue to cook until melted.
6. Add garnish.


chile feast

we've been eating chiles again
they were on sale at Top Valu Market for $0.79/lb (now they're $0.69!)
Severo brought a bag home, it quickly got devoured --

roasting on the grill

chile sandwich!

chile egg scramble!

we bought another bag
and another

visiting santa monica like a tourist -- BP Oysterette

Severo and I had a date night in Santa Monica last Tues

I wanted to shoot touristy shots of the SM pier:

He wanted to try the Lobster Roll at BP Oysterette:

lobster roll with sweet pototo chips

BP Oysterette is great. Not cheap and certainly busy (even on a Tues night), but what we ordered was delicious.

lobster tacos with white beans, brown rice, grilled lemon

At $20, the lobster roll was jam-packed with meat. Very sparse on the (homemade) mayo. Yum.
The tacos' lobster filling was tasty, but I didn't like the deep fried shell -- next time I'll request the tortillas soft. The beans were outstanding. Had traces of fennel and I don't know what else -- must return and eat again. The rice was plain brown rice, ho-hum. Sadly, we were too full for dessert. Next time.

We then walked down to the pier, played tourist, shot photos and had a grand time.


Venice Fog

Originally uploaded by anne m bray

This was shot on iPhone using Hipstamatic app.
I am in thrall to both items.
Cannot get enough of either
Keep running out my phone battery shooting pix

I captured this last night after attending the 4 By 14 reception @ Julia Dean. Karen and I were walking back to her car. My battery was in the red/dead zone. I could not not take this.


Moosewood Gypsy Soup

this is a delicious, warming soup from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook
features chickpeas + sweet potato or squash

3-4 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2-5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 c chopped sweet potatoes (or any orange squashy veg)*

2 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
dash cinnamon
dash cayanne
1 bay leaf
3 c stock

1-2 cans chickpeas, drained + rinsed (or 1.5c cooked)
1 c chopped tomatoes
1/2 c chopped chiles (I subbed a can of Rotel Original )

in a soup pot,
saute onions , garlic + sweet potato for about 5 min
add seasonings, stock
simmer, covered, 15 min
add chickpeas, vegs
simmer at least another 10 min (until vegs cooked)

*I used kobacha that had been previously roasted


eating NYC (lucky) #13 -- Mooncake Foods

On the way back to the hotel, we saw Dennis entering an eatery so we followed him in.

Mooncake Foods did not disappoint. Lots of items looked good but since we weren't hungry (we went more to socialize) we ordered crawfish dumplings.

only one left when I remembered to take a photo

Thus concludes our trip to NYC. So much fun! (See some more pix on my flickr site.)
We return at the end of April for another Smithereens gig. Venue is State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ. A benefit for the Court Tavern, Patti Smith is on the bill too. Get your tickets now!

eating NYC #12 -- Thompson Cafe

We were aimlessly wandering, looking for breakfast and Thompson Cafe looked good. It was. We got omlettes that cost under $6.

we discovered that asiago cheese tastes great in omlettes

eating NYC #11 - day 4 -- Once Upon a Tart

Last morning in NYC... what to eat? My initial idea was dim sum, but Severo woke up too late (had to be on the A train by 1pm for our flight) He found something online nearby, which, once we hit the streets, we never found.
These tarts caught our attention, however... especially the one at 2:00.

Once Upon a Tart is the purveyor. We got the above lemon tart, a savory spinach + olive tart and a piece of fritatta for in-flight dining. All delicious.


NYC - Who Benefit afterparty

I met up with Cindy Sivak after the show. She kindly drove us to the afterparty at City Winery.

with Ira Elliot (Nada Surf)

NYC - Who Benefit @ Carnegie Hall

I ended up in an opera box!Didn't have camera, didn't think to sketch (doh)
DID have fun!
Severo shot this from the stage
see details here

finale on youtube, featuring Severo utilizing the full stage