Many years ago my Father carved this solid walnut bowl for me. My Father's carving was not smooth. It shows every single chisel mark that he made. It gives his pieces so much character.
One of these days I'm going to treat myself to a deep fried zucchini blossom
See the simple detail my Father carved into the rim of the bowl? Isn't it absolutely perfect?
I showed up just in time as my Father was finishing my bowl. Can you see the "handles" on the side of the bowl? They are removed at the very last. They are used to hold the carving in place. It took me a while to convince my Pappa to leave the "handles". I like them. don't you?
Rolly Polly Zucchini are my most favorite Summer Squash. Harvest them when they are about golf ball size. Even when they are larger, they are still excellent. Just saute them, cut up, in a little unsalted butter and olive oil. Season simply with sea salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.
The perfect little Rolly Polly
My Father was a very fine Master Woodcarver from the Old country. When I was about 8 years old he asked me to come into his studio. Fastened to the carving bench was a piece of very thick alder wood. He instructed me on how to carve a bowl. I carved and I carved ... until I had carved a hole through to the bottom. I was not invited again.
But my Father took me on many painting expeditions.
My Father signed all of his pieces. Once they were finished I would sneak into his studio and with one of his chisels would carve "my mark" in an inconspicuous place. On his 80th birthday I fessed up to my misdeeds. He first looked at me in disbelief and then he threw his head back and he laughed and he laughed.
We promised our friends a picnic by the pond, under the old elm tree
We decided to surprise our friends
And moved the picnic table into our barn
The chickens wandered by, Stanley our gentleman cat, caught a mouse, which Charlie our big dog promptly stole and Lucy our Brittany sat in the shade watching birds and watching us.
The four of us sat and enjoyed the finest gazpacho, deviled eggs, a fantastic bean salad, chicken barbecued and infused with a wonderful smoky flavor, garlic bread and many bottles of bubbly, chilled to perfection. Every single item thoughtfully and expertly prepared by our friends Christine and Steven.
For dessert we had fresh blueberries topped with creme fraiche and sprinkled with Demerara sugar from the island of Mauritius.
Remember my earlier post entitled "I'm a copycat" ? here Thought you might like to see how really easy it is to paint your own set of dishes.
Contest rules will follow.
But first, let's learn the process. With underglaze pigments and once-fired-bisque plates (all available at any ceramic store) begin by painting a simple line. Then "attach" fruit and leaves. Then color inside the lines with colors appropriate to the design.
The image in the lower right is the finished plate after it has been fired. (Take your plate to a ceramic shop to be fired).
Now then, here is your test. Look carefully at these designs and compare them to the finished plates (below) and tell me what small detail is missing.
The winner will receive this charming, hand painted Lozenge shaped Tile. It comes complete with hanger in back, ready to hang.
If we have more than one winner, the lucky person will be chosen by the usual group of judges, who are standing by, having a glass or two of champagne.
All entries will be considered. The contest will close midnight (your time) on August 22, 2010.
The finished set of dishes, fired in my kiln to 1823 degrees Fahrenheit to last many lifetimes.
And he brought foiegras, prepared two different ways
Did I tell you that our friend Steven is a very fine Chef ?
Gene served roasted chicken, I added my Mother's very special cucumber salad, quiche made with vegetables from our garden and freshly baked bread, just out of the oven.
We served a 25-year-old bottle of French wine.
For dessert we had Mousse au Chocolate made with a secret ingredient.
They don't need to be peeled. Just remove the stones, cut up and cook with sugar, fresh lemon juice and a little pectin. Bottle when very hot. They don't need to be processed further.
My apricots froze this year. So did every other tree in our town. I spotted an old apricot tree in an abandoned lot, neglected and forgotten. You guessed it. It was laden with apricots.
After cooking the apricots for a little while I noticed that there was something amiss. The skin had turned into little pieces of tough wire. I had to toss it all out. I hate to waste food.
Just five miles north of us is a well kept garden. By the fence stands a very old apricot tree. And every year, without fail, it bears apricots. In exchange for a few bottles of my strawberry and rhubarb preserves I was able to pick a large basket of beautiful apricots.
These apricots are sweet and perfect. Exactly what is needed for my famousapricotpreserves.
Here I share with you my obsession with Italian Renaissance Ceramics. I decided that painting them would not be so difficult. So I set about learning. My blog is about living the simple country life, tales from our travels and, of course, my hand painted ceramics.
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Yes, it was a wonderful collaboration, click on picture for full story