Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Dish Set Challenge II: Pecan Pie Party

This morning we filled our bowls with fruit and attempted to drink tea but that never goes well. The tea is hot, the cups do not have a handle and then once you can hold the cup the tea is cold. It is making for a very frusterated husband who needs his morning tea….
Lunch proved to be a success with our farmers market salad served with all local fruit, veggies, and homemade goat cheese. Topped with a simple homemade dressing with local pecan oil from Ingelwood Farm
 I made a dinner of leftovers with Forrest's garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and mushroom rice. Simple and nice.
This evening we hosted a Pecan Pie Party. I baked two pecan pies with local cane syrup instead of corn or rice syrup that I might use in the north. I was happy with the results the pie seemed very similar to what I made in the past maybe just a little sweeter. I used a mix of local cane syrup from the farmers market and a more common brand we picked up from a different market. If you don't live in the south where cane syrup is abundant you might be able to locate a bottle of Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup. We invited over friends served the pie, some spiced cider, had lots of laughs and a good time!
And we really do not have many chairs so almost everyone joined us in sitting on the floor, we are not sure if they enjoyed that but they did like the pie!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Dish Set Challenge II: The Art of Simple Food

Saturday is my favorite day of the week because it means we get to go to the farmers market. I love all the fresh food, meeting the farmers and tasting all sorts of things. We were in such a hurry running out the door we grabbed a cup of yogurt and did not even take time to put it in the bowls. The Baton Rouge farmers market was fantastic as usual with fresh greens, pecans, pecan oil, goat milk, and strawberries. Nothing could possibly make this northern girls heart as happy as eating fresh strawberries from the farmers market in late December! Other then maybe sharing them with my husband!
Lunch was simple leftover chili for Forrest and a grapefruit for me.
Forrest prepared a fantastic meal with a white sauce recipe from Alice Waters cookbook The Art of Simple Food. He added asparagus and spinach to the white sauce and served it with pasta and homemade garlic toast. We could not even finish half of the food on our plate. I guess we over estimated today but that will mean good leftovers!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Dish Set Challenge II: eating out

Do you ever need a little love for breakfast? Well thats what we made this morning! Plus a pear for Forrest and a grapefruit for Jeni. After breakfast and some studio time we decided to spend the next few meals eating out we each chose one place to eat. I picked lunch at Magpie Cafe my favorite spot in Baton Rouge, other then maybe the NOLA snowball place but they are not open this time of year. Magpie's always has amazing fresh squeezed juices, soups, and sandwiches plus its all as local and organic as you can get!
Forrest choice was no surprise at all, Fat Cow. Its a burger place near campus that he frequents but never with his own plate! The kitchen is open and the staff really loved to plate and even commented on the cup. I do not eat burgers but thats ok because they have the best fries I have ever had so I ordered my side of the plate full of fries.
 What is a date night without dessert? We made some homemade brownies and since we are little home sick we picked up some Jeni's Ice Cream from the one grocery store in town that carries it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Dish Set Challenge II: eating on the floor

Today was the first day that we ate a meal at separate times. I cut up the grapefruit that I wanted Forrest to eat for breakfast but he was not interested so I are both sides by myself. I love having the double bowl all to myself and having the convenience of having both sides of the grapefruit in one bowl was awesome! I made Forrest oatmeal and a stewed apple placing one in each side. He enjoying having the bowl to himself as well or maybe he just enjoyed the freedom of eating with out our bodies pressed against each other!

It was so nice outside we decided to have lunch in the courtyard. Chicken salad with celery and grapes on a bead of farmers market greens. Thank goodness for sunshine.
We had a nice dinner at home salmon with a herb butter spread from the cookbook The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. And one of our favorite sides roasted brussels sprouts with soft goat cheese. I mentioned yesterday that we do not have a kitchen table. We do have camp chairs and a coffee table and this usually suites our needs but not with this project. The chairs can't get close enough for us so we moved to the floor. So here was are on the ground eating this wonderful dinner.
Craving a sweet treat we stopped by Truly Free Bakery on the way back to the studio. Any time I am in town visiting we usually make at least one stop at this bakery. We usually get the cinnamon rolls but they come prepackaged and so we decided to choose from the unpackaged treats. We both decided on a chocolate covered donut, it was a good choice!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Dish Set Challenge II: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! We had a nice slow day together. Oatmeal for breakfast following our morning routine and some yoga. A farmers market lunch with greens, roast beets, fresh strawberries, goat cheese and homemade dressing, yum. We do not have a kitchen table so we usually eat in our camp chairs but we realized very fast that we could not sit in those chairs and share a meal on the dish set. So we readjusted and decided to eat on the ground. It was the only way we could be close together. Being on the ground means easy access to the food for our cat Beast!
 We had a wonderful Christmas dinner at our friend Autumn & Diane's house with a group of people who also stayed around town. We can't even begin to tell you what we ate because there was so much food! We made stuffing, mushroom rice, and Forrest's famous garlic mashed potatoes.
Forrest has admitted since the first day that he hates the cups. No hard feelings because I feel his frustration! It is not the act of drinking that is the problem it is the process behind taking a drink. Imagine having to ask your partner if they will drink with you every time you want a drink? I am sure you can only imagine the games we have begun to play with each other.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Dish Set Challenge II: Forrest

Welcome to The Dish Set Challenge II. The rules are changing and the challenge is no longer what will I eat? The Challenge now is who I am eating with. At the end of my recent 30 days project now known as, The Dish Set Challenge I. I felt a void in the project and after some reflection I realized the void was my husband Forrest. When we are together we love cooking, visiting the farmers market, and doing anything that involves good food! We are currently living very far apart so that we can both pursue an MFA in Ceramics. We both share the same love and passion for the ceramics arts but distance makes a relationship with each other very trying. Forrest is in Louisiana at LSU and because he is headed into his thesis semester we decided it would be best if we spend Christmas together in Louisiana so that we could work in the studio. So the idea came to me, I decided I was going to make a dish set with the same intent to use everyday for every meal but this set would be different, Forrest was going to be apart of it. I designed and made a connected dish set for the two of us. I knew from the beginning the set would pose a great challenge for us but I hoped it would also be a fun experiment. So I headed south on a two-day bus trip and I carried the unglazed dish set with me every step of the way. I surprised Forrest (he sure does love my surprises!) and told him to make this truly collaborative he was to glaze it. So it is glazed with a simple green stain that is wiped away and a clear glaze for simplicity.
We decided to carry this project out for one week. We hope that you will follow along on this exciting adventure that we are sharing together. Welcome to our world that can pretty much be summed up in:
“Forrest I need a drink” -Jeni
“I am still eating”- Forrest
“Please” –Jeni
“Please” –Jeni
“Please” –Jeni
“Forrest how much longer….” –Jeni

And then we drink together in shared a experience like none I have ever had before.
 The first full day of the project was already a challenge. I guess the title of this project holds true. We started the morning with our morning routine (aloe juice, cherry juice, & turmeric). We made reservations and decided to visit Another Broken Egg Café. We do not go out to eat very often but since it was Christmas Eve Day we decided on something special. Special very quickly turned into us walking back to our car. They had completely rejected us. I understand they were busy, the server was very nice but I guess the management did not understand the project because before we walked out they tried to convince us to stay because they could deliver the food in a to-go container and we could re-plate it ours selves…. I think not! Thank goodness for Forrest he made the decision for us and we walked right out. The problem was that we had not had breakfast and we were getting grumpy fast. We looked up and realized Jason’s Deli was next door we did not have anything to loose so we went on in. They were so happy to see us and excited to be apart of our project. They even took the plate back with them and plated our sandwiches on it.

Jeni & Forrest’s Saffron Beet Risotto

10 cups  low sodium vegetable stock
2 pinches saffron
2 cups risotto rice Arborio or Carnaroli is the best!
¼ cup coconut oil, divided
½ - 1 onion
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4-6 medium golden beets
½ bag frozen peas
½ roasted colored bell pepper, chopped
10 roasted asparagus
1 cup parmesan-reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the beet greens and wash the beets. Wrap them in tin foil, drizzle with coconut oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast beets at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
In a large pan heat the stock on medium high heat. Remove a little broth from the heat and add 2 pinches saffron, let it infuse for at least 10 minutes, a little goes a long way.
In a cast iron skillet roast the pepper and asparagus along side the beets for 20-30 minutes. Chop the asparagus into bite size pieces.
In a large heavy bottom skillet sauté the onion and the garlic with a little coconut oil, about 5 minutes. Add in the rice stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes the rice should begin to swell and change color. Add the saffron mixture and stir until absorbed. Begin adding the warm stock about 1 cup at a time, continue stirring until liquid is absorbed 20-30 minutes. Keep ½ cup stock separate.
Remove from heat and add the beets, peas, pepper, asparagus, and cheese mix well. Adjust the consistency with the remaining stock.
Sauté the fresh spinach with a little coconut oil, plate the risotto and garnish with spinach.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Reflection on the 30 Days

Wondering what this project is all about? Check out my first post for Day 1 to get the back story.

After finishing up the 30 days of carrying and using these dishes, I felt somewhat relieved yet scared to face what it meant to no longer have the dishes with me. At the beginning of the project, they provided me with a canvas for my food. I had consistency in knowing what the plate, bowl, and cup offered and how my food would fit on it. At the end of the project, as I branched out and began to explore eating out with the box the dishes created a barrier that allowed me to refuse accepting what would later turn into trash and waste.

I am happy to no longer carry the dishes but I cannot say the same about using them. The first walk back to my car without the box in hand was liberating, light, and free. As a few days have past, I have begun to feel bad for the dishes. I left them closed in the box and I can’t help but think about them. They must be lonely in there!  

Dear readers I have one question to leave you with, 
What would you eat off after spending 30 days with the same dish set??

I decided I could not miss capturing what I chose to eat off after the completion of this project, enjoy!
The Last Meal: I shared the last meal (technically the morning of day 31)
with my family at Morning Star Cafe, our favorite breakfast place.
The photo is of my dad and I his meal was served on Fiesta Ware.
Breakfast smoothie in a lovely Lindsay Scypta cup, morning routine in a
glass given to my by my great aunt Inez, & grapefruit in my favorite
Kyla Strid bowl.
Lunch bagel with coconut butter spread on a Fiesta Ware plate.
Afternoon drink break with Gun Young in our new Brittany Helms cups!
Dinner you might have guessed on my new Andy Shaw plate and a favorite Autumn Higgins cup.
I ended the night with my favorite treat Goat Cheese and Cherries
from Jeni's Ice Cream served in my Cheyenne Chapman Rudolph and
a drink in my prized Roberta Massuch cup. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

30 Days Project Part II: Day 30: last day

Wondering what this project is all about? Check out my first post for Day 1 to get the back story.

It is the last day of this project, I have made it 30 days eating and drinking off of this one dish set. This month I have built a box to carry the dish set, made a wine glass, straws, stitched up a pouch to carry the straws, broke the bowl, made it through my semester review, and finished up to project with my family. I am headed home tomorrow and I have been thinking about what dishes I want to use at the completion of the project so I am going to extend the project one more day, just for fun until I am home and can make a conscience choice of what dishes I use. Bring on day 31!
Breakfast smoothie at Jumpi'n Java  a local coffee shop in
Grand Haven, Michigan with my friend Kaylie!
They poured the smoothie directly into my
Strawberry smoothie. 

Lunch happened in the car on my lap. Bagel, cream cheese,
potato chips & local Grassfields farm cheese.
Headed to dinner at the Kirby House downtown Grand Haven.
Jeni, Mom, Collette
Poured the martini. 

Dinner scallops, spinach and cranberries. 

Appetizer spinach and goat cheese dip.
My moms dish a saffron risotto next to my scallop dish.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

30 Days Project Part II: Day 29: family Thanksgiving

Wondering what this project is all about? Check out my first post for Day 1 to get the back story.

Thanksgiving in Michigan with my family today. So very thankful.

The only eventful this that happened today was the bowl broke, it chipped on the rim. I placed the box on the table today and my sister went to move it, I had not latched it shut. The bowl fell onto the floor and cracked on the rim. It is still functional and with only one day left in the project, I am glad the dishes made it this far!
Box in safe keeping at my sisters.
Breakfast fresh fruit, yogurt and tea.

Thanksgiving Dinner is served on the fancy china.
First course curried turnip soup with homemade noodles.
Notice the chip on the rim of the bowl.
Second course salad with goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts,
 raspberry vinaigrette.
Third course mashed potatoes, broccoli, cranberry, venison  
Homemade pumpkin pie for dessert. 
I was most thankful to spend the first Thanksgiving with my family in four years. I only wish Forrest was with us.
Late night hardly dinner, grandmas beans that we
forgot to eat for out Thanksgiving meal.
Mom and Dad trying out and sharing my plate.
We made the crust from scratch:

Gluten Free Tart Crust (from Elanas Pantry)
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour 
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil 
  • 1 egg

Place flour and salt in food processor and pulse briefly
Add coconut oil and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball
Press into a 9-inch metal tart pan
Place pie filling of your choice in crust (we made apple & pumpkin)
Bake pie as directed per pie recipe

As for the Pumpkin Pie filling: (adjusted from the Food Babe)
15 ounces cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
15 ounces of coconut milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix all the dry ingredients
Beat the eggs, add to the dry ingredients 
Add the pumpkin and the coconut milk
Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees and another 40 minutes at 350 degrees.