I’ve always been enamored by the look of all sorts candies. I find their taste abhorent so I have never spent any time with them beyond casual romantic encounters in the bulk foods aisle and from a distance at my grandmas. (I cannot say the same for my beloved sushi) — but both of these foods inspire me tremendously in terms of appearance. I love the high contrast coloring and graphic modular deliniations of their composition. These foods could be miniature masterpieces of architecture as far as I’m concerned. Beyond that, their understated beauty has stood the test of time, no?
This weeked while in the studio I binge watched a handful of great docos on classical composers. Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Bach. My fave performance was probably Paul Rhys‘ portrayal of Beethoven. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Also, Kenneth Cranham as Leopold Mozart was delicious. I found most of these titles here. I just cannot get enough BBC mini-series!
In my ordinary perception of objects I often derive imaginary hierarchies wherein specific objects are assigned the role of guardian, overseer, or outright menace over their surrounding object fellows.
I’ve always been drawn to the imaginary dual-motif of the object as ‘patroller’ as it implies both tyrrany and a humorous futility. A military tank is an overtly literal example of a tyranical object. Yet curiously, it seems to me that ornately decorated wedding cakes, grandfather clocks, rotating fans, mall escalators, hospital wheelchairs, faberge eggs and mic stands (among other things) also seem to perform in this capacity in spite of their more reticent nature. . .
Which begs the question: What are the qualities that imbue an object not only with a sense of autonomoy, but with a sort of domineering presence over their environment? Is it an object’s scale, it’s form, or it’s proximity to other objects that makes it seem imperious?
This is the question that has been driving my experimentation in the studio over the past year.
I am continually fascinated and bewitched by my observances of objects native to my own everyday experience as well as those discovered via my research into lesser known territories and environments. More on that to come..
Lately I have been so inspired by imagery of Japanese Kabuki theatre! I find the bizarre characters in their peculiar gestures and even more peculiar makeup and attire simply beguiling. In short, what draws me to Kabuki is that it’s creations are grotesquely handsome and playfully allusive in a way that is incredibly attractive and unabashedly repugnant at the same time. A level of dynamism most compelling, if you ask me.
I am pleased to present to you a sugar cookie recipe (with buttercream icing) that actually freezes well! (Just don’t stack the baked/iced cookies directly on top of each other when storing in freezer, and thaw on counter top, not in the fridge when you want to serve) ~enjoy!
3 cups all purpose flour *have some extra for your rolling surface
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Cup butter, softened
1 Cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
-In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth.
-Beat in vanilla and egg.
-Combine baking powder with flour separately and add a little at a time to the the wet ingredients in mixer bowl.
-Upon mixing, the dough will become quite stiff. (You may alternatively have to kneed the dough on the countertop).
-You will not need to chill the dough!
-Roll the dough out onto a floured surface at about a quarter inch thickness
-Bake for 6-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
-Be sure to cool the cookies on the pan before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Butter Cream Frosting Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar *sift before using to remove lumps
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
food coloring (whatever you like for color)
1/3 cup whipping cream
-Beat the butter until light and fluffy in your standing mixer
(Use the whisk attachment)
-Add icing sugar alternately with the whipping cream
-Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until light and fluffy
-mix in desired food coloring!
I have made this fudge recipe a few times already this winter! Lina passed it to me after I had mentioned I wanted to make fudge but was concerned about how complex the making process would be.. Turns out it is incredibly easy! Thanks, Lina!
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups miniature marshmallows
2/3 cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if you like)
2 tbsp butter
Combine evaporated milk, sugar, salt, and butter, in medium saucepan -bring to rolling boil over medium heat. Stir constantly. Boil 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat. Simply stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla and nuts (if you prefer them) until marshmallows and chocolate melt and blend!
Pour into pan lined with wax paper. Chill until set for 4 hours or over night. Cut into squares — little or large. I like to make small one-inch squares like little truffles. Nice size for passing at your Christmas party! Keep these babies in the fridge to store.
My friend Lina passed me this fab recipe and I love how it turned out! Just what I was hoping for. A simple and classic piece of shortbread. Admittedly, a kitchenaid or other standing mixer is definitely the trick for this one despite how simple the recipe is. *enjoy*
1 cup butter (room temp)
1/2 cup icing sugar
11/2 cups of flour
1. Whip the butter and icing sugar together well — a standing mixer is ideal.
2. Once the mixture is creamy get your flour ready!
3. Set your mixer on a slow-medium speed and slowly add in the flour.
4. Whip in mixer for 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Form balls out of the dough somewhere around a tablespoon in size. Press down slightly with a fork to create thick circles.
6. Place the dough portions on parchment-lined cookie sheet (9-12 per sheet)
7. Place in a 250 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes!
*And voila* ready to serve!
Some people like to add a maraschino cherry on top, but I actually quite like these classic cookies as they are. Great with a cup of tea or hot cocoa !
So I haven’t gotten a chance this year to do any baking. But…I have had a chance to do a lot fantasizing about decorating cookies. Yes. I admit, I have an obsession with the decadence of ornately painted Christmas cookies. Especially the ones with complex Scandinavian and Ukrainian motifs. (If you think these are pretty, just wait till I start posting about Easter cookies in a few months!!!!)
My grandma is a pro of this stature. A true cookie-decorator extraordinaire. Each Christmas growing up she would create these incredible master-piece cookies. Trees, candy canes, snow flakes, and ones with her grand children’s names carefully written in cursive. How lovely! The thoughtfulness of her individual designs and intricate patterning always mesmerized and charmed me.
Alas…I’m afraid my present schedule will not permit this level of indulgence into the world of cookie decorating. But this season I endeavor to get my icing on in a big way. In the mean time, I gotta admit that these also just really inspire me as a drawer and lover of design, and color.
Rice paper rounds (available at most markets)
Vermicelli noodles (either white or brown rice)
Veggies of your choosing (peppers, snap peas, carrots, etc.)
Hoisin sauce or fish sauce with diced hot chillies
*protein too, if you like! — shrimp or chicken.
*Boil vermicelli noodles and strain in cold water. Set aside.
*Place individual rice paper rounds in a shallow plate of warm water, leaving in the water for about 30 seconds — (they become pliable after soaking)
*Lay the rice paper rounds on a plate after soaking and place desired ingredients in a row in the middle of the paper (I like to put the cilantro down first, then vermicelli, then vegg)
*Fold and roll into shape! (Rice paper will adhere to itself easily)