Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tomato Pie 
From More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin

Here's a great summer recipe that uses up your bumper crop of tomatoes. This is how it appears in the book, followed by my notes on what I do differently.

For the Crust:2 c all purpose flour
1 stick cold butter
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 c milk or buttermilk or a combo of the 2

Combine baking powder and flour in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives or your fingers till mixture resembles oatmeal. Add milk and mix just till it holds together, turn onto floured board and knead a few times, but don't overwork. Divide dough in half. Roll one half and line a 9" pie plate with it.

Add 2 lbs peeled fresh tomatoes (about 6 or so large tomatoes) quartered and drained in a colander for at least 30 minutes, or, a 28 oz can and a 12 oz can well drained canned tomatoes and scatter over the top:

chopped fresh basil or chives or scallions (amount to taste)
1 and 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese

Drizzle with 1/3 c mayonnaise that's been thinned with a little lemon juice

Roll out remaining dough and cover pie, seal edges and crimp, cut a few steam vents and bake at 400 for 25-35 minutes till bubbly.

Cool slightly and serve hot, warm or at room temp.

What I do differently:Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 Tablespoons sugar to the dough.
Use basil AND scallions or oregano or whatever I have on hand. You can use dried herbs, but it is NOT the same.
Sprinkle the tomatoes, if they're fresh, with a little sugar.
Add 1/4 c finely chopped red onion.

Put a layer of cheese down on the bottom first on the dough before the tomatoes (I used brie once on the bottom and cheddar on the top and it was heavenly). Then the tomatoes, basil and remaining cheese. I've skipped the mayo and don't notice it's absence.It really is so fabulous hot out of the oven when the crust is not soggy and the cheese melted, but it's great even the next day zapped in the microwave. Store any leftovers in the 'fridge. Drain any juices in the pan before I put it away.

I would seriously recommend this author to you. Her fiction is OK, but the two collections of food essays are wonderful reading. They are Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. Check 'em out.

Friday, August 23, 2013

That's When The Magic Happens...

... is one of those dumb things I say to myself when I'm working on a mosaic. It happens when a piece of cut tile fits perfectly up against another cut piece or when I cut a tile and it just conforms to the perfect shape---usually a curve.

Think about how nice squares of tile line up when they are straight edged and on a grid. Everything is even and perfect. All the joints are the same. But grids get boring and unless you're a Tetris fan, there's not much joy in them. So you get some glass tile cutters and with crossed fingers (figuratively, not literally. Jeepers! Who could cut tile with crossed fingers...?) AHEM, you start to trim those tiny squares into new shapes.

However, they are glass! They don't flex! So cutting those squares into smaller squares, triangles or rectangles is pretty easy....but curves? More hit and miss. Mostly miss.

When all the stars line up and I wind up with a perfect curve (and it has nothing at all to do with skill in cutting and everything to do with luck) I place that curve and think "That's when the magic happens..."
And that makes me happy.

Here's an amazing example from the guitar I'm working on. Not only did the top curve fit perfectly, but the bottom curve goes in the OPPOSITE direction and it mirrors the tiles it's up against. The real craziness is that I didn't cut that blue tile to fit the space. I just cut up a pile of squares randomly and started to see if anything that was produced would work next to the black tiles which were already glued and dried.

What you're looking at is a teddy-bear face. The blue tile is the fur and the black is the nose and eye. It may look like a big gap under the blue tile, but that is a black tile as the top curve of the nose---a lovely fit.
So satisfying.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aunt Pammy's Old-Time Dildo Bags

Last Christmas, I sent some reusable fabric gift bags to a dear friend. She liked them. She liked them and used them for lots of different things. One day she confessed that these bags were the perfect place to store her dildo.

Moving right along...

Then she suggested I make some more and sell them as dildo bags or, the more classy "Adult Toy Storage".
Just trying to imagine ME (who cannot sell anything to anybody----Honestly! I couldn't sell a cigarette to Don Draper), trying to SELL something as uh, interesting, as Dildo Bags...well. It never ceases to make me snicker.

As a joke, I made up a bunch of these bags and sent them to her.
I have to admit---they look awesome!

Should I put these in my etsy shop?!I can make smaller ones for Vibrators. OMG! I could do a whole line!
Because when you need the best in dildo storage, look no further than Aunt Pammy's. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Custom Guitar for Dan

A high school classmate sent me this beautiful but non-working guitar. It was a total blast to put a mosaic on it. Such great lines!