Monday, March 30, 2015

Meatless Monday - Roasted Butternut Squash with Olives

Don’t you just love butternut squash? I have a thing for any vegetable that you can buy and keep on hand like any other staple of your pantry.  Plus they taste really good and can be prepared in so many different ways.

Butternut squash is reported to have very high amounts of vitamin A which is supposed to be good for you.  I always think about people saying “eat your carrots, they are good for your vision.” They said that because of the vitamin A in carrots, maybe they should have included butternut squash in that claim also.  I’m not sure what all the vitamins do for you, I just know they are delicious and versatile.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Olives by Future Relics Gallery
Roasted Butternut Squash with Olives

1 butternut squash
12 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup cured olives
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes


Peel and dice the butternut squash and place it in a large ovenproof dish with the garlic. Pour over olive oil, and season with thyme. Mix well. Place in the oven and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove it from the oven, mix in olives and tomatoes.

Place it back in the oven and roast until the squash is soft, about another 15 minutes.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Sunday, March 29, 2015

For toasting the raku kiln gods. #penlandspring

via Instagram

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spicy Kale Salad

We still have (had) some kale in our little garden; I noticed this week that it was on the verge of going to seed. I left one stalk to bloom; I'm always curious to see if we'll end up with surprise veggies in the garden (or the lawn, or the neighbors yard), or if I can harvest the seed. We've had good luck with this with mustard and cilantro. The rest of the kale I harvested for this delicious kale salad. It's possible you've seen this recipe on this blog before, but this variation contains my special touches (mushrooms!) and other ideas for customization. I have a hard time following a recipe to the letter and make little tweaks as I go along - depending on what's in the fridge or what inspires me at any give moment. Even then, often our dinner conversation is sprinkled with "I think next time, I'll try such and such". It sounds as if I'm not satisfied with the meal, but in truth, cooking is my creative outlet and I like to experiment.
Speaking of experimentation, I started seeds for our summer garden just last weekend. Already, I have tiny seedlings of 6 varieties of tomatoes, poblano peppers, a ruffled eggplant, pepperoncinis, basil and artichoke! They are so tiny and delicate, who knows if they will actually survive to "adulthood". This is the first time I've started seeds indoors and the first time I've grown any of these things from seed. If all goes well, we'll be having pizza parties all summer and giving gifts of canned tomatoes for the holidays. 
Baby seedlings

I find that potters (the majority of this blogs audience, I believe) tend to also enjoy gardening, cooking and eating. What about you - do you have a garden? Do you grow from seed or plantings? Any advice to bestow on a seedling novice?
This kale was planted last fall and has provided many a good meal. I'm a little sad to say goodbye to it, but am looking forward to Spring's bounty soon!

Spicy Kale Salad


6 oz shitake mushrooms, chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
5 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 bunches curly kale, stemmed, chopped or torn into small pieces
2 tbsp nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
2 tsp Srircaha sauce

1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

Heat olive oil in a 10 in skillet over medium heat; add mushrooms and cook until slightly browned. Stir in onions, garlic and sesame oil and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Stir in soy sauce and set aside.
Place kale in a large bowl, add sun-dried tomatoes, including a little of the oil in which they are stored. Massage kale and tomatoes together until kale is well coated.
Stir in mushroom mixture and sriracha sauce and toss well. Add cheese or nutritional yeast and serve.

This doesn't sound like much, but kale is very filling and hearty. This makes a great dinner salad.
It is also quite versatile. 
  • If you don't like mushrooms, skip them all together and add the onions, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil to the salad before massaging.
  • I think a little lemon juice and/or zest would be amazing in here too. 
  • Olives? Fresh tomatoes?
  • Not sure if the kale in the garden would be enough, I picked up some "kalelets" at the store. I didn't really read the package until I got home - the description says "A brand new vegetable, a cross between kale and brussel sprouts". I threw a few of those in here too - and they were good - it got me thinking - shredded raw brussel sprouts in place of the kale would be great! 
  • I will probably be adding some chickpeas to this salad later this week to stretch it into several lunches.  


Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Being Mindful

The door to the Craft House, where I’m living on the Penland School of Crafts is an old style iron latch. The building is 80 years old and made of logs and stone, it’s very cool. I assume this door latch was made in the iron shop here. You don’t see too many door latches like this any more. Which means that people aren’t used to them and the door is continually left unlatched no matter what the weather. With modern door knobs we simply give them a little pull and the door closes and latches but with this one you have to be actively involved in operating the latch and making sure it engages. You have to pause and be mindful that the door is completely closed and latched behind you whenever you pass through it.

I think it’s good for me to take a moment and think about things I’m doing. I rush through life sometimes always moving on to the next task or idea. It’s exciting but so is right now. Experiencing the moment can make it special and memorable. Even when it’s a simple task like latching the door behind me as I transition through it.

While I’m here at Penland I want to take the time to be more mindful and intentional in my pottery. I could crank out a hundred mugs and have all or most of them come out of the kiln looking beautiful but I have to remind myself that’s not why we are here taking this class. We are trying to make better art, we are trying to improve our craft. We are taking time to be mindful of our work, our beautiful sunsets, each other, and little things like door latches.

What do you do to slow yourself down?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff