Thursday, August 28, 2014

Faceted Casserole In Progress

Who thinks of casseroles in the summer?  Potters, that's who.  I've been making some now so they will be glazed and fired and ready for the cool weather.  Pottery is not a quick process.  Summer is also a time when I experiment with something new.  You may have read my posts about making a faceted mug.  I've taken it a step further and made a faceted casserole.

Faceted Covered Casserole by Future Relics Pottery
Faceted Casserole
The handles and the knob on the lid are textured to enhance the texture on the facet but I left the lid smooth.  I think it gives the eye someplace to rest but I think a few lines around the rim would be okay too.  What do you think?

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Don't Postpone Joy

If you've ever been to the Penland Benefit Auction you've seen this slogan on a bumper sticker.  You might have even picked one up and put it on your car or somewhere else.  If you read the smaller type you'll see it promotes Laurey's Catering in Asheville, NC.  Laurey and her team catered the auction dinner until Laurey lost her battle with cancer this year.  They still cater the auction, Laurey is there in spirit.

I've been thinking about this phrase a lot in the past few weeks as I experienced my father's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and his death only 5 weeks later.  We never imagined it would be that fast, we felt that we had another moment to spend with him, and then we didn't.

About a week or so before my dad passed away I read a post in the wonderful blog Zenhabits that asked the question "..if you had a month to live:  how would you spend it?"  I've sat at the bedside of several people with only one month to live and I can tell you, you would spend it in a hospital bed surrounded by people saying good-bye while they tried to keep you comfortable.  I brought dad some figs from the tree outside my house.  We raised it from a twig and now it produces ample fruit for us, our friends, the birds, and the squirrels.  He was excited when I told him I brought some but didn't want one at that moment, he wasn't hungry.  He never tasted one.  Don't postpone joy.

Yes, my head is in a weird place right now.  Thankfully, I have some clay to stick my hands into with the hopes of making something beautiful and bringing some joy into the lives of others.  Not everyone is so lucky as me.  Maybe today you'll call someone and tell them that you love them or stop and pet a dog that wants nothing more than a belly rub.  If you live in New Jersey and want to do something maybe you can participate in this Walk for Pancreatic Cancer Research.  Whatever you do and however you spend this day I hope you find some joy.

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meatless Monday - Old Fashioned Oil and Vinegar Cake

This is a very old recipe from the time before refrigerators were common in every home in America.  It was rather popular during the depression when certain foods were hard to find or had to be used for something less extravagant than a cake.  Now it should be popular with people who are vegan or can't eat eggs or dairy.  I suppose if you needed to make it gluten free you could try using rice flour, let me know how it turns out if you try making it that way.

This is just the cake recipe, it's very quick and simple to make but it is delicious.  You can cover it in frosting like we did for Ginger's birthday or you can try vegan options like sprinkling powdered sugar on it, making a glaze of powdered sugar and water or just drizzling some chocolate syrup on top.  The thing is, this cake is very rich and delicious all by itself and doesn't need any thing extra.

Vegan Chocolate Cake by Future Relics Pottery
Chocolate Cake with White Frosting and Faux Dog Treats
Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups flour
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup cocoa (dark cocoa is good, add up to 3/4 cup for serious chocaholics)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional, brandy works also or leave it out entirely)
1 Cup water or leftover coffee
1 teaspoon vinegar (use balsamic for a richer flavor)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a small square or round cake pan with oil then flour to prevent sticking.

Mix all ingredients together in a batter bowl.  Pour into the pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Since this recipe does not contain eggs you can lick the batter from the bowl as the cake is cooking.

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meatless Monday - Fiery Pits of H3!!

This is a favorite dish for people that like hot food. Really hot food. I mean, scorching hot food. If you need to clear your sinuses this is the meal for you.  It's also really delicious.  Of course you can adjust the pepper for your taste.  Some like it hot.

The way I enjoy the tofu best is by making Crispy Tofu with Salt and Pepper. I actually don't really like tofu unless it's Salt and Pepper Tofu.  I've had it served at a wonderful, authentic Chinese restaurant and our local East Atlanta Village Vietnamese  restaurant, Soba Noodle House.  It's delicious from both places so I thought I'd give it a try cooking it.  It's just as good at home.


Hot and Spicy Salt and Pepper Tofu by Future Relics Pottery
Fiery Pits Dinner

Ingredients:

  • 800g firm, fresh tofu (usually 1 package)
  • Cornflour/cornstarch, to dust the tofu
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 stick butter (I have also used ½ butter and ½ olive oil)
  • 12 small shallots (or 6 large), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 red chilies, thinly sliced (or mixture of red chilies and jalapeno peppers)
  • 12 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 16 small, thin spring onions, cut into segments 3cm long
  • jasmine rice for serving

Directions:

Cut the tofu into 3cm x 2cm blocks and toss them in cornflour, shaking off the excess. Pour in enough oil to come 0.5cm up the sides of a large frying pan, and bring up to frying heat. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel.

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan and throw in the butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots, chilies, garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the contents of the pan are shiny and totally soft.
Sautéing vegetables for Fiery Pits of Hell by Lori Buff
Sautéing the Vegetables
When the shallots and chilies are soft, add the soy sauces and the sugar, stir, then stir in the spices. Warm the tofu in the sauce for about a minute, then add the spring onion and stir through. Serve hot with steamed rice.

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