Monday, March 31, 2014

Meatless Monday - Noodles in Creamy Cashew Sauce

Last week's Meatless Monday recipe was long and involved, albeit delicious.  Did you try it?  You should.  Anyway, this week's recipe is just the opposite, it should take about 15 minutes to prepare.  That makes it a great weeknight recipe in my mind.  Plus it's delicious.  It uses Sriracha Sauce which is pretty hot but you can adjust that to your liking.

Noodles in Creamy Cashew Sauce

1 1/2 cups roasted cashews, plus more for topping
2 cloves garlic
1 inch knob of fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce
2 limes, juiced
1/3 cup canned coconut milk, plus more to thin if desired
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 carrot, sliced into match sticks
1 red chile, sliced into match sticks. plus more for garish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for topping
fresh cilantro, for garnish
green onions, chopped, for garnish
1 pound noodles


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In the bowl of a food processor add the cashews, garlic and ginger, process for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture becomes smooth and pasty. The mixture should look similar to peanut butter. Add in the toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, soy sauce, Sriracha (start with 1 tablespoon), lime juice, coconut milk and a pinch of pepper. Process until completely smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. If the sauce needs thinning add a tablespoon more of coconut milk and process until combined. Taste and add more Sriracha if desired.

Drop the noodles in the boiling water and boil according to package directions. Drain well. Place the pasta into a large pasta or serving bowl. Pour all of the cashew sauce over the pasta. Add the carrots and sliced red chile peppers. Toss well. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with cilantro, red chile peppers and greens onions. Sprinkle on some cashews and toasted sesame seeds.

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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Call For Artists - Viridian Artists

Viridian Artists presents

The 25th National & International Juried Exhibition

July 1- July 19, 2014
Entry Deadline: Friday, April 11, 2014

Juror: Katherine Brinson, Associate Curator, Guggenheim Museum, NYC.

First Prize $300
Second Prize $200
Third Prize $100
All winners will be listed on Viridian’s website
Exhibition – July 1- July 19, 2014
Entry Deadline: Friday, April 11, 2014 (by 11:59pm)
Minimum entry fee is $45 for three images and $5 for each additional entry. There is no limit to the number of images. All entry fees are non-refundable.
For more information and entry form click here.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pots I Love - Nancy Green Ikebana

This piece has been in my collection for almost a year and it gets used regularly.  I love to garden, food, flowers, shrubs, any kind of plant as long as it's not invasive.  Even better if it's native but I also enjoy some non-natives that seem friendly and beautiful.  The thing is, I hate to cut the flowers and bring them in the house to fill a vase.  I never seem to have enough blooms and I like to share them with my neighbors. That's why I like this ikebana pot.  I only have to cut 3 plants to make a pretty arrangement for the house.  Plus, it's just a beautiful pot.

This ikebana was made by Nancy Green whose studio is in Watkensville GA which makes it fairly easy for me to find her pottery.  She has a fantastic grasp of the Japanese esthetic, something I'm draw to.

It's been a long time since I've shown you any pottery from my collection.  I've had other things to write about, I guess.

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meatless Monday - Butternut Squash Lasagna

Sometimes a dish is so good it needs to be shared.  Lasagna is one of those dishes that really should be shared because you normally have to make a large pan of it.  This is fine but it means that I never got a photo of the food.  No worries, just believe me when I tell you it looked, smelled, and tasted delicious.

One nice thing about a lasagna is that it can be put together in advance then heated in the oven when you're ready, my mom used to freeze lasagna for up to a month before cooking it and it was still just as delicious as freshly made.  So fix this on a weekend but pop it in the oven on Monday and you will not feel like you cooked but you'll have a fabulous home cooked meal.  Invite some friends over so they don't have to cook on a weeknight too.  They'll love you for it.

Square Baking Dish


3 1/2 cups of milk
5 cloves of garlic
1 slice of onion
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of parsley
1 large (about 3 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and roughly diced (about 1/2 inch)
20 (approx) sage leave or 1 1/2 TBS dried sage
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced into 1/2 inch squares
1 cup pumpkin seeds
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 TBS butter
3 1/2 TBS flour
1 8oz package lasagne noodles (no-boil type)
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 bunches of kale (washed well)
pinch red pepper flakes


In a small sauce pot slowly heat the milk with 1 clove of garlic, 1 slice of onion, 1 bay leaf, and 1 sprig of parsley.  Just before boiling cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let it sit.

Chop 2 of the garlic cloves with the sage and parsley.  Heat 2 TBS of the oil in a dutch oven.  Add the onion and the squash and cook over high heat, stirring frequently for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fairly tender and has caramelized places, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and herb mixture and the pumpkin seeds.  Cook for a few minutes longer, then turn off heat.  Season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour to make a roux.  Reheat the milk and pour it through a strainer into the roux, whisk briskly.  Turn the heat to low and cook, string occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the flour is cooked, about 15 - 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Oil a 9 x 12 baking dish.   Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the baking dish and lay 3 noodles over it.  Cover with 1/2 the squash mixture, 1 cup of the sauce, half the Gruyère, and a third of the Parmesan.  Repeat, then add a third layer of noodles.  Spread the remaining sauce over them, top with the remaining Parmesan and tent with foil.  This is a good stopping point if you're going to bake it in a day or two.  Just put it in the refrigerator until you're ready.  Just be sure to remove it from the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before baking.

Bake the lasagna in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes then remove the foil.  Continue baking for about 20 minutes, it should be bubbly and golden.  Remove it from the oven and let it sit while the kale cooks.

Strip the kale leaves from the stems and cut into 1/2 inch strips.  Peel and crush the remaining garlic.  Heat the remaining oil in a skillet, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until the oil turns pale gold and you can smell the garlic.  Add the pepper flakes and kale, season with a pinch of salt (optional).  Toss in the pan to coat with the garlic oil then add 2 cups of water.  Cover, lower the heat and cook until the leaves are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Place a little kale on each plate and top with a square of lasagna.

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Hugs

The other day Jenny Mendes posted a video showing people, strangers kissing for the first time.  It's awkward and beautiful.  If you haven't seen the video already go watch it, this will wait. Actually, if you have seen it go watch it again, it'll make you feel good.

Welcome back.  Pretty great huh?  Well, here's another similar project video that will make you feel great too.

Maybe if we'd just take a moment to let our guard down a tad and be a little bit intimate with people this world would be a lot more loving place to be.


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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Right Tools For The Job

If you work with your hands you most likely also work with tools.  Even if you don't work with your hands you most likely work with tools of some sort, like a computer, or a vehicle.  As a potter I've found the need to create some of my own tools despite the myriad tools you can find in potter's supply stores.  Sometimes the best tools can be found in kitchen stores or made by cutting up a plastic card like a high interest credit card.  That one has some other benefits that I won't get into here.

Here's a picture of a few of mine.

Pottery Tools
The one that looks like a bow tie on the top left is a measuring tool I made from a plastic credit card.  It's 2 inches across on the left side, 1/2 inch in the middle, and 1 inch across on the right side.  This is useful for making things like mixing bowls or sets.  It's easier to handle than the ruler, especially with messy hands. To the right of that is a large bowl scraper.  I think you get one of these when you buy a mixer.  I stole it from our kitchen so I'd be called upon to clean the frosting out of the bowls.  It's worked so far.  It also makes a nice bowl rib.  To the left of that is a piece of wood I found outside a wood shop, I thought it was interesting so I sanded the edges smooth and have played with it as a texture tool but also as a batt lifter.  It works really well.  The other wooden tool is for creating a rounded foot on a pot.  I had made one out of a credit card but asked a friend who loves to work in wood to make this for me.  The triangle tool is also a pastry tool.  I'm not sure how you'd use it in the kitchen but it ads some interesting textures to clay.

What are some of your favorite tools?  Are any of them custom made?

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Juried vs Non-juried Shows

This weekend the American Craft Council show was held in Atlanta.  Of course I went, it's a wonderful show that I don't ever want to miss.  Plus, many of my friends are in the show so it's nice to see them and their work and maybe even buy a piece.  At one point a few people started talking about doing juried shows versus non-juried shows.

It was explained to the customer (who was not an artist) that most of the time you'll see high quality art at juried shows.  At non-juried shows it's a bit of a crap shoot.  I actually stopped doing one show that became so full of resellers and the like that I believed it wasn't a good show for my pottery.  For someone who appreciates art and craft it becomes important if you are really concerned about what you're spending your time looking at.

Woodfired vase, tea pot and casserole by Lori Buff
Vase, Teapot and Casserole

For me, I'm up for a good show most of the time.  I prefer to be in the company of good artists and I have been in their company in juried shows and non-juried shows.  I've done really well at venues where the art is somewhat unexpected and at long established shows.  I've had people bargain for a lower price at very high end shows in affluent areas but not at the smaller, less expensive shows.

I'm pretty sure I'll not get approached by a gallery when I set up at my small, neighborhood show.  That's a shame because some great art can be found at these shows.  But I have a lot of fun and see a lot of collectors.

When people ask why I haven't applied to the ACC show I tell them it's because I don't think my work is good enough yet.  I'm sure some people will take that to mean I'm afraid of it being judged unacceptable.  Maybe, but it's okay.  When I'm ready I'll apply and hope really hard that I get accepted, if I do I'll feel honored, in the meantime I'm enjoying doing the shows that I am currently.

What are your thoughts on juried vs. non-juried shows?

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

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meatless Monday - Meaty Vegetarian Chili

It seems like everyone has a chili recipe and lots of people like chili.  That's why chili cook-offs are so popular.  It's easy to find good vegetarian chili recipes and well as good con carnie (with meat) recipes but it's hard to find a chili recipe that is free of beans and meat.  What?!! No beans?  You ask. Some people can't, don't or won't eat beans.  It's okay, this recipe is a great alternative and the meat eaters may never miss the meat.  If you do like having beans in your chili it's easy to add a can of your favorite beans.  It's not going to hurt this recipe at all.  The body of this chili comes from the meat substitute recipe I posted here.

Some people like really hot chili, some like more mild chili.  You can control the heat in various ways.  Most peppers hold most of their heat in the seeds, so seeding peppers helps reduce the heat.  Also different peppers have different heat, if you want to know which peppers are the hottest check out this scale.

Meaty Vegetarian Chili

1/2 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and
2 red hot peppers of choice (such as Jalapeño or habanero), seeded and chopped

1- 2 chili's, seeded and chopped, (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 (15.5 ounce) cans black beans, drained (optional)
2 (15 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
6 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, white wine or beer.
1 tablespoon liquid hot pepper sauce,
such as Tabasco™

Cilantro for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions; cook and stir until they start to become soft. Add the peppers, garlic and Meat Substitute; cook and stir until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the black beans now if you're going to use them.  Stir in the tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, vinegar and hot pepper sauce. Stir gently, and cover. Heat the chili until almost boiling then simmer for 20 minutes.

I usually top this with some cheese and sour cream.  A few slices of avocado are nice too.  How do you like your chili.

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Small Joys

Sometimes something silly is the best thing to make you smile.  When I was playing around in the studio a few days ago I came up with this idea for soap/sponge holders and proceeded to make a few. I liked them and grew excited about making them so these got glazed and fired.  I got them out of the kiln today.
Funny Faced Soap and Sponge Holders

They make me happy, how about you?

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Installing a Kiln Sitter Part 1

It's entirely possible that I am using one of the oldest electric kilns in America.  It's okay with me, I really like being involved in the firing process, which is part of the love of wood firing.  I also love technology but I realize that it's really expensive when it breaks, and it will always, eventually break. I am, of course, really envious of the computerized controllers, the set it and forget it ability that they afford us.  If someone gave me a kiln with a nice computer on it I would be forever grateful.  Still, their is something to be said for being involved with your work and using something for as long as it will be used.

The thing is, my old crusader doesn't even have a kiln sitter.  I don't mind peeking into a kiln to see how it's firing but it would still be nice to have a back-up system like a kiln sitter.  I should say it didn't have a kiln sitter.  Now it does.  And it's almost connected.

I found an offer on the Clay Club blog for a free crusader kiln with a kiln sitter.  One of those really nice ones that also has a timer to help ensure that the kiln gets shut off when it should.  The kiln needs new elements and is going to need a new plug soon.  The price was right so I packed Janet and Ginger the min-pin into the truck and off we went to pick up the kiln from a very sweet woman in Huntsville, AL.

It was a log day including a side trip to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens so the kiln spent the night in the back of the truck.  Yesterday I decided that I could remove the kiln sitter and electronics while the kiln was still back there (I'll unload it tonight when I have someone to help lift it).  I found some instructions on-line but still took a lot of pictures from many different angles and wrote my own wiring schematic from what I saw.  I think this is the best way to help ensure I put everything back correctly.

My kiln only has 2 peeps which I normally leave open at the beginning of a firing so I didn't want to fill up either of those holes with the kiln sitter.  Thankfully it already had a one inch hole in the skin, I would just have to cut through the brick.  This was done mostly and very slowly with a drill equipped with a paddle type drill bit.  Even though I held a block of wood behind the brick to prevent it from breaking up I still wanted it to be cut as gently as possible.  Soft brick crumbles so easily.  So I took a piece of pipe and cut through the last 1/8th of an inch by twirling that in the hole. It worked like a charm.

I want to use new screws, which I have yet to buy, to secure the components to the skin of the kiln so I haven't finished the task.  I'll post more about this installation in a day or two.

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Meatless Monday - Meat Substitute

It always seems a little weird when some menu offers a vegetarian option that looks like an animal.  Many vegetarians do not eat meat because we like animals and prefer not to eat them, so why offer us a piece of tofu that looks like an animal part?  It blows my mind.  However, the Meatless Monday movement is not about becoming a vegetarian, it's about mindful eating.  It's about making your body a little healthier and making your planet a little better.  Americans typically eat more meat than is good for our bodies and factory farming of animals isn't great for the planet.  If nothing else it uses a lot of water.  So cutting out meat consumption just one day a week can make a huge impact.

Today's recipe is for something that makes a great substitute for ground beef or other meat fillings.  We use it in tacos, chili's, stuffed cabbage, and stuffed peppers, and lots of other dishes.  It truly does give a meaty quality to these dishes.  Without the fat and calories of ground meats.  It's made with Quinoa which can be gluten free, you'll have to read the package if this is a concern for you.

The other nice thing about this recipe is that you can make up a bunch of it and freeze it then defrost it later.  My mom used to do that with hamburgers and it was really nice to be able to grab one out of the freezer to make a quick meal.

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped very small or minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • water as needed
  • salt to taste
  1. Rinse dry quinoa under water well for one minute. This helps remove any bitter taste.
  2. Bring water and quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes; uncover and fluff with a fork.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, heat oil in a big frying pan on high. Add chopped onion, pepper and jalepeno and turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until slightely softened, 3-5 minutes, then add garlic, stir and saute again for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add dried cumin, paprika, coriander and oregano, stir and simmer for 30 seconds.
  5. Add tomato paste, stir and simmer again.
  6. Add the finished quinoa and a few tablespoons of water if it starts burning.
  7. Simmer until everything is well combined and the flavors have meshed, about 3-4 minutes
  8. Serve in tacos, burritos, on top of nachos on salads, in spaghetti or chili or eat alone, the possibilities are endless!

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

Friday, March 7, 2014

Underground Market - Come Join Me

The Atlanta Underground Market is a cool event that happens every month.  It was designed after a similar underground market in San Francisco so you know it's going to be cool.  Now you may be asking "what is it?"  It's a venue for people who are passionate about food.  The chefs are mostly home cooks who sell samples of some delicious dish they have created for $1 - $5 to the members of the market (membership is free).  The members give the chefs feedback and everyone has a good time.  Just to add to the good time the organizers keep the location of the venue secret until the day before the market.  They normally try to hold it in interesting places where people really want to go visit.  Then they have a contest with prizes just to make it even more enjoyable.

Recently they have asked me and a few other crafts people to sell our creations at the market.  What goes better with foodies than functional pottery, right?  So I'm bringing a table full of pots to the market.  It's so hard to decide which pieces will stay and which will go to the event.  I hope I've made some good choices.

If you're in the Atlanta area and are looking for something to do and eat on Saturday night you should come to the Underground Market.  The food and fun should be flowing.  Just go to the AUM website and sign-up.  Don't worry, they don't send you a lot of email that you don't want, just a couple each month to tell you about the next Underground Market.  Did I mention that membership is free?  It is, but it cost $5 to get in the door.  I think it's worth it but I am still enclosing a $5 coupon in my email blast about the market.  If you don't get my emails please sign up using the form in the sidebar so you can get your coupon.  I promise not to spam you or sell your email address.

The March 8th Market theme is Sandwiches and the location is:

Art Space International
1192 Huff Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

The market runs from 6 - 9 pm.

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

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Drawing in the Sunshine

Their is always something comforting about a sunny day.  When the weather is nice enough to be outside I'm always looking for some way to get outside.  Some pretty day's I've been very tempted to drag my wheel outside onto the deck.  But that's a lot of work and it seems like a good way to pull a muscle or something not fun.

The solution is to take my decorating outside.  I can sit in the doorway of the studio and listen to music or an audio book while I draw and carve.  Needless to say, with the weather as cold and ugly as it's been I have not done any of that in a while.  Which means I am down to one last dragon mug.  So today, I threw some mugs to carve while sitting in the sun.  Okay, I still have to wear a heavy sweatshirt but it's better than a parka.

Red Dragon Stein by Future Relics Pottery
Red Dragon Stein 

What do you like to do in the sunshine?

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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Swirling Pottery

During the winter residency at Penland School of Crafts Michael Kline came up for a visit and to do a demonstration of how he makes his variegated pots.  He has a few different techniques that he shared with us.  One was to make a sort of clay sandwich.  I've already tried this technique and wrote about it in a another post that you can read here so I won't right about it again.  The thing about doing the marbling that way is that if the clays are not the exact same consistency things can get wonky in a hurry.  They are nice looking and you get the variegation throughout the entire piece.  That was one of the reasons I want to fire them in the salt or soda kilns.

Micheal Kline's Stylish Demo
Michael also showed us a technique where he started throwing a pot then stopped after the second or third pull, made slits in the side of the pot with the square end of a trimming tool, then pushed coils of a different color clay into the slits.  This gives a nice marbled effect on the exterior of the pot but the interior is just one color.  It's an interesting effect.  I liked it because the glaze on the interior stays one color.  The pot can still get a little wonky while throwing and it's easier to put air bubbles under the coils but these issues are minor and easy to fix.

Yesterday I experimented with this technique.  I used Highwater's Phoenix with coils of Orangestone.  Both seem to have the same shrink rates so I feel like the pots will hold together really well.  I'm hoping to fire these pieces in the next wood firing I can participate in.  So far I like the look.  What do you think?
Variegated Pottery
You may have noticed Michael was wearing some interesting hats while giving the demos.  It's one of the reasons I did not take close up pictures, I couldn't resist the fashion statement.  The reality of it is that his daughters came along to the demo and he's not adverse to being playful with them even while he's being serious in a demo.  He's a good father and potter.

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

Monday, March 3, 2014

Meatless Monday - Butternut Squash Risotto

A few nights ago I was discussing butternut squash with friends and someone said "who doesn't love butternut squash?"  Well, I imagine someone doesn't (and will tell me in the comments) but I don't think I know anyone that doesn't like it.  So this might be a good recipe for company as well as family.
Butternut Squash Risotto

  • 1 butternut squash, seeded, peeled, seeds removed
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • 2 ounce fresh sage 
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arboroio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pinch saffron threads (optional)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cut the squash into 3/4 inch cubes.  Place on a cookie sheet and toss with the olive oil, a pinch of salt and a generous pinch of pepper.  Roast for 25 - 30 minutes tossing once 1/2 way through the cooking.  Set aside (this can be done a day ahead).

Heat the vegetable stock in a small, covered saucepan.  Let it simmer on low.

In a dutch oven or large, heavy pot melt the butter and sauté the sage and shallots on medium-low heat until the shallots are translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat with butter.  Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes then add 2 ladles full of stock to the rice.  Add the saffron now if you're using it, plus a little salt and pepper to taste.  Stir and simmer until the stock is absorbed, about 5 - 10 minutes.  Continue to stir in the stock, 2 ladles at a time, every few minutes whenever the texture starts to get dry.  Cook until the rice is cooked through but is still al dente, about 30 minutes total.  Take the pot off the heat then add the roasted squash and parmesan cheese.  Mix well and serve in hand crafted bowls.

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