Monday, December 7, 2015

Meatless Monday - Spicy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

A woman was discussing her neighbor’s take on his vegetarian diet at the show the other day. She told me that he said it was mostly broccoli and tomatoes and that it wasn’t very exciting. Needless to say I started thinking of ways to make those two foods exciting, not just for him but because they are a couple of my favorite foods. They always have been, even when I ate meat. I hope she gave him the link to this blog so he can try making this dish and add a little spice to his diet.

Spicy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta by Future Relics Pottery
Spicy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

½ pound dried pasta, spirals or bow-tie are best but whatever you have will work
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 medium, tightly packed florets), chopped into bite-sized pieces
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled while still cold (around ½ cup)
cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
15 pitted kalamata olives, chopped optional
½ small lemon, juiced


1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, as directed on the package instructions. Remove the pot from heat and ladle/pour about 1 cup of the pasta water in a heat resistant measuring cup or small pitcher. Drain the pasta colander and let it rest, covered.

2 In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to simmer. Cook for about 30 seconds more to infuse the oil with spicy, garlicky flavor, but do not let the garlic brown. Pour and scrape the seasoned oil into another small, heatproof bowl and set aside. 

3 Return the pan to the stove. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium-low until shimmering. Add the broccoli. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli has shrunk to a single layer in the pan and turned bright green, and most have some browning on them (about ten minutes). You actually want the browning on the broccoli for flavor, don’t skimp on the cooking time.

4 Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Measure out cup pasta water (reserve the rest for later) and pour it into the pan. Cover the pan with its lid and continue cooking until the water has simmered down to almost nothing, about 15 to 30 seconds. Uncover and remove the pan from heat.

5 Add the drained pasta to the pan and drizzle in all of the infused oil. Stir well to coat the broccoli, then add the goat cheese and most of the Parmesan cheese. Stir until everything is well distributed. Add another 1 to 2 tablespoons pasta water, the chopped olives and lemon juice, and stir until the goat cheese loosens up and gets creamier. Add a tablespoon more pasta water or additional goat cheese if you'd like it to be more creamy. If it seems dry at all, add a little splash of olive oil and mix well. 
6 Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining Parmesan.

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Decatur Holiday Marketplace and Cafe

This weekend is the Decatur Holiday Marketplace and Cafe at the Clairemont School in Decatur, GA. It’s a fun and festive show with lots of great opportunities to find unique, handcrafted gifts for everyone on your list. Plus, the cafe has some really delicious soups and baked goods. All handcrafted also. Plus the proceeds go to the school’s PTA which is a very good cause.


Friday December 4, 5:30 - 9:30 pm
Saturday, December 5, 10 am - 5 pm

This is an indoor event with free parking or paid premium parking.

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mindful Holiday Shopping

You may have seen a picture or two going around the internet that tells people that buying cheap, mass produced products from China that are made in sweat shops is not really a great way to show someone how much you care. Sometimes it feels contradictory to me to be a maker and also be someone who is anti-stuff. But I am and I have had to justify it to myself.

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to start off saying how much I love making pots. I create them because I love them. My opinion might be a bit bias because of this love of creating pottery.

I also love sharing my pottery with people. I love how happy it makes them when they think something I have made is beautiful. I enjoy the connection when a customer sees something I think is pretty and they feel the same about it. I believe that lives are enriched by having beautiful things around us.

People occasionally worry about breaking pottery if they use it but I always tell them that I doubt they will break the piece. They care about it, they picked it out, they thought it was beautiful, they paid more for it then they would a mass produced product and it has meaning for them. The owner of that piece of pottery will be more likely to be careful with it. They will be more mindful of how they move while holding that piece and how they move around that piece. Being mindful, even if it’s almost unconsciously is a good way to be.

Salt Fired Ceramic Pitcher by Lori Buff
Salt Fired Pitcher

When I create my pots I think of them being used everyday. I put a little bit of myself into every piece I make. The person who uses that pot connects with me on some level each time the pot is used or enjoyed.  You’re not going to find that connection with something that is mass produced by slave labor in another country.

Several days ago I worked my shift at The Collective where I sell my pottery. A woman came in and spent over an hour looking for the perfect gift for a coworker. She cared about this person and wanted to give her something meaningful, something that showed she cared. I suspect the recipient will care about that gift and the giver for many, many years.

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kiln Load

I could have gotten a few more mugs in if I had planned this load a little better.

Bisque kiln full of Penland Auction Mugs by Lori Buff
Kiln Full of Mugs

Oh well, I’ll do better on the next load.

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