Friday, April 29, 2016

Pizza Toppings

Pizza is a huge industry in America with over $30 billion in sales each year. 93% of Americans eat pizza at least once a week. This is no surprise as over 3 billion pizzas are sold each year and over 1 billion frozen pizzas.
And what is it about pizza that makes it such a big seller? .... the toppings!
The top 10 toppings in America are pepperoni, mushroom, onion, sausage, bacon, extra cheese, black olive, green pepper, pineapple, spinach.
And everyone knows that those are just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps that is what makes pizza so popular is that you can eat once everyday for a year and not have the same one twice!
Toppings have become more "gourmet" more "foodie lovers" with the addition of arugula and the like. But, there's also more toppings that are just as loved:
Herbs: basil, cilantro,
Meats and Fish: pepperoni, prosciutto, salami, chicken, shrimp, anchovies, sausage, hamburger, meatball, crab, bacon, ham
Vegetables: artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers,roasted peppers, black olives, spinach, tomato, jalapeno, garlic, mushroom, onions, pineapple, green olives, broccoli, arugula, eggplant,
Cheese: mozzarella, pesto, feta, gouda, cheddar, parmesan, Munster , Swiss, Brie, Blue Cheese, Gorgonzola,
Fruit: Apple, Pear, 
Sauces : Marinara, pesto, White Sauce, Southern Gravy, Brown Gravy, 
Grouper Fish Pizza
This post was inspired by a Grouper Pizza! Blackened Grouper topped on a pizza crust with mozzarella, red onion, spinach, and chopped tomatoes. The pizza was light and delicious. The grouper, a white fleshed fish, was seasoned well and was complimented by the red onion and spinach.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Infused Waters: A Great Way to Stay Hydrated

 My good friend Robyn serves delicious water at her home. She gave me a cup and I sipped what I was expected to be plain old water. Instead was a subtle herb and lemon flavor. It was delicious and I finished the cup immediately. When I told her it was delicious, she told me it was basil, mint and lemon infused water.
The herbs were mild, more of an aftertaste, and the lemon gave a bit of tang. I was hooked. When I went home, I immediately made some infused water with what I had on hand. In my case, it was orange and rosemary. Delicious. Who could have thought that savory herbs would make water so refreshing?
The formula for infused water is simple, just herbs, fruit, or vegetables. Let sit a few hours and drink. I've found that some of the herbs develop of bitter taste if left too long, which I found to be more than 6 hours. Sometimes the combination of citrus with herbs can speed up that battering process.
Infused Waters can be made with any combination of the following:
HERBS- lemongrass, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, cilantro, mint
SPICE- ginger, cinnamon stick, peppercorns
FLOWERS- lavender, hibiscus
FRUIT - berries, citrus, apples, pears, pineapple, kiwi, mango, melon
VEGGIES - carrots, celery, jicama, green or red peppers

Robyn had a beautiful glass drink dispenser that she used to serve the water. I used glass water bottles and made 800 ml at a time. This allowed me to drink 3-4 a day. I have never felt so hydrated! I love the flavor of fresh rosemary in water and used it in a few of my bottles.
Wash all herbs and fruit before using. I sliced the fruit to allow the flavors to infuse the water. I've done previous posts on Agua Fresca which uses pureed fruit and sugar, but I prefer the flavor of no added sweeteners.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Shibori Scarf

I worked on one more scarf and it was a favorite.
Here's the finished result. 
I folded the scarf - accordion fold - and then folded it inside itself to make a square. I clamped it down with two clamps and 2 wooden sticks to hold the folds in place.
I dropped green and yellow dye on either side of the clamps - where the folds are. Then, I let it dry.
I unfolded it and re-folded it so that it was 90 degrees from where it started. I dripped purple dye on the new creases. This created a grid pattern.
I heat set it and then pressed it. I love this look.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Fourth Shibori Scarf

This scarf is large (considered a sarong length) 44"x72" and 100% cotton. I rolled the fabric and then lightly fastened the ends with elastic to hold it in place.
I used Jacquard Dynaflo dyes and colored the outer edges with dyes.
 I let it dry and unraveled the fabric. I love the look. I wanted to add a few things.
So, I stamped some shapes on two of the corners.
 Here they are close up. They are darker on one side and almost shadowlike on the back side.
I like the added interest.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Blessings

I am blessed with a good life.
This week started off with a bang! We took friends to the airport who needed a ride to jet off to their much-needed vacation.
The following day we joined four of our friends to canoe down a river. Not only was the ride beautiful, but we saw lots of wildlife. Nature is miraculous and I am grateful to be able to smell the fresh air and feel the cool water.
I was asked to hit with a few players from my tennis team this week. It was great practice and I enjoyed our time practicing strokes.
My friend and I went to our bi-weekly girls dinner and tried out a new restaurant. We auditioned it for her birthday party and were pleased with the results.
I've been working on a few things and have been thrilled with the process. It's been very rewarding to just spend time practicing art techniques without any concern for the result. This is when I do my best work. It's hard to "let go" like this, but it is very rewarding.
This week is a birthday week for my twin sisters.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Second & Third Shibori Scarf

Previous Shibori posts can be found here. My first Shibori scarf can be found here. I've continued with the Shibori scarf making. This time, I used a dye (idye) that can be used in the washer or stovetop. I heated the dye in a pot on the stove. Because I was using silk, I added white vinegar to the bath.
 
I dissolved the dye packet and then added the vinegar. When the mixture was simmering, I added the bound fabrics.
I let them simmer for 30 minutes.
The scarf was made by binding the silk. I wrapped it tightly and then tied elastics about the length of the fabric.
This is the result. I love it!
The second fabric was tied a bit differently. I rolled the fabric, then placed clamps on top and bottom that held wooden cut outs.
The end result was an interesting effect without the obvious shapes from the wooden cut outs.




Thursday, April 21, 2016

More Shibori... Making a Scarf for My Sister

Working with the Shibori folds has been very enjoyable. Since I've spent a while working on various techniques, I felt comfortable branching out to a different type of dyeing.
 Previously, I have worked with 100% cotton towels or scarves and used a hot dye bath to set the colors. For my next trick, I wanted to make a silk scarf for my sister. Since silk is a natural fabric, it absorbs the dye beautifully. I also tried a different dye, Jacquard Dynaflo dyes. They come in brilliant colors that can be mixed. You use the dye, let the dyed fabric dry for 24 hours, then heat set it with an iron.
I started off the scarf the same way I did the cotton fabrics, by washing and then drying the piece. Next, I folded it into a square. I tied a rubber band to hold it together.
 I dipped 2 edges into the dye. I used a lot, to really soak through all the layers. I let it dry a bit, but not a lot and then added a second brilliant color.
 I was so pleased with the colors and they way they looked together, I was happy to stop here!
I let the fabric dry and then heat set it with an iron. It took a LONG time - about 90 minutes to press heat into all the areas. I love the way it came out. I hope my sister loves it too!