a new place for all of this

i’ve got some projects in the works, including a local radio program to highlight the creative energy happening in west michigan and “the pages project,” a collection of community beliefs, doubts, and observations in the form of artist’s journals.  so, as i build these things and allow the rest to grow as well, i thought it might time to have a “real” website.



see you there!


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foodie friday: trying new cuts of meat

first, let me preface this recipe with a bit of a story:

i used to be really, Really against hunting.  i just couldn’t understand it.   i thought it was barbaric.  and then my little brother got his doctorate in wildlife preservation and oh so kindly and patiently explained to me that if we humans didn’t hunt, other creatures like deer would increase in population to the point where they would be starving to death.  slowly, painfully, starving to death because people like me thought we were too good to consider ourselves a part of the food chain.

so.  now, knowing that i am a part of taking care of the Greater Good of the deer world, i enjoy the fruits of my family’s hunting labours.  in fact, i now realize it is a free-range, local, sustainable, and (now here’s something you don’t find often accompanying the previous three) FREE option for protein.

okay, so that’s the back story.  now let’s move on to the two-fold story that then, finally, dear heavens, leads us to the recipe.

the new cut story: i received some cuts of venison from my family at christmas.  i knew how to use quite a bit of it (stew meat, ground sausage-plenty of old standby recipes for these), but there was one long, narrow package that said “loin” that was purportedly from a younger deer.  i knew that meant it would be very tender, and not gamey tasting at all, so i didn’t want to waste it.  i wanted to highlight this special treat.

the new recipes story: i was recently a part of a “recipe swap” of sorts that was run by katiekate.  she gathered a week’s worth of recipes from a bunch of us and then collected it all in a great little cookbook, called “best week ever.” so i was flipping through the recipe book, looking for something new and thinking about that loin that had been waiting for me to figure out what to do with it.  some of the recipes, i am not going to lie, were just not my style because they had things like canned creamofwhatever soups in them, or pre-made meatballs that you then cut into smaller pieces (i thought, hmm, wouldn’t browning ground beef have been easier?).  and no offense to those who have been taught that those are the ways to save time in the kitchen and still have edible meals, but i think these folks have been sorely mislead.

then i found Margie, who had included a large-batch recipe for pesto in her list.  pesto!  from scratch!  that’s Beyond not using canned creamof soups, for sure.  trust had been regained. and the recipe right after it, like kismet, was for a roasted pork loin.  with garlic and rosemary and olive oil, three of my favorite friends. (margie wants you to know that it’s not really her recipe, instead it’s one she got off All Recipes, and modified it according to the comments, and then i took her recipe and adjusted it for venison and other little kitchen idiosyncracies of mine.     anyway.)

i knew this recipe was meant to meet my venison loin.

and so they did.  and people, that loin was amazing.  and the “sauce” was amazing.  and it took me right smack dab back into bistro 17eme, where two years ago i finally -after three failed attempts at eating french food while in france- was introduced to the bliss that is the true french meal.

it was rich, it was like there had to be all that butter that julia childs talked about hiding in real french food.  but people.  THERE WAS NO BUTTER.  you know a recipe is good when it fools you into thinking it’s decadent when it’s really just the alchemy of the right ingredients and the right cooking methods melding into one perfect flavour palate.

and did i mention the whole plate was over 80% local?  ’twas.  thanks to the garden out back, the year-long pseudo-farmer’s market, and a family that hunts:  a sustainable meal that tasted like a fancy night in paris.

so without further ado….

(oh wait!  but first!  did i mention i made two pies and a galette while this was in the oven?  oh yes.  i did.  i’ll tell you about it next week.)

roasted venison loin

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

salt and pepper to taste (i used kosher salt and toasted white pepper, which may very well have made more difference than one would think.)

2 pounds boneless venison loin

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup white wine

preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). whir up the garlic with rosemary, salt, and pepper with a little olive oil, making a paste. (i used the magic bullet, adding the olive oil later.  you could use a morter and pestle, or food processor, or what have you.)  pierce meat with a sharp knife in several places and spread the paste over the loin, making sure as much as possible gets into the openings.  (not much of mine did, to be honest, but it didn’t seem to matter.)  put into oven-safe dish, pour the rest of the 1/4 olive oil over the loin.

place loin into oven, turning and basting with pan liquids. (totally forgot to do this.  busy with the aforementioned pies.  again, didn’t seem to matter.)  cook until the loin is no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour.  since this will vary Greatly depending on the circumference of the loin, And since every time you slice into meat to check its color you will be releasing its juices and essentially Ruining it, i suggest an instant-read thermometer.   inserted into the center it should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

when it has reached the proper temperature, remove roast to a platter.  cover.

heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. let simmer away for a bit, removing the alcohol taste and letting the flavors meld.

serve loin with your favorite creamy potato option (ours was whipped potatoes, whisked in the kitchenaid with cream cheese, salt + pepper, and a little raw milk), pouring the pan juices over both if you want to get crazy.

light candles.  pour wine.  play french music.

enjoy the fruits of your communal labours.


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mini polaroids? yes, please.

hey kids.

i just found out about this giveaway over at creature comforts, where you can add a comment and be entered for a drawing to win a fuji instax mini camera or a new design of an slr sloop camera bag from photojojo.

mini polaroids?  polaroids the size of a credit card?  really?  ho man.  i almost don’t want you to know about it, because then you’ll put in a comment too, and then my chances of winning will go down. and I WANT THAT CAMERA.

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no such thing as a free glass of milk

“Understanding unity helps to solve humanity’s biggest challenges. There is no such thing as an isolated problem. By injuring any part of the world’s system, you injure yourself. There is no such thing as a win/lose situation. Think of life on this planet in terms of systems and not detached elements. Broaden your field of vision and assimilate the knowledge you have. See that the environment does not belong to any single country to exploit and then disregard. You cannot afford to think of your relationship with the earth as a one-night stand. There’s no such thing as a free glass of milk. It’s time to buy the cow.” – Za Rinpoche

from michela sorrento‘s blog post, which you should also read.  and while you’re there, take a look at her work.  a.ma.zing.

we are all connected.  my actions do not only affect me, they affect those around me.  and your actions for you affect me, and our actions for us affect people in other countries that we haven’t noticed any connection with….

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make your own: GUMMI BEARS

what is it about experiments in the kitchen?

this weekend i tried a simple recipe for making my own gummi bears.  i have a friend who has celiac disease, and she really misses gummi bears.  so i endeavored to make some that she could enjoy.  this is about the easiest candy recipe i’ve ever seen, and worked like a dream.  however, i want to keep experimenting so that vegans can also have them (this used gelatin, which is i am sorry to say, ground up animal bones people).  i’d also like to do something about all those chemicals and colorings that fill jello.  so i’m looking for more recipes that use agar and fruit juice… and hopefully soon enough i can use Local fruits and make a gummi bear filled with thoughtful-eating ingredients (unprocessed, organic, nutritious, Local!), while opening up to more exciting flavors.

gummies for adults, here we come!

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making art and making food (link love)

it’s monday.  i’m not a fan of mondays.  monday is the day that follows sunday, after all, the day when you don’t have to feel guilty at all for just lying about and are, in fact, commanded to rest and relax.  but monday… monday is when we get down to it.  only sometimes, we feel a bit uninspired.

so what better day to take in a little inspiration than on mondays!  perhaps i should make this a weekly thing.

this week i just can’t help but focus on just two very important elements of my life:  making art, and making food.

art and design

robert kingston -if i were still a painter, i would hope to paint something like this.

next sunday i’m going to detroit for the day, and am hoping to explore some of the great art i hear going on in the middle of run-down (or perhaps because of) run-down buildings.  i can’t help but watch this animated  graffiti brilliance in preparation.  over and over again.

gorgeous?  yes, indeed:  dinner plates.

which brings us to….

in the kitchen

book recommendations for cooking with kids via the kitchn, who always has good stuff.

like today they show us how to make our own cough drops, and that looks like fun (to me.  i know.  stop.)

insane jellies and other malaysian treats, found after great success making my own gummi bears.  (more on that later!)

i’m back to making my smoothies.  alton brown has his own method, of course.

this lady stole my recipe binder system!  well, she did forget an important element:  each section in My binder also has photo sleeves (for 3 photos in a page) at the back for recipes on good ol’ fashioned recipe cards.

hope that helps you get moving on your monday!

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foodie friday: a stack of freezer pizzas

if you know me, you know that one of my favorite ways to re-center and relax is to make stuff…. in the kitchen.  most of my kitchen experimentation goes on during the weekends, so i thought… what better day to kick off the kitchen weekend but with a foodie friday post!

because we can't get ourselves to brooklyn every time we want a good pizza

since i do enjoy playing in my kitchen on the weekends, i’ve learned to have that pay off a bit during the week, when i don’t necessarily have the time (or, honestly, just the energy) to be there much during the week.  i’ve recently started “investment cooking,” otherwise known as once a month cooking.  what has become difficult for me, however, is that most freezer-friendly bulk recipes for things like this are filled with processed foods or they are casseroles and nasty faux mexican nonsense.  (i told you i was a foodie, right?)

i have, however, figured out a few winners that combine quality, real food with bulk cooking-and once in a while i’ll share some new discoveries with you.  the one that massi and i are particularly thrilled with these days is our homemade frozen pizzas.  so easy!  so good!  so what i want when i’m tired and want junk food but don’t want to regret it later.

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