Wednesday, October 6, 2010

KUNST and Salmon Picata With the German

I love my friend Christian. He's a lot like me in that he's more interested in exciting humanity to passionate pursuits than anything else, which helps his business running Christian Hohmann Fine Art, because he enjoys connecting to people who love art and filling their lives with meaningful expressions of talented creatives who go into the zone to show us a little glimpse of ourselves we may be too distracted to see otherwise.

Tonight we dined at Back Street Grill to explore ways we could incite the community with art together and he told me of his travels back to Germany this summer to visit the artists he represents and see where their voices have taken them as well as gather new artists into his fold.

Salmon Picatta was the special we both ordered. Picatta anything is tang to my senses, a sensation that marks the good meal and this had it. Moist salmon finely crisped on the exterior, aligned with the infused sauce dotted with capers, verdant long and thin green beans sprinkled with copious amounts of parmesan, and of course, red wine.

I love talking to friends raised in other countries because it's fun to explore the similarities and differences together only to come out at the end discovering that the human gene is the human gene regardless of the accent.

He ran back to the gallery to finish a photo shoot and I ran home to design art tags for my exhibition tomorrow but it's those hours you take time out to share with friends that really fuels the fire.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ricotta Pillow Bliss

Visiting Arlene and Arline is always like a good dose of vitamins to the soul. A few weeks before our regularly scheduled dinner dates, the Arlene with an "e" will email me to ask what special requests I have for dinner. I usually answer roasted chicken since she makes the juiciest, most tender variety I have ever tasted. But since I have recently been veering my diet into more vegetarian options I opted for something creative in that arena to which she replied, she would make me her eggplant parmigiano with ricotta pillows. The instant ricotta and pillows were put in the same sentence together I started to drool.

The thing about these two friends of mine is that they live on a beautiful sprawling piece of desert property out in the middle of nowhere. Approaching their home from a half dirt road and a half hour drive always takes me into a peaceful frame of mind. As I drive up their path, unlocking the chain link fence, I am met by their two dogs, one frisky and one barking. The minute I step into their home, alive with fresh air from the open windows from which I see nothing but sundown over beautiful mountain horizons, I instantly feel a sense of calm wash over me. A bottle of red uncorked and Arline with an "i" joins us from her work in the garden pulling greens or her stint in her office writing one of her in depth and psychologically complex novels.

This time the scent of sage permeates the evening after an end of the summer hot and damp rain and mingles with the smell of lush things cooking. Our meal arrives at the table as we speak of what it means to be an artist-Arline meticulously interviewing me about the creative life in conjunction with a character in her current novel. We are trying to recall a Freud quote about life and art. The one I think of is: I cannot face with comfort the idea of life without work; work and the free play of the imagination are for me the same thing, I take no pleasure in anything else. A quote that perfectly describes how I feel about my art.

The eggplant parmigiano is cooked to tender perfection and lightly breaded with slices of hard boiled eggs sitting atop the perfect disks. The escarole is vivid green and plain, allowing the tongue to pull out the earthy flavors. But it is the special ricotta pillows that steal my heart, the ultimate little mounds of comfort food, crispy on the outside and filled with the most decadent, rich, creaminess inside. I could make these forever and eat them like royalty, a few at a time, with a glass of almond milk to accentuate the sweetness.

Ricotta Pillows

One pint of whole milk ricotta cheese
One large egg or two small
3 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese
2-3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Mix ricotta, eggs, flour and salt, then add pecorino romano and parsely. Stir and mix everything well. Consistency will determine how they cook up. Form into small pillows - to your aesthetic taste. Put butter into a frying pan and when hot (not brown), place in your formed ricotta pillows. Let brown on one side then turn. Hard to turn if mix is not firm enough. Brown other side and set on a platter. Can be served plain or with homemade tomato sauce.