Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ahhh, Pastels!

Well, after resolving a little dust up with Pastel Journal, (pardon the pun), I was back at work in the studio today, rediscovering my pastel palette. Ahhh...home again!! How wonderful they are; beautiful, tactile and noisy!! I have to remember to paint without my music blaring occasionally to appreciate the sound they make. However much I'm drawn by other media, and finding satisfaction there, I'm happy to visit home for a bit and feel all the sensations that go along with that. Maybe I'll just stay at home for a while!

Pastel on Colorfix
Pastel on Colorfix

Today, I worked on some landscape compositions for two large commissions for a new hospital in Hillsboro, Oregon. I did the sketches in pastel to find my way. I'll typically work in pastel first because it is that "home" for me. I worked through several variations, considering many factors; size and proportion of the final piece, composition, color swatches that were provided and a forest theme. Hospitals don't want fall as the feel it reminds folks of the end of life, they don't want too much of a pathway, as this could suggest the end of life, they want uplifting colors and values. So, considering all this and still painting a painting that I really want to paint and will be excited about and proud of is a challenge.

Then soup. I've been really into making soup when I've been home and had a recipe for Roasted Eggplant soup that I really wanted to try. We've been making some absolutely great soups, but this one might be the best one so far. It's got a great flavor with just a hint of mint and pepper. I got this from a Williams-Sonoma Soup cookbook that I've had for ages. I used 1/2 & 1/2 instead of heavy cream. I used two garlic rather than one in the original recipe and I was pretty liberal with the pepper, tasting as I went. Enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant Soup with Mint

1 large eggplant
2 TB butter
1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 TB finely chopped fresh mine
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375
Put the eggplant in a baking dish and puncture the skin several times with a fork. Roast in the oven, turning occasionally, until the skins are evenly browned and deeply wrinkled, 1-11/2 hrs. Let stand at room tepm. until cool enough to handle, then peel.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over med. heart. Add the onion and the garlic and saute' until golden, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggplant, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and saute' 2-3 minutes more. Add the stock and the mint and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

In small batches, puree' the soup in a food mill. Return to the pan and stir in the cream and gently heat through over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4-6

1 comment:

David King said...

I'm glad to see you getting "dusty" again Marla.