Fried Food Saturday!

Yum. Breaded and fried pork tenderloin slices, onion rings, and sweet potato knishes!
Followed by an artery-hardening tart of shortbread crust, caramelized apples, custard cream, topped with whipped cream. I know. Shut up!



Thank You, Sean Penn

You are a friend, indeed.

Thank You, Dustin Black

You are a friend, indeed.


mmmmm.. Lazy Sunday today

came complete with a backrub in this instance! and chinese butternut soup and LO MIEN. oh la la, we likee LO MIEN. Earlier we had the other half of a pomelo... which sat ripening on the sideboard for WEEKS. To understand the significance of this, please proceed to STEVEN'S BLOG.


A Big Party, Some Old Classmates, and Couture!

So, the other day i joined Facebook (find me there by email address: trotsky64@yahoo.com ), so that i could join the Georgia Tech College of Architecture Alumni Association. Seems this year marks the 100th anniversary of the CoA's founding (Georgia Tech itself was founded 23 years earlier in 1886). Anyhow, on April 25, a HUGE PARTY is in the works to celebrate the past 100 years, and to toast the next 100 years of the Architecture program, and the entire art school that is the CoA at Georgia Tech. It encompasses Architecture, City Planning, Industrial Design, Building Construction, and, after I was gone, sometime in the 90s Music was added to the College. I can't believe i'm actually excited about an alumni event. Well, it's YOUR fault Dawn!! hehehe.

I really had such an incredibly great time at Georgia Tech. Physics, Calculus, Statics and Mechanics, and all the other horrible flotsam and jetsam required by the core curriculum aside, the experience of the studios and the process of being juried constantly was something so relevant, vital, and nurturing to me. Even endearing. I had the great benefit of being surrounded by alot of talent in my peers, and in the professors, many of whom are still there today, more than 20 years after i left the program. So many wonderful friends i made then, and it's hard seeing so little of them. I can't wait to spend a few days with them all.

In my work today, pin-ups are totally a part of the process, clients can and do question my process and decisions just as George Johnston or Alan Balfour did (however the clients do it in much less fabulous ways), and i still find that i gleefully grope my way through each design process in an intuitive--and yes, totally ADHD--way, hungrily and mercilessly looking for inspiration in the wierdest, wackiest, and most silent of places. And though no one i work with ever pulls a Jennifer Bloomer "why don't you just get a job in a department store?" the back and forth can often be, shall we say, lively. I love that. And i love coming up with wacky visitor experience ideas that just blows clients away. That is the real difference for me, between working in the museum world vs. the world of everyday architecture. The clients, generally, are not focused on function, cost, and blunt everyday exigencies. They more care about meaning, communication, and subtlety. Mostly they are curators and scholars, who have their entire lives--or at least very large chunks of it--invested in the subject matter that I am tasked with bringing to life in a one hour immersive environment or museum visit.

So, i've been reflecting on it all in the past few days. I pulled an Alan Balfour book (that Dawn gave to me years ago) off the shelf this morning to show to Steven and try to give him some sense of the wonderful thinker and communicator Balfour is, and out fell some essay i wrote on the Italian architect of the Fascist period, Guiseppe Terragni... which i proceeded to read aloud to him... poor guy! I have to say that i am so glad i moved out of architecture and into exhibit and interpretive design. I now feel like i am a thinker and a communicator first, and a designer second, and that is completely one hundred and eighty degrees away from my experience working in architecture. But it is parallel to my experience at Georgia Tech.

Steven will join me of course, and we have to figure out what the heck we will wear. These Beaux Arts Balls come with alot of pressure to be waaaaaaay over the top, out there, completely crazy and creative, and, of course, fabulous. Suggestions? Here is some precedent to ponder:

Maybe i should just go for the Pats look?

I am really looking forward to going back to Atlanta for this. I've been in touch with sooooo many classmates on Facebook, and today, i scanned some photos from one of the Beaux Arts Balls I went to waaaaaay back in the day, 1987. Check it out:

And don't ask me what that costume was about... something about Thomas Jefferson, but i had on shorts too. Who the heck knows what i was thinking.


A Quick Supper

Every time i make spaghetti, it is a little bit different. Tonight, i'll start with a kinda cajunesque trinity: onions, carrots, celery. Add some oregano, bay, salt, pepper, then deglaze with some leftover red wine. Next some lovely tomatoes we canned ourselves. Next, some defrosted Chinese meatballs from Steven's last batch of spaghetti, for which he made a few too many meatballs (what a great thing to freeze!). And at the end, a very liberal dose of chopped parsley, basil, and garlic, and some parmesan and pepper before serving.

My Stepmom, Norma, makes spaghetti with a little bit of cinnamon. Wierd as it sounds, it is actually really good.

How do you make spaghetti?

Pecan Tart

Yesterday we made a yummy Pecan Tart, from a recipe posted by WILL of DesignerBlogand had it for dessert last night with a friend who came over for dinner. The recipe calls for pure Maple Syrup, which we'd acquired from a local Amish source, instead of corn syrup, and it was wonderful with the pecans. Will and his long-time partner Fritz make their own Maple Syrup seasonally, from their own ancient Maples.

For the crust I used an Ina Garten recipe for a Shortbread Crust, which was really easy. I skipped the rolling-it-out part, and just pressed the prepared dough into the tart pan with my hands, and chilled for 20 minutes or so, while i made Will's filling. Here's the recipe:

Start with 3/4 c sweet butter, at room temperature, creamed in mixer with 1/2 c sugar (brown sugar is really rich and nice). Next add 1/2 tspn vanilla. Combine 1-3/4 c of the flour of your choice (I used unbleached all-purpose) with a pinch of salt, then add it to the mix, until just combined. It will be very dry and crumbly; press it into the tart pan with your fingers and then chill in the fridge. This recipe makes just the right amount of dough for an 11 or 10 inch round or slightly smaller square tart pan.

In other cooking news, Steven and i have a favorite Indian / Chinese place in Decatur, GA that we discovered is actually a chain when we came across its doppelganger in Columbus. Lots of wonderful fried dishes in dry spicy sauces made of toasted and crushed seeds and such. Well, one of the dishes he has managed to pretty much duplicate exactly, frying tiny bits of well spiced chicken till crispy, and then combining it with stir-fried onions and jalapenos, some fresh herbs, and even more toasted and smashed up coriander seed, cumin seed, szechuan peppercorn, garlic, red chilies. I keep forgetting to snap pictures in time before we devour it all... maybe next time.


Parmesan Chicken

Ina Garten's Parmesan Chicken is one of my favorite things to make. With a little lemoney vinaigrette on arugula, and broccoli tonight.

In other news, i have a new toy in the kitchen. A very nice, Italian espresso machine, complete with a built-in grinder. I want to learn to speak Italian, just so i can talk to it. Right now all i can say to it is LA PAVONI! Should i call Giada DeLaurentis? Maybe she'd bring one of her hot lil number desserts?

The Destructive Center

"What do you call someone who eliminates hundreds of thousands of American jobs, deprives millions of adequate health care and nutrition, undermines schools, but offers a $15,000 bonus to affluent people who flip their houses?

A proud centrist."

Note to Obama: Could you give Paul Krugman a call please? Let me know if you need the number. He has SOMETHING VERY USEFULto say to you. Something that makes alot of sense.


Is Waterboarding Torture?

It's a very simple question really. I know none of you have a problem answering this. Neither does Eric Holder, our new Attorney
General. I'm very happy to finally be able to say that. If you think Holder should appoint a special prosecutor to look into this, you may want to do as i have done, and sign THIS PETITION.
While it is abhorrent to me that we have to ask our government to do the right thing--not only ask, but fight, and fight, and ask, and fight, and ask again, and then fight some more--it doesn't obviate any of us of our responsibility to do so. Oh the times in which we live.


Lake Champlain

Coq au Vin

tonight. Yum.

Or, slightly more succinctly:

Fight the H8 in Your State