Friday, March 27, 2009

Field Trip - Minneapolis Institute of Art

A trip to the MIA always means a few minutes of staring at this massive work by Dale Chihuly. I saw an exhibit of his work once and it was really amazing to see so much of it all together - like walking into an alternate (albeit fragile) world.
This hand above and the weathervanes below are part of a permanent exhibit of American art and folk art from the 1700's-1800's. It's cool that they can put more of this kind of thing on display now since adding a new wing.

I was drawn to the painting below by the shiny, luscious fruits. No raspberries have ever looked that way - unless these were an heirloom raspberry that we have since stopped planting? Hmmm... still, I like the depiction of the fruit as little jewels.

And below is a creepy copper horse from China - must be a war horse, right?

This buddha below was originally gilded but was damaged in a fire. I really like the patina on it better than I would a smooth gold finish. I've read that a lot of the ancient statues and buildings were originally painted in bright colors (one prime example is the pyramids in Egypt and in Mexico). It's hard for me to imagine.....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spoonbridge (sans Cherry)

I went to the Walker Art Center to see the Elizabeth Peyton exhibit (I liked it but it seemed a little fluffy for the Walker) and snapped the photo above. They've removed the cherry to give it a fresh coat of paint! Below is a picture I found on the web (from a slightly different angle).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Two Desserts

Here is a pic of the crepe cake that I made a couple days ago. It wasn't that difficult but it is time-consuming because you have to make all those crepes. The key to success here is to have patience and let everything cool before assembling. There is pastry cream and chocolate ganache between the crepe layers. I should have let them chill before pouring the chocolate ganache over the top but was too impatient. So, the whole pile of crepes slid around to form a mound instead of a stack (not attractive - picture a brown, oozing mound of goo). That is why I had to cut a piece in order to get an appetizing picture. Also, I put the berries on the top because I didn't let the ganache cool enough before wrapping in plastic wrap so the top of the "cake" stuck to the plastic. See - I told you this requires patience - a quality I am obviously lacking!. Anyway, it tastes delicious - kind of like an eclair but with a different texture. I got the recipes for the different components (crepes, pastry cream, chocolate ganache) from my trust copy of How to Cook Everything but you could easily find recipes online.

The dessert pictured above is really just a way to use up leftover cake. I know - who has leftover cake? Well, I needed to make cupcakes for work and ended up with just enough extra batter for one small layer of chocolate cake. I hate to let good cake go to waste so later that week I cut out shapes using cookie cutters (since it was a short layer, that worked well). I made a quick sauce by heating frozen raspberries with some sugar then poked some holes in the cake (using a chopstick) and poured the sauce over to give the cake a little more moisture. This one is topped with a dollop of chocolate buttercream frosting but obviously whipped cream would work just as well.