Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CSA Summer : Week 5 (Holy Bouquet of Basil!)

 Recently baked / cooked with past weeks boxes:

Sunday I baked a loaf of dill bread (via Windy Kitchen), my first completely successful non-bread maker loaf ever. Definitely will be making again this week.

This Sweet Basil Vinaigrette by Cafe Sucre Farine I retweeted last week is DELICIOUS and a great way to use up those big batches of basil! I've dipped veggies in it, drizzled it on tomatoes, used it as salad dressing and of course, soaked my bread in it.

The escarole was a real stumper for me, but ended up loving it in a rendition of this pasta.

Lastly, I read that kohlrabi is good in Indian food, so I used a Saffron Road Simmer Sauce with my last two kohlrabi, carrots and some garlic paired with naan and rice. One of my favorite easy dinners for busy weeknights.

Kale chips + green smoothies used up the gigantic bunch from last week's box.

Beet & Turnip Gratin adapted from this Kitchen Konfidence recipe, was buttery and rich using up the last of my root veggies and garlic scapes last week.

Week 5: Basil, Frisee, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Garlic, Chives, Kohlrabi and Green Beans

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

CSA Summer : Weeks 3 + 4

I was disconnecting last week in the Upper Peninsula so here's the lowdown on weeks 3 and 4 of the City Commons CSA. The fridge is officially full.

Week 3: Chard, Strawberries, Diakon Radishes, Escarole, Baby Lettuce, Nasturtiums, Kohlrabi, Oregano and Basil

Week 4: Turnips, Garlic, Dill, Chard, Beets, Carrots, Radish Seed Pods and a HUGE bunch of Kale

Recently Cooked with CSA Elements: Chard Frittata adapted from this recipe to include garlic scapes and swiss cheese rather than pecorino and Roasted Harukei Turnips with Quinoa, loosely based off this version by Not Eating Out in New York.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CSA Summer : Week 2

Week 2 : Kale, Strawberries, Carrots, Beets, Garlic Scapes, Chives and Salad Greens

I've determined the two most useful kitchen tools with the CSA have to be my OXO Salad Spinner, similar to this one, and my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker! See below for a super easy strawberry ice cream recipe... 4 ingredients, no egg yolks and fresh berries, it doesn't get much better.

4 INGREDIENT STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM (adapted from this Simply Stated recipe)
2 c. 2% milk
1 c. heavy cream
2/3 c. sugar
4 c. strawberries

Heat milk, cream and sugar in a medium saucepan, slowly increasing the heat to avoid scalding until all the sugar is dissolved. While you're doing that remove all the tops and chop the strawberries up into small 1/4 inch - 1/2 inch pieces. After I chopped up all the strawberries, I placed half in a big mixing bowl and used my potato masher to mush them up. Set aside the other half of chopped berries for adding later on.

Once all the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and add the strawberry "mush." Refrigerate until cool. I'm impatient, so I put it in the freezer for the last 30 minutes. Total, it cooled for about 1.5 hours. 

Add the cooled combo to your ice cream maker and follow the instructions based on your model. I let mine churn for 20 minutes. Add in the remaining strawberries at this point and place in the freezer for an additional 1-2 hours. Take a little taste at any point... it's so delicious!

One of these beets is going to go in some juice right now!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Balcony Garden : June

I've realized this small balcony gets pretty windy, but I knew it gets some killer afternoon sun all summer long so I decided to employ these awesome planters from Target that attach to the railings! In went basil and tomatoes, then I found more planters and increased the number to 8, including chives and a jalapeño plant.

I can't find these planters online, only in stores. There are some similar, but much more expensive options online. (I think at Target they were only $4 each!)

Everything is just bursting with blooms and new growth! I hope the planters are going to be big enough and the zip ties that hold them on strong enough... It's all an experiment, which is fun. I'm also discovering growing in a small space in planters is much more enjoyable than battling weeds and critters in my larger garden. I'm partially crediting the soil from Detroit Farm & Garden for how amazing these plants are coming along!

Use What You've Got: I stowed away two glass milk bottles over the winter for using as vases, but they are coming in handy as my watering cans. Leftover pepper plant seeds from years ago have sprouted into a side garden, I better find something bigger to transplant them into soon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A CSA Summer : Week 1

As I mentioned in my Earth Day blog post, we joined a CSA! Today was the first pick-up and I'm pretty pumped about this. Read on... 

Now, I'm no food blogger but I have decided I will be blogging about my 20 week produce adventure including recipes, photos, drawings and random other veggie-focused ramblings here on Clean Slate. In addition, I've started a Pinterest board titled CSA Summer to compile ideas for storing produce, recipes and to share my experiences.

In case you aren't familiar with the term, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The one we chose to join is called City Commons and it's centered around 6 different Detroit urban farms. (Check out their website and this article to learn more about them.) This is something we've talked about doing for years, but either didn't sign up in time, couldn't work around the pick-up times or like last summer, were going to be traveling too much to take advantage of the weekly bounty.

Week 1 : Turnips (Hakurei, I think!), Garlic Scapes, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Snap Peas, Mint, Dill, Oregano

Now, for the sorting, researching and planning so nothing goes to waste! I think I'm going to start with this Roasted Hakurei Turnips recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out and we're definitely open to suggestions for using and preserving, so comment away or tag me in pins of your favorite recipes or tips.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Thank You (& DIY)

Haley and I needed to create some extra special thank you notes for all the kind folks that donated to our Bowl for Kids Sake fundraising team. So I printed out a thin, faint circle with the message in the middle on my cheapie home printer, trimmed them to size and we got to work. (You could also just use a pencil and trace something round in the center of a pre-made card!)

Using a few still surviving Prismacolor art markers from my art school days we dotted away at the local library so we could spread out. Filling the white space with multi-colored dots in different patterns and shapes had a very modern feel. After the fact, it seemed so easy, but the results were super creative and fun so I thought I'd share!

Haley and I have been matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County for FIVE YEARS next month! It's hard to explain how much she has taught me, the different perspectives on life she lends me, and the immense amount of joy I have as I watch her grow into a teenager. Haley has always called me "Sister," rather than "Brittany," and there isn't an occasion when I see her that I don't realize how important we are to each other beyond being just a mentor and kid; how our common love of animals, getting down and dirty with paints and projects, the outdoors, and more recently, shopping, :) makes us a perfect match. So, thank you not only to our supporters, but to Haley.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm headed to SURTEX!

Just 19 days from today I'll be debuting hundreds of patterns at SURTEX at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center May 18, 19 and 20th in New York City! If you are going to be there, stop by Booth 251 and say hello!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Earth Day {Art Print Giveaway}

To celebrate Earth Day this week,  I'd like to giveaway one framed 8" x 10" art print I created, titled Wynette's Garden. Its organic repeat design is based on sketches of pea pods that seem appropriate for the day. 

To enter, sign up for the Two if by Sea Studios mailing list* at the bottom of the homepage of my website and follow me on Facebook, then leave a comment below telling me about your gardening plans this spring or something you plan to do to acknowledge Earth Day.** 

I'm going to get some potting soil and start some tomatoes and basil on my balcony and sign up for a local CSA!
Entries must be posted by this Sunday, April 27th at 11am EST, and one winner will be chosen at random and announced that evening. 

{And the winner is Emily!!!}
Good luck!
*Don't worry I only email a few times a year when there is something really exciting happening, like giveaways, new products available or milestone projects are completed!
**Sorry, entries are limited to US residents only. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. The winner will be contacted by email once comments close and announced on Facebook and Twitter shortly after.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Winning Minted Art Prints!

I entered my first Minted Challenge back in the fall and to my surprise all three of my entries won! My two encaustics titled A Study of Home I and A Study of Home II, were honored with a "jury's pick," and my oil painting of the stacked espresso cups was placed in the top 20 – there were 2,000 entries, holy cow!

Through the various contest and social media accounts I've been managing for my business, Two if by Sea Studios, I've met so many other designers that are attending Surtex and pursuing careers in surface pattern design. One nice designer from Southeast Michigan, Kelly Ventura, has been so inspiring with her Minted art print submissions. Painterly and beautiful, I've added her print, Abstract No. 1 to my wishlist.

My other current favorite is this print, Birch Woods in Winter by Four Wet Feet Design, for obvious reasons. I'm picturing it in a cabin bedroom someday with grey walls and all white bedding.

See both on the art board I created below:

A Study of Home I by Two if by Sea Studios

A Study of Home II by Two if by Sea Studios

Stacked Coffee Still Life in Oil by Two if by Sea Studios

Monday, February 24, 2014

Be Positive and Patient

I'll admit it, this winter has been long. Especially when you're living in an urban setting with a dog. Those 6:00 AM walks around the block with Nellie can really test my love for the cold seasons some days. When the wind is whipping from the west, the trash can around the corner seems like summiting Mount Everest.

Eyes watering under my glasses, hat pulled down to the top of the rims and my unlaced L.L. Bean boots clomping across the icy sidewalks – it can be miserable, but....

Dylan and I both LOVE winter activities! Everyone gets on my case because I wish for snow and more snow.  Another mantra this winter for both work and life has been "Be Positive and Patient" as the title of this post states. From prepping for Surtex to surviving the polar votex, it has got me through some challenging days of doubting my abilities, patience and priorities.

Cross country skiing, ice skating, hikes in the woods, pond hockey and most recently ice climbing all provide escapes from just enduring the winter – instead be positive and enjoy what it has to offer. Maybe some of these photos can convince you of the beauty and pastimes that lure us outside even on the chilliest of days.

So put on some long underwear, grab some hand warmers and enjoy the winter months. They are magical and fleeting.

The ice storm that through some major wrenches in our holiday plans was breathtaking.
A weekend in the Upper Peninsula cross country skiing at Tahquamenon Falls.

Cross country skiing on Belle Isle in Detroit and hiking with Haley at one of the Ann Arbor area metro parks.
Michigan Pond Hockey tournament on Whitmore Lake and ice skating at Clark Park in Detroit.

Ice climbing at Peabody Ice Climbing Club in Fenton.