Friday, November 21, 2008

Welcome Back!

We are very fortunate to have two celebrities back in the gallery again. My wonderful husband and "Spring Dance" by Karl Jensen. Each has me smiling with their presence.

Quent has returned to the easel and is painting in the gallery on the weekends much to the delight of our gallery guests. He is currently working on two small wine country themed pieces. And with all of the surrounding inspiration, who could blame him.

"Spring Dance" has been a very special part of the gallery for many years. When I arrived in Burlingame nearly 6 years ago, "Spring Dance" was there and one of the first QCFA sculptures that I fell in love with. We used her image in advertisements for the gallery and enjoyed how the neighborhood children would respond to her when they walked by with their parents. We eventually sold that casting and have since missed having her about. I could hardly wait for her to be uncrated when she arrived recently. She is every bit as lovely as I remember.

Autumn is in full swing in wine country. The grapes have all been picked, the rains have arrived and the ornamental pear trees outside the gallery have shed most of their leaves. Soon all that will be left are the twinkle lights that illuminate the sidewalk in the evenings. The tourists and locals have traded in their shorts and flip-flops for sweaters and scarves and their evening strolls for fireside chats. As a result, we are no longer keeping the extended evening hours on the weekends but we gladly make the gallery available by appointment most anytime.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Art of Cooking

The rains have finally arrived in Napa, washing the summer's dust from the streets and unveiling a rainbow of umbrellas that have spent the last several months in seclusion. By mid-afternoon, sheets of water fell from the sky creating little rivers that cascaded down the streets towards the drains, carrying with them a flotilla of leaves on their way to the bay. While walk-in traffic was definitely down today, this season's first downpour did not prevent some of the tourists from venturing into downtown to enjoy their Napa Valley vacation. Some of the guests in the gallery today were from Vermont, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and even Norway.

When the weather turns cold and damp, my thoughts turn to comfort food. Chicken soup with grilled cheese, fresh baked breads, homemade mac-n-cheese, lasagna, osso bucco, stuffed pumpkin and oh, so much more. Put away the salad spinner and bring me some warm and yummy goodness. What does this have to do with art? Not much unless you really know me. I am as passionate about the food that I love as I am about the wonderful art we represent. Our art fuels my spirit and my love of food fuels my tummy. That being said, it will be hard to resist sprinkling this blog with the occasional recipe. Consider it my tasty gift to you just for stopping by.

One of my favorite ingredients is pumpkin. It's not just for pies anymore! This week I made my annual stuffed pumpkin to celebrate Halloween. Ok, I worked on Halloween so we had it a couple of days early. I recommend using a small pumpkin, often referred to as sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins. Cut off the top and scoop out the inside, reserving the seeds for toasting later. Prepare your favorite stuffing. I make mine by sauteing onions and celery in butter with some pressed garlic and fresh pork sausage. This time I added some chopped fresh eggplant that I had in the fridge along with about a cup of white wine and a little chicken stock. Toss with salt and pepper to taste, some poultry seasoning and a half-loaf of whatever bread you have on hand cut into one-inch pieces. Pack the stuffing loosely into your pumpkin shell, replace the top and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 1 hour. Any stuffing mixture that did not fit into the pumpkin can be baked in a greased casserole dish for 30 minutes and enjoyed as a side dish later in the week.

To serve, cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom creating two beautifully filled bowls of steamy stuffing goodness. Enjoy with a glass of wine, your favorite person and in a room where you can enjoy your favorite work of art. See, I did not forget to come back to the art. And speaking of art, here's my favorite pumpkin painting, "Pumpkin Festival" by Dale Momii.