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.