11.5.14 brunette ambition tour

Today I wanted to write about creativity, and heart break, and Yelp. But that may be an overly ambitious endeavor. Because of creativity.

I don’t know how you work, but for me I carry a finite amount of expendable creativity around with me every day. I must use it, because, like cell phone minutes, it doesn’t roll over. But also like cell phone minutes, it runs out if taxed too much. So I have my creative outlet rotations: writing, painting, cooking, knitting, needlepoint. Every once in a while something else will enter the mix. Making a dress, say. Or spray painting some lamps from a garage sale.

Lately, a fair amount of creativity has been allocated to this blog. Which is highly satisfying. I’m also experiencing a small maelstrom of making knit hats. To what end, who knows? Do we even need hats in SF, not really! It’s 71 degrees today.

Every once in a while I mix it up and knit a cowl. Can you guess what everybody is getting for Christmas?

Cooking is a recent add to my creative outlet list. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I grew up in a big family where food was all about function not skill. My mom is an amazing cook now, but back then, frazzled with her four pests running around and getting into the knives, cooking a chicken meant literally cooking a chicken. Chicken + oven = dinner. My dad frequently made dinner too, but he was all about the beans n franks or the spaghetti and meat sauce. Sometimes BBQ. So it wasn’t until my late twenties that I realized the kitchen was more than a storage area for cereal and milk.

My honey entering my life is what triggered this urge to cook. Which is ironic, because if you know us you know food is just about the only thing we fight about. I must have my meals or I go bananas, and he’s always “Oh I’m not hungry, I think I’ll just skip dinner.” Then I pull all my hair out and yell at the moon. I mentioned before what happened when this fight was compounded with Clomid like hormones. It was very ugly.

So despite not being a natural chef, I insist on cooking because otherwise I might never get fed. And then I would starve. Out of necessity I am the MASTER of the slowcooker. I recommend Slow Cooker: the Best Cookbook Ever which totally lives up to it’s claim. I can brag that thanks to this book I kill it making soups. Salads too, but I don’t think that’s “cooking” per se, and my chopping skillz come from back in the day.

Recently, though, I learned how to roast a chicken. 425 degrees, add seasoning and olive oil. Cook for 45 minutes or so. This may seem obvious to some people, but I’ve shied away from cooking chicken for YEARS. Because I was convinced I would kill someone. Probably myself because my husband had a big lunch and took a pass on dinner. So not only would I die, but I would die angry.

But then, creative cooking epiphany #2 occurred just the other night. It rocked my world.

In painting, you never want to use the paint straight from the tube. I spend a lot my time mixing color. To bring harmony to a painting, often I’ll introduce the same color throughout. I work with a lot of complimentary colors, so even though the image is primarily blue there is actually orange pigment mixed in with the blue. It complicates the color, adds more qualities to it. It’s a bit hard to explain, but if you look at many pictures, Edward Hopper for example, you’ll notice the complimentary color palette. Even the neutral tones tend to be part of the spectrum. It’s fascinating and subtle and it makes paintings very magical. The amount of effort I spend specifically on paint color relationships? Well that’s the entire painting process.

This painting was inspired by the movie Drive, which you may notice is entirely blue and orange. It’s a beautiful (and brutal) film. I’m not particularly proud of this painting, it’s just illustrates well my point about complimentary colors. Orange is mixed into all the colors throughout the painting. Even the orange πŸ‘»

But back to my cooking epiphany, I realized to create harmony in a meal, you bring the same element throughout the entire dish! So I roasted chicken, but first marinated it overnight. In the marinade was Worcestshire sauce, lemon olive oil, Rosemary, salt, white wine. I was also planning to roast fennel and cauliflower. So I tossed them in Rosemary, lemon olive oil and salt. To bring harmony to the food in the same way that I would a painting!

“Duh” everybody is probably saying. But listen, my world has changed. The very foundation shifted. I feel so proud of myself for this discovery! And dinner was pretty good if I do say so myself. My honey had seconds!!

So what else do I need to know about cooking, huh? Tell me your tip/trick. I can promise it will seem like NASA level brilliance to me.

Today’s bangles are: red coral bangle, rhinestone bangles from India, 4 skinny brass bangles.

20 thoughts on “11.5.14 brunette ambition tour

  1. You’re making me SO hungry. I grew up in a kitchen where my grandmother was queen, so I never learned how to cook very well. I think the best part about the learning process is realizing that you don’t need a whole list of fancy ingredients to make something taste good. Something as simple as a drizzle of olive oil or adding a hint of butter can make the biggest difference. I’m a huge fan of food photos, so if you ever decide to post some of your food creations, you can bet I’ll be here ready to drool. Also, I followed you back on Twitter!

    1. Twitter, yaya! Just don’t read my posts on Sundays because methinks you watch TWD on delay, and I can’t resist tweeting while watching.

      Do you have some of your grandma’s recipes? Or was she one of these savants who cooked by feeling?

      I have yet to make my food look pretty in addition to tastey. But hopefully I’ll get there πŸ™‚ and then I’ll post pictures!

      1. I do watch it on delay, but I can’t resist spoilers! I’m terrible, aren’t I? :/

        My grandma never gave out any recipes because yep, she cooked by feeling. Whenever I asked her for them, she would say, “If you can eat it, you can cook it.” So that’s what I go by now, feeling and taste. It still hasn’t worked out as well for me as it did for her, though!

        I anticipate that your food posts will be future droolfests already. Can’t wait!

  2. You are a creative sneaky genius artistic wonder! You seem so talented and I’m happy to hear you use up those creativity “minutes” each day, why waste them?! And people are lucky to get knit stuff for presents, I’m pissed off my friends don’t knit me things.

    I’m not pulling your leg I can see “Drive” in that painting…that movie always brings “hot orange, hot pink, cloudless BLUE and silver-white” to mind. I absolutely love it and the soundtrack too and when it was new I use to look at all the Drive inspired artwork & fan made posters online because they’re just so cool.

    I don’t have any cooking tips=(
    Love the bangles today.

      1. It’s just so gorgeous looking, there are so many scenes in it that blew me away. First I loved the beginning with “Nightcall” & how the music synced to the Driver flipping the light switch. I loved the shot of his face spattered in blood as he sloooowly steps back from the motel bathroom doorway, just stuff like that. I’ve never seen the actual elevator stomp, I close my eyes as soon as I know it’s going to happen I’m scared to see it! What a movie though-I wrote a paper on it & did a presentation and I think all my classmates thought I was bonkers but I got an A so up theirs.

      2. I think I might have a very rough draft saved but I just recycled a bunch of school stuff a few months ago–I am a pack rat and I felt I was being an egotistical idiot by hanging onto it. I wrote about it being a glossy but gritty fairytale & in my presentation I played the clip of the Driver following Nina from the pizza place to the beach & then Nino’s murder and talked about color symbolism and why specific shots were used. Probably not THAT interesting but I appreciate the thought=)!

  3. Microwave, Wok, Espresso pot – if it cannot be made with these – I don’t make it.. simple cooking rools for non-chefs.

      1. Woks are good for rapid heating of anything – particularly on a wok gas burner jet. – olive oil – soy sauce – oyster sauce – Woks are great for left overs – you just put in the left overs – heat them up – then throw in an egg for good measure – eat immediately before rushing out the door to do something else πŸ™‚ [rinse out the wok before leaving]

  4. Love the bangles, I really do.

    My cooking tip (that I probably wouldn’t recommend to anyone else, but is good for me): give up pretending you like doing it and get a partner who actually does. (It helps he’s great at it.) Fabulous arrangement.

    1. Great advice πŸ™‚ My husband is actually a really good cook, but he so infrequently thinks about meals, that if it were all on his shoulders we’d eat 1 time per week πŸ™€

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