Artichoke Love

Monday, September 26, 2011

Recently, Serena over at Big Apple Nosh did this awesome tutorial on how to steam and eat an artichoke. I've always seen artichokes in the grocery store and wondered what exactly I'd do with them. Since I'm super picky about vegetables but artichokes happen to fall into the "yummy" category for me, I jumped at the chance to try out Serena's tutorial.

I picked up one fabulous, organic artichoke from Whole Foods for $3.49, after convincing Steve that I would actually eat it and not let it sit in the fridge wilting away.

Following Serena's step-by-step instructions, we created our own little stove top steamer and and steamed away!

I also learned through the process that it's really fun to take pictures of artichokes. They're so pretty!

See what I mean? Love it!

After devouring each and every leaf dipped in yummy, melted butter, we were left with the sad (but beautiful!) artichoke remains.

It was so much fun trying something new and learning the in's and out's of artichokes (literally!). What have you done with an artichoke lately?

An Artist...I Am Not

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Last month we had a fun little fundraiser for work. It was hosted by an art gallery in conjunction with a company called Bottle & Bottega, where they bring canvases, paint and teach you how to put it all together for a pretty little picture.

The picture that was chosen for us was a good "starter" painting of a branch with cherry blossoms and a swirly, dark sky. It was a simple, pretty picture that - if it turned out well - I would easily hang in my house.

The instructors went through everything step-by-step, but I soon received an "intervention" by one of the instructors, who actually took my brush and started helping me paint my background. I knew I was in trouble. However, I soon appreciated her help...who knew painting a small canvas was so tiring?

Anyway, I pushed forward and did actually finish my canvas. Behold:

Notice how the cherry blossoms are actually falling onto the branches, rather than falling off of them? Classic. Distracted by the dark and gloomy background? Me too.

Needless to say, I was drinking a lot of wine to help me get to this finished product. I'm pretty sure it shows.

Oh, and I'm not sure if this is worse than the art intervention, but at one point during painting, one of the three 7-year-olds who was there painting (the girls were attending the event) said:

Nice Little Girl: Excuse me.
Me: Umm, yes?
N.L.G.: My friends and I think your painting is really great!
Me: Oh, umm, thanks.
N.L.G.: We really like how you blended the background.

Even young children sensed my frustration and lack of artistic ability and tried to build up my self esteem. Thanks, girls!

I guess it's always important in life to learn something new, and while I learned that painting might not be for me, Bottle & Bottega is such a fun idea for a party with a group of friends - even if you're as hopeless of an artist as me. And especially if there's wine.

Oh, and the painting? I'd like to say it's hanging up, but it's, erm, filed away for waiting for a special occasion.