Saturday, December 26, 2009

lost & found: old xmas photo


here's an old christmas card picture i procured at some point. i highly recommend clicking on it to see a closer view of these peoples' faces. it needs a good caption - so leave a comment if you think of a good one. peace, love and ...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

evergreens, lakes, sideways light... and finding peace.


the time between thanksgiving and christmas has been non-existant as far as i'm concerned - or is it just me? with all seriousness, i'm stunned as to how fast the world seems to spin sometimes... i've been busy to say the least.

when i'm in the midst of craziness i have to remind myself to stop. take a breath. and look around. i was able to sneak out to a gorgeous place near syracuse called green lakes for a quick hike the other day. that's where the following shots were taken.

the thing that's so wonderful about living someplace with actual seasons is experiencing joy in simply witnessing a complete transformation of your landscape. now that fall's vibrant colors have faded, there is a whole new palate out there - equally gorgeous. bare branches give way to stunning silhouettes, evergreens stand regally alone, and sideways light never looked so good against a blank canvas. taking a minute to look at things brings me peace, which is truly the best gift you can give yourself - especially this time of year. and so, in the words of ferris buller:

{ life moves pretty fast. if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. }



* may you find peace this holiday season...and in the new year to follow! *

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

some bright pink christmas flare


behold, my one and only christmas decoration (as of yet). i figure, you better make it count if you only have one - hence the bright pink factor. i know the color isn't that christmasy but a poinsettia is the ultimate flower of the season. plus, i couldn't resist the purchase when i saw this totally unique color. oh the simple pleasures...





Thursday, December 10, 2009

big huge pastry time.


now that winter is here, its time for down-home-comfort food. and nothing says "comfort" more than a mouthful of cheesy, gooey, flaky goodness. methinks it's time to share my potato-leek galette recipe. basically "galette" is french for giant, delicious pastry - at least that's my interpretation. there are many variations on galette styles. the way i construct them results with something between a quiche-y tart and a calzone.



may i add, this savory wonder has amazing meal versatility. a galette is most popular for brunch but because they are so massive you'll most likely end up with leftovers. not a problem since they save quite well. you could appropriately eat a galette for dinner and absolutely as a late night snacky-snack. plus, they taste way better than those frozen pizza bagel bite things.

the possibilities are endless when it comes to filling your galette. you could put any combination of vegi-cheese or add eggs, meat (bacon) or not. or you could go to the sweet-side and fill with fruit and perhaps... nutella.


the thing that's great about this
rustic, free-form style tart is that you don't have to fuss with a pie dish. this means you don't have to roll the dough into a perfect circle and ultimately you'll have one less dish to clean. if you don't have a food processor, or the time/patience, a store bought 9-inch pie crust will suffice. but i'm telling you, a homemade crust will take things to the next level. and truly, making a crust is not rocket science. however, it takes more effort than opening a box. the good news is most time spent is unattended. here, i will demystify the pastry crust for you:


ze crust:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour - plus extra for rolling

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

10 tablespoons frozen/very cold butter - yes that's right. how else do you think pastries taste so good?

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons ice water (or a tad more)


1. combine flour, salt, sugar and pulse a couple times in food processor. add 8 tablespoons of butter cut into chunks and process until uniform. (the extra 2 tablespoons will be used in the final stages of galette construction.) add egg yolk and process for a couple more seconds.

2. transfer mixture to a bowl and add ice water. work into a ball with your hands adding a little bit of ice water if too dry, or more flour if too wet. wrap the ball in saran wrap and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 before proceeding.

3. sprinkle parchment paper with flour and roll out the crust to about 12 inches in diameter. by no means do you need to make a perfect circle - this is the beauty of the free-form approach. transfer parchment paper onto a baking sheet and set aside.

{ crust recipe adapted from "how to cook everything" by mark bittman.}


my savory filling of choice:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced into circles or half-moons

1 medium zucchini or summer squash cut into half-moons

8 ounces thinly sliced potatoes (roughly 1 large, 2 medium, or 3-4 small), the little red 'taters are best.

4 eggs, beaten (you can make it healthier by using egg-whites.)

¼ cup dairy: milk, half & half, or cream. hell, yogurt will work too.

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, de-stemmed

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

¼ teaspoon mace (preferably) but nutmeg will do

a couple dashes of cayenne pepper (less than ¼ teaspoon - depending on your spice tolerance)

¾ cup shredded cheese - many cheeses will work: cheddar, mozzarella, feta... here i used "pepato" which is an aged sheep's cheese embedded with black peppercorns - oh yeah.

salt & pepper to taste


galette construction:

1. prep ingredients and preheat oven to 400°. beat together eggs and your dairy product of choice in a separate bowl.

2. heat the oil at medium-high in a large skillet and add the vegetables, salt and pepper. cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. turn heat to low and add the egg mixture along with herbs, spices, and roughly half of the cheese. stir and let cook for about 3-5 minutes, until there is virtually no liquid yet eggs are still quite soft.

3. spoon skillet ingredients onto center of rolled out crust, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on the edges. fold the bare edges over onto filling mixture and lightly crimp as you go around. (as you can see in the top picture, perfection is not necessary - some filling will inevitably want to burst out the side.)

4. pizzaz time: melt those remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush on the folded edges. sprinkle the remaining cheese over galette . if you want to add some flare, garnish with a sprig of thyme or sage.

5. bake for 35-45 minutes, until crust is golden brown and potatoes are tender. (hint: covering with tin foil will prevent crust from getting too dark.)


and thats pretty much it. ain't it purdy? enjoy! oh and don't feel ashamed if you want to eat this with ketchup.

Monday, December 7, 2009

more from my stamp collection.


who still collects stamps? i do! the way i see it, stamps embody 2 of my favorite things: travel and art/design. stamps are like these tiny little travelers, each with their own story. in the case of old stamps the design tells not only of origin, but of time period as well. in this way they are kind of like time travelers, thus old stamps are pretty amazing. i've shared part of my stamp collection before. today seems like a good day to bring the green stamps to show and tell. so here they are:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

nearly wed: adventures in out-of-town wedding planning


for the past week the fiance and i have been in springfield, illinois where we will have our june wedding. there certainly are disadvantages to having a wedding out of town, mainly you can't just meet with your "wedding people", i.e. vendors, whenever. so when we roll into springfield it's a little like wedding camp. meaning: we tend to devout ourselves fully to the task of wedding planning for the entirety of a couple days. yes it can get a little intense but there is a hidden advantage. it works better to submit yourself to intensity for a short amount of time for the sake of not having to deal with the wedding all the time - if that makes any sense.
so on that note, here are some shots of me frolicking in a park with my mother's wedding veil. i'm pretty sure i was singing "goin' to the chapel" loudly and rather badly at the time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

happy turkey day!


today i'm sharing a vintage photo i found somewhere along the way. it most definitely came from someone's forgotten family album only to be discovered decades later at a flea market. anyway, i felt this dining room table shot was fitting for thanksgiving. with that, i hope your day is spent enjoying time with friends, family, or at the very least, someone interesting - eat much and be merry!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

sketch of the week: a strange dream


i had the weirdest dream the other night. it was the kind that was so visually potent that within the first minutes of consciousness i found myself stumbling around trying to locate a piece of paper and writing utensil. the bizarre scene would inevitably dissolve the longer reality took hold - i had to act quickly to preserve the imagery that occured in my brain moments before. it's difficult for me to now provide a story line to the dream. that's the funny thing about dreams. at the time the illusion seems so real, it's seamless flow of non-sensical events works in some, unquestionable way.

my drawing is the purest form of storytelling i can offer but i will try with some words: my dad had gotten into some sort of accident and therefore "lost" his body. his head was on a floating pedestal were many tubes and wires connected him to machinery powered by water and electrical currents. the contraption was reminiscent of a tim burton creation and he had the ability to move around in a spider or even jellyfish-like manner. even stranger was the lack of emotional gravitas: neither he nor the rest of my family was upset by the event. seriously weird right?

e.cobb "i dreamt of my father" (2009) pen on paper, 4 x 8.5 in


Monday, November 23, 2009

adventure: experiencing phish for the first time.


when phish rolls into town you should probably check it out. you don't necessarily need tickets either to have a good time. (i'll get to the ticket issue in a minute). by "checking it out" i mean that you should at least experience the parking lot because that is where you will find the true spirit of a phish show. indeed it is like no other social setting on earth - these people take the idea of tailgating to a new level. now here's where i must admit that i'm a phish rookie. i have, however, been to a handful of jam band shows and a festival so i'm not completely green to such settings. that said, i learned a lot.

essentially you enter a new world of unparalleled people watching; a modern day gypsy caravan hitching post/performance space. while encountering a potpourri of heady scents you will be witness to impromptu jam sessions, hoola-hooping maidens, and an open market place where anything can be had for cash or trade. and i mean anything: t-shirts, posters, jewelry, crystals, glass pipes, jello-shots, nitrous balloons, beer & wine, not to mention a most impressive selection of street food. roasted garlic-rosemary-grilled cheese sandwich anyone? how about a falafel with fresh-handmade tsatsiki? or is pad-thai more your style? i was also introduced to an array of baked goods, i.e. edibles: aside from brownies and cookies i learned of a delicacy referred to as "goo balls". aside from drugs, the hot commodity was tickets; which is, in fact, the reason i was in this parking lot of wonders in the first place.

the show was conveniently located just 4 blocks from my apartment so i was able to make several rounds starting early afternoon. with supply and demand laid bare, my quest for tickets was a most authentic lesson in basic economics. the number of desperate souls with their finger in the air was intimidatingly high, equalled to the astronomical ticket prices (around the unaffordable neighborhood of $125-150 each). the situation only worsened with time. i needed a new market place. my strategy: an hour before show time hit up the surrounding pubs host to dank brews and eager concert goers. it totally worked. i was able to take advantage of some clueless dude's inebriated state/ lack of ticket price knowledge. jah smiled my friends, for i bought my phish ticket at $50. and with that i let the wild rumpus begin.





{the show}

i've said it before and i'll say it again: go big or go home. that is why i viewed the concert from the fourth row. make that fourth row floor. did i have tickets for said seats? certainly not. some friends did though and therefore those were my seats by association. regardless, once the show got underway "seats" were no longer an issue. truthfully all you need is a ticket - it was a free-for-all once you got into the theater. (those poor red-jacketed stewards didn't know what hit them.) even though i could see the sweat dripping from trey's brow there are some drawbacks to such close seating. namely the show's technical elements which are geared more towards those sitting near the soundboard - where the full effects of a spectacular light show and optimal sound quality can be had.

this is not to say, however, that the light show wasn't outstanding from balloon spiking distance of the stage. for the color freak that i am, the light show had me on sensory overload. for instance, i can say with absolute honesty that i have never before experienced the color yellow from the inside out - it was awesome. i've posted photos bill and i snapped with an iphone to give you an idea. imagine the intensity of these colors surrounding and gripping you by the soul.

now, i know that a well seasoned phish fan would have much more to say about the music - which is at the core, the foundation, the driving force of the whole experience. i am not well versed enough to make educated claims on their musical stylings, but i can say is it was a lot of fun and i danced my ass off. those boys really know how to play a crowd.

Friday, November 20, 2009

ira glass is a rockstar.


this week ira glass, host and producer of the wildly popular n.p.r. show this america life, gave a lecture at syracuse university. being a huge fan of glass's work i was one of the first people there. after seeing him in person i have to say: he is honestly one of the most genuine, engaging, and coolest people i have come across. ever.




he shared some pretty darn inspiring things in regard to finding your way in the world. which is especially pertinent to me since i am totally floundering in the state of "how the hell am i going to make living being creative". one of my favorite take home messages is that you might as well amuse yourself and enjoy work if your career choice doesn't pay much.

three things i learned from ira glass:


  1. the ability to see from another's point of view will keep you sane.
  2. it's normal and ok to be bad or not have good ideas. just keep digging because failure helps grow good ideas.
  3. your taste is the most important thing you have - he found success by being real / true to himself.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the leonid meteor shower experience


the leonid meteor shower, occurring in the wee hours this past tuesday, was supposed to be "the greatest meteor shower of our generation". naturally my interest was peaked. so after i got off work at 2:30 am (i happen to work at a whiskey lounge so this is normal) the fiance and set out to take a gander at nature's fireworks. we ended up driving 15 minutes outside of syracuse in an attempt to get away from urban light pollution only to find that every damn country road was equipped with an endless expanse of street lights. typically one may think of street lamps as a good thing, however they are not so helpful to stargazers. eventually we gave up on finding an unlit road and pulled over so that we could trek into a sketchy field off the side of the road. i'm pretty sure i saw a "no parking/no trespassing" sign attached to the chain link fence we hopped. really i felt like i was taking part in the perfect opening of a horror movie. i'm sure that if anyone was watching us they'd be yelling at the screen: "don't go in there you idiots!" after about 20 minutes or so of staring at a hazy, rosy-light tinged sky i think we saw one meteor. it could have been my imagination because i really hoped i saw one. it happened fast and was certainly not as spectacular as i had anticipated - more like a faint smudge. it was good enough. we were freezing and i was sure a serial killer was near (i had recently watched the zodiac ok).

lessons learned: 1. don't let your expectations get too high in terms of celestial happenings. 2. don't watch scary movies before wandering around late at night as your imagination will get the best of you. 3. keep your sense of humor intact if you forget to follow lessons 1 - 2.

below i have sketched the disparity between first, expectation and second, reality:





e.cobb "leonid expectations v.s. reality" (2009). 6 x 9 in. colored pencil on paper.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a new nora


this music video rocks my world! i love love love the high contrast black and white effect with whimsical silhouetted animation. it's also great to hear nora jones singing with a fresh hip-hop beat. you're pretty cool too q-tip. this vid has brightened my mood. can't get enough.

Friday, November 13, 2009

lost & found: skeleton keys!


look what i found! while in nyc this past weekend i explored a flea market in hell's kitchen and bought a bunch of old skeleton keys. my plan is to make long pendants with them to sell on etsy. below is a quick sketch of said pendant idea. it's understandable that this sketch is unintelligible. i'll decode it for you: using nice ribbon or thin leather i'll incorporate eclectic glass beads with the keys. and i want to make the pendants versatile -meaning they can be worn various ways.
{ side note: my much anticipated etsy shop is in the works! i will absolutely let y'all know when things are squared away there. }

Thursday, November 12, 2009

spicy pumpkin soup for the soul


yesterday i made the ultimate fall-meets-winter/welcome to november meal. it included pumpkin soup (mysteriously spiced with indian flavors and fresh herbs) served with a side of warm vanilla-rosemary biscuits. yes, i said biscuits. it was my first ever attempt at biscuits and it won't be my last. of course i got all artsy with it and served the soup in the hollowed-out pumpkin shells. i'm tellin' you, this meal is a keeper. just a heads up: the soup recipe serves roughly 8 so anticipate leftovers!




spicy pumpkin soup recipe:

ingredients:

4 tbsp butter

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tbsp sage, chopped

1 tbsp thyme, chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less depending on your preference for spice)

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp nutmeg

5 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin (one small/medium size baking pumpkin)

5 cups of roasted vegetable broth

2 cups of milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and cracked pepper to taste

2-4 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish -optional

method:

1. cut pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and strings, place face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. cool and scoop out the flesh. reserve pumpkin shells to use and bowls for finished soup.

2. brown butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. add onions and garlic and cook stirring often until soft and clear. add herbs and spices and stir for another minute.

3. add pumpkin and 5 cups of vegetable broth. stir together and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. (note: this is when i started the biscuits).

4. transfer soup in batches, to a blender. cover tightly and blend until smooth. (i'm not joking about holding the cover tightly - i almost ended up with a pumpkin soup spackled kitchen.) return soup to saucepan.

5. with the soup on low heat add brown sugar and mix. slowly add milk and cream while stirring to incorporate. do a taste test and add salt and pepper (or more red pepper) if needed. let the soup rise to desired temperature and ladle soup into pumpkin "bowls", sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish.

* i adapted this recipe from "simply recipes" which was adapted from an oprah magazine recipe.







vanilla-rosemary biscuit recipe:
{ yields: 1 dozen biscuits }
ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp cold butter
3/4 - 1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
method:
1. preheat oven to 450 F
2. mix dry ingredients (including rosemary) by pulsing a few times in a food processor. cut the butter into small bits and pulse in with the dry ingredients until thoroughly blended.
3. transfer into a large bowl and using a large spoon stir in yogurt. {at this point i used my hands to knead the mixture into a ball. }then brake off evenly sized "chunks" from the dough ball and placed each "chunk" in its own compartment of a greased muffin tin.
4. put a bit of rosemary on the center of each dough ball to garnish and bake for 7-9 minutes until biscuits are golden brown. the sooner you serve the better, enjoy!
* this is a loosely adapted recipe from mark bittman's "how to cook everything". of course i spiced things up.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

georgia on my mind


this past weekend i made the trip down to nyc. one of many wonderful things i did was a visit to the whitney for the georgia o'keeffe abstraction show. the experience of being flooded by her work was immensely inspiring to say the least. how she uses color and shape to capture the experience of being in nature is what i really appreciate about her work. like georgia, the natural world is my ultimate muse, but it can be quite tricky to capture essence-of-nature without ending up with a cheesy landscape tourist buy to match their sofa. somehow she succeeds and but how. of course there was a fair share of vaginal paintings - hey it was an o'keeffe show and i must say she paints "the doorway to life" gorgeously. also, it was really fun to say the word "vagina" prominently and with confidence as to allow the word to echo delicately from the gallery walls. the expression on peoples' faces were as priceless as the art.
i scanned some of my favorite painting in the show from a book which i purchased at the museum. i hope by stating this the copy-write police won't come after me.


georgia o'keeffe; abstraction white rose, 1927. oil on canvas, 36 x 30 in.









georgia o'keeffe;abstraction no. IV, 1928. oil on canvas, 32 x 21 in.









alfred stieglitz; georgia o'keeffe - hands, 1919. palladium print 9 3/8 x 7 1/2 in.
{there was a section of photographs this stiegittz character took of o'keeffe including some nudes. it was incredible to see her body as art in combination with her own work. good move whitney. }






Tuesday, November 10, 2009

sketch of the week: "we all fall down"


this quick sketch was inspired from pondering my mortality. i know - the topic is totally depressing. maybe my recent birthday triggered these thoughts. once you get past the exciting milestone birthdays you are left with facing the fact you're a year older and thus a year closer to the grave. seriously i know how depressing i sound - yet its these reflections that help me take a step back and see the big picture. with this different (and, yes, slightly dramatic) perspective i can see how i really want to live my life and what truly is important to me, which is not so depressing. so yeah, i suggest you think about how you will die someday - it just makes birthdays easier and life more fulfilling. i also recognize this sketch probably would have been better placed during halloween or dia de los muertos. oh well.


e.cobb "and we all fall down" (2009) pencil on paper, 12x8 in.