Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Impromptu Mini Art in the Vines
We were the few and proud….but we had a wonderful time! Sitting at Somerset Ridge, up in the vines, enjoying 70 degree weather, having some of the Flyboy Red Wine from the winery…what could be more perfect? I can tell you….receiving compliments from total strangers!
Let me start at the beginning….you readers know we had to cancel Art in the Vines in October due to dreadfully cold and wet weather. 31 artists were prepared to hang and install a wonderful show for the 1500 people expected to attend. our 2nd Art in the Vines. Three days before the October event, it became obvious that Mother Nature was not going to cooperate. We cancelled the event and bemoaned the fact that it looked like an early winter for the Midwest.

Every day since then has been glorious! When they heard the forecast for this last weekend, Cindy and Dennis Reynolds decided to see if we could pull together a few artists for a “mini show”. I must thank Kristin Goering, Maria Johnson, Vicki Johnston, Ana Welch, and Audrey Benskin for giving up there Sunday with the families to be in the vines with me!

With only 6 artists and there work, Cindy wanted us to use the vineyard just east of the winery building. I refer to this part of the vineyard as the “French vineyard” because it is where our old French vines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, are grown. It is an easy walk up the gentle slope to the vines and totally visible from the veranda, where people gather to listen to live jazz and share a bottle of wine with friends.
As the music came drifting up on a breeze, we stood proudly by our art, eager to talk to our visitors and explain what the hell we were thinking when we painted that! Everyone was so kind and generous with their compliments, and trusts me, that is what an artist lives for! That, and of course, money from selling their work! We were so pleased to have so many pieces find new homes! Every artist is delighted when someone buys a piece of art, no matter who the artist is; but when 4 adult artists watch a junior artist, 12 year old Ana Welch, sell 4 pieces and get a commission for a 5th, the excitement is astounding! What happened yesterday for Ana will probably alter her life in a very positive way. When asked what she was going to do with all of that money, she was most definite. “I am going to save half of it and buy art supplies with the other half!” She could hardly wait to hit Hobby Lobby! She said she was going to kick into high gear for our next BIG show in June.
During the show, Maria Johnson, a well known Johnson County artist originally from Colombia, South America, worked on a painting of the view she had from her place in the vines. Maria worked in acrylics on a large canvas, painting in vibrant yellows and golds. The visitors loved watching her work as she discussed painting with them.
Kristin Goering worked on a small pastel while there, and Ana started a painting of the winery. Me….I talked to everyone who came up to the vineyard to see our work. It is always so fun to hear people’s comments about art and to discuss certain pieces with them. And yes, I did have to explain what the hell I was thinking when I painted “Hell Hath No Fury”.

Speaking of hell.....how about a red hot recipe! Since Turkey Day is approaching, try this one. My Dad probably would not approve; Dad felt all leftover turkey should be turned into "Turkey Hash" and served over leftover Cornbread Dressing....boy, was it heavenly!
But a fast spicy Paella is perfect in so many ways!

Spicy Turkey Paella Yield: Makes 6 servings
12 ounces spicy smoked sausage (such as linguiça, andouille, or hot links), cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup garlic-flavored olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups long-grain white rice
1/4 teaspoon saffron, yes, go spend the money, you will be glad you did!
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 large plum tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups cooked leftover turkey, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup frozen peas
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat olive oil in 6 1/2-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add bell pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in rice and saffron, then next 5 ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 15 minutes. Add sausage, turkey, and peas to rice mixture. Bake paella 10 minutes and serve.

I actually made this for 24 people and made it in a large roasting pan. My paella pan is 16", but just wasn't big enough to handle 4 times the recipe. It turned out beautifully!
tip:If you can't find garlic-flavored olive oil, simply add a clove of minced garlic when you stir in the rice.

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