Thursday, July 26, 2012

Have you ever wondered if your child heard and understood a very important lesson you tried to teach them? It seems that more often as not, they remember the things you would rather they not remember at all….but occasionally it turns out well.

Yesterday, my youngest child remembered a lesson I taught her many years ago.

Betsy is no longer a child; as a matter of fact, she has two children of her own. Driving lessons are still at least 5 years away for her kids, but yesterday, Betsy suddenly remembered a moment when she was 15 and behind the wheel of my car. We were going to have a lesson on highway driving....her first.

As she pulled onto the highway, I said to her “if a dog runs out in front of you, do not swerve to avoid it.” I explained that at highway speeds, loosing control of the car will end up with us being in a serious accident. Sure enough, within a few miles, a dog ran out in front of the car. Betsy swerved.

It took what seemed like a lifetime for the two of us to get the car under control and avoid an accident that day. I'm sure I scolded her,maybe even said a few  bad  words, once I could speak again. It is a moment both of us remember, even after all of these years.

This morning I received this email from Betsy.
“I don't want to over-dramatize the situation saved my life tonight. I was driving home from Nashville (in my 3 day old car) and a deer ran out in front of me. I was on a tree-lined, two lane, rural, 45 MPH highway. I had time to contemplate my reaction, but not much. I remembered you teaching me to drive, the dog in Paola, etc. I remembered it all. And I plowed right into the poor thing. But I am 95% sure I wouldn't be emailing you right now had I not learned NOT to swerve.

So, thank you. And yes, my poor 3-day-old car is toast. But it could have been very different had you not taught me that.

Much love and appreciation,


So, you see, they do listen, they do learn. Thank God.

I suppose this isn’t the time for an absolutely delicious method for preparing a venison roast…, I’ll wait on that one.

Drive carefully!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We don’t have a name. We don’t have a plan, schedule or statement. What we do have is a love of food that taste delicious and looks beautiful, and a desire to try different ethnic cuisines. We are a group of women from Colombia, South America, one from India, one from Iran and 8 just regular old American types, with some pretty interesting genealogies The majority of us are artists, but we have a couple of models, a cosmetic specialist, and a wine maker, and a realtor. Ada began pulling us together several months ago for a dinner of Indian dishes, prepared by a friend of hers, Jyoti Mukharji. It was a lovely evening. Next, Ada invited some friends to join her for an evening of Iranian food prepared by Sara from Iran.  We dined outdoors on Ada’s lovely patio and then learned Iranian dancing!  You can find the recipes and photographs on my blog for May 5th. It was such a great evening.

Vicki and a refreshing
Cocktail Santa Marta
  Maria, the wonderful artist from the Caribbean coast of Colombia invited us to her home for a typical Colombian dinner. We had so much fun!  We were greeted with icy cold Santa Marta cocktails served in martini glasses with garnish of fresh pineapple and cherries and a tiny umbrella! I am a light weight when it comes to alcohol, but I must admit to having “more than one!” of Maria’s Cocktail Santa Marta
“Traditionally in the Caribbean we like to drink Beer, Aguardiente and Rum. Either white rum or dark rum. We also love to welcome the tourists with cold cocktails that are made with our tropical fruits and rum."

Cocktail Santa Marta
Mango Juice and Guava Juice (Ceres)
Orange/Mango/ Passion fruit Sparkling soda
Dark Rum
I froze in a tray one of the juices to make it very cold before blending.
Blend the two Ceres juices in a blender.
Then add the Sparkling soda and rum.
Garnish with pineapple and maraschino cherries.
Definitely an umbrella!

Our Colombian menu included several small plates of appetizers, beautifully presented by Maria. As she served each appetizer, she explained how it was made and why it is typical of Colombian cooking..
One of our small plate appetizers was
Chorizo with Queso fresco and caramelized onions
Maria's directions:
"Saute Chorizo either chopped or out of the casing. I use two types of chorizos, a Mexican version for crumbling and a dry Spaniard version. They both have close flavors to our typical chorizo.
Then sauté Red onions either chopped or sliced and add sugar.
Serve on a small plate with the queso fresco. This cheese is the closest to our farmers dry white cheese that we use in the coast.
All the ingredients can be found at Wal-Mart. The chorizo and Queso fresco are in the same section.
The Spaniard chorizo: The brand is Abuelita and is sold at World Market."

For our main course, Maria made her favorite dishes that her mother, Ana, taught her.
Maria's recipe:
Carne en Posta con salsa Semi dulce
A la Ana
(Beef Roast with Semisweet Sauce)
Beef Chuck 2 pounds
Brown Sugar 4 Tbsp.
Mustard 2 Tbsp.
Garlic, 1 Clove
Salt and Pepper to taste
Whole Cloves 10 cloves

Cooking time about 2 HoursRub the chuck with mustard, salt, pepper and garlic.
Brown all sides in a deep pot, then remove and brown other pieces.
Insert the cloves in the meat and turn everything back in the pot.
Add water until covered; add a bag with cloves and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar.
Cook for about 1 ½ hour or until the meat is tender.
When cooked: Take meet out of pan. Slice thin,
Add a ½ cup of cold water with a tablespoon of Flour and add to the sauce reduction.Then pour the sauce on the meat.
Arroz con Coco

White Rice
Coconut Milk 2 cans

Cooking time about 1 hour 15 minutes
Place 1 can of regular Coconut milk in a pot with 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Stir on medium high heat often and careful not to burn too fast. This process will
take 25 minutes,until it becomes caramelized and completely reduced. The key is to scrape the bottom and the let it brown more, then scrape again.
Add 2 cans of coconut milk and 1 of water plus raisins, let
simmer for 5 minutes.
Add 1 ½ cup of rice, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Cover on low temperature and let cook for 20 minutes until the water starts to dry. Uncover, and let it dry. on low temperature.

Before we go onto the dessert, here is a slideshow of our dinner. 

Now, on to dessert.....
I volunteered to help Maria with her dinner and it was decided I would prepare the dessert. Maria explained dessert inColombia is usually fresh fruit or picking up a frozen fruit treat, similar to a Popsicle, as you walked along the beach. She asked that I make the dessert fresh and organic, so I decided to make a pineapple sherbet.  I bought my pineapple and made the sherbet, but did not taste the pineapple before I used it.  It was dreadfully bitter! Therefore, the day of the dinner, I had to remake the sherbet. Short of time, I found it necessary to use the following recipe which used canned pineapple. I was embarassed! But the sherbet was pretty darned good!
 Pineapple Sherbet with a Pineapple Banana Rum Sauce
serves 4
for sherbet:
2/3 cups sugar
2 cups buttermilk
1 can crushed pineapple (8 ounce) drain and reserve juice for sauce
for sauce:
½ cup pineapple juice drained from canned pineapple
½ cup sugar
¼ cup Banana Rum
for garnish, fresh edible flowers, blueberries, fresh mint
To prepare sherbet, drain juice from Pineapple, reserving juice for sauce.
Place crushed pineapple in a bowl, add the buttermilk and sugar. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Add to your ice cream maker and process for 25 to 30 minutes. You may also pour the mixture into a shallow container that will fit into your freezer. Freeze one hour then stir well, breaking up frozen chunks. Return to freezer until serving. As I said, I much prefer the creamier texture of that made by an ice cream maker over the icy crystallized sherbet made in your freezer.
For the sauce, place the reserved juice in a small sauce pan. Add the sugar and stir well to dissolve sugar. Heat to simmering, then continue to simmer until a syrup of the thickness you want your sauce to be.I prefer it to be about the same as Maple Syrup. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add the banana rum and stir to blend. Cool completely, store in the refrigerator.
When serving, place a scoop of sherbet in each bowl. Drizzle with sauce, the garnish with flowers and mint, or with fresh fruit of your choice.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Paola’s Art and Wine Stroll 2012 was a huge success! Attendance was amazing, There are no figures in yet, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t at least double the number of attendees from Stroll 2011. There were times when it was necessary to pick your spot in the gallery and hold your ground! It was a hot evening outside, and with the door being opened and closed constantly, it was a warm evening inside also. Fortunately, our friendly local vineyard and winery, Somerset Ridge, had lots of chilled whites for everyone’s enjoyment! And of course, my favorite, Flyboy Red, was there to please the drinkers of red.
On the few occasions when the crowd was not shoulder to shoulder, I remembered to get out my camera to take a few photos. It is not an easy thing to do when you are 4’ 11” tall and the room is packed with people that are anywhere from 5’ 6” to 6’5”! (I snap photos of a lot of midriff bulges) So, when I could move about, I got a few shots of the new look of the G! Gallery. David Gross, the owner, and his crew did a marvelous job!

David’s new painting(s), a triptych called Fade to Black, filled one entire wall of the gallery. David is a masterful painter of water and plants, and in this painting, he has created a lily pond that invites you to stop and enjoy. Each of the 3 paintings is absolutely an individual complete painting on its own, but the three together creates an atmosphere you cannot ignore. You can feel the cool dampness; you can hear the quiet gentle bubbling of the darkening water. As with most of David’s paintings, you become part of it. And you enjoy every minute you are there!

Along with David's paintings, the G! featured work by Claud Davis, Cher Ulrich, and me. The back 2/3s of the space is our working studio. Granted it did not look as sharp as the front end gallery, but it is home to us.

Two of Paola’s finest cooks and both dear friends, Donna Nagle, of Molly’s Table, and Jacquie Davis, the wife of painter Claud Davis, helped me with the food for the event. Donna’s Artichoke Dip is legendary, not just in Paola, but throughout the Greater Kansas City region. For a sweet treat, Jacquie made her wonderful chocolate cupcakes, filled with a sweet creamy center and covered with perfect chocolate ganache, They were absolutely delicious.

Here are a few of my photographs, hope you can join us next year!

Early in the evening,  the sun was still shining.

a place  to sit  and read the latest issue of
American Art Review

The working studio

Jacquie's cupcakes!

How did I go from painting nudes to painting abstracts?
All within 6 weeks?  It is a puzzler!

As hot as it has been, it really seems like a time for liquid refreshment. Of course, I am partial to Flyboy Red from Somerset Vineyard, but on occasion, a good lemonade hits the spot. Today is that occasion! Yesterday I heard it is going to be 107 today. I am not brave enough to check the Weather Channel….I really don’t want to know!

So, for your Sunday afternoon enjoyment….let me introduce you to.....
Herbed Lemonade!
2 Cups Fresh Lemon Juice (12-15 lemons)
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Herbed Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
Herbed Simple Syrup
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Basil, washed and stemmed (do not stuff them into the cup or it will be too strong)
1/2 Cup Mint, washed and stemmed

Place sugar, water, basil and mint in a pot and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool. Strain out the herbs pressing on them to remove all simple syrup.

Pour water, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a pitcher, stir and pour over ice in glasses.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Poster by Majo!
 First, let me point out that I made yet another error….SURPRISE! In my last posting, I invited all of you to come to my studio in Paola on FRIDAY the 14th…..WRONG! It is SATURDAY the 14th! Thank you Bruce Schlosser for pointing out my REALLY BAD MISTAKE! I’m going to blame this one on my almost broken toe and the heat! So, if you can come to the Studio on Saturday, July 14th, come on! I’ll be there to greet you, I’m making some  appetizers,   Molly’s Table is making an appetizer for us also, and the wonderful people of Somerset Ridge Vineyard will be there with their wines for you to try!

Have you noticed the change in the temperature? It is truly delightful out there....well, maybe not delightful....there is the humidity thing,   
This last week, my dinners were great big glasses of Clamato Juice. With Ice. Once with Vodka. The Baseball All Star Game is here in Kansas City this year. Somehow, sitting in a stadium with the sun beating down does not sound reasonable to me. However, the forecast is saying in the upper 80s for Tuesday! The game doesn’t start until 7 or 7:30….so that is good. I am not a big baseball fan, the Royals have been less than exciting for years now. It just isn't in Kansas City's makeup to spend money on players, so they don't shine like they did back in the 80s. When they won the World Series in 1985,  we had some powerful players. But those were what we call "the good old days",  right? But what do I know? I'd rather go see a good soccer game!
Actually, my favorite thing about sitting at a sporting event, be it baseball, football or soccer, is watching people. I am a true people watcher, complete with the habit of trying to, not only guess what they do, but what kind of food they like.  It fills lots of quiet time between the several exciting moments of the game.  Have you ever tried to figure out what fans will put on top of their hotdogs? Is it mustard, onions and relish ? Or kraut? Do you think it is strange how feeding people is never far from my thoughts?
I personally would find a baseball game far more exciting if they sold Osso Bucco Milanese at the concession stand. I could really enjoy that....or maybe a big bowl of  wonderful Sicilian Penne alla Norma, the national dish of Sicily. And a good Red wine.

Sicilian Penne alla Norma
1 pound penne rigate

Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup torn fresh basil, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta; return to pot.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add eggplant to skillet; season generously with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook until eggplant begins to release juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes (if bottom of pan browns too much, add a few tablespoons water, and scrape with spoon).
4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1/4 cup water to skillet; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
5. Toss sauce and basil with pasta; gently reheat if necessary. Top each serving with a spoonful of ricotta, and garnish with more basil.

              I bet  Joe DiMaggio would have approved and Joe Garagiola, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella...I won't go on and on,  even though I could. Those Italian boys sure could  play ball. And eat!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

 The Paola

  Art and Wine Stroll

   Saturday, July 14, 6 to 9 PM
            Fire Before Midnight  by David Gross

Sunset Over Somerset by Kay Tucker

Floral by Claud Davis

the G! gallery

12 E Peoria, 2nd floor
Wine by Somerset Ridge Vineyard
Food by Molly's Table and
Kay Tucker

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

 Is your FLAG flying? 
Happy Independence Day!

Once I became an adult, a wife and mother, I suddenly became aware of my parent’s ability to handle 2 jobs, 3 children and all of their activities, and a large home. I do know that most husbands today help with raising the children, but how many do the weekly grocery shopping for a family of five? Or take a teenage daughter to Macy’s to by a dress for the Christmas Formal? Both Mom and Dad worked, so they each took their duties and worked them into their daily schedules. I can honestly say I never heard one cross word between the two of them….how rare is that! I do remember more than a few cross words aimed at me….I hated to hear “Virginia Katherine!”

I was the middle child, stuck between a perfect sister and a perfect brother. What can I say…..someone needed to keep their lives from being boring!

I could go on about my amazing parents, but I really want to tell you about their talents in the kitchen. Dad was raised by an award winning professional cook, who was never afraid of hard work. They owned a drugstore that was more lunch counter/café than drugs. Grandmother did all of the cooking, including making hundreds of pies every week.

My Mom’s mother was a farmer’s wife who cooked for not only a large family with 5 children, but she cooked for the farmhands. She made homemade sausage, cured meats, and canned foods from her garden so she could feed her family during the winter months.

So, you see, both of my parents grew up around excellent food, and watched the action in the kitchen often enough to have learned a thing or two. If I could tell you about our holiday meals complete with tastes and aromas, you would swoon! But my favorite meals were on Sunday, right after church. My Mom’s fried chicken was absolutely the finest I have ever tasted. (Does the word “lard” ring a bell?) And Pot Roast straight from heaven, along with little beautifully browned potatoes and carrots cooked right along side the beef.. Today, I have yet to reach that powerful beefy flavor, and I make a pretty good pot roast!
The food was wonderful in the 1950s! Oh sure, we had Tuna Noodle Casserole, and Liver and Onions, but not as a steady diet. Dad did lots of  grilling and became famous for his ¾ pound hamburgers! His abilities in the kitchen were astounding!

All of this makes me remember desserts of that era. Some of my favorites were Lemon Meringue Pie, Mom’s warm Gingerbread, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and her heavenly Applesauce Cake!

Virginia Johnston’s Applesauce Cake (with golden raisins and black walnuts.)

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, well beaten
3/4 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, and allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup black walnuts…(I am from Missouri, you know)

Cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Blend in the well beaten egg. Sift together the flour and spices.
Dissolve the soda in the boiling water and add alternately with the dry ingredients into the shortening/sugar mixture.
Add raisins and nuts.
Pour into a 7"greased pan and bake about 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

(Now, I don’t actually own a 7”cake pan. They are available on line, but really, with a cake as wonderful as this one, why not double the recipe and bake it in a 9”x13” pan? Just check the center of the cake with a toothpick to control baking time.)

So, here I am, in Kansas, the temperature is 100+ degrees and the wind is blowing like a son-of-a …gun. It is way too hot to turn on the oven; they are cancelling most of the fireworks displays for the 4th due to the heat and the lack of rain! So I’m thinking ice cream! Nice cooling lemony ice cream…..ahhhhhhh, yes!

Lemon Gelato

6 lemons - zested and juiced (approx 1/2 cup lemon zest and 1 cup lemon juice)
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar

Whisk your egg yolks, heavy cream together into a bowl and set aside. Into a large sauce pan add half and half, lemon zest and sugar. Heat over medium heat stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add some of the warm half and half mixture to the egg yolk mixture into order to temper. GRADUALLY add the egg yolk mixture into the half and half mixture and stir well to combine. Return to medium heat and cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat stir in vanilla extract.
Allow pan to cool slightly cover with saran wrap and place into the fridge to cool completely. When you're ready to make your gelato stir in the lemon juice and follow instructions on your gelato maker!
You do have an electric ice cream maker don’t you? If not, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest treats….homemade ice cream!

I am back in my painting studio, at last. Today I signed a new abstract I just completed this afternoon. It is a very good feeling!

I will be participating in the Art and Wine stroll in Paola, Kansas July 14th from 6 to 9pm. The newly remodeled G! Gallery will be showing the works of David Gross, the owner, Claud Davis and me. The wine will be provided by Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery, and the food will be provided by Molly’s Table ….and me! It should be a fun evening, so join us if you can. There will be art and wine in many of the shops around the Town Square.

The G! Gallery is right above the Miami County Historical  Museum at 12 East Peoria Street.  2nd floor.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker