Friday, July 24, 2009

Two More Variations/Cooking Philosophy

If you're wondering why these dishes are all so similar,
basically the grocery store I went to had a section
where they bagged together a bunch of great looking produce for three dollars a bag.
So I got these giant bags of avocado, tomatoes, zucchini, apples, herbs etc. for obscenely cheap.
The caveat being that it was all produce that had reached the end of it's shelf life, and would go bad soon.
So since bringing the groceries back, it's been a mad race to get through it all by the end of the weekend.
But when you consider this means I have a overwhelming supply of delicious avocados, and the like,
it's a race I don't mind running at all.

So this morning I made a brunch with this really great walnut Gorgonzola bread,
which Arizmendi's bakes on Fridays.
and simply paired it with sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, parsley, and goat cheese.
I also couldn't help sprinkling some crushed almonds, and a couple squeezes of lemon juice and a quick splash of olive oil.

For lunch I broiled some scored zucchini and tomato wedges,
aided by a couple greased sprigs of rosemary and a splash of vinegar half way through
(any earlier and the vinegar and rosemary would burn).
I also cut a few slices of the bread and placed them on top to toast.
Which worked surprisingly well as the flame toasted the top
but the rising steam from the vegetables kept the bottom of the bread from drying out.
I broiled the whole thing in a pan as I couldn't find any baking trays or aluminum foil at the studio,
and just had the guys from work help themselves,
aided by a jar of goat cheese and olive oil just outside the frame.

So I made three variations on the same theme,
one a noodle salad served as dinner,
one a toast and spread style brunch,
and the last a simple broiled lunch.

Which makes me compelled to explain my overall cooking philosophy:

1. Wander a local farmers market or grocery store
2. Buy whatever produce looks especially good (usually the seasonal fresh local stuff)
3. Make a bunch of variations of a theme that best celebrates the natural qualities of the produce
4. This usually takes the form of simply prepared ingredients but with natural and creative pairings
5. For variation I usually just swap out the interchangeable elements:
  • Acid: vinegar, lemon juice etc.
  • Fat: olive oil, butter etc.
  • Starches: pasta, grains, bread, potatoes etc.,
  • Sodium: salt, soy sauce, capers, marinated olives etc.
  • Heat: pepper, dried peppers, chili sauce, cayenne pepper etc.
  • Sweet: honey, agave syrup, dates, fruits etc.
  • and herbs, nuts, cheeses and yogurts etc. to provide contrasting textures/flavors etc.

For me cooking really is about how best to celebrate produce by bringing out what it naturally wants to be
through careful choice of the produce itself,
how it's cooked and seasoned,
and what it's paired with.
And constant experimentation to find unexpected pairings and cooking methods.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Black Squid Ink Pasta Vegetable Salad

While I don't believe in recipes or any idea that supposes cooking is about following a list of directions,
I have noticed that over the years I've begun to forget some of the food pairings and cooking techniques
I worked out for myself in years past, and thought I would codify some of the stuff I cook
to remind myself of the outcome of my various culinary experiments.

I've been sort of intrigued by the idea of "shocking" food,
which means to douse something in an ice water bath after cooking.
I've also been curious at trying my hand at a noodle salad type dish,
which I often enjoy when eating out, but for whatever reason never tried to cook myself.

I had a chance to satisfy both points of curiosity today when perusing the isles of an Italian cafe/market,
and a bag of black squid ink pasta caught my eye.
So after work I set about making a dish incorporating it, and the other produce I got for the guys at work.
I only had about a half an hour before everyone would leave for the day,
so I set about making a cold noodle salad thingee in celebration of summer.

I cooked up the Pasta and shocked it in ice water.
sauteed yellow zucchini and white button mushrooms, (shocked them as well) then cut them into chunks,
combined with cubed avocados, lemon juice, salt, and cracked pepper corns and olive oil
then added the vegetable medley to the cold pasta,
and mixed in a generous handful of torn cilantro and parsley and chopped green onions

Then sauteed tomato wedges over high heat with olive oil, salt/pepper
and de-glazed the pan with balsamic vinegar
mixed them into the pasta mixture while still hot
and lightly folded contents together with chunks of goat cheese

Then I whisked together my standard Ali style vinaigrette
of honey, chili sauce, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt
and drizzled it over the pasta. I then toasted some sesame seeds and sprinkled them on top,
and served with toasted whole grain bread.

*please forgive the crappy digital photo. Believe me I'm quite ashamed about it.

No Talking Tuesday # 95

The List:

i got back thursday night, and was here friday

also the matte painting you just saw was all done yesterday

so count me as awal for thurday and friday

i mean it sounds like this shot is going to be told through
dissolving between different drawings that are pretty much
the same except for the movement of a few things

so if that's the case maybe doing a nice drawing of the boat
and obelisk, would be a start, but it's unclear to me how the
whole sketch reveal playback thing would benefit this shot

because we're not revealing one image but showing the
progression and movement of elements within an image

that's certainly possible, it's just the next drawing
would look just like the first but with
an element in a different place,
but it could be nice to see things being erased and re drawn
like you say, but it does mean that it's all in one take for me
so to speak and each revision
would be starting over like you say

the actual sketching part doesn't intimidate me at all
so if the information is clear like you say i have no qualms

we could use these sketches, but instead of fading out the drawings
i can erase out in open canvas to give it a bit more of a hand done feel,
but if i have nothing to do right now drawing a boat
from reference is not a hard thing at all

so it's unclear to me
what I should be working
on right now?

Philippe responded, but with
more questions basically

I don't have maya either
should I just work at
another machine?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 94

The List:

the scan data we have now around
that checkered area,
do we have photos that match it?

if so we can just focus on
texturing that properly and
once done using those areas
to clone in the checkered areas

but the actual geometry
not just a render right

if it's all one
map it's easier

well if there is no reference
at an angle then i'm not
sure how to proceed with
that strategy...

Also, the scan geometry that
is there, needs to be textured
as well right?

Well since I have to texture
the surrounding scan data
it would make sense to top
view texture project, especially
if there is exact photo, 3D scan
match, and clone in

But it would be worth
spending like a half an hour
browsing the data base
for a good angle shot first

If it's all one
map it's easier

want to mix beet salad
with mozzarella sandwich?
+ mineral water
+ side of lemon

tomorrow i can just try
quickly hacking a paint
job over a render or
screen capture from camera,
i didn't realize the geometry
looked that good, so that
may be enough and i
can camera project uv's
at least worth trying for an

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Crappy Anime Style Painting... Woo Hoo!

I had to research and evaluate digital paint/sketch recording/playback options for work.
Basically a shot I'm doing for a french documentary about the Nile river in Egypt,
may require a hand done sketch reveal.

So I downloaded open canvas for the sketch recording/playback,
and camstasia for the screen recording ,and have been testing the programs.

I thought I'd perform an ode to my teenage years
and regress back into the world of crappy quasi-anime inspired pretty girl painting.
It's been a long time since my days of repeatedly drawing generic looking anime girls,
without reference, or thumbnails, or forethought.
And while I felt dirty inside the whole time,
on the other hand it was kind of nostalgic to find myself back in the world
of indulgent, undisciplined, crappy referential art.

Anyway, don't let the hyper fast playback speed fool you,
I spent about 20-30 minutes on this nonsense:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Spring Photos

I've decided to start underscoring the passing of seasons by presenting the photos I took therein.

Spring came upon me with slow even strides, lots of travel, and quite romantic upheaval.
Before I knew it, I had grown up more than I intended,
and received some clarity through disorder.

I left the world of video games
and settled into a new job and city as the Lead painter at a visual effects house
working with archeologists to make cultural awareness films about ancient cultures.
Which taught me I don't need much more in life than the ability to make art that matters.
Sprinkle in some time in front of a piano, fresh baked bread and kisses
and a pile of smelly old Russian novels
and even my overly critical sensibilities have to admit my life isn't half bad.

Friday, July 10, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 93

Still in Berlin.

The List:

Unconventional crusts are always nice

Go big or go home

sake nigiri (salmon)
saba nigiri (mackerel)
inari (tofu)

I think they're Korean

I just wanted a little piece
of camembert, it was
your food slutyness
that did you in

he's in Florida
drawn in Montana

Don't we have tons of cheese?

Is this the lamb we liked?

Is it not on sale anymore?

Ask him

Unless you think you want
to stay up late you should
go to the video store while
I shower

Or I can come with you right now

A short light, whimsical, charming
movie, possibly animated

I'm fine with Elizabeth
as long as it isn't like
3 hours

Thursday, July 02, 2009

End of an Era

No Talking Tuesday # 92

Found me in Berlin.

The list:

I'm game for anything, but if pressed I would fall back on
"savory Asian nuggets"

Didn't it say duck?

If you get a salad or wrap I'll get something hearty and
we can mix?

Can we do both?

I think you know what I want


Will it be in German?

Just that room?

I can't have you sleeping out here like some vagrant tramp

An hour is too short anyways

Aren't they a reputable group?

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