Friday, March 25, 2011

Biltmore tulips

I've been working on drawing tulips (posted an image on facebook). They tend to make me think of Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, NC. I think it's because we visited there one May when I was a child, and my mom took a picture of my brother in the garden, standing at the edge of rows and rows of beautiful tulips. It's a fantastic picture and we had great fun running through the gardens and touring the enormous "cottage" that boasts an indoor pool and bowling alley. Quite impressive.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pitcher plant cocktail party

The annual Orchid Show is currently underway at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, NY. When I lived in NYC, a friend of mine and I (and her mom) would go each year, including in 2008 which is when I snapped this photo of pitcher plants (a carnivorous orchid). To me they appear to be guests gabbing away at a cocktail party! I wouldn't be surprised if they make an appearance on a future JAKE & META note card...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wild flowers at market

In addition to pictures of tomatoes, I love pictures of flowers at farmers' markets. So many of them gathered together in one place makes them that much more eye-catching and beautiful, with all the colors and shapes and varieties. Especially when they're field flowers like the ones pictured here at the Carrboro Farmers' Market in June 2009.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green tomatoes

I love taking pictures at farmers' markets, and I especially like pictures of tomatoes. I thought this was an appropriate photo for today—St Patrick's Day—to sport a little virtual green (taken at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC in 2009). Growing up I never ate fried green tomatoes, although my mom certainly knew how to prepare them well. These days I seek them out every time I have lunch at The Weathervane where they're featured in a fried green BLT. So yummy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Camellias in bloom

Last year we planted 3 camellia bushes in the yard, choosing the same varietals my mom had in her yard. With the recent warm weather, we've seen some blooms out of this one called October Affair. These are photos taken every couple of days over the course of about a week. I can't wait for these plants to get as big as the red camellia we have that sprouts hundreds of flowers each year.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Growing time of year

This is the time of year when we start to think about planting flowers and vegetables. The trees are starting to bud (here in NC), some flowers are starting to bloom, and the days are getting longer. From these new growths I hope to find inspiration for my next illustrated creations. I imagine chefs also find this time of year inspiring, with fresh herbs and produce for new recipes. These pictures are from my brother's "city garden" (buckets instead of plots) last year. We dined on pizza made with just-picked ingredients. Delicious!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The art of the egg

Sunday morning this past weekend I was reading Organic Gardening and came across an article on eggs: terminology, organic vs free-range, different birds' eggs we can eat, etc. I began to reminisce about how we bought eggs when I was a child. Up the road resided "the egg lady," and we could go anytime to choose eggs and leave money in the little box if she was not around. We did not question whether they were fresh or how the chickens were treated because we could see all the chickens right there! Egg shells of different birds have beautiful and varied shells (see the quail eggs in the article). And farm-fresh eggs are so tasty—they've definitely appeared on more menus in recent years (Cypress on the Hill in Chapel Hill offers a delicious appetizer that features a local, fresh egg on top). Needless to say I was inspired and immediately fixed poached eggs on English muffins for breakfast. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Making the world a kinder place

This week I was "introduced" via the Internet (how funny to think of it like that, but it kind of fits, no?) to such a wonderful idea that I had to share it here. It's a concept-turned-reality called "Random Notes of Kindness" created by Lauren Fister, a kitchen designer and fellow food lover in CT. The idea is you send a kind note, you receive a kind note, in kind. To learn more, please visit her website; she was even featured in her local newspaper. In support of her idea, I'm offering 15% off JAKE & META for the next 2 weeks, just enter code: KINDnotes at checkout.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Painted desserts

Like pouring paint on canvas, it also never occurred to me to paint a cake. But doesn't this look beautiful AND delicious? I recently saw several painted cakes on a blog, and this one specifically was featured in Southern Living. My grandfather taught me to never throw away any of my artwork, but I suppose eating it is maybe not quite the same thing-?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pour on the paint

Taking a departure from food musings (which I obviously love) and the art of cuisine, today I came across a blog that featured painter Holton Rower and his "pour" technique. I had never thought to simply pour the paint on the canvas. I'm sure it's not "simple," though, and takes quite a bit of talent to create an interesting composition. What a creative idea! Full blog post from COLOURlovers here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Southern cuisine

Two summers ago at the beach we had the very good fortune to have someone with us who knows how to prepare shrimp and grits. If you're not familiar with this dish, it's very southern and VERY good, especially when you're at the beach and have ready access to fresh shrimp. I would have never thought I'd like the combination, but the cheesy grits with the spicy and garlicky shrimp and mushrooms are delicious. I first tried the dish years ago at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, NC, but only because my NY cousin ordered it and I thought I should at least try it. That experience taught me to be more adventurous with trying new foods because I really liked it!