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Coffee in the Summer

The piece today is Coffee and Cream in the Morning, based on pretty much what many people do every morningget coffee and get ready for the day. Big shiny coffee beans are the focus and cream drippings creates a thin curtain of certainty. Certain that the day must begin, certain you need that cup to get it started. The collage is made up of the things one might seein the morning, moring paper, toothpaste pacakge, and packets of sugar. The geometric design is suggestive of getting dressed-a scarf one would throw on before walking out.

The recipe is anything but morning friendly– coffee with Grand Marnier, vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and a hint of orange zest– an after work summer treat, or it fills the dessert bill too.

ALL measurements are approximate- please taste as you go along and adjust – make it YOURS!

4 cups of Chocolate flavored coffee(or plain if you prefer)

2 tbls sugar

4 generous scoops of favorite vanilla ice cream

Zest of 1/2 orange

Chocolate syrup

8 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

(makes 3-4 servings)

Make coffee as usual, while still hot and in the pot- add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Grab a glass or mug, pour approx. one cup of coffee in, then add (at least) 2 tbls of Grand Marnier. Top off with a generous scoop of ice cream, then chocolate syrup and sprinkle with a touch of orange zest.


crop coffee marnier
TOP: Coffee and Cream in the Morning- R. Stallworth, Oil & Collage BOTTOM: Coffee Marnier


Lemons and Olives

“Making Lemonade” was featured in the Wichita Center for the Arts Small Oil Painting exhibition Sept. 7- October 21 this year– although Im not making lemonade the recipe this time. It was a slight struggle not to do something sweet with a lemon thoughImage– its one of those foods that can very easily be savory or sweet. Taking more cues from my piece itself the word “lemonade” is scrawled in the background, and has a written, but almost spaghetti, or fettuccine feel to it. Lemon + Pasta was first- then taking cues from the green olive color- Lemon+ Pasta+Olives was the final. Sometimes the food to art connection is more conceptual- but this time its pretty literal, the lemons were simply shouting to be used!

Lemon & Olive Fettuccine

(optional:-with Grilled salmon)


1 pound whole wheat or regular fettuccine

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 large cloves garlic thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 lemons- zested and juiced

1 cup sliced mixed pitted olives (manzanilla, kalamata, sicilian, etc)

1 cup grated Parmesan

½ cup loosely chopped flat leaf parsley

½ cup loosely chopped fresh basil

salt  & pepper to taste

optional: four 4 oz salmon fillets, additional 3 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil, add dry pasta, return to a boil.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat- add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, then sauté garlic and red pepper until garlic becomes fragrant and translucent, then add 1 cup of the starchy pasta water to the skillet from the boiling pasta pot.
  3.  Add lemon zest and olives to the skillet, turn heat to low.
  4. Once pasta is cooked al dente, reserve another cup of the starchy water and set aside, drain pasta and toss into skillet
  5. Add fresh basil, parsley, lemon juice and ¾ cup of Parmesan to fettuccine and toss entire mixture together in skillet. Taste mixture and re-season if needed, (more pepper flakes, more oil, etc.) If pasta is a little dry add more of the reserved starchy water and/or oil to the skillet. Use remaining ¼ parmesan to top pasta just before serving.
  6. If using salmon fillets- season them with salt and pepper, then heat a skillet on medium heat  with 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Place fillets in skillet and sear on one side, turn on other side , add a splash of water and cover until done about 6-8 minutes. An additional squirt of lemon juice can be added once salmon is done.Image

Peas, Cumin & shopping bags

While participating in a group art show this summer- “Ways of Making”– at Governor State University here in the Chicagoland area I met fellow artist Cydney Lewis,  a truly gifted woman who sculpts with- of all things– those plastic shopping bags what we encounter just about everyday. Most people know them, they have two holes that are used for handles– but she wraps and bubbles and sculpts them into an unrecognizable form. From a distance, her sculptures look like either beads or a loosely woven, “thick-materialed” cloth or wrap. But get closer and you’ll see the wonder of the everyday- recognizing bags from stores you may even frequent. Some of her work is more figural, abstracted but still recognizable. Please by all means see her site: (SEE LINK IN SIDEBAR under “Blogroll”)

PEAS and CUMIN describe the texture and color of her piece “Emeralds of Ivy”– it was easy what recipe to choose! Peas for their color and texture, cumin for its color, and coconut milk does the binding. This vegetarian recipe can be a side dish, you can add protein with tofu, chicken or seafood, or as mentioned in “VARIATIONS” you can add more types of veggies.– As always, taste THEN ADJUST to your own needs, more pepper, less salt etc. . ..Always use a recipe as a guide to do your own thing!

Peas with Cumin & Coconut Milk


2 heaping cups peas- frozen or *fresh cooked

1 cup green onion, using both green and white parts- or 1 cup yellow onion

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil or clarified butter

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon fresh ground ginger root

8 oz coconut milk(regular or lite)

(cooked rice) optional

fresh lime wedges- optional

reserved chopped green onion for garnish-optional

  • If you purchase fresh English peas, (that you have shelled or that have already been removed from the shell) you cook them by blanching them for about 2-3 minutes in a large(pasta-size) pot rapidly boiling hot water.  Immediately take them out with a slotted spoon and rinse in cold water briefly.

1.Heat oil on medium low heat in a large saucepan, add onion and cook till

just translucent, not browned, about 4-5 minutes.

2. Add all spices and fresh ginger, (not cilantro)cook for about 2 minutes longer- till you smell the aroma of the cumin coming through.

3. Add coconut milk, stir till warmed through.

4. Add peas and stir till they are warmed through, a few minutes.

5. Turn off the heat, and stir in fresh cilantro last.

6. Serve atop a bed of brown or white rice, garnish with chopped green onion and a squirt of fresh lime if desired.

VARIATIONS- add a medium chopped cooked potato, some cauliflower , tofu or add ½ cup chopped cooked carrots.

TOP PHOTO: “Emeralds of Ivy” by Cydney Lewis. BOTTOM: Peas with Cumin & Coconut Milk

Asparagus, mashed potatoes, cheese and SPRING

Contrary to public opinion, Memorial Day weekend is not the beginning of summer and Labor Day is not the end of summer. Summer officially begins June 21st and ends September 22nd. On this note- keep enjoying all the great spring asparagus that has been appearing in markets since March– all sizes, thin, thick, etc.  And the wonderful white variety! Asparagus has long been thought of as a spring vegetable, but thanks to   modern agriculture you can find fresh asparagus longer than just the spring months.

Spring also brings new mediums to my palette– the abstract “red-tipped asparagus” is a combination drawing, of acrylic and black ink, with charcoal. Looking at any object “close-up” and for a length of time can make it seem other-wordly, and you can see nuances you’ve never seen before, in things as common as a table, leaf, your left big toe or asparagus. The slender long lengths of the stalks and the bud-like appendages seem like mountains and the outlines look like dripping long straight rivers or roads. NOT arranged like spokes on a wheel as on the tart, but raised upward in mountain fashion.

Here’s to mashed potatoes, cheese and ASPARAGUS!

Asparagus & Mashed Potato herb tart


2 large or 3 small Yukon gold potatoes- peeled and cut into chunks

1  approx. 10”X 10” sheet of puff pastry (frozen, usually comes 2 to a box)

1 pound of fresh asparagus spears

6 tablespoons butter

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup grated fontina cheese

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 eggs

1 cup half & half

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 dashes of cayenne

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh dill

flour for rolling pastry

  1. Read directions on puff pastry box, the sheet may need to set out at room temperature before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Grease or use a non-stick baking spray to a tart pan, or a 10 “ square or  shallow baking dish or sheet.
  4. Remove  woody lower ends of asparagus by taking a small bundle of 3-4 stalks and gently bending till they snap. The point at which they naturally break is where the lower woody stem begins. Discard the lower pieces. (This may not be a preference/needed if asparagus, if very young & thin.)
  5. Blanch asparagus in a pot of boiling water for approx.2 -3 minutes, until bright green and still slightly crisp.  Drain and set aside.
  6. Put chunks of potato in a pot of salted boiling water and cook for approx.. 15 minutes or until fork tender/done. Drain(don’t rinse) and set aside in large bowl.
  7. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in pan on medium to low heat, add onion and cook, stirring often, till onions just start to brown, about 6 minutes. Take onion out of pan and place in bowl with cooked potatoes
  8. Mash the potato chunks with onion, salt, pepper, cayenne, 3 tablespoons butter, parmesan, fontina, dill, and parsley.
  9. In small bowl, whisk three eggs and ½ & half together. Add to the mashed potato mixture.

10. Lightly flour a clean surface and place pastry sheet on top. Lightly flour top of pastry sheet and roll sheet in an outward direction, stretching it slightly, adding another 1” or so to all sides. (Do not roll out to be paper thin, just stretching slightly) Move sheet over to the pan. All corners may not meet at first— trim edges to the pan leaving a very small edge. If there are areas that did not reach- take trimmed pieces of pastry dough and fill in gaps if needed. Perfection is not needed,–rough, rustic edges are quite nice.

11. After dough is in the pan, prick all over the bottom and sides of dough/pastry with a fork

12. Pour mashed potato filling into pastry shell. Arrange the asparagus stalks on top of the mashed potato mixture in any design. If using a square dish, they could just be lined up in a row.

13. Bake approx. 20 minutes until potato filling is set and lightly browned.

“Red Tipped Asparagus”, by R. Stallworth, mixed media drawing, 16 X 20, 2012

Featured artist Tiffany Gholar

This posting finds not only a new dish but featured Chicago artist Tiffany Gholar– “Verdant” is the luscious green piece below.

Tiffany is a lifelong resident of Chicago, Illinois. Her  newest series, Post-Consumerism, explores the principles of design using found object assemblages. Her style places great emphasis on color and texture. The majority of
her medium scale pieces are constructed of found objects headed for the recycling bin, including cardboard
boxes, plastic grocery bags, and packing materials.

Her  work has been exhibited in several Chicago area venues, including a solo exhibition at Three Peas Art
Lounge, a solo exhibition in the Second Floor Gallery of the Fine Arts Building, and the 2010 Chicago Art
Open.  She also has a rain barrel featured in the Recycle the Raindrops public art project.  When she is not
painting, she works as a freelance interior designer and receptionist.


For those in the Chicago area, I will be Tiffany’s featured artist in “2nd Fridays” at the Fine Arts Building —
Friday, October 14th
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Fine Arts Building
410 S. Michigan Avenue
Studio 632F, 6th Floor
Chicago, Illinois
free & open to the public

Tiffany’s rich sculptural work was perfect to set a recipe to, “Verdant” was one of the first pieces that drew attention– avocados first came to mind when seeing it. The spinach, arugula and avocado salad fits the bill, not only because of color and texture, but also because of the use of raw pumpkin seeds(Pepitas). Its fall and pumpkins are in season, pumpkin pies will soon be seen everywhere, but most pumpkin seeds are just tossed in trail mixes. They add texture and even more nutrition(like protein and vitamin E) to this delicious salad.

This is revised from Nigella Lawson’s “Baby Spinach, avocado, and pumpkin seed salad” which can be found on cooking  My version adds honey to the dressing, an extra avocado, cilantro and arugula.


Approx. 7 0z (10 loosely packed cups) of arugula OR baby spinach or a mixture of both. Most pre-rinsed, packaged salad mix bags will do.

1/2 cup raw(green) pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro

3 RIPE medium sized avocados

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lime– zested AND juiced

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Put arugula(and/or baby spinach), pumpkin seeds and cilantro in a big bowl, toss lightly to mix

2. Halve all the avocados, and with a spoon, scoop out the flesh in organic chunks over the salad leaves. SAVE one half of an avocado for garnish. (so you’d scoop 5 halves)

3. In another small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together– olive oil, the lime zest, lime juice, salt and honey. Whisk till combined.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad JUST before serving and very gently toss with tongs or your hands, careful not to mush the avocado pieces. Take the final avocado half and slice lengthwise into strips, either garnish the top of the entire salad or put a few slices over each individual serving.

VARIATIONS: ANY mutli-green salad can be used with or instead of the arugula and spinach.

If more dressing is needed, please make another batch and have available “on the side” This mixture in larger batches, combined with fresh garlic would make a nice meat marinade.

DONT BE SCARED to add some big pink steamed shrimp on top of this salad– dont be afraid.

TOP: arugula, spinach & pepita BOTTOM: "Verdant" by Tiffany Gholar

Comforting Polenta & the parting of friends

Fall is upon us, and with the coming of the cooler weather brings the desire for warming, comforting foods. Soups, stews, mac & cheese and yes, cheesy polenta topped with fresh basil and tomatoes. My world needed some comforting recently as we lost one of my dearest friends, my cat Midge, whom I had in my life for 12 years. (she was an adult cat when I got her, so her actual age was closer to 17)  I notice the silence in our home now, she was a tortoiseshell cat and very vocal yes, but the silence is actually from me. I hadnt noticed how often I chattered to her, inane observations as she walked by, (Its gonna rain, Midge), blurting song lyrics or a loud “there you are!’ if I hadnt seen her in several hours– especially if my husband wasnt home at the time. We fed her on a regular schedule and when my husband is home alone now and one of the feeding times nears, he pauses on whatever he is doing then remembers he doesnt have to change the food & water bowls anymore.

Comfort can come from many things, loved ones, food and personally for me –creation, whether art or food. The artwork/word — “Comfort” is a result of this creation. When we think of comforting things, I think of the sun, especially when it gets cold. The color is just that –yellow, bright and very simple, subtler than some of my other work. What appears to be water on this piece is actually hardened resin(acrylic) that gives the entire piece a bumpy yet smooth texture to the touch. The large circle is actually the letter ‘o” from “comfort”, the “c” is in the lower left hand corner.

“Bumpy-yet-smoooth” texture and bright yellow describes polenta,  the “italian grits” of sort. This recipe is revised from the “Cheesy Polenta” recipe from Giada De Laurentis, I cut some butter out, changed the cheese and added the topping of fresh basil & tomatoes. You can stir them in instead of topping each serving, but if let to sit(on stove or refrigerator)the basil and tomato may add more water/moisture to the recipe, making it thinner. Now I hadnt tried this recipe with just vegetable broth & roasted garlic but I believe it could make a nice vegan dish– its on the list of things I need to try…..

NEW NEWS: My artwork (original and reprints as small as a postcard) is now for sale at, just search under my name


9 cups of water

1 tablespoon salt

2 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

1 cup Parmesan & Romano blend(or just parmesan OK)

1/2 cup  sharp cheddar cheese(white or yellow OK, and you can just use 1 1/2 cups of parmesan & romano if you’d like)

1 1/2 cups whole or 2 % milk

3/4 stick of unsalted butter

1 medium to large tomato seeded and chopped (to seed a tomato, cut in half and using you fingers pull out all seeds and discard. Chop only the shell/hull) OR  heaping cup of chopped cherry tomatoes can be used too

1 cup chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy pot, add the salt.

2.  Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and cornmeal is tender, 15-20 minutes.

3. Remove pot from the heat. Add the cheese & butter, stir until they have both melted.

4. Taste– add salt and pepper to your liking. At this point, if you do want more butter after tasting, please add.

5. Serve–

For each individual serving dish, top with desired amount of fresh tomato and basil.

TOP: Polenta with basil & tomato, BOTTOM; "Comfort", oil & resin, 16 X 20, 2011

LUSH GRAPES…and the end of summer

Summer is trying to leave, but not without a fight. My piece, “Lush 2” depicted below is the muse for the crisp chicken salad with red grapes recipe. Chicken salad is eaten throughout the year, but nestled on a bed of arugula with crisp red grapes sends one’s senses into summer territory.

“Lush 2” is from my series where I abstract words and insert an object (usually realistically rendered) in the piece, an object that the word could describe. The actual letters “L-u-s-h” are in the  piece, and even though I have done another “Lush” with grapes before, (green grapes actually) I chose the reddish-purple tones of grapes for the entire piece in this one. There is also copper metallic leaf in the piece, the bronze-orangey hues complement the purple and red tones.  The word “lush” truly describes the succulent, fleshy juicy grapes.

Grapes pair up with chicken for this salad– great with greens(arugula or mixed greens), on a sandwich or with crackers.  You are not restricted to use red seedless grapes, green ones are fine too- or a combo of both.


4-5 cups cooked cubed chicken breast(3-4 breasts cooked)

1 cup red grapes(sliced in half)

1/3 cup finely chopped  onion

3/4 cup finely chopped celery

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup miracle whip light (or mayo)

2 dashes of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL (if roasting your own chicken): 3 to 4 springs of fresh thyme, olive oil and three cloves of fresh garlic thinly sliced

1. Leftover chicken could be used, or a store-bought(cooked) rotisserie chicken. If you wish to roast your own, you will need to use the optional ingredients above. Take 3 to 4 raw chicken breasts with rib meat  and skin–peel back the skin halfway. Place some sliced fresh garlic and a spring of thyme under the skin and pull it back over. Then salt, pepper breasts and lightly rub them with olive oil. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Once done, let cool  then remove thyme springs and garlic. Next remove meat from bones and chop into bite-sized pieces

2. Mix chicken with all ingredients except salt and pepper in a large bowl- stir till completely mixed.  Taste,  then add salt and pepper to your liking. Add more miracle whip if salad seems too dry.

VARIATIONS– add a dollop of your favorite mustard, and/or substitute green onion or chives for the white/sweet onion.

Above: Chicken salad with grapes BELOW: Lush 2, 2009, 6 X 18, oil & metal leaf