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Featured Artist Kimberly Pack

 

Playwright Edward Albee famously decried the efforts of critics and scholars to identify too much “connective tissue” in his work.  Albee said he didn’t control characters – they act the way they act because that’s who they are, and they do what they do because that’s what they want to do.  For Albee, writing, art if you will, isn’t limited or necessarily driven by what happens to the creator of the work.  Albee might have opined that in art, like life, the artist starts something, somewhere for reasons known or unknown, but once started that creation careens off in its own direction.

Artist Kimberly Pack, whose exhibit currently hangs in our Market Square location, isn’t exactly sure where the characters in her work came from, but she does know that they have taken up residence in her imagination where they seem to have heard and heeded a call to be fruitful and multiply.

A quick look at her collection of drawings (ink on watercolor paper) is enough to tempt an observer into wondering if these strange little people have some connection to the artist’s life:  Are they personal demons trying to get out?  Are they unkind caricatures of unpleasant characters from her past? Are they born of some great sadness or a little touch of madness?

Pack isn’t sure where her inspiration is born, but when asked about the genesis of the drawings she describes a combination of habit, self-improvement, and the mystery of inspiration’s spark:

“When my kids were growing up they never just got to sit and watch cartoons; they had to be coloring, or they could be playing with Legos or Hot Wheels –  just doing something.  So I was in the habit of sitting with a movie on and drawing circles. Just drawing circles.  And then a few years ago I recognized that I’d just never been able to draw in a way that I was happy with.  So I got one of these books, something like ‘20 Ways to Draw a Tree’ and I started drawing.  I’m not joking.”

As her drawing continued, Pack still stuck with circles but then “there were eyes, and faces, and shoulders, and then they started getting bigger and bigger and with more detail.  I do it every day; I can’t stop drawing these guys.  It just makes me happy.”

A few, and only a few of the current drawings have a connection to the real world.  One drawing, she says, is inspired by her father’s World’s Fair Season Pass photo, another by a picture of actor Viggo Mortensen, but mostly, “I just sit down and draw from nothing.”

Pack is aware that some people may not quite see her characters as she does or understand their essential happiness and whimsy: “Drawing them calms my mind but also leaves me very happy. I’m not a tortured artist – I get joy from their faces. I’ve always loved cartoons.  I’m nearly 50 and still do. “Futerama” and “Rick and Morty” – I love them and so I guess I like to look at things that are kind of cartoony or just whimsical.   You may not look at them and think these are whimsy.  But I do.”

Kimberly Pack will be on view at the Market Square Tomato Head thru March 4th, 2018.  She will exhibit at the West Knoxville Gallery Tomato Head from March 6th thru April 2nd, 2018.

Tomato Head’s White Bean Chili

White Bean Chili

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White Bean Chili Recipe

 

2 cups dry White Beans, checked for stones and soaked overnight

¼ cup Oil

½ cup Onion, chopped

3 large cloves Garlic, minced, about 2 TBL

Preparing to Cook

1 large Poblano Pepper, seeded and chopped

4 cups Water or Chicken Broth

1 cup Cooked Chicken, white and or dark meat shredded

2 tsp Salt

3 TBL Cilantro, chopped

2 TBL Cumin

½ tsp smoked Paprika

1 tsp Chipotle Pepper, chopped fine

2 TBL Cornmeal

½ cup Heavy Cream (optional)

Drain beans, place them in a medium pot and cover with enough water to cover the beans at with a couple of inches of water.  Bring the beans to boil, skim off the foam on top, reduce heat to medium and cook until beans are soft, for about 1-1.5 hours, adding more water if necessary.

Meanwhile chop onion, poblano peppers, and garlic.  In a large 6-7-quart pot, heat ¼ cup of oil on medium heat.  Add onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Add garlic and poblano peppers, and sauté for 1-2 minutes longer.  If your beans are not soft, turn the heat off and let vegetables rest until the beans are soft.

Toppings to Customize

When beans are soft, drain the beans, saving the cooking liquid.  Pour cooked beans into the pot with the sautéed vegetables.  Measure your cooking liquid and bring the total liquid up to 4 cups by adding either water or chicken broth.  Add liquid to beans and turn the heat on to medium then give the beans a good stir.  Add the cooked chicken, salt, cumin, paprika and chipotle pepper and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the poblano peppers are soft.  Sprinkle the cornmeal into the pot while stirring constantly to avoid clumps, simmer the chili for 5 minutes longer, then add the cream if using; stir and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Serve topped with chopped onion, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, sliced radish, sliced jalapeno, avocado, corn chips or tortillas for a full meal.

Serves 8-10 people.

Warm Winter Pasta Bake

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Baked Rigatoni Recipe

8 oz dry Rigatoni Pasta

2.5 cups Spaghetti Sauce

1 ½ cups Italian Sausage, cooked

2 cups Spinach, chopped

1 cup Ricotta Cheese

3 TBL Basil, Chopped

2 TBL Heavy Cream

2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook pasta one minute less than the suggested cook time on the package in a large pot of salted water.  Drain the noodles into a strainer, rinse with cold water, and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add 2 cups spaghetti sauce to noodles and toss well to coat.  Add Italian sausage and spinach and toss to distribute the ingredients well.  Pour the other ½ cup sauce in the bottom of a medium cast-iron skillet or an 8×11 baking dish, then pour pasta mixture over the sauce.

In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, basil and heavy cream.  Drop the ricotta mixture onto the pasta by the spoon-full, distributing the cheese evenly.  Top with shredded mozzarella.  Place the baking dish in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted and browned slightly.  Remove from the oven when done.  Allow the dish to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with some hot bread and a side salad for a complete meal.

Serves 6-8 people.

Shopping List

1 lb box or bag of Rigatoni Noodles, or any tubular noodle of your choice

1 tub Ricotta Cheese

Heavy Cream

1 lb block Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese

Italian Sausage

Spinach

Basil

Equipment list

Medium Stockpot

Strainer

Cutting Board

Chef’s Knife

Cast Iron Skillet

Small & Large Mixing Bowls

Dry Measuring Cups

Liquid Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Wooden Cooking Spoon

Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

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Recipe

 

½ of a large onion, diced (about 1 cup)

6 large cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 TBL)

¼ cup oil

2 – 20 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes

1 ½ cups water

1 – 3/4 ounce box of fresh basil, stems removed and chopped (about 3 tbsp)

2 ½ tsp salt

1 TBL sugar

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent.

Add tomatoes and water, bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add Basil, salt and sugar.  Use and immersion blender to blend the sauce smooth.  If blending in a traditional blender, cool the sauce before blending to avoid hot sauce splattering.

Makes 7 cups

Use immediately or divide up and freeze.

Kendra Carter – Featured Artist

“Dear Diary, I feel very hopeful today…”

One of my favorite (and most honest) editors warned me to avoid making my columns sound like diary entries.  But sometimes the subject of an assignment creates a sincere emotional moment for a writer, and it’s nearly impossible to eschew the personal response.  Of course, there’s a little leeway when writing about art as there’s often a blurry area between creation and creator; and in the case of our newest exhibit at the Gallery Location, “My Way” by Kendra Carter, there’s a lot to love in the artwork, of course, but the path leading to it is a story that, in modern parlance, gave me all the feels.

Kendra works primarily in acrylic to which she adds a pourable medium to create Fluid Art – you’ll know it when you see it in her exhibit.  But the idea of flow was a pervasive element in my conversation with Kendra both in terms of her current output as well as a part of what led her to this period of creativity.

“I’m sure you’ve heard of art therapy?” She asks. “It’s definitely been a help to me. The work gives me a sense of peace and clarity, and it quiets my mind. I’m a worrier.  I’m the kind of person who lays in bed and worries about when my 11-year-old starts driving.”

But finding her way to this outlet didn’t begin with a happy moment.  On the contrary, she says that “I just started a year or so ago really putting forth the effort to create art consistently.  My father passed away in January of last year and honestly that gave me this almost philosophical life crisis. I think it was what made me change my career.”

Carter was the manager of a large hair salon, and it was the kind of job she’d done all her life: “I’ve always managed people and systems, and I’m good at it. But I got to where I didn’t really enjoy it. Everybody else who worked there was able to make other people feel beautiful.  But I wasn’t doing anybody’s hair, I was writing people up for being late.  I really needed a way to express emotion, and art is how I’ve always been able to do that; I have a lot of emotion to express. I just needed a change and that’s sort of how I came to this.”

Although her job shift led her to invest more time in creative activities, Carter also found time to volunteer at a homeless shelter: “My husband was doing it, and although I am more drawn to help with needy children, this was a good place to start.  You feel needed there and purposeful.  And maybe everybody wants that, but I certainly was looking for that – especially in the last year.  And I was looking for a way to fill the need to create.  I don’t think I was looking to have an exhibit or anything, but then as my work accumulated, I thought it might be fun.  It’s intimidating to present stuff you’ve made, things that that come from your soul for other people to look at.  You hope they have some sort of reaction, something that makes them feel something – whether it’s what you felt or not it doesn’t matter – as long as it’s something.”

Although she has dabbled in many forms, Carter’s current work lives squarely in the abstract.  It’s a liberating style, she says, that allows her to express her inner rebel:  “What I love about abstract so much is that it is so freeing. I hate to be controlled and basically I don’t like being told what to do.  Of course, I can conform and I can definitely follow rules and accept certain things.  But maybe this is just my way of rebelling outside of societal parameters. I don’t know but it does seem really freeing to me.”

In the ensuing year Kendra’s work has taken up a lot of space in her home and garage.  It’s a space she shares with a husband who likes things to be a little more orderly, perhaps, than allowed by a life full of canvass and paint and the sundry material that go with them: “He’s the kind of guy who likes things to be in the right place, and now there’s paint on the garage floor and the walls are covered with color. But he’s been very supportive from the time I decided to change my career on, he said ‘I don’t care if you sell one piece, you can cover all the walls if that’s what you need to be happy.’”

Some stories have happy endings – or better yet, new and happy beginnings.  This one does, and you can see it for yourself.  Kendra Carter’s exhibit, My Way hangs in our Gallery Location.

Kimchee Soup

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Recipe

¾ cup onion, chopped

2 TBL garlic, chopped

½ cup ginger, chopped

3 TBL Oil

1 cup kimchee, chopped

3 TBL Gochujang

4 cups water

3 TBL soy sauce

1 tsp black soy sauce

½ tsp five spice powder

3 tsp sugar

1TBL Sriracha

2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped

1 tsp sesame oil

Ramen Noodles – spice pack saved for another use

Hard Boiled Eggs

Kimchee for garnish

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and ginger, then reduce heat and sauté for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add Kimchee, Gochujang, water, soy sauce, black soy sauce, five spiced powder, sugar, and Sriracha.  Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add Napa cabbage and cook for 5 minutes until cabbage is slightly softened.  Add Sesame oil and remove the soup from the burner.

To serve the soup:

Bring a pot of water to boil, add the dry ramen noodles and cook for 2 minutes.  Drain the noodles and divide into bowls, top the noodles with soup.  Garnish the bowls with a little more chopped kimchee and hard boiled eggs

 

Tomato Head’s White Bean Kale Butternut Squash Stew

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Warm and Hearty

White Bean, Butternut Squash & Kale Soup Recipe

Beautiful Colors

 

1 cup navy beans, dry

¼ cup oil

¾ cup onion, chopped

1 tbsp garlic, chopped

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

1 cup fennel tops and fronds chopped

1 – 14 oz. can petit diced tomatoes

4 cups water

Coming Together

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1 bay leaf

2 cups kale, chopped

 

Look through the navy beans for rocks; rinse and soak overnight.

Drain the beans.  Pour the beans into a medium pot and fill with enough fresh water to cover the beans by 2 inches.  Place the beans on high heat, when they come to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the beans until soft.

Meanwhile, chop the rest of your vegetables and measure the rest of your ingredients.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the Onions and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Add the butternut squash, fennel tops, diced tomato, water, tomato paste, and bay leaf.  Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the butternut squash is soft.

When the navy beans are soft, drain them and pour them into the pot.  Add the salt, and sugar (recipe can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated for several days).

When ready to serve add kale; stir to submerge all the kale and simmer until Kale is softened, 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

Flour Head Bakery’s Hot Cereal with Muesli and Fresh Berries

Berries on Top

Great Beginnings

Yummy Spoonful

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Recipe

1 cup water

1 ¼ cup milk or milk substitute

½ cup Cream of Wheat or Wheat Farina

4 tsp light brown sugar

pinch of salt

Place water and milk in a small bowl over medium heat.  Gradually whisk in the wheat farina, bring to

boil, and whisk constantly until mixture thickens.

Divide the hot cereal between bowls.  Drizzle each bowl with honey or maple syrup, and top with Muesli, and fresh berries.

Serves 2-4

Collard Green Salad

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Collard Green Salad Recipe

3 large Collard leaves

2 TBL Oil

¼ cup chopped onion

1 medium tomato – about 1 cup, chopped

1 TBL Parsley, chopped

1 TBL cider vinegar

½ tsp salt

Wash Collards in several rinses of cold water.  Shake off the excess water and cut the leaves into 4-5 long strips.  Cut the strips, including the stems into ½ inch strips crosswise.  Keep the stems separated from the leaves.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add oil then add the collard stems and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Add the collard leaves and sauté just until all the leaves have turned bright green.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design