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Bearden Middle School – Featured Artist

Arts matter.

At various times in our national history, we get caught up in a great debate about the value of arts in our communities and in our schools, and although, generally speaking, we don’t like to debate, on this point, well, we ain’t shy.  From our earliest days the Tomato Head has been full of the arts of all sorts – and these days we keep our walls alive with the extraordinary work of visual artists because we know that arts matter.

The arts build confidence, and they’re among the most potent crucibles for creative thinking, problem solving, and resourceful approaches to living in the modern era.  And in a growing community like Knoxville, the arts are the nectar and ambrosia of progress and beauty.  They are an essential component of the drive to create that increasingly defines this wonderful place we call home.

That’s part of the reason that we invited the students of Bearden Middle School (BMS) to adorn our walls with their work.  As for the other part, that’s about talent and vision, and you’ll understand it when you see this exhibit’s vast array of color, composition, and joy.

Under the direction of teachers Mike Weininger and Jessie Winston, students from BMS’ half year and full year programs were invited to create a small, abstract work for community display.  It wasn’t an assignment – it was an invitation outside of their class room requirements.  Weininger, said, “I didn’t want them to be motivated by grades for this project. So, if they didn’t complete it, it didn’t affect their grades.  Some of them are under so much pressure at the end of the semester with tests and everything, and I told them ‘if you can’t complete it then that’s fine, don’t worry about it.  Of course, your work won’t be in the show.’”

So, you see, these are works of passion. All 100 of them.

Weininger and Winston don’t take much credit for what their students produce, but clearly the environment that they and BMS have built gives their students an inviting place to let imagination thrive.   That includes having both a semester and a yearlong option for art class.

Weininger is quick to point out that he doesn’t feel that BMS’s art program is in any danger of going away.  In fact, he has nothing but good things to say about the encouragement and support he feels not only from the school, but from the entire community, too.   Still, he and Winston work hard to keep their student’s work visible to make sure that their colleagues and community see the value of the programming – both semester and year-long because, Weinger thinks, “for many of my students, this class can be the one class, the one connection that keeps them going.”

The works themselves are a varied lot, but color and vision flourish through the exhibit.  Weininger and Winston asked the students to label their works by hand.  Often in these works, the handwriting, which clearly belongs to young fingers, is an odd but thrilling juxtaposition to the maturity of the composition.

And, of course all the participants hope that viewers won’t say, “Cool! A kid did that”.  They’d much rather hear, “Wow.  Nice painting.”

As for us, we just hope to keep seeing more of it.

The exhibit of abstract and mixed media pieces will be on view at the downtown Knoxville Tomato Head on Market Square from January 7th thru February 3rd, 2019.  The exhibit will then hang at the West Knoxville Tomato Head from February 5th thru March 4th, 2019.

Gingerbread

Cookies are magic.

We know it instinctively.  It might be that some of us grew up believing that little elves who live in hollow trees make magic in the form of fudge stripes on shortbread.  Or perhaps is the Christmas Eve ritual of leaving treats for old St. Nick. For me, the magic is in the memory of family kitchens filled with palpable holiday enchantments: forbidden cookie dough clinging to spoons and beaters, the bewitching and tortuous aroma of baking cookies almost ready.  Just writing those words casts a craving on me that won’t quit.

And of all that aromatic cookie magic, the most potent is gingerbread.  The secret, methinks, is in the formidable combination of ginger and molasses which creates a darkly sweet but lively dough that produces a rich baking aroma that gets inside of me and makes me feel warm and, of course, very, very hungry.

It’s not a new magic. Gingerbread in various incarnations populates the histories of the world, and the ritual of shaping food into shapes for a little magical mischief is an ancient juju.  It may have all started with clay and idols, but, as the idea evolved into something more like hope than sorcery, the tools of enchantment became more toothsome.

By about year 1000, gingerbread was being baked into the images of saints, and in Medieval England, ladies would sometimes eat gingerbread husbands in hopes of acquiring the real thing.  But how gingerbread men came to be a part of the Christmas tradition is unclear – it might have evolved from a German tradition of making gingerbread houses for the yuletide that started sometime in the 16th century.  Or maybe it’s just one of those things that happens – somebody made a gingerbread Saint Lawrence and decided it would look good on a tree, and, abra cadabra, a tradition was born.

But the real magic of gingerbread isn’t in the shape – it’s in the creation, the act of the shaping, and the fact of the making.  But it’s something that must be shared.   Sharing kitchen time and recipes between generations is more than a link to a family’s tradition and history, it’s a bonding ritual that creates love and memories rooted in the practical magic of the senses and made firm by the sharing of that most precious of all enchantments: time.

The rich aroma of gingerbread in the oven is the aroma of home. And isn’t the magic of home a big part of what we observe this time of year?  No matter what holiday we celebrate, it’s always better at home – whether that’s a family moment or time shared with close friends, perhaps even pets, spending time with those we love is the real charm.

Homemade gingerbread is the by-product of love, which, of course, is the greatest magic of all.

It’s never too late to find your inner wizard.

Gay Bryant – Featured Artist

 

Aristotle spent a lot of time thinking about the human drive to control circumstances that interfere with a happy, safe, and productive life.  As silly as it might sound, the philosopher was describing the same basic urge that impels us to insulate our houses and to buy insurance – we like to have a buffer between us and misfortune.  Of course, at some level and in some circumstances, control is impossible. Often the only seeming answer is acceptance which means letting go of control and hoping for the best.  Relationships can be like that.  Watercolors can be the same.

In fact, if you talk to as many artists as we do, you’ll find that many of them believe that their work guides them (not the other way around) and that the best thing they can do is to just get out of the way.  Artist Gay Bryant feels that way, at least some of the time: “Mostly I work in watercolor. And the key is letting go, to let the paint do its thing.”

And while it may appall some ancient Greeks and more than a few control freaks among us, her ability to trust in fate or good luck or providence (or whatever you want to call it) leads Bryant to more than a few beautiful places.  Her nature paintings are evocative without being dogmatic; the gentle patterns recall a presence, a sense of being there, but they’re not so specific that you can’t imagine being there yourself. In fact, you may feel compelled to visit Alum Creek or Icewater Spring at dawn to experience Bryant’s subjects with your own eyes.

Bryant hardly cedes all artistic control to her materials like a mystic or medium looking for meaning in automatic writing: “The paint sometimes tells me what colors to bring out or what shapes to develop.  But, if you look at some of my botanicals, they are very tight, very photo-realistic.  You can do that with watercolor, but my favorite thing about it is that there can be so much serendipity.  Letting it do what it’s going to do is one of my favorite approaches.”

While painting is decidedly her first love, as a life-long learner, the artist’s work and interests continue to evolve: “Mostly I’ve painted but later in life I got interested in print making though it feels almost like the antithesis of painting because you have to simplify things, and cut it down to bare bones in terms of color and shapes.  But it’s nice to go back and forth.  I teach both over at the John C. Campbell Folk School [in Brasstown, North Carolina].”

Bryant has been a teacher for much of her life, though at first her subject was business, not art. She recalls that, “Painting has been one of those things I’ve always done.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making art.  But my mother was determined that my sister and I were going do something so that we didn’t have rely on a man to pay our way through life. And art wasn’t on that list, so I became a teacher.”

Even through a successful career as an educator (including time at Pellissippi State), Bryant remained an active artist.  “Even when I was in college as a business education major, I had to continue with art just to stay sane.”  Today Bryant’s life is full of her work.  In addition to teaching at the Folk School, she also conducts workshops at the Swag in Waynesville.

And in all of this activity, Bryant is led more by her passion than by an urge to please.  She grins a little when she says, “If it sells that’s okay, if it doesn’t that’s okay, too.”

Perhaps that perspective comes of an acceptance learned from her experience with watercolors: life happens, let it be.  Or perhaps, it’s simply that the best defense against life’s uncertainties is finding love in what you do and maintaining your life’s passion come what may.

Gay Bryant’s work is on exhibit at the downtown Knoxville Tomato Head from October 7th thru November 4th and at the West Knoxville Gallery Tomato Head from November 5th thru December 3rd.

 

 

 

Flour Head Bakery’s Appalachian Trail Mix Cookies

You cook?  Then try this recipe, post a picture on social media and tag us! Also use our hash tag #FoodGottaCook and we’ll randomly pick a winner and send them a Tomato Head Gift Card!

I have a sneaky feeling that the creation of gravy happened somewhere at the intersection of accident and eureka.

In my imagination, it starts as a little grease fire in a pan.  When cook notices, she grabs a handful of flour left over from kneading the breakfast bread and tosses it into the pan to smother the flame. As the fire abates, she adds a little water to make sure the flame is dead or to keep the mess from sticking too hard, and, curious, she dips her finger in for a taste.  Voila!  Gravy.

Of course, that’s all early morning conjecture, but the history of food is rife with accidental creation not too dissimilar from this imagining.  A quick survey of the inter-webs will tell you that Crêpes Suzette and corn flakes are both the results of happy accidents.

Perhaps it’s merely a eureka moment when inspiration strikes cooks and inventors.  But in the kitchen, I can’t help believe that for every “ah-ha” moment, there are many more ideas born of frugality at times when every bite counted.

It can be hard for some of us to understand frugality in the kitchen. It’s easy to get used to throwing mistakes away and starting over without even wondering, “how can I salvage this?”  And that’s a real waste because it robs the world of some of the most potent and practical creative impulses: ideas born of necessity, the great mother of invention.

What is a pâté de campagne except an inspired assemblage of odd bits?  And those Crêpes Suzette?  They’re a brilliant accident that went onto a plate instead of into the trash after the sauce caught fire.

Mistakes happen – even in careful kitchens.  It’s what you do next that counts.

The cooks and bakers at our sister, Flour Head Bakery, are a precise lot, but accidents happen to the best of us. Like the time when two different kinds of granola found themselves in the same mixing bowl.  Not a great tragedy, I suppose, but it did mean there was a lot of unsalable granola hanging around.  Fortunately, someone said cookies.  And that’s how this recipe came to be.

It’s a hearty combination of some of our favorite things and, though I’m sure nobody felt good about mixing up all that granola, the mistake mixed with a little inspiration made for a pretty fabulous cookie.  And that’s how to turn a kitchen frown, upside down – all without throwing anything away.

 

Flour Head Bakery’s Appalachian Trail Mix Cookies

1 stick Unsalted Butter, Soft

½ cup Granulated Sugar

½ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed

1 Large Egg

1 tsp Vanilla

2 cups All Purpose Flour

½ tsp Cinnamon

½ tsp Ground Clove

½ tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Baking Soda

1.75 cups Flour Head Bakery Granola

1 cup Dried Cranberries

½ cup White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, followed by vanilla and beat until mixed.

Whisk together flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Add the granola, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips and mix until well mixed.

Drop the cookies by the spoonful or scoop out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Flatten the cookies slightly with the palm of your hand and bake for 12 minutes until the edges are light brown.

Cool cookies and serve.

Dough can be scooped and frozen for up to 4 weeks. Thaw and flatten before baking.

Makes 12- 24 cookies depending on size.

Tomato Head’s Collard and Creamed Leek Pie

I grew up attending a small and fiery little church, where I learned that we were right and you were wrong.   In fact, there was a joke about us…

A Baptist minister who, upon entering heaven, asked St. Peter for a tour of the place.  They moved past many different halls, each filled with hosts of Presbyterians, Methodists, Quakers, etc., until they came to a room belonging to my childhood church.  St. Peter turned to the minister and said, “Shhhh – you must be very quiet now– these people think they’re the only ones up here.”

It’s easy to claim something all for yourself, but the vast nature of the world means that you probably aren’t alone in your special family traditions, and there’s even a chance that your secret handshake isn’t utterly unique.

As the author of Ecclesiastes says, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

And that’s also true for food.  Just think about BBQ – everybody I know thinks they’re the only people to do it right.  But most things, BBQ included, are shared experiences.  Even something that’s as tied to a culture as much as collard greens are to the South are shared with places far away and, perhaps, long ago, too.

Roman Poet Ovid wrote a lovely poem called “Baucis and Philemon,“ a touching, 2000-year-old story about love and grace and hospitality.   The hospitality part includes two poor folks opening their homes to strangers and offering them a supper of greens with pork.  Ovid might have meant turnip greens, he might well have meant collards, too.  Even so, the whole dish sounds mighty familiar, doesn’t it?

Across time and space, we humans share a lot of experiences (and ingredients too).   The way we interpret and expresses ourselves in terms of those things may vary considerably or maybe that, too, is part of the great, repetitious turning of the world mentioned in Ecclesiastes and made pop-culturally famous by The Byrds in 1965 with “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

Turning to our recipe today, Mahasti takes some liberties with her collards by gently sautéing them and putting them into a pie.  It’s a riff on creamed greens – don’t squint, you know you like creamed spinach even though you may prefer to call it Spinach Maria.  The dish combines two Southern favorites, collards and biscuit, with leeks and Gruyere cheese.

It’s a nice side dish that has a comforting and familiar flavor but has some nuance that sets it apart from the same old thing.  Leeks bring a light onion flavor with a hint of sweet garlic, and a soupçon of maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness and a little flavor mystery that gives the whole thing the kind of uniqueness that we like in food that we put our name on.

But, if you want to call it your own, we won’t out you – you might very well have created it all by yourself.  These things happen.

Tomato Head’s Collard and Creamed Leek Pie

For the biscuit:

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. Salt

1 Tbl baking powder

½ stick unsalted butter

¾ cup buttermilk

In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or 2 knives. Stir in buttermilk until a soft dough forms. Pat dough down into a greased 12-inch cast iron skillet or pie pan. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the Leeks:

¼ cup oil

4 cups sliced leek

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

¾ cup heavy cream

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, salt and pepper and sauté until leeks are tender. Add heavy cream and cook down until cream has thickened, about 2-3 minutes on medium high.

For the Collards:

¼ cup oil

1 bunch Collards chopped, about 8 cups

1 Tbl cider vin

2 Tbl maple syrup

1 tsp salt

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add collards and cook down for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. Add salt, cider vinegar and maple syrup and sauté stirring frequently until collards are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

For the breadcrumbs:

1 cup bread crumbs

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

Melt ¼ cup butter over low heat. Mix bread crumbs with melted butter. Set aside.

To Assemble:

1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

Spread the collards, followed by creamed leeks, gruyere and breadcrumbs, evenly on top of the partially baked biscuit. Place the pie in a 400-degree oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until cheese has melted and breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Allow the pie to cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8

Hummus – Tradition and Invention

Absolutes are dangerous.

Of course, absolutes are also attractive, sometimes very attractive because they eliminate uncertainty and create a kind of level playing ground for the mind.  After all, life is so unpredictable, it’s only natural that we’re drawn to anything we perceive as steady, fixed and resolved.  But the truth is, the truth can vary.

And that’s as true in matters of food as it is of anything.  If you’re a well-traveled southerner or just one with family in more than one state, you probably know this instinctively.  Just you try to declare a definitive recipe for BBQ, corn bread, or, heck, even deviled eggs, and you’re likely to find yourself embroiled in the kind of ruckus that has been known suspend family reunions indefinitely and to rouse normally serene southern grandmothers to expletive laced invective.

In parts of the Middle East, you’ll find the same passion for the absolute in discussions about hummus and the one true recipe.  But if history has taught us anything, it demonstrates that there is no such thing as the one true recipe.  Hummus, like all good food, has as many incarnations as there are hands that make it.

Besides, history is notoriously incomplete in matters of food.  Even today as young writers relish and record family recipes, they’re setting down instructions and ingredients that are often several generations old, passed sometimes by food stained recipe card and sometimes by oral tradition. An old family recipe that insists that Duke’s is absolutely the only mayo for a properly deviled egg is curious to me because both Mama and Mamaw only ever had Helman’s in their kitchens.  Somebody changed that absolute, I know it.  And I know that’s true of hummus, too, because I’ve seen it happen.

Hummus is shorthand for hummus bi tahini which means chickpea with sesame paste.  It’s an old recipe with a first recorded mention sometime in the 13th century, though some folks argue that the first reference is actually in the Old Testament’s Book of Ruth.  There’s no recipe in Ruth, just an invitation to dip some bread in the hometz, and that’s just as well; chickpea cultivation is about 10, 000 years old, and I feel confident that someone, whether by accident or intention, mashed up the chickpea and found it good long before anybody even figured out how to make paper.

The basic ingredients of hummus are chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon – and from there it’s a story about invention, adaptation, and experimentation that has launched a thousand little tweaks in kitchens across the globe and close to home, too.

Even here in the Tomato Head kitchens we have a signature recipe that we couldn’t resist fiddling with.  Oh, don’t worry – our original and unsubtle hummus remains as original and unsubtle as ever, but we’ve added some more flavors to the mix.  In fact, there are four new flavors: Beet, Black Bean Sriracha, Carrot, and Classic.

Our new Classic hummus is a traditional, smooth and creamy chickpea centered dip.  The other flavors are just what they sound like because the recipes remain short, simple and fresh. And we make all of them by hand right here at home – that means we roast beets, shred carrots and mash the chickpeas ourselves.

And while they make great dips, don’t get so caught up in absolutes that you overlook all the hummus hack potential – consider the recipe below, Tomato Head’s Beet and Carrot Hummus Sandwich.  It combines 2 flavors of hummus with the taste of market fresh produce for a sandwich of considerable crunch and savor.  And even if the recipe doesn’t pre-date the Common Era and does take some liberties with even older recipes, it’s still absolutely delicious

 

Tomato Head’s Beet and Carrot Hummus Sandwich

For the Corn and Green Bean Salad:

8-10 Green Beans

1 ear Corn

2 tsp Fresh Mint Chopped

2 TBL Feta Cheese

4 tsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Lemon Juice

¼ tsp Salt

¼ tsp Cracked Black Pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 3-5 minutes just until tender. Remove the corn from the pot. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. Place the corn kernels in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Drop the green beans in the same pot of water and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the green beans and immerse them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the green beans from the ice water and slice thin. Add green beans and remaining ingredients to corn and toss well.

To assemble the sandwich:

1 – 9 oz tub Tomato Head Carrot Hummus

1 – 9 oz tub Tomato Head Beet Hummus

Flour Head Bakery 100% Wheat Bread

1-2 leaves Lacinato Kale Julienned

1 Green Zucchini sliced thin

1 Yellow Zucchini sliced thin

1 Tomato sliced

Place 2 slices of bread on your cutting board. Spread one slice generously with Carrot Hummus, and the other with Beet Hummus. Top one of the slices of bread with Julienned Kale, followed by Yellow Zucchini, Green Zucchini, Corn and Green Bean Salad and Sliced Tomato. Sprinkle the Sliced tomato with Salt and Pepper. Place the second slice of bread on top of the tomato, hummus side down. Cut sandwich in half. Repeat the process if building more than one sandwich.

Julie Armbruster – Featured Artist August-September 2018

 

It won’t take you long to realize that Julie Armbruster isn’t just a striking visual artist – she’s a powerful story teller, too.

Armbruster’s exhibit, “Opposite Day” opened this month in our Downtown location, and it’s a wild ride of color, character, and composition that grabs the eye and then runs into the imagination.  The work bursts with color and life and is inhabited by a cast of characters that are simultaneously alluring and suspect.  Almost every one of these figures seems to live in a world of swirling activity where life and experience happen to them in ways they seem to comprehend or at the very least struggle to understand.  You can see it in their eyes.

At first, it’s easy to ascribe all the activity behind the eyes to one’s own imagination, but Armbruster knows it’s true. She also knows what’s happening: “I can totally tell what they are thinking.  Many times, they are experiencing a shift in consciousness.  It hits them like a ton of bricks and they are letting it set in.”

These are characters with lives of their own.  Even though the artist creates them, they appear, develop and evolve at their own pace, often over the course of several paintings. Armbruster says, “They are recurring and reveal more of their story as they appear to me. The panels are not always sequential, so sometimes I need to invent paintings to fill in the blanks. “

Although Armbruster says she doesn’t think of herself as a writer, when she speaks of her work she often drifts into a writer’s vocabulary as she mentions narrative elements, character development, even plot.  In fact, she might be able tell you the plot of any given piece of work if she were willing, but, like many good writers, her work invites “the viewer to investigate the details and symbols and decide what it all means.”

And there’s plenty to investigate.

Armbruster works from a very special, imaginative point of view because, she says, that “my largest influence right now is my 4-year old daughter, Olive.  Her brain flexibility and continuous growth is mind-boggling.”  If you’ve ever let a four-year-old tell you a story, you’ll understand how richly varied, textured, and even surreal unencumbered imagination can be.  It’s precisely that quality that gives Armbruster’s work its allure.

Yet, despite the vibrant colors and strokes of comic shaping in her work, Armbruster doesn’t present a naïve world – many of the works have a sense of something that’s not quite threatening but not all peaches and cream, either.  And that feeling makes one wonder if her characters, behind all the color and activity, are all happy people.  Armbruster, naturally, won’t quite say, but she does think, “happiness is something to work towards.  There are very few great things that are given freely.  My work is a combination of the vibrant and upbeat colors with a steady and cautious interior. “

“Opposite Day” will hang downtown through September 2nd and at the Gallery location from September 3 through October 1.

This show marks the fourth of Julie’s Tomato Head installations and the first in over four years. In honor of that, Tomato Head will host a closing artist reception on Sunday September 30th, 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the Gallery location, 7240 Kingston Pike, Suite 172.

Deviled Eggs

My relationship with eggs is a Facebook status:

It’s complicated.

And like many a well-documented social media bond, my affair with eggs has always been mercurial and overly sensitive to the delicate shadings of status updates.

Today, I’m a fan of eggs of all sorts – boiled, deviled, poached and even shirred.  But it’s been a tempestuous affair.

It all started as a child when cousin Johnny and I could happily divide a boiled egg (he the white, I the yolk) until one day, without warning, poof!  The love was gone. I was done.  Just done.  In an instant, even quicker than Tayor Swift can sing, “Never, ever, ever,” my egg splitting days were over.  I don’t know that there was a reason, but, while I continued to hang out with Johnny, the egg and I were over.

Much later, after a late and very merry night, friend Ann made us a boiled egg and toast as a buffer against our indulgence.  It was a medium boiled egg, crunchy with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper eaten in succession with bites of good bread, well-toasted and slathered with rich, Normandy butter.  Heaven.  A perfectly textured nibble, generously endowed with my favorite treats (salt and fat), it rekindled an old flame burning in my heart.  For years, even long after I abandoned besotted evenings about town, that egg service has remained my favorite snack:  we were reunited and it tasted so good!

Despite that reconciliation, my prejudice against deviled eggs persisted even longer.  It may have a been a lingering and unpleasant memory of limp and tepid examples from church socials where the yolks were so pale and pasty that not even a sprinkle of tasteless grocery-brand paprika could enliven their visual appeal.  First impressions are strong, and this one endured until only a few years ago.  The change transpired at a family Thanksgiving when my new favorite aunt presented a plate of eggs stuffed with a deep yellow yolk flecked with parsley and garnished with a half a green olive on top.  In moment, better far than a metaphor can ever, ever be, I wasn’t just in love – the egg was love:  Delicious, simple but well considered, and pleasing to all the senses.

That, of course, is the truth of all great food loves – a good eat is a well-rounded appeal to at least 4 senses (and sometimes all five if there’s a sizzle involved).  And that’s exactly what this recipe for deviled eggs has going for it.  The addition of a little sriracha deepens the color of the stuffing and puts a little of the devil in it too, giving both the eyes and the tongue a treat. Red onion adds some texture and capers, with a little punch from Dijon, bring a refreshing savor for the aroma and the taste too. But, of course, all these elements perfectly frame the rich and smoky flavor of the salmon which also affixes a luxurious silkiness to each bite.

It’s a festive deviled egg to be sure, but it’s just the right kind of celebratory for the Fourth July or any gathering with the people you love.  That’s the real reason we spend time in the kitchen – it’s a palpable way to show our love, and a good recipe makes it a palatable and enduring affection, too.

 

Tomato Head’s Smoked Salmon, Red Onion and Caper Deviled Eggs

6 large eggs

3 TBL Mayonnaise

1 TBL Dijon Mustard

1 TBL red onion, chopped fine

1 TBL capers, chopped

2 TBL Smoked Salmon, chopped fine

1 tsp sriracha

1/8 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Boil eggs for 10 -11 minutes. Remove the eggs from the hot water and place in an ice bath. Peel the eggs then cut them in half lengthwise and gently remove the yolks, keeping the whites intact.

Place the yolks in a small bowl. With a fork mash the yolks with the mayonnaise and mustard until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture. Cool for 1-2 hours and serve chilled.

 

Ocean Starr Cline – featured artist

Equilibrium Be

Stained Glass Bluebirde

I Dreamed of Cardinals 2e

 

The first thing to know about Ocean Starr Cline is that that is her given name.  The second important thing to know is that, despite the invariable interest that her name excites, she’s not much concerned with what others think.  In fact, it’s an essential part of how she lives:

“My parents had me in San Francisco, named me, and immediately moved me to Clay County, Alabama where everybody was Jeremy, Jason, Sarah and Amanda.  I fit in like a purple giraffe on the farm. I complained bitterly about my name for years and years and I was going to change it when I got old enough, but, by that point, I had gotten used to it – because there’s always somebody who’s going to stare or has a comment. It really fortified me to be able to put any kind of art on the wall.  Some people are going to like it some people are not.  And I just don’t care.”

Transformed Mane

But Cline’s life and art is very much about caring for other people though not in an intrusive or interfering way.  After a few moments of talking to her, you get the feeling that she truly believes that the universe is conspiring in her favor and ours, too.  All we have to do is listen.

“My whole process is about sitting down and letting what needs to come through come through without the clogs like ‘oh if I paint a bat somebody’s going to buy a bat.’  You can’t think about the money.  You can know that people like bats and if you’re moved to do one, you do one.  But people come to me all the time, and they’ll say, ‘this painting reminds of my Uncle who just passed and makes me close to him.’”

Cline’s paintings evince a sense of that magic – although she often works in a similar palate, her paintings each carry a unique voice, you might even detect an aura.  Her approach to art leaves her open to whatever magic or inspiration comes to her in the moment.  It isn’t labored, she says, “it’s always there [on the canvas].  I go, sit down, squirt some paint, and I just go.  It’s not work.  People walk, people breath, I paint.  It’s part of the creature I am.”

And yet, Cline says, she has to “let go of the conceit that I’m painting for myself.  I do not want to keep them. I want these paintings to go and help somebody, make somebody happy, be enjoyed by other people who are not me. They have to go somewhere – you’ve got to have flow.”

That naturalness requires mindfulness, so Cline is particular about when she prefers to work: “Early morning is the best – staying

Wild Gardene

away from too much news and chatter.”  And it helps her “let go of the anxiety that a painting would not be good.  I’m just going to put this idea down.  I’m not going to fuss about perfection.  I’m going to get to where it feels right.”

It’s often said that letting go is the hardest part of any labor of love, but even a quick glance at Cline’s work will demonstrate why it’s also the most important.

Starr Cline’s exhibit will be on view at the downtown Knoxville Tomato Head on Market Square from June 4th through July 1st.  Her exhibit will move to the West Knoxville Tomato Head from July 3rd through August 6th.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design