Friday, January 16, 2009

Mini-Gallery Show at Giacomo's Salon and Day Spa...

Some of my stuff (framed and everything!) can now, or very shortly, be seen at Giacomo's Salon and Day Spa in Troy, OH. Giacomo's is a gorgeous place in its own right. My bento pics are on the upper level, on the art wall across from the massage rooms. The "spa lady" is there, of course ;)

I also did some work for December's edition of Anorak, a great kids' magazine based in the UK. It's the chocolate edition, which means it has way more going for it than just my bento. I've really been jonesing for chocolate recently.

And, lastly, two things on the horizon...500 Bento Box Lunches is available for preorder on Amazon...should be out before too long...and I'm really looking forward to a gallery show in Yellow Springs this summer. Well, except for deciding on food for the gallery reception....doing food-based art puts a little bit of pressure on a person.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Quick and easy bento-size samosas...

We lovelovelove our spicy food around here. I was raised around desis and eat idlis and sambhar like there's no tomorrow; my boyfriend puts tabasco sauce on everything he eats.

There are some frozen "cocktail" samosas available at some Indian grocers, but I always find them expensive and a little greasy. The savory filling is the most appealing to me, because it can be customized to taste. I prefer my crusts to be dry and flaky, so I stayed away from the recipes that included a deep-fry stage. I experimented a little and came up with a combination I really like. You'll need:

  • 3 or 4 medium to large red potatoes, boiled in skins and cooled
  • 1/2 small can of baby peas (I use LeSueur)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite hot sauce (I use various types of tabasco)
  • jar of curry powder (I used Madras Hot curry, which oddly enough is not all that hot)
  • other spices (cinnamon, coriander, peppercorns, etc) to taste
  • 1 package refrigerated, rolled piecrusts...decent quality brand
  • drinking glass
  • small mixing bowl
  • teaspoon
  • fork
  • baking sheet
  • oven preheated to around 400 degrees F

First, take the cooled potatoes and slough off the skins with your fingers. They should peel off easily. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and mash lightly with the don't have to whip them, but keep the chunks small. Add the half-can of peas and stir until well-integrated. Add hot sauce, curry powder and other spices to taste, mixing until incorporated. Set aside.

Spread out the piecrust on the baking sheet, one roll at a time. Use the drinking glass to cut out circles (it will help if you keep everything cool and dry...especially your you work). Stack the circles as they pile up, setting aside remnants to press out and cut again. From the two piecrusts, you should be able to get at least 15 circles.* When you've finished, fill the drinking glass with cool water and keep it nearby.

Using the baking sheet as a work surface, pluck one circle from the stack and use a fingertip to trace water around the outer edge. Take about half a teaspoonful of filling and place in the exact center of the circle:

Now bring two edges up and over, and pinch half of it shut:

Bring the last edge up in the opposite direction, perpendicular to the first, and pinch the seams shut. The result will be a triangular little samosa:

Fill up the baking sheet, keeping them at least an inch apart for even heating (they don't expand much). Bake until golden brown:
A few minutes to cool and they're ready to eat. I like mine dipped in tamarind chutney, or even more tabasco sauce. Keep some milk or yogurt nearby, though, in case you're taken aback by the heat!

* I know there's going to be at least one person out there who tries to substitute prepackaged gyoza wrappers to cut out the piecrust step. I speak from experience when I say, don't do it! The gyoza are flimsier and more pasta-like and it just doesn't work at all, even when boiled first. It might produce a sloppy, spicy pierogi-wannabe, but not a samosa. ;)