Cooking and painting are relational. You chose a medium, create a composition, and let the elements transform into beauty – plus you can literally consume a masterpiece. Both take practice and repetition. Perhaps one thing prominently strikes you and it becomes the heart of a piece. I've be patronizing small grocery stores and farmers markets downtown Manhattan recently. Prefer bang for my buck, but buying less with higher quality. I've been simply buying raw veggies and eggs. Health is cool - obsessing over it, is not. Making your food fun is a fulfilling way to handle a budget.
Tomatoes have been a biggie for me, especially heirloom tomatoes. I love a heirloom, of any kind. These tomatoes are vibrant and unreal, and usually cost a little more. So, I pick one and pamper the little guy. Feels like picking your perfectly imperfect pumpkin for halloween carving. This one above deserved to be immortalized. Also the sunset hues were insane in the membrane, and totally connected to the warmth of my current work. That being said, that sole little tomato was about to make it's lead debut in my dinner.
THE STUDIO DISH
Up on deck the past weeks have been the forever-loved, frittata, baked in a small cast iron skillet. This one is my prized confidant, holding all the garlic-infused flavors of the past. Frittatas are one of the easiest dishes to make, but all about the composition. Really, you can't fuck this up! How I treat painting is how I treat cooking; both are a passionate, forgiving process. When you put energy into making something, the product reflects.
So, I've made this frittata version at least three times in a row, each time changing details here and there, but sticking with the same process. No rules! No strict recipe! Just a curation of color and shapes that makes my taste buds happy campers. I'll make this sucker in the morning or evening, giving it plenty of time to rest. Preferably, I dig a cold, dense slice of frittata out of the refrigerator, accented with grey poupon mustard. But before chowing down, gotta create the tart-like concoction.
TOMATOES SQUASH the SCALLIONS Frittata
Red Pepper Flakes
Yellow Zucchini Squash
Hard Cheese (ex: Wisconsin White Cheddar)
1. Turn on music. I prefer Dean Martin for spicy kitchen endeavors.
2. Slice all the veggies.
3. Crack 4-5 eggs in a bowl, add a splash of water and sprinkle in red pepper flakes. Whisk with vigor.
4. Line the zucchini in the pan like a crust. Top with diced scallions and grate in your cheese of choice.
5. Pour in egg mixture evenly.
6. Place your tomatoes & scallion decor. Sprinkle cheese. This placement is ideal for slicing into four attractive pieces.
7. Bake 30-40 mins until browned. Check on it at 25 mins, then every 5 mins or so. Baby it!
8. Let cool & rest for at least an hour.
9. Slice & devour.
When I'm painting, a well-crafted dish is the best accompaniment, especially when I make it myself. Whether its watching a good flick or working my my sketchbook, a creative, homemade dish really steps up a studio night-in. The best part about it is that you're cooking with simple ingredients, nothing really "store bought" or pre-prepared. Growing up my mom always made meals with a few ingredients, rarely take-out or eating at restaurants. Want to make cookies? Pull out the flour and sugar, never a box. And, Dad kept a compost in the backyard, so I always thought of food as something that should be whole and reciprocal to the earth. It's an art to know how to feed yourself and others as a testimony to creativity. It's all the hype now to be mindful and sustainable, but at the end of the day, it's about being creative and kind. You don't have to be a chef or a well-educated foodie to treat your meals like it's your artistry. It's totally up to you.