Friday, October 22, 2010

Time Wasting Experiments

Time Wasting Experiment 0029, 5"x5" 2009, Letterpress

"Since January 2009 I've been tracking my wasted time. Sometimes I make letterpress prints in commemoration of this." - alyson provax

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Black Metamorphosis, Aves series by elena lyakir

"In today's world of excess, instant gratification, distractions, and the continuous movement toward some or other 'destination' I would like to take my audience to a place that is not a 'destination' or a past memory, rather an 'in-between place', the process itself and the emotions that encompass memory; a place between dream and awake, imagination and reality, past and present; a pause between intention and action, thought and speech, action and reaction." - elena lyakir

Is it pie or cake? What about something in-between... the following is a vintage recipe that possibly originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch. The pie filling uses a custard base with a bit of added flour. While baking, the pie undergoes a magical transformation as the filling separates into an upper sponge cake layer and a lower custard layer.

Lemon Sponge Pie
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 heaping tablespoons flour
Pinch salt
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 unbaked 9" pie shell (simple pie crust recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Cream together sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add flour, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks and milk. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff, then gently fold into the lemon mixture. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat heat to 325° F and continue baking for 35-40 minutes or until the pie is set and lightly golden brown on top.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about dancing in the rain." tiffany wilson

Rain always makes me think of pancakes, and what goes best with pancakes than maple syrup? I pilfered the following recipe from John Phillip Carroll's book pie pie pie.

Maple Spice Pie

Basic All-American Pie Dough for a 9-inch pie shell
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 to 4 tbsp ice cold water
  1. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl - large enough to hold the ingredients, with room for your hands - and stir them together with your fingers.
  2. Drop in the shortening, and then, with your fingers, break it into several pieces as you push it around the flour. Now put both hands in the bowl, right into the flour and shortening, and rub the fingers of each hand against the thumbs, lightly blending the shortening and flour together into smaller lumps and flake-shaped pieces. Your goal is to rub the shortening into the flour while keeping the mixture light-textured and dry. Work as quickly and comfortably as you can, lifting your hands often and letting the mixture fall back into the bowl. You know you've blended enough when you don't see any lumps of shortening and you have a mixture of particles the size of coarse and fine bread crumbs.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water over the dough and stir briskly with a fork. Continue adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition and concentrating on the areas of dough that seem the driest. When the dough forms a rough, cohesive mass, reach into the bowl and press the dough together into a roundish ball. If it doesn't hold together, or if parts of it seem crumbly and dry, sprinkle on a little more water. The amount of water vary slightly from time to time, depending on your ingredients. If in doubt, it is better to add too much than not enough, because a dry dough is difficult to roll out.
  4. Have a handful of additional flour nearby in a small cup, for flouring your hands and the rolling surfaces. Rub some flour on your hands and pat the dough into a smooth disk about 1 inch thick and 3 to 4 inches across.
  5. Sprinkle your rolling surface lightly with flour, spreading the flour to cover an area about 12-inches in diameter. Put the dough in the center, and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Flatten the dough a little with your hands, then begin rolling it into a circle. Do most of the rolling from the center out to the edges of the dough, lifting and turning it slightly ever 5 or 6 rolls to help keep it round. If it sticks on the bottom, slide a long metal spatula underneath to loosen it, tossing some more flour under the dough as you lift it gently with the spatula. If the top of the dough is damp and sticky, dust it with additional flour as well. When you have a circle 11 to 12 inches across and about 2 inches larger than the top of your pie pan, you have rolled enough.
  6. To put the dough in the pie pan, roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, like a carpet. Then put the edge of the dough at the edge of the pan and unroll it, letting it drop into the pan. Slide it gently to center it. If it tears, push it back together. Pat the dough snugly into the pan, staring around the edges and easing toward the center. You should have 1/2 to 1 inch of overhang all around the pan. In places where there is more than an inch, cut it off with scissors or a sharp knife. In spots where there is less, brush the edge lightly with water and press one of the scraps of trimmed dough onto it.
  7. Fold the overhanging dough over itself and pinch it together to make a double-thick, upstanding rim all around. Pinch the rim to make a scalloped edge - called fluting or crimping. Fill the shel and bake as directed in the recipe.
1/4 cup al-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp group cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Roll out the dough and fit it into a 9-inch glass pie pan, then trim and flute the edges.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and sift them together, or shake them through a strainer, onto a sheet of waxed paper. Set aside.
  3. Put the butter in a large bowl, and using a big wooden spoon, beat for a moment, until it is smooth and creamy. Add the flour mixture and beat again until evenly mixed. Add the egg yolks and beat until incorporated, then whisk in the maple syrup. Add the cream and stir or whisk until blended and smooth. Pour into the prepared pie shell.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325° F and continue baking for 40 minutes longer, or until a knife inserted slightly off-center comes out clean. Remove the pie and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve cooled pie with whipped cream.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


desert girl by roswell angier

"Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That's the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.” – Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)

Monday, October 18, 2010


photo by jeana kwon

I don't normally blog about about doughnuts but Doughnut Plant in New York City is definitely worth a shout-out. My friend Jeana who has an insatiable sweet tooth led me to this Lower East Side gem located at 379 Grand Street for her favorite fried cakes - doughnuts. In 1994, owner Mark Isreal started the Doughnut Plant in the basement of a LES tenement building with his grandfather Herman's doughnut recipe. Before opening his own storefront in 2000, he made early morning bike deliveries to various bakeries and coffee shops in the city. The bakery churns out both yeast and cake doughnuts, ranging from glazed to jelly and creamed filled to specialty doughnuts like Tres Leches and Blackout (filled with chocolate pudding). They even offer square doughnuts. On the day we made our visit Pumpkin doughnuts were on the menu, which Jeana promptly ordered along with the Tres Leches. I opted for the French Valrohona Chocolate. I'm not exaggerating when I say that all the rounds were absolutely melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I just got back from my old stomping ground - New York City. As always it was an amazing trip. In some ways it was like coming home, even though it felt like I never left. I hung out with friends, ate in some of my favorite restaurants, and explored just how much the city had changed in one short year. The Big Apple is one of those cities that is constantly evolving, yet somehow it manages to stay constant. Maybe not the same, but constant. There are always those things you can count on, and maybe take for granted, but it gives you a sense of comfort and familiarity amidst all the chaos. Faces change, businesses come and go, new buildings go up and down but the city's essence, it's energy, drive, and soul - those things never waiver, enticing us back time and again.

One Saturday afternoon I did something new. Some friends and I drove an hour outside of the city to go apple picking at the Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm in Yorktown Heights. It was a crisp but sunny autumn day, perfect for meandering through an apple orchard munching on fresh-picked apples. There was a sumptuous selection of Golden and Red Delicious, Jonagold, Crispin, Empire, and Winesap. Believe me, nothing tastes better than an apple you hand picked yourself from a tree. After we had our half bushel of apples, we stopped in Tricia's Treats Bake Shop and oohed and awed over all the delectable baked goods before purchasing our own raspberry and apple pie to take home. It was a satisfyingly yummy day.

Over the next week I baked two apple tarts with the fresh apples we'd picked from the farm. I used a simple recipe from smitten kitchen, a classic apple tart from Alice Waters which was a 20 year-old recipe she nipped from Jacques Pepin during his days at Chez Panisse. You only need the minimum of ingredients - flour, sugar, butter, and apples. You can't get purer than that. The results were mouth watering, flaky and not too sweet. In a word - perfect. One of the great things about this recipe is that you don't need a bunch of fancy equipment or baking utensils. For my pate brisee crust, instead of an electric mixer I used two knives to "cut" in the butter. Instead of a tart pan, I went free form galette-style for a more "rustic" crust. It may have lacked the perfection of a bakery made tart, but it more than made up for it with its "home-made" deliciousness.

Alice Waters's Apple Tart
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 tbsp chilled water

2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
5 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup sugar

MIX flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.

DRIBBLE in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball.

Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.

PLACE dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to go free-form, or galette-style with it. Heat oven to 400°F. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)

OVERLAP apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.

BRUSH melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and the other 3 tablespoons over apples. (I don't like overly sweet desserts so I only use about 3 tablespoons of sugar total.)

BAKE in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.

MAKE glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.

REMOVE tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

BRUSH glaze over tart, slice, and serve.