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‘Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio’ Serves Up a Savory Blend of Culinary and Visual Arts

Tea and Strawberries by Noel Bella Merriam

The culinary arts and the visual arts in the city have combined to form a tasty little morsel called “The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio” (SRC Publishing, $24.95).

Artists sign copies of “Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio.”

Three dozen artists across the city, ranging from Rolando Briseño and Laura Mijangos to Brother Cletus Behlmann and Victoria Suescum, all contributed a piece of art work along with a favorite recipe to represent them. So, you can find Heather Edwards’ recipe for Beer Beans faces a lineup of beer bottles. Jeannette MacDougall pairs Moule et Frites with an impressionistic array of mussels. And Rex Hausmann’s canvas, What Has Been Ordained You, with a pink-frosted doughnut accompanies a recipe for Coffee and Beignets.

Not all of the pairings are necessarily related. Henry E. Cardenas’ explosion of color, Nambe Glow, is alongside a recipe for Hot Peach-Glazed Shrimp. The relation? “My paintings are dominated by hot, tangy colors that pop and energize,” he writes. “A succulent delicacy, with a zesty flavor, is the perfect accompaniment to my art. In the end, we all just want to spice up our lives!”

Kathrine Daluz Maple autographs her work.

Those who know Damien Watel solely through his restaurants, including Bistro Vatel, might not know he’s also an artist, who is responsible for the dog paintings, among others, that you can find in his restaurants. He has a canine canvas in the book bearing the inscription “I ♥ Foie Gras.” It is partnered with a decadent recipe for Harold’s Eggs with Perigord truffles and foie gras — and, yes, an egg. “The continuation of decades of daily culinary creations is a finely honed passion,” he writes. “But when not in the kitchen, my creative juices spill onto canvas, where forms, colors and feelings are melded into a new expression to savor.”

Detail of Rex Hausman’s What Has Been Ordained You

Many of the artists gathered recently at the Gallary Nord, 2009 N.W. Military Hwy., for a book signing that also featured many of the works included as well as snack versions of the recipes included. Carla Veliz presented her Mango Mint Salad, while Linda Hammond’s Maraschino Cherry Cake, cut into petit four-sized bites,  offered a sweet, colorful touch. Sabine Senft’s Prosciutto Gems disappeared quickly, as did Rainey’s bacon-wrapped cheese-filled dates.

It was fun meeting the artists, and it also proved informative, too. Victoria Montalto corrected her recipe for Spicy Shredded Chicken by crossing out a line among the ingredients that called for 4 egg whites. (So, may a note of that later, if you get a copy of the book.)

Foie Gras by Damien Watel

Lisa Mittler sums up the experience of the book in a comment that accompanies her recipe for Mixed Berry Tart: “Art emanates as a medley from the mind. We see, we combine, and we taste until we are satisfied. We are always our own best creations.”

“The  Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio” was created by Suzy Casey, Rita Goldberg and Claire Rhodes Stevenson. Copies are available only online for $24.95 apiece plus shipping and handling. To order, click here.



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Linda Hammond’s Maraschino Cherry Cake

Linda Hammond’s Maraschino Cherry Cake

For “The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio” (SRC Publishing, $24.95), artist Linda Hammond included a painting she titled Thief. It shows a bird helping himself to a bowl of cherries, but not without keeping an eye on his surroundings in case he’s caught with a claw in the cherry bowl.

“The Boat-tailed Grackle, a forager with a taste for bite-sized fruit, is known to steal food from other birds,” she writes. “This image, inspired by my first stay in Seattle, where I tasted the most delicious cherries, is part of a series featuring this bird as a messenger.”

Those cherries are also the basis for her recipe for Maraschino Cherry Cake.

Linda Hammond’s Maraschino Cherry Cake

2/3 cup shortening (can use half butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cherry juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts
16 maraschino cherries, chopped
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Detail of Thief by Linda Hammond

Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans or one 9-by-13-inch oblong pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream shortening and sugar. In separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt.

Add shortening mixture, juice, almond extract and milk, alternating with flour mixture. (Buttermilk can be substituted for milk, if desired.) Add nuts and cherries.

Very gently fold in egg whites into batter and turn into pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Remove and cool layers, then turn out onto serving plate. Frost with your favorite frosting, such as 7-minute icing.

Makes 6-8 servings.

From Linda Hammond/”The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio”

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Carla Veliz’s Mango Mint Salad

Carla Veliz’s Mango Mint Salad

San Antonio artist Carla Veliz sees a connection between her art and food.

“My art, like a crisp, flavorful salad, combines color, texture and visual delights to create a sensory experience,” she writes in “The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio” (SRC Publishing, $24.95). “The vibrant hues presented in delicate swirls awaken the visual senses in much the same way that a refreshing, multi-textured salad arouses the palate.”

And so, this refreshing, multi-textured Mango Mint Salad is a sweet-savory reflection of her work.

Carla Veliz’s Mango Mint Salad

3 ripe mangoes
Juice of 2 limes
1 clove garlic, diced
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup shredded mint leaves

Peel and slice mangoes lengthwise.

Serve individually; plate 1/2 mango per guest.

Whisk lime juice, garlic and agave nectar in a bowl, drizzle over mango and sprinkle with shredded mist.

Makes 6 servings.

From Carla Veliz/”The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio”

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