Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Front Page - Collage Art Mystery

Collage is often looked down in the art world - all you're doing is cutting stuff out and gluing it down, right? Anyone can do that. Not so! Great collage art must have perfect balance and proportion, which is a deliberate special talent. When collage tells a story it become something truly unique, as the below artists demonstrate.

Artist Susan Scott has perfected a clean and rich style in her shop Sushi Pot. This is an example of her series of briocolage - which she defines as a construction or creation from a diverse range of available things. If this inspires you to collage yourself, check out her supplies shop to over at Sushi Pot Parts.

This sureal and spontanius collage is one of my favorites from livingferal. There is something totally unique an haunting about the work you find in this shop.

I love the paring of this pensive bird in a party hat with the vintage text. All the collages in Queen Be's shop have whimsical parings and loads of personality.

If you can't tell already, I'm starting a new weekly feature here at Made Right Guide. The Friday Front Page will feature handmade sellers who making great and inspiring products. If you'd like to get featured, please contact me. I'd love to see whacha got.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quick Pickled Vegetable's A-Go-Go

I've always been very intrigued with pickling and canning but found the whole process of boiling and serializing a bit daunting. Not to mention that with a  single error I could potentially kill myself and loved ones with botulism.  As someone who has accidentally left the sugar out of brownies, I felt my cooking skills were not quite up to the challenge. Well, no longer my friends! I got the book Quick Pickles by Chronicle Books for Christmas and I finally got brave enough to try it out.
Quick pickles are similar to traditional pickles but they are meant to be kept in the refrigerator and only last for a few months in most cases. This means there is no chance for harmful bacteria to grow (I'm not an expert here, but that's the gist of it.)

I tried out the recipie for American Midwest-Style Garden Pickles. I adapted the recipe a bit and here's what I came up with:

• 8 cups total of the following: cabbage in bite sized pices, broccoli, calouaflour, green beans snaped in half, corn on the cob cut into 1/2" rounds
• 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
• One dryed chilli
• 1 teaspoon celery seed
• 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
• 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
• 1 teaspoon whole colves
• 3 cups white vinager
• 1 cup white grape juice
• 1/2 cup sugar (book calls for 3/4 cup, I'll do that next time)
• 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt (not table salt!)

Bring to a boil in a stainless steel pot all the liquid, spices, and corn. Simmer for three minuets.  Stir a few times as it simmers to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the whole thing over the chopped up veggies in a ceramic or glass bowl and allow it to come to room temperature. Stir it five or six times as it cools to evenly distribute all the liquid and spices. Cover and refrigerator. Should keep for three weeks in refrigerator.
Heres a snap of the veggies when I've just pourd the liquid on it. You can see the the turmeric is already starting to turn the cauliflower a nice shade of yellow. I've let mine sit over night before sampling to let the salt and vinegar do it's magic. So far they are pretty tasty and nicely crisp, if a little bit vinegary - that's why next time I'll use the whole 3/4 cups of sugar.
I'm calling this fist go a success, although my boyfriend says "they taste like my Grandma made" which I guess is a bad thing since he didn't like his Grandma's pickles. I will admit that if you don't like sweet pickles you won't like these.
This is also a great way to reuse glass jars which I love to do. Look how nice the veggies look floating in their yummy brine. If you have any pickling advice I'd love to hear it!