February 2011


“I feel so bad I couldn’t talk to you!” was the message from my friend Maite Agahnia this morning. She and her fellow artists of the art group Art6West had an amazing opening last night at India Street Gallery in Little Italy here in San Diego. I was thrilled she didn’t much time to talk to me, but not because I didn’t want to talk to her.

Maite Agahnia, 5th Ave., 9:44pm

Maite Agahnia, 5th Ave., 9:44pm

To my thinking, it meant that she was sharing her work and inspiration with people who didn’t already know her or know her work. That’s the point of an opening – it is a chance to share your work with new people. I’ve been lucky to watch the work progress over the last several months. I know about as much as a third person could know about the work, which is a real privilege. Last night was the chance to share it with others and by the crowds that were there, plenty of people now know her and her work and I couldn’t be happier we didn’t get to sit and chat for very long!

I also got the chance to briefly talk with the other ladies in the show, three of whom I know as well. Cree Scudder has some amazing new work that is pushing into new territory.  Brenda York continues to inspire me with her smart whimsy, both in her work and her life. Bronle Crosby blew me away with her technical skill in her portraits of the other 5 women in the show. I had to laugh as my husband and I walked over to see them. I had introduced him to Cree and Brenda, both women he’d never met before, and when he saw their portraits on the wall it was great to hear him react, “Hey, that’s the Brenda we were just talking too! Oh my god that’s good! And the other woman you were talking to!!  And there’s Maite’s portrait!!” If I ever needed a portrait of someone, she’s the one to do it without a doubt.

It’s an amazing show. Go see it if you can, it’s up until February 20th. They’ll have a closing event on the 17th from 5-7pm if you want to chat with them in person which I highly recommend. So I am curious, who do you talk to at openings?

If you don’t know it already, I love food. I also love to cook, and by most accounts from people I have fed over the years I’m damn good at it. It’s a wonder I have any time to paint, given how much time I spend cooking, thinking up recipes, shopping, browsing epicurious.com and watching the Cooking channel. So I was watching Chuck’s Day Off and he did a salad of sauteed cauliflower, bacon and arugula.  Three things I love. So I thought on it a couple of days and decided I’d try my own version of it last night for dinner.

Announcing that I was trying something new to David, the inevitable question came, “Do have a recipe or are you making it up? If you are making it up you better write it all down while you are doing it because that’s usually the good stuff and you always forget how you made it,” he said. So I figured I’d sauteed the cauliflower and added add asparagus to it. Then I decided to make a warm olive oil, shallot and mustard dressing, tossed everything with the baby arugula and topped it with an egg cooked over easy. Sprinkled it all with some chopped bacon and we were good to go.

The first bite was sheer genius. Everything came together and sang in my mouth, which is watering this very minute thinking about it. Second bite, equally amazing. David was star struck, claiming it was probably going to go down as his most memorable food moment ever, high praise given the fact that I’ve been cooking for him for almost ten years. So mid mouthful he grabbed a pen and paper, tossed it to me and I started to write down how I did it: Chopped bacon, sauteed cauliflower, asparagus, dressing, egg. Done.  YUM!

“No!” David said, and taking the paper, he started to write down all of the details, because as he said if I don’t write it down it’ll never be quite the same again. This is my payback for subjecting him to my cooking shows – he’s beginning to know more than I think he does about cooking so now he’s making comments, like shouldn’t I cover it? and don’t you think it needs a little more oil? and did you already salt that? don’t forget the salt because you usually do.

This is all part of the fun, the banter back and forth across the stove. It’s become part of our evening ritual, sitting down to talk about our day and poke a little fun while I cook dinner. Turns out I have enough of all the ingredients left to make it again, so we’ll be having it again tonight. And to keep it interesting, I’ll change out a few things, just to keep David on his toes.