Friday, November 30, 2012

Second Show of Paintings at Paddiwhack Gallery

     I am thrilled to have a second opportunity to show paintings in the featured "nook" at the front of the wonderful Paddiwhack Shop in Gainesville, Florida. It is an honor and privilege to have works hung together in this premier location in the store. It has been about a year and a half since I last exhibited there. This group of pieces (plus one called "Sanderling in the Surf", which is featured elsewhere in the shop) shared the coveted pre-holiday time period with Paddiwhack's unique selection of holiday-themed items. Of course, all the other delightful treasures Paddiwhack is known for are also available in their wonderful, large space. As always, you can click on a photo to enlarge it.

     All the pieces in this exhibit are new to Paddiwhack. Given my slow painting pace and the various life events that occurred and kept me from painting at times in recent months, it was a challenge to produce and mount the 12 works shown at the shop. Since I have at some time posted about the Coastal North Florida explorations that led to the subjects for these works and about the painting process for each piece, I won't discuss that today. 

     One goal for this exhibit was to present a greater variety of sizes and prices than I had in the previous exhibit. The little pair of 5" x 7" marsh paintings seen on the chest near my artist's statement and business cards are the smallest, while the largest are two 18" x 24" paintings above that chest on the left. One shows a winter day at Big Talbot Island Park here in North Florida, where waves are gradually undermining a bluff causing trees, one by one over time, to fall into the water. The other represents a view of the St. Johns River by the National Historic Site at Kingsley Plantation. Whoops, there is one other in that size which the shop had kept from my previous exhibit--a view of the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville Beach, looking over the dunes and a foot bridge--seen on a side wall. 

     Thank you all for your good wishes as I recover from total hip replacement surgery. I am amazed and deeply grateful for the miracle of a new joint, for freedom from long-standing, constant pain, and for the wonder of growing strength and mobility the surgery and excellent physical therapy are making possible. I feel like a new woman!

Question of the day: Are you considering small, locally owned businesses like Paddiwhack and goods made in the USA in your holiday gift shopping?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Homey, Heritage Comfort Food--Applesauce Spice Cake

It has been awhile since I have posted a recipe, so today will share my great-grandmother's applesauce spice cake recipe. In its original form, it called for "butter the size of an egg" and, interestingly, 1, 2, or 3 eggs. Apparently, our frugal ancestors used three eggs for a "company" meal, but fewer when baking for the family. Since their eggs were smaller than today's standard large eggs, we have settled on two eggs as the perfect number.
This homey cake, a favorite comfort food in my family, is a hit whenever I bake it. Individual pieces freeze well in a well-sealed container (handy for our household since it is a large cake and we try not to eat too many sweets). I will include the recipe for the cream cheese frosting, as pictured, although we also like it simply dusted with a bit of powdered sugar rather than frosted. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup chopped nuts; we like it better without them. And, yes, for readers with long memories, I have posted this recipe before, but it has been awhile, so thought new readers might like hearing about it. For some reason, it pulled the original comments along when I posted it again--I decided to leave them in.
Heritage Applesauce Spice Cake
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce (a 15 ounce jar works)
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup raisins
Cream butter & sugar together. Add eggs and mix well, stirring vigorously until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients into a small bowl (I don't bother sifting). Add raisins to flour mixture and sir in to coat with flour (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom).
Add dry ingredients alternately with applesauce to the butter mixture in two or three batches, mixing thoroughly each time.
Turn into a greased 9” x 13” x 2” pan and bake 35 - 40 minutes at 325 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean (or nearly clean--do not overbake). This recipe also makes nice cupcakes; bake them only about 25-30 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
3 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use low fat neufchatel).
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dash salt
2 1/2 cups (or as much of this amount as needed for good frosting consistency) sifted confectioner's sugar (I whisk it in a bowl instead of sifting).
Cream butter and cream cheese together well. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add confectioner's sugar, blending well. If mixture becomes too thick, you can add a few drops of milk.
Question of the day: What recipes or foods connect you to your ancestors and to good family memories?