Sunday, August 30, 2009

Helen Mirra

ink on cotton

wolkendecke (cloud cover)
military surplus wool hospital blankets

2003, wool army and navy blankets

length of railroad ties
ink on dyed cotton

The gentle work of Helen Mirra

Monday, August 24, 2009


and her sisters
...this scene.
and this one.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Berry Picking

Raspberries, red currents and a even few delicious rose hips.
Up at Mt. Sima this afternoon.
(Thank you, Steph)

Then lying around reading, a nap and later some baking, dinner w/ C+S and a long walk with the dogs as the sun went down. A great Sunday together.

Here's the recipe I made today for simple chocolate cake. This one's been modified from the original war-time recipe to give it a deeper chocolate flavor. (I substituted spelt for wheat flour cup for cup).

The Best Easy Chocolate Cake

Makes one 8-inch-square cake. Published March 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

Use a good baking chocolate: Callebaut Intense Dark or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar, or any high-quality dark, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate will work. Instead of confectioners’ sugar, the cake can also be served with gently sweetened whipped cream.


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (2 ounces)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
1 cup fresh black coffee, hot
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Confectioners' sugar (for serving; optional)


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine cocoa and chocolate; pour hot coffee over cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth; let cool slightly. Whisk in mayonnaise, egg, and vanilla. Stir mayonnaise mixture into flour mixture until combined.

  3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.

  4. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack, 1 to 2 hours. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into squares, and serve straight from the pan; or turn cake out onto serving platter and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Watermelon Berries

t r e p t o p u s a m p l e x i f o l i u s

An Alaska native wild berry

The leaves grow one around the other onto a lovely twisted stalk & the berries have a slight watermelon flavour. Apparently the tender spring shoots are delicious raw or steamed and I'm told the berries make a nice fruity jelly.

I'd like to try this recipe. May be nice for a hot summer evening's dessert? I find jelly (as in, jell-o) is really weird -morally & texturally- but this might be kind of nice in a small quantity with a slice of chilled melon.

Watermelon Berry White Wine Jelly

  • 14 cups fresh watermelon berries
  • 3 cups raw cane sugar
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 (5-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 3 2/3 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from three 1/4-ounce envelopes)
  • Special equipment: a 6-cup nonreactive mold (see cooks' note, below) or glass loaf pan

Bring berries, sugar, wine, rosemary, and 2 2/3 cups water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until all berries have burst, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour into a large colander lined with dampened paper towels and set in a deep bowl, then let stand until all juices have drained through, 10 to 15 minutes, and discard solids. If you have more than 4 cups berry liquid, boil in a small saucepan until reduced; if less, add water to bring total to 4 cups.

Stir together gelatin and remaining cup water in a clean small saucepan and let stand 1 minute to soften. Heat over moderate heat, stirring, until gelatin is dissolved. Stir gelatin mixture into berry liquid until combined. Pour berry mixture into lightly oiled mold (see cooks' note, below), skimming off any foam. Cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill until firmly set, at least 12 hours.

To unmold, run tip of a thin knife between edge of mold and jelly. Tilt mold sideways and tap side of mold against a work surface, turning it, to evenly break seal and loosen jelly. Keeping mold tilted, invert a plate over mold, then invert onto plate.


• Stainless steel, glass, and enameled cast iron are nonreactive, but avoid pure aluminum and uncoated iron, which can impart an unpleasant taste and color to recipes with acidic ingredients in them.
• Unmold the jelly onto a serving plate 2 to 3 inches wider than the mold to allow for spreading. Use a flavorless vegetable oil to brush the mold before filling.
• Watermelon berry jelly can be chilled in mold up to 2 days.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Sanskrit for unconditional friendship (with oneself). The seed of well-being, of glad-to-be-alive, and of illuminating our relationship with pain.

This may help illustrate.

In terms of a life's work I suppose there's no better use of a life.

To be of use

(in a mechanical sense maybe related to
Michel Gondry's contribution to Tokyo! and in a more base way to this from B.C.)

Back to life, back to reality.
In gratitude I offer up a delicate florescent flotation on the sea, pictured here in the inlet at Haines, AK.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Southeast Alaska State Fair

in Haines.

How fine it was to be in America again. I've missed it dearly. Most especially my beloveds there: SP and WK.