Category Archives: food

30 in 30 Day 27 – Waiting for the Cows to Come Home

Oil on stretched canvas, 6″ x 6″



Only 3 days left and I’m finally caught up. (For today.) I just might make it after all.

My Imaginary Therapist’s Very Real Cat Stares at Something that Isn’t There



and ten more.


I haven’t abandoned my 30 paintings in 30 days project, though I have neglected posting it to this blog.

As of today –  day 28- I have completed 21 pieces. I will need to finish 9 things in 2 days to complete successfully the challenge. It might not happen.

It probably won’t. And that’s okay.

I’ve enjoyed the project tremendously and will try it again. And hopefully get a little closer next time. Just before the portrait of my imaginary therapist’s real cat, I finished a little watercolor that I forgot to take a picture of. Honest, I did. The rest are below.




24th Annual Fine Art Market Show and Sale at the Arvada Center

for Arts and Humanities.

Many wonderful local artists display their wares at this show, and the opening reception is lovely; beautiful young people in ties walk around with trays of pastries and things, offering them up. I will have 13 pieces in this exhibit. Most are tiny and brand new. There is also a new thing this year for people who have cell phones (i.e., everyone on the planet except me). You can dial in a number and hear each artist say whatever they’ve chosen to say about their work. What a world!

Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

I finally made a lemon meringue pie, a couple weeks ago, with my mom.

It was delicious.

I’ve found that it’s necessary to be there in the flesh to absorb every step and nuance of a family recipe, because so many cooks don’t remember to tell you every detail. And details can make all the difference.

My mom had a hell of a time getting lemon pie (my father’s favorite dessert!)  just right when our family first moved to the Denver area in the 1970’s. Recipes that called for cornstarch never set up the right way. After many attempts, she came up with this flour-thickened recipe which I made once again today with my daughter. We’ll finish the meringue part tomorrow morning and bring it to our Thanksgiving feast.

Pie crust:

As for any cream pie, you’ll need to bake this pie shell first (after pricking it all over with a fork so it won’t shrink up) for about 15 minutes in 400 degree Fahrenheit oven and set it aside to cool.

I’ve taken to using the Marie Callendar’s frozen pie crusts. They’re a little pricey, but they’re as good as something I can make myself. (No, they’re not paying me. I have no idea who they even are. They’re probably owned buy some monstrous evil mega-corporation like Monsanto or something, but the crusts are really tasty.) The other brands and the store brands are awful- I wouldn’t even think about it. If I made it myself, the crust would contain:

1 cup white all purpose flour

pinch of salt

1/3 cup whatever kind of shortening you choose (I use butter but using half milk-based margarine, e.g, Parkay and half butter can give it a nice long flake and make it less crumbly. Crisco works for fine for texture but it won’t taste lovely like butter will. I’ve heard good things about using a combination of butter and lard from old women who I trust but I’ve never used lard, myself.)

3 tablespoons (more or less) very cold water.

You mix the flour, salt, and shortening with a fork until it’s in little pea-sized lumps and add the water one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition and assessing the consistency. Depending on the humidity in your kitchen & whatnot you may need more or less than 3 tbsp. You want it to just start to hold together and be able to be formed into a ball and not totally fall apart when you roll it out.

Take this ball and roll it out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, quickly and lightly. Everything should be as cold as possible (a marble rolling pin and marble slab for rolling it out work very well to keep everything chilly.)

Once you have it rolled out into a thin circular form which fits your pie pan, gently fold it into quarters to transfer it to your pie pan, then unfold. Use a fork to crimp the upper edges and make everything pretty. Or skip this whole long step where you get flour all over everything in your kitchen use a thawed Marie Callendar crust, like I do. Either way, prick it all over and bake as described above.

Lemon Filling:

1 and 1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup flour

4 egg yolks, beaten (separate your eggs and set the whites aside in the refrigerator for making the meringue later. I recommend using really good organic free range eggs for this because the meringue, if you think about it, really isn’t exactly cooked. )

1 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided in half (about two lemons’ worth)

A teaspoon of lemon zest (the finely grated skin from one of those -washed!-lemons)

5 tablespoons of butter, divided in half

Combine the sugar with the flour in a nice heavy pot and mix it well before adding the water, the beaten egg yolks, the salt, half of the lemon juice (1/4 cup) and half of the butter (2 and 1/2 tbsp). Cook this over a medium-low heat until it’s thick like pudding, stirring the whole time with a wooden spoon. Don’t go off and forget about it. Take it off the heat once it’s nice and thick and stir in the rest of the lemon juice, the rest of the butter, and the lemon zest. Keep stirring it for a good long while as it cools and continues to thicken.

Once this is somewhere between lukewarm and cool, depending on your preference and your patience, pour it into your baked pie crust. Set it aside for a few minutes while you make the meringue that you’ll top it with.


Retrieve those four egg whites from the refrigerator. Mix them with 7 tablespoons of white sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Use an eggbeater or an electric mixer and beat the mixture until medium stiff peaks form; nice and firm and fluffy. Spoon the meringue onto the top of the pie and put the whole thing under a hot broiler very briefly, watching it and turning it the whole time until it’s just beautifully golden brown. It’s hard to not burn your hands while doing this- one of those torches like they have on the tv food shows would probably be great for this purpose. But I really don’t know.

You can serve this warmish pie right away or refrigerate it for a few hours. Be sure to cover the top of the pie with some sort of plastic dome or foil tent if you refrigerate it, though, so the meringue doesn’t get rubbery. The meringue is the most delicate flowery bit of the whole recipe- it doesn’t stay lovely for long.

Happy Thanksgiving!

With the barkers and the coloured balloons

As I grow longer in the tooth I think more and more about Sugar Mountain.

Specifically, I would like to eat lemon meringue pie for breakfast.

At the kitchen table with my first cup of coffee and the newspaper, before I’ve even had a shower. Lemon meringue pie.

My mom makes the best lemon meringue pie in the world (it was my dad’s favorite) and to hear her talk about it, learning to make it solidify satisfactorily at this altitude and to get the meringue fluffy and toasted was a herculean feat.

I can’t remember the last time Mom made one. Dad’s been gone eight years. I’ll ask her about it and try to get the recipe. I will post the results here.

In other news, I’ve been enjoying making monotypes under the instruction of Joe Higgins at the Art Students’ League of Denver. It feels like a natural for my process, but SO much quicker, more immediate than an oil painting. The latest are too big to scan on my flatbed-I’ll take photos soon. Here are some smaller, earlier experiments:

Depression for Breakfast

94 year-old Clara has sugar cookies for breakfast , but only on Sundays. She shows us how to make them. My grandma’s name was Clara, and she used to make donuts and dunk them in her coffee much like this Clara does here with her cookies.

Finally, it’s cool enough to bake again. I made banana bread today and I may try Clara’s sugar cookies.

All of her Youtube videos are charming, and I’m quite taken with her.

Her stuffed artichokes for Christmas may be delicious, but they  are awfully messy looking …

Sticky Jam

Oil on canvas, 6″ x 6″.

I have decided

to make lefse this year for Christmas.

Hour upon hour in the kitchen, with flour from hell to breakfast…

If I’m going to feel like a dour old Norwegian, my family may as well reap some of the benefits.

No angry letters, please. Some of my best friends are dour old Norwegians.

Speaking of tomatoes

My good friend Elizabeth has written a lovely blog entry about tomatoes and… sex. Yes, tomatoes are sexy.

They knew that in 1940’s, when pretty girls were referred to “tomatoes.” At least I think that’s what they meant.

You should check out her informative and delightful essay, entitled “Love Apple,” here.

You can view her entire blog, Elizabeth in This World, here:

It’s all good stuff.

I’ve nominated Elizabeth’s juicy blog for inclusion in an upcoming issue of  Creative Nonfiction– right here. And you can, too!

Martini Ranch

I’ll have paintings at Martini Ranch in Denver in July, thanks to Eric Matelski.

If you’re in Denver, I hope you’ll consider coming by for the Artist Happy Hour on Friday, July 10 from 6 to 9 PM.

Art + martinis should equal a good time!July martini poster w-o