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Saturday, 6 May 2006
Steamed Stovetop Chocolate Bread for One (or Two)
Topic: Recipes
This recipe is completely my own invention and I think it may be a healthy food. I use slightly unorthodox measuring though I've tried to transcribe here. I often experiment in the kitchen to see what I can make for a single serving treat that uses as little as I can get away with. As little sugar, fat, utensils, and cooking heat. If I make a big loaf of something I'll eat it too quickly. So my rule is to make as healthy a goodie that I can that will still satisfy the treat tooth. I long ago stopped using the oven because that was too much heat for a single serving. Nor does my toaster oven work. I usually 'bake' on the stovetop with my cast iron skillet. That almost always burns cakes and cookies no matter how low the flame. My recent solution is steaming.

This is a cake of dry texture and quite decent taste. One could always spread jam on it - raspberry or apricot would be nice - if one wanted more sweet. I'm very proud of it. I liked it even better the next day. Not an egg in it and yes it holds together!

chocolate bread cake
2 T butter
2 T* sugar
2 T* cocoa
3/4 t. baking powder
pinch salt
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3 T. soy milk powder (powdered soy milk?)
1/4+c. cold water

cutlery size comparisonT=measuring tablespoon
T*= heaping cutlery soupspoon

heaping cocoaCocoa heaps higher than sugar does. I mean Heaping.

Cream butter and sugar using a potato ricer/masher or wisk. Add cocoa. Cream further.
Add remaining dry ingredients.
mixingMix lightly with fork to mix dry stuff without incorporating it (yet) into the fatty mixture.

Alternate sprinkling water into the mixture with incorporating (all of it)quickly using the fork. When it starts to mass, form into a patty, about 6" diameter.

Prick through with fork making six diagonals. This keeps cake from warping and/or provides ready made pieces. Place on parchment baking paper cut a bit bigger (so you can use it to lift out the cake later).

mixture cake patty
in the pot cooked decorated
Place patty and paper in a medium saucepan (2 quart?) with a rack (for boiling eggs!) and water to just below the cake. I made the mistake of trying to place the cake once the water boiled. The cake slipped and got a bit splashed. I fished it out and positioned it ok.

Bring water to a boil, reduce to low/medium flame, cover leaving a steam vent.

Cook 50-60 minutes, checking periodically to replenish water (careful not to splash cake). Water should cook at a fast simmer. I haven't tried to cook it less than this so I don't know yet if it would be done earlier.

Carefully remove the cake from the pan, lifting by the excess paper. I suppose it should cool, but I don't remember now.

The cake/bread doesn't have that nice baked look and will look a bit lumpy!. To decorate for this picture I hastily made a wax paper snowflake stencil, placed on top of the loaf and sprinkled some confectioners sugar over it. Had I sifted the sugar it would have been more decorative. I had also already eaten a slice before I realized I could make a prettier picture by powdering the cake.

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 7 May 2006 12:41 AM EDT
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Monday, 1 May 2006
An Angel
Topic: Art
blue angel by Catinka Knoth, after Lippi
Blue Angel by Catinka Knoth, after Filippino Lippi
This angel is for people who could use one right now. I painted this a long time ago after a painting by Filippino Lippi, Tobias and the Angel. The face is quite different than Lippi's painting. I used to think I hadn't finished this, but now I like it as a vignette.

The original is at the National Gallery in Washington D.C.Tobias and the Angel
See a larger version of Lippi's painting here.

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 12:37 AM EDT
Thursday, 27 April 2006
Birds - Kids Watercolor Lesson
Topic: Watercolor Class

Last week my kids' art class did sumi-e bird painting. We also tried our hand at painting from stencil designs. Stencils have clear shapes, but unlike a regular silhouette the shapes are broken down into smaller well defined areas. The stumbling block is that one may get confused and want to turn the white spaces in the stencils into black outlines. But notice the top right painting - this child used a 1/2" wide flat brush after he'd tried other ways. He concentrated so hard at twisting and turning his brush to make those shapes. I am really impressed. You will see it is the goose/duck with outstretched wings from the bottom of the stencil page below.

See notecards of my bird watercolor paintings too.

Update: Another lesson on painting birds.

student bird paintings
Paintings by J.M.(u) age 7, S.C. age 10, J.M(u). age 7, Emily age 10, M.S. age 8, Emily age 10, M.S. age 8.
These were my demonstration paintings from which the kids worked. The sumi birds are after Takahiko Mikami, the swan is after a photo by Bruce Coleman, and the stencils come from, (available here at Amazon) Big Book of Nature Stencil Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive)
or, at Dover Publications, The Big Book of Nature Stencil Designs
sumi painting swan painting birds stencil
Find Sumi-e painting and birds at Amazon.com

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 12:46 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 9 November 2008 1:03 PM EST
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Wednesday, 26 April 2006
Spring on a Sheep Farm and a Lambs Coloring Page
Topic: Thursday Photo Challenge

Order cards and prints of my sheep farm watercolors.
Have fun with my Spring Lambs coloring page!
Here is a sheep drawing to color or draw from.

lambs and sheep Thursday Photo Challenge this week is Spring (baby animals, birds, flowers..) I have been searching for any decent bird or baby animal picture in my files and come up almost empty. My digital camera doesn't do well with birds. It makes small picture files and so doesn't do well with zoom shots. And, last spring I tried endlessly to catch the cardinals out back but every time they came in sight the camera had timed out.

This was a sheep farm in Cushing, Maine, that I used to frequent for some good lamb sketching until the farm packed up and moved north for more land. I did a series of watercolors of the sheep back then, some of which you can see below. This photo was taken with my old Instamatic camera, in 1998. It has been scanned and cropped. As for the sheep, they are wearing coats to keep their fleeces clean. Clean fleece get a better price than dirty ones

This is a card set from my series of sheep farm watercolors.
Order cards and prints.

sheep farm watercolor series

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 10:55 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007 6:46 PM EDT
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Saturday, 22 April 2006
My Family of Four
Topic: Thursday Photo Challenge
This week's Thursday Photo Challenge - Valuable. I completely forgot about it until yesterday. The theme of "Valuable", which I assume was chosen for its connection to our recent tax day, could range from money to children. I have no children. My cats have been my surrogate children, or family. In the past month or so, two of my six cats died. There are now four cats in my family. And finally all my cats are on the bed together, which is about as close as some cats of different walks of cat life will get to being a family. They have now also gotten to the point where they can forget their differences long enough to be a family for a short time when I come home. I open the door and find them clustered there in greeting. Then they rub against me and sometimes each other before they can realize what they're doing and give each other tentative sniffs and perhaps a lick on an ear. Just for a few minutes though. Enough is enough.
My Cat Family

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 2:59 PM EDT

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