28 August 2006

Call for Artists: Immigration Art via Mail Project

While purusing this month's Fresh Art (the Florida Arts Education Magazine), I came upon this very interesting "call for artists." It's a multi-media based project in which artists send in their interpretation of immigration. It is open to all artists in all media. Read more below, and check out the blog for what's been sent in so far.

Here's the description from Sophie Blachet, of Art Vitam.


Mail Art Project 31.12.06/Immigration
P.O BOX 975
Miami Beach, FL 33119


MAIL ART PROJECT 31.12.06/Immigration
Sophie Blachet, director of Art Vitam and Valeria Pouza, independent curator, are seeking Mail Art works for an ongoing Mail Art Project book on the theme of immigration.

The Mail Art Project will proceed in two phases:

Phase One
The Mail Art Project will collect over a period of six months beginning in June 2006, a range of mail art works sent royalty free to be published in book form. Only 100 works will be chosen for inclusion in the book entitled “Mail Art Project 31.12.06/Immigration”.
All works will be, however, exhibited online at http://ganthine.blogspot.com
Deadline for the project is 31 December 2006.
Phase Two
Beginning of January 2007, Blachet and Pouza will choose 100 works received for publication in the book.
Selected artists will be contacted either by regular mail, e-mail or phone by the end of January 2007.

The Details: The Mail Art Project 31.12.2006/Immigration
Theme: Immigration. Coming, going, staying, living, borders, boundaries, legal, illegal… it’s your call.
Format: Anything goes, from postcards, envelopes, to large format works on board and works on paper.
No entry fee.
Works will be juried, and not returned but exhibited and documented online.
Deadline: 31 Dec 2006

The Book
The book will include one full page reproduction of the work with description of the work, name of artist and artist details (in three languages).
Each selected artists will receive a book.
Printer to be announced

If you are interested in participating, please send works to:
Mail Art Project 31.12.06/Immigration
P.O Box 975
Miami Beach, FL 33119 USA

For more information please contact
In English/French: sophie (AT)artvitam.com
In Spanish/ Español: mailart(AT) artvitam.com


27 August 2006

weekly recipe(s): cookies

This week, I made two different types of cookies when I couldn't decide what to bring to my host's house. I was torn, chocolate, not chocolate, what if someone doesn't like nuts? Growing up in a house of very picky eaters, I can dream up more dislike than you can imagine. So, I settled on two recipes I found at Martha Stewart's website: Ginger Lemon Cookies and Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti. I made some adjustments to my liking. They turned out great, and were really a good complement, in terms of flavor and look, to one another. Enjoy! And, let me know how they turn out.

Ginger Lemon Cookies

ginger lemon cookies, 2006
Originally uploaded by

Makes 3 dozen (if you measure VERY precisely when shaping cookies, and stick to small cookies!)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, cut into 1/8-inch dice

1. Heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl twice. Add egg; mix on high speed to combine. Add zest; mix to combine.

2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt, and crystallized ginger; add to butter mixture. Mix on medium-low speed to combine, about 20 seconds.

3. Using two spoons, drop about 2 teaspoons of batter on baking sheet; repeat, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Verdict: Great ginger taste. Maybe would've been even better with some white chocolate chips. Very light, airy cookie. They go very well with tea.

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Makes about 12
These biscotti are baked for a shorter time, making them softer than the traditional version.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking sheet
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts (unsalted)
1/2 cup carob chips

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a baking sheet; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a stiff dough, as seen in picture. Stir in pistachios and carob chips.

3. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet; form into a slightly flattened log, about 12 by 4 inches. Bake until slightly firm, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300º.

4. On a cutting board, using a sharp serrated knife, cut biscotti diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet, and bake until crisp but still slightly soft in the center, about 8 minutes.

Verdict: They turned out so much better than I expected. The carob chips tasted great. They were very yummy with coffee the next morning for breakfast :)

chocolate pistachio biscotti1, 2006
Originally uploaded by


21 August 2006

kvetching, art and cooking - September events at Books & Books

Below is a list of events that I would DEFINITELY attend if I were in Miami. They include a linguistic exploration of Yiddish, a celebration of Cuban poetry (including my talented advisor, Ruth Behar), tragic photographs, Queer humor and a self-assigned cooking project. Go to the Books and Books website to see all of the events.

Sunday, September 10, Coral Gables, 4pm
In the popular imagination, Yiddish is an ancient language with many ways to express grumbling, hand wringing and displeasure, full of earthy attitudes and vulgar humor. While that's all true, it's not a complete picture. In Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods (Harper Perennial, $13.95), author and expert Michael Wex takes a probing look at just what makes Yiddish, the principal spoken language of the Jews for over a century, so original, so resilient - and so full of complaint. Almost impossible for a non-Jew to learn or understand, Yiddish started out as a bastardized version of German to give voice to systemic exclusion and exile. Born to Kvetch explores Yiddish in relation to nature, food, childhood, courtship and marriage, sex (setting the record straight on the difference between shmuk and puts, both part of the colloquial vernacular, neither for use in mixed company!) and death, all topics worthy of a good kvetch. Armed with stories, anecdotes and perfectly delivered punch lines, Wex strikes a skillful balance between the somber and the comical aspects of his subject matter. 4pm

Wednesday, September 13, Gables
Burnt Sugar Caña Quemada: Contemporary Cuban Poetry in English and Spanish (Free Press, $14) brings us the sights, sounds, and rhythms of Cuba, revealed in the evocative works of some of the finest Cuban and Cuban-American poets of the twentieth century, including Gustavo Pérez Firmat, José Abreu Felippe, Enrique Sacerio-Garí, Reinaldo Arenas, Heberto Padilla, Pablo Medina, Agustín Acosta, Angel Cuadra, Eugenio Florit, Severo Sarduy, Virgil Suárez, Sandra M. Castillo, Lissette Méndez, Ruth Behar, Rita Geada, Belkis Cuza Malé, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, José Kozer, Orlando González Esteva, Uva de Aragón, Adrián Castro, Carolina Hospital and Armando Valladares, among others. Bestselling translator Lori Marie Carlson and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oscar Hijuelos have created an intimate collection of some of their favorite modern poems, all of which are informed by cubanía -- the essence of what it means to be Cuban. Stirring, immediate, and universal in its sensibility, Burnt Sugar is a luminous collection lovingly compiled by two of the world's foremost authorities on the subject. This event is presented in collaboration with the Florida Center for the Literary Arts and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC). 8pm

Thursday, September 21, Lincoln Theatre, 541 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Joel Meyerowitz is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. His work is in the collection of the MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others. After the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, nobody who was not directly involved in the recovery effort was allowed on the Ground Zero site. Journalists were included in this ban, but, with the help of the Museum of the City of New York and sympathetic city officials, Meyerowitz became the sole photographer granted unimpeded access to the site. For eight months, at all times of the day and night, he photographed “the pile” as the WTC came to be known, and the 800 people a day that were working in it. Influenced by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange’s work for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression, Meyerowitz knew that if he didn’t make a photographic record, there would be no history. His work is contained in a major new book, Aftermath (Phaidon, $75) that features, for the first time, the vast archive of his unpublished photos from Ground Zero. Join us for an unforgettable program, Ground Zero Through the Artist’s Lens: An Evening with Joel Meyerowitz. FREE tickets for this event are available at all Books & Books locations, beginning September 1st. 7:30pm

Thursday, September 28, Miami Beach
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Houghton Mifflin, $19.95) by Alison Bechdel (the author of the long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For) takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings and- like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis- a story exhilaratingly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift . . . graphic . . . and redemptive. This event is presented in collaboration with the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Design Within Reach. 8pm

Saturday, September 30, Gables
On a visit to her childhood home in Texas, Julie Powell pulls her mother's battered copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking off the bookshelf. And the book calls out to her. Pushing thirty, living in a run-down apartment in Queens, and working at a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell is stuck. Her only hope lies in a dramatic self-rescue mission. And so she invents a deranged assignment: in the space of one year, she will cook every recipe in the Julia Child classic, all 524 of them. How hard could it be? With fierceness, irreverence, and unbreakable resolve, Powell learns Julia Child's most important lesson: the art of living with gusto. Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously (Little, Brown & Co., $13.99) is "a feast, a voyage, and a marvel," says Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Last American Man, for anyone who has ever cursed at a cookbook or longed for a more delicious life. Tonight, the Café at Books & Books Coral Gables will offer a Julia Child-inspired menu to celebrate the author’s reading. Powell’s visit last year was cancelled because of Hurricane Wilma, so we are hoping to make it up to her during the paperback tour. Please join us! 7pm


20 August 2006

peaches, waffles and very busy hands

Due to my move up north, I have come to the realization that my cooking is WAY better than most of the restaurants here! Big statement from someone who loves to go out to eat, as much as I like to cook.

So, I've been in the kitchen cooking up a storm, and cranking out some great food. I've been experimenting with recipes to adapt to new ingredients and my new vegetarian, almost leaning vegan, food preferences.

I went to the bookstore to get a glimpse inside some veggie cook books, and I was disappointed in that arena too. Where are all the pictures? I need pictures!

With that said, I will start posting, once a week, about a new recipe. This may or may not turn into a separate food blog ( don't know that I have THAT much time on my hands).

Weigh in, and let me know what you think.

Here's my very best recipe for Vegan Waffles with Peach Syrup (adapted from The New Vegan cookbook)

Notes: Make the syrup while making the waffles, so everything is ready at the same time. The picture included in this post is not my own, but it is a wonderful picture of waffles, so there you go! More of my own pictures when I finish moving in:)

Yield: @6 belgian waffles, depending on size of waffle iron


1 1/3 c soymilk
1 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4c whole wheat flour
1/2c cornmeal
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
3 T canola oil
2 T lite pancake syrup

1. In a 2c liquid measure, combine the soymilk and the lemon juice. Set aside, and don't worry, the curdling is expected.

2. Sift the flour, cornmeal, salt, bakin soda, baking powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl.

3. Stir the oil and maple syrup into the soymilk.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the liquid ingredients. Stir with a fork just until blended. The batter should be medium-thick, but still pourable. Add more soymilk or flour to get it to the right consistency.

5. When the waffle iron is ready, mist with pan spray. Pour a generous 1/2 c of batter onto iron and bake till crisp. It usually takes mine about 5 -6 minutes.

6. Transfer to wire cooling rack, serve warm. ( I often reheat mine in the waffle iron because I like my waffles steamin hot :)

1 peach
1 T apricot jam
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c lite syrup
1/4 to 1/2 t pepper

1. Blend ingredients in a food processor or a blender.

2. Transfer to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to simmer and cook 15 minutes.

4. Strain through a sieve. (Not absolutely necessary if you don't feel like it, but it gives it a much more silky consistency)

the Verdict:

I have made these 3 times in the 3 weeks we have lived in our new house. In Lisa's words, "they're a keeper!"

I love to freeze any leftovers and pop them in the toaster for a weekday breakfast, yummy, yummy :)


16 August 2006

Castro turns 80

(In a photo released by a division of Fidel Castro's personal support group, he holds a copy of the Aug. 12 edition of the Communist Party newspaper. It was impossible to confirm the authenticity of the photograph.) from the NYtimes

On August 13, 2006, Fidel Castro turned 80. Figures that he's a Leo.

He released a statement and a picture explaining that Cuban people should brace for the worst. Maybe more was said and I missed it in the news, but what is his opinion of the worst? US invasion? His death? Constant badgering by journalists who "have the right to know and report on Cuba."

Meanwhile, photos that are being taken and released from Cuba, show a nation of empathetic people, hoping for the well-being of their longtime leader.

01 August 2006

Castro ill, future uncertain

Fidel Castro has recently turned over "temporary power" to his brother, Raul, as he has fallen ill and must undergo surgery. He has explained his illness is a result of stress due to recent world affairs and travels. Castro has NEVER turned over power! Even when he fell, and shattered his kneecap, he was still the man in charge. What does this mean for the future of Cuba? The people of Cuba? And, what will exiles, who mainly live in Miami, do now and in the future?

Well, from what I have been watching on the news, Miami's Cubans are celebrating as if they "have won the world cup" (Associated Press). Watch the video on this page.

Politicians in Miami have been plotting for the demise of Castro since he took power in 1959. Now, the US government has officially come out with the Compact with the People of Cuba. It is basically a written plan that says the US government will "help" the Cuban people with medical supplies, food and other goods should they "ask" for help.

What the US government and Miami Cuban exiles fail to consider is the thoughts and feeling of those people actually still living IN Cuba. In my opinion, it is their decision; not mine, not the US government, and NOT Cuban exiles. I understand the connection to Cuba, but they made a decision to leave, and make a life in a different country. To most who left, the measure of success is how many material goods they can acquire. In Cuba, there must be a different measure: life, family, leisure time. They cannot acquire material goods, but SO WHAT!

And, what is the reaction in Cuba today? From what I have seen on the news, it is "business as usual." What? No protests? Revolts? Revolution? Wouldn't this be the time, if they so desire, to pressure Castro out of power? Not happening . . .

More to come, as I process and collect thoughts and info.