Tag Archives: they draw and cook

Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti for the Holidays

pistachio cookies Melissa Iwai 4

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Wow, Chanukah has already passed and Christmas is just days away!

I haven’t had a chance to bake much this season because of all my art projects, but managed to combine my two loves for this batch of Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti.

I’ve been making these biscotti pretty much every year, but this time I changed it up by adding orange zest and a 1 tablespoon of orange juice to the batter. I thought they’d be pretty with some white, so I drizzled melted white chocolate over the biscotti.

I mentioned combining my art and baking — this is what I created — an illustrated recipe for They Draw and Cook. 🙂

cranberry pistachio biscotti Melissa Iwai 2015

It is featured on their site this week as a Red and Green recipe.

I know it is hard to read the recipe so small! Here it is for your printing purposes (note: the white chocolate part and orange juice is not in the illustrated recipe because I didn’t have enough room!):

pistachio cookies Melissa Iwai 2

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice

1 cup salted shelled pistachio nuts

1 1/3 cups dried cranberries

1 large egg, or white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water to  make egg wash

1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted (optional)

pistachio cookies Melissa Iwai 5

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheet with parchment.

2 Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda &powder &salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, orange zest and beat with mixer  just until a dough forms.

3. Add cranberries and pistachios and mix at low speed.

4. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and knead several times. Halve dough, then form each half into a 13 by 2 inch slightly flattened log on baking sheet, Brush logs with egg wash.

5. Bake in middle of oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes.

6. Transfer to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut side down, in 1 layer on baking sheet Bake in middle of oven turning once until golden and crisp. 20 – 25 minutes total.

7. Cool completely and drizzle with melted white chocolate if you’d like.  Put the melted chocolate in a sandwich bag, seal, and snip a hole in one corner. Squeeze and drizzle chocolate over cooled biscotti. Chill in the refrigerator to set chocolate.

 

 

 

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Filed under Art Related, Desserts

Adventures with Jello

flubber jello


  Last month was all about Jello in the MATS Bootcamp.   I was really happy about it because anything that has to do with both food and art is excellent in my mind!  I drew a lot of Jello doodles.  Here are some: ink sketch   I also messed around with different art supplies and did some color experiments:

Painted in acrylic

Painted in acrylic

Drawings in pen over old palette paper

Drawings in pen over old palette paper

I really liked the effect of drawing on my old palette paper.  I will have to revisit that technique again in the future. Not sure how I will use it though. I had a lot of fun with all these doodles.  But when the actual assignment was unveiled,  I choked.  It was bolt fabric, and I still feel pretty insecure about pattern making because I am so new to it.  Here is my first attempt, which I hated: pattern 1 smaller I built all the icons in Illustrator.  The colors kind of clash.  Also there are too many items the same size.  I could have attempted another one using these icons, but I decided to trash it and start over.  I made another one that was more “me”.  Of course it had cute animals.  I’m obsessed with this bear and bunny and know there is a story there somewhere….  We also were introduced to a new “candy, nougat-y” palette.  

My pattern and what it would look like on an apron!

My pattern and what it would look like on an apron!

I loved this nougat palette so much, I decided to do an illustration I have been wanting to do for awhile using it.  The inspiration for this one was the February MATS assignment on cuckoo clocks.   I did this Bavarian couple experiment. bavarian couple This is the same couple in a candy nougat colored village.  This piece is completely different for me because of the palette, but I am really happy with it! bavarian couple_final3   With all this Jello activity, I was reminded of one of the very first cookbooks I got in the 70s or 80s — Amazing Magical Jell-O Desserts.  I love this book.  It is illustrated by the fantastic Seymour Chwast, and I was happy to see is still in print!

My original copy from my childhood

My original copy from my childhood — obvious from the price!

I thought it would be fun to make some Jello desserts with Jamie, so we spent an afternoon making three of them!  For one, we tried to make a big face on the bottom of the pan out of fruit.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a Jello-mold, so when we tried it with a pan and a candy mold, it was a big fail.The Jell-O wouldn’t come out.  😦 We made regular ones with fruit in parfait glasses and these worked out though:

Peach Jell_O with no sugar added fruit cocktail -- a classic

Peach Jell-O with no sugar added fruit cocktail — a classic!

We also made a Strawberry Poof one, but we didn’t have the correct amount of yogurt and I used sugar-free Jell-O (it was the only one that came in strawberry at the store).  This probably contributed to our second (semi) fail.  After chilling, the Jell-O totally had the consistency of Flubber!! flubber 2
I remember making this as a kid, and the consistency was more like a mousse– light and airy.  Oh well… we tried.  Also, we had a lot of fun.  🙂  We still ate it too, even though it was kind of weird.  It tasted good!

On another food/art front, the winners of the of the They Draw and Cook Glad Party were announced this week.  To see the 1st place winner and five second place winners, check it out here.  There were over 330 recipes submitted!! So I was honored to be one of the 15 Honorable Mentions!  My Amazing Tofu 3 Ways was voted “Most Awwwwwww-esome”, so that was pretty awesome. 🙂

 Peach Jello with Fruit

1 package of peach gelatin

1 can or about 8 oz. of fruit in natural juices

1.  Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water in a large bowl and stir until completely dissolved.

2. Drain fruits, reserving liquid.  Measure 3/4 cup of it — if you need more liquid to make 3/4 cup, add water.  Add to gelatin.

3.  Pour some of the mixture into serving dishes about 1/4 full and chill for about 10 minutes to thicken.

4.  Add strained fruit to dishes and pour remaining gelatin mixture on top.  Chill until completely firm.

 

Strawberry Yogurt Poof (adapted from Amazing Magical Jello Desserts by Arnold Rosenberg)

1 package of strawberry gelatin  (don’t use sugar free!)

8 oz. of strawberry yogurt  ( be sure to use the full amount!)

1.  Dissolve gelatin in a large bowl with 1 cup of boiling water.  Stir until completely dissolved.  Add 3/4 cup cold water.  Chill for about ten minutes until slightly thickened.

2.  Add yogurt to jello and mix vigrously with a whisk or a hand mixer.  Transfer to serving dishes and chill.

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Tex Mex Tofu Scramble and They Draw and Cook

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hope everyone had a good one! 🙂  

I’m still recovering from a Hidden Pictures Retreat at Highlights this past weekend–lots of work to catch up on!   It was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones.  The folks at Highlights are the best.  I stayed in the cutest little wooden cabin, and we artists spent all day Saturday learning all about Hidden Pictures!  I have done a few of Hidden Pictures for the magazines for the younger set, Hello! and High Five.  But I grew up with Highlights for Children (the most popular of their magazines), as did almost everyone else in this country.  It is such an honor being able to contribute to the magazine from my childhood.  🙂  I will have to do a post about it in the future.  But this one is the one I started before I left for Honesdale, PA last week!

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tofu2


Quite frankly, I would probably never have made this Tofu Scramble had it not been for the They Draw and Cook Glad Party.  I submitted an illustration there, and the requirement was to come up with three different recipes using the same ONE ingredient.  I usually only eat tofu with Asian flavors or in Chocolate Mousse, which I included in the recipe below.  After illustrating it though, I decided I had to try it.  And you know what — I love it!  I’ve been eating it several times in the past week — it is so yummy with refried beans, cheese, and salsa!  I also garnish with lime juice, plain yogurt (I can’t eat sour cream), and chopped cilantro.

For the concept, I knew I wanted to include animals, becauseI love drawing them, and I wanted characters and a story in the piece.  Since there had to be three recipes, I thought it would be fun to do three different courses: A soup, a main entree, and a dessert.  Then I came up with the Fox’s Cafe and went from there!  I realized each recipe kind of has a different cultural background as well, so I incorporated that into the design with each animal saying how delicious tofu is in three different languages.  At the end I have instructions for storing tofu.  It’s important to keep it in fresh water.  I actually have some leftover tofu in my fridge in water in a Glad container just like the little guy in my sketch:

sketch1c

And this is the final piece which I submitted:

Click to view larger

Click to view larger

It pretty much was the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted, though it doesn’t look so complicated…  It’s made up of several files, one of which — just the ingredients in the recipes—was over 550 layers!  Crazy, huh?  That’s what happens when you import something from Illustrator.  Lol.  Every sliver of scallion had its own layer.  The animals (yes, I am obsessed with the bunny and the bear — they keep showing up) are a separate file, and I assembled everything together in one big Photoshop file.

I realized that working this way (using several flattened files to make one big file) is a LOT like baking a complicate dish– something like the German Chocolate Cake we made for Denis’ birthday last weekend!  There are also three stages to making the cake:  First there is the cake component, then the  filling component (which needs to be cooked and coddled and babied at the stove for 20 minutes), and then assembled all together later when everything has cooled!

This year, I had a baking assistant, which I was very grateful for!

Cracking the eggs...OMG, this cake has 3 eggs, and 4 egg yolks!!!  It's kind of scary like that.

Cracking the eggs…

OMG, this cake has 3 eggs, and 4 egg yolks!!! It’s kind of scary like that.  But if you are brave, here is the recipe.  I only make it exactly once a year, and only for the man I love!

Tex Mex Tofu Scramble

1 block of tofu

1 teaspoon oil

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

1/4 teaspoon or to taste of ground cumin, chili powder, and dried oregano

dash of kosher salt and pepper

1/4 cup chopped cilantro and more for garnish if desired

1.  Wrap block of drained tofu in a paper towel and weight under a heavy pot for 30 minutes.

2.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Saute onion and pepper until softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Crumble pressed tofu and add to skillet.  Season with spices, and saute for about five more minutes.

3.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

4.  Serve with grated cheese, lime wedges, refried beans, sour cream, salsa, and warm tortillas if you’d like.

Makes about 2 servings.

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Filed under Art Related, Vegetarian

White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark

finished

Our card reader died, so excuse the pictures!  I had taken a beautiful one of this with the Nikon and strobe flash, but oh well — you get the idea.

I was really stressing about making my usual twelve variety of holiday cookies this year, because I have so much work.    I decided:  NO COOKIES! (Imagine Edna from The Incredibles saying it instead of “no capes!”)

Instead I made one big batch of White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark for Jamie to give to the Lower Middle School Office at school.  It is strange this year — he doesn’t have one class, so there is no holiday parties or teacher gifts or class holiday sings…

We made the candy this weekend and Jamie helped me smash the candies.

These are candy cane candies not shaped like canes. lol

These are candy cane candies not shaped like canes. lol

I divided the small chunks from the large ones but this  isn't really necessary!

I divided the small chunks from the large ones but this isn’t really necessary!

This time, I illustrated the recipe!  It is featured on the amazing website, They Draw and Cook, which I absolutely love.  It is founded by a brother and sister design team who do wonderful work.  I was really inspired by all the great hand lettering they do.  It’s something I plan on working on in 2014.  I’ve always been afraid of hand lettering, but my friend, Anais, introduced me to a class on skillshare.com taught by Mary Kate McDevitt, an amaaaaazing hand letterer and illustrator.  In her class I learned to think of hand lettering as “drawing”.  It seems like a simple switch in one’s mind, but it made a huge difference.  I had  a mental block about it before that change in thinking!

The biggest compliment about my lettering was from Jamie:  He asked me what “font” I used (he’s really into typography himself)!  🙂

There are eleven penguins and there polar bears in here!

There are eleven penguins and three polar bears in here!

Click to see the larger image.

And here is the recipe for easy reference:

White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark

1 pound white chocolate morsels (if you can’t find this, just chop up a big hunk of white chocolate)

1/2 cup crushed candy cane (if your hand gets tired using a mallet, you can use a food processor like we did at the end)

1.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler

2.  Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spread out evenly with an off set spatula.

3.  Sprinkle crushed candy on top.

4.  Chill until completely hardened.  Break into pieces.

5.  Eat and share with friends.  Store in an air tight container (I keep ours in the the  refrigerator)

You can also make this with semisweet or milk chocolate.  I used white chocolate because it looks prettier in an illustration!  You can also just put other things on it instead of candy if you like.  Dried fruit and toasted nuts or seeds would be a healthier alternative!

Happy Holidays to all!

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