Monday, March 14, 2011

eat; eatpinklove meets glo

I met a wonderful woman named Gloria (affectionately known as Glo) a month or so ago and we finally ate together this week. She  has her own blog about food, music and things she loves and has been tempting me with talk about her Arabic (Palestinian) foods and flavours and I was in absolute seventh taste bud heaven when Glo invited me around for lunch. She made a BIG bowl of Fattoush and while she prepared the salad, heated up a piece (or three!) of pita bread on the stove for me to try Lebneh, which she poured olive oil over, Za'atar which is an amazing combo of spices and her home-made Hummus (one tip for all ye out there; never, ever invite me around and distract me with food while you're doing the cooking!!!!) OMG! I was soooooo excited I almost wet my pants over the party that was happening in my mouth!

Arabic cooking uses lots of spices, similar to Indian cooking but without the heavy cooking time. It is super fresh and light and mainly served as Mezza, which is the Arabic version of Tapas. I must admit that Glo's Hummus put mine to shame, and I have always been proud of mine! More oil, more garlic and more lemon next time!

Above is what I ate while Glo was chopping. To the left is Glo's amazing Hummus and to the right is the Lebneh spread onto a piece of pita bread and then dipped into the Za'atar...YUM!!!! (I must remember to take a photo before diving right in!)
So I've decided to share Glo's recipe for Fattoush Salad. It is really simple to make but what gives it something special is the Sumac spice powder. You will be able to find this in most spice stores.

Glo's Fattoush Salad
Serves 4

What you need;
4 small pita breads
4 Roma lettuce
2 organic tomatoes
2 Persian (Lebanese) cucumbers
10 small spring onions
2 bunches of curly leaf parsley
1 bunch of mint
3/4 lemon juice
3/4 olive oil
4 tsp ground Sumac
salt and pepper to taste

Start by placing the pita breads into an oven on a med to high heat while you're chopping and preparing the salad. Keep an eye on it so you don't burn them!

Chop the lettuce, tomatoes cucumber and spring onions as shown in the pics above. Add it all into a big bowl and set aside.

To make the dressing, chop the parsley with a Mezzaluna knife if you have one, into smallish pieces. Do them same with the mint. Add to the oil and lemon juice that is in a cup and stir in the sumac, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Break the pita bread into small bite size pieces and add to the awaiting salad. Pour the herb dressing over the salad and toss. Place the salad into individual servings and sprinkle with a little more Sumac.

Buon Appetito!

I'm really loving cooking with other people so if you out there have an amazing vegetarian dish (preferably vegan) that you would like to share with me and be a feature in an upcoming post, send me a message and we'll work out a day of pure eating indulgence!!!! For all you in the States, I'm only here for another two weeks before I return home, so get to it! Those in Australia, start booking me in for a lunch date after the 30th of March and let's eat!

pink; pink constellation

This past week, I went to an artist talk at California Institute of the Arts by Martin Kersels, who is the current co-director of the Art Program at the College. I must admit to seeing two pink works, one by Kersels and one by a current second year MFA student, so next week I will be posting about the pink work by the student.

Martin Kersels dominates the room with his presence. A large man with a large presence, one cannot help but notice him when he is in the room, and this is what he plays on within his practice. Kersels began his talk where most artists don't, at the beginning of his practice, before he completed his MFA at CAL Arts. He showed us works he produced between 1984-1993 while being a member of an all male art group called SHRIMPS. The influence of this group on Kersels performance practice can still be seen today. They performed live performances where they explored 'daintiness' and other characteristics not normally associated with large men. One such performance was the men taking on feminine attributes while wrestling with female wrestlers, with their movements being restricted by small platforms. The result is often humorous and fun and Kersels definitely knows how to make his audience laugh.

Pink Constellation was created in 2001 and is a two part work, the other titled Tumble Room. The work revisits the movie technology of the revolving room, famously used by Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding in 1951, where a camera is fixed into place as it looks into a room. I wanted to concentrate on Pink Constellation rather than Tumble Room as I have seen similar works to Tumble Room before, but I will briefly write about it towards the end of this post. The image above and below are video stills of Pink Constellation. I really searched hard to find a copy of this video on the net but was unsuccessful. You will just have to imagine it

Kersels uses the image of a teenage girls room as the backdrop to the performance and throughout the nineteen minute video performance, strange things happen (as if watching someone dance on the walls and ceiling wasn't strange enough!). The beginning of the video sees Kersels himself entering the room, dressed in outlandish zebra print pants that look like he just stepped out of the eighties, paired with a brightly coloured orange top. One is completely struck by this image as it contrasts so vividly with the image of a sweet looking teenage girl and the girly pink bedroom. My first impression was, 'what the hell is this?!?!'

The video wavers between Kersels and a teenage girl and their individual interactions with the room. Where the teenage girl looks graceful and totally comfortable within the room, sometimes seen just reading, Kersels looks awkward, clumsy and a little creepy. They both dance at some stage during the nineteen minute performance; the girl, graceful and seamless in her dance as the room is revolving, Kersels jolted, unrelated and awful to look at throughout his dance. It reminded me of those scenes where the drunk Uncle gets up to dance at your party and is a total train wreck but you can't seem to look away.

This is where Kersels interest in contrast and expectations lies, of what a big guy should be within our society and how we may view them. We don't see big men as dainty, nor do we see them as being graceful, even if they are. There is a point where the room is not nailed down anymore and the video comes to a crashing end, literally, when the last five minutes or so, sees Kersels struggling with a collapsing room around him. Not only is Kersels himself thrown around the room, unable to get his balance, but he is now struggling to protect himself from the harm the teenage girly room is about to inflict. The bed, the desk, the lamp and even the bedside table, all become weapons against this middle aged male intruder. What a fitting end to an attempt to relate to the life and thoughts of a teenage girl.

I did like this work by Kersels, even though at first viewing, I was a little creeped out by his initial entrance into the pink room. This work is successful at portraying contrast because of the teenage girls room backdrop. It becomes the antithesis of daintiness and gracefulness, prettiness and the entry point to femininity. It is all that Kersels is exploring within his practice as a large man trying to fit into a world that seems to want to continually put stereotypes onto people like himself.

The picture above is Tumble Room. It has been shown at various museums around the world. It is the teenage girls room slowly tumbling into a destoyed void. Kersels mentioned that he buys the furniture from Ikea, and then 'updates' the posters on the walls so it becomes a contemporary teenage girls room. He showed us collages he had created for its recent showing that included pictures of Justin Bieber and Edward Cullen to be taped to the wall of the bedroom. He seemed to take delight in imagining himself as a teenage girl and what and who they would idolize at that age.

love; ten things I love this week

1. OMG!!!! Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen?!?!?!?! Cats with wigs...yes, they do actually make them specifically and you too can buy one for your precious little fuzzy love! It's soooo strange but oh so right! You can check out more at the website. LOVE!!!!!

2. The real life Simpsons house! I am not a fan of The Simpson's but I can certainly appreciate anything from cartoons transformed into reality! The house was built as a competition to win way back in 1997. The house does still exist, but it has been de-Simpsonized :0(  You can see what it now looks like here. One day I hope to have a house that looks like this! Check out the interior photos here.

3. Speaking of cartoon houses made into reality...Mini's kitchen at Disneyland is my sort of kitchen!!!! LOVE!!!!

4. Finding this little piece of stuffed joy! I was walking to the bus stop and came across it just sitting on the fence. A big thanks to the person who made me smile :0) LOVE!!!

5. I came across this really cool photo but can't download it! Check out this link. LOVE IT!!!
6. Cafe Gratitude coming to L.A! Oh how I loved this place in San Francisco and they have finally arrived here in L.A. They have titles for their meals like "I Am Elated" for their raw burrito and "I Am Extraordinary" for their BLT. Crazy really as it does feel odd to make a statement like that to your waiter/waitress but it is part of the experience. Go hippy!!!!! Pity I only now have a two weeks to enjoy the place before I head home to Australia. LOVE!

7. The bathroom at Cafe Gratitude. This photo doesn't show it well, but written all over  the mirror was "I am an expression of beauty". LOVE!!!
8. Sorry guys but I couldn't resist! More Cafe Gratitude! On Saturday night I went back to Cafe Gratitude with my housemate and bought their cookbook!!!! YAY!!! When I left San Francisco, that was one of my biggest regrets not having bought their book. Now I have it! And yes, you'll all benefit from me owning it! LOVE!

9. This car I'm driving! Yes it is an ex cop car! My friend Megan from Kumquat Kitchen drives this car around sometimes (don't ask!) and she has lent it to me for the week that she is in Hawaii. It is soooo funny watching people react to the car. One guy yelled out to me "Aint you gonna give him a ticket!!!!" while I was stopped at the lights. Soooo funny! LOVE!

10. Cruising along Mulholland Drive. Yes, Lynchy reference here.  If you haven't done it, I highly recommend it! Lot's of great views of Lala Land. I'm playing tourist for the next two weeks here in Lala Land. Oh how I will miss this place :0(