Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Celebration, Re-envisioned

When I was a little girl, my family celebrated Memorial Day the same way every year: my grandmother would prepare the most delicious fried chicken, coleslaw, and homemade, hand-cranked ice cream. The whole family would assemble at her house for a sunny, afternoon feast. Before eating, we would toast my grandfather, who fought in WWII. Following the meal, we would all make a trip to the cemetery to pay respects to my uncle, who lost his life in the Korean War.

Although the United States continues to send soldiers overseas to fight, no one from the last two generations of my family has served in the Armed Forces. As a result, Memorial Day has faded somewhat from my family’s collective experience. So this year, I decided to revive and renovate my family’s traditional Memorial Day celebration.

Instead of visiting the graves of my grandfather and uncle, our family had a discussion over dinner about the significance of Memorial Day for all Americans, and what Memorial Day means to us, as individuals.

Below, you will also find recipes inspired by grandmother’s delicious creations, updated to address modern tastes and health concerns.

Regardless of our immediate, individual proximities to war, Memorial Day offers us yet another opportunity to spend meaningful time with family or friends, and to honor Americans who have devoted their lives to service for our country.

Memorial Day 2011 Menu
Fried-Baked Crispy Chicken
Red Cabbage Coleslaw
Strawberry Salad with Lime

Fried Chicken

6 drumsticks free-range chicken
4 thighs free-range chicken
1 cup of fresh homemade breadcrumbs (make in the food processor)
1 tsp. ground sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup of fresh milk
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup salted butter

1.  Remove chicken from the package and select a large shallow pan that will accommodate all the chicken pieces.
2.  Pour the milk in the pan.  Place the chicken in the pan and rotate so the milk coats both sides of the chicken.  Place in the refrigerator.
3.  Heat the oven to 325 degrees and toast the day old slices of white crusty bread until golden brown.
4.  Remove the bread from the oven when golden brown and crispy.  Cut the bread into large squares and place in a food processor.  Pulse until all bread has become fine breadcrumbs. 
5.  Remove the crumbs and place in a 10-inch baking dish.  Season with sea salt and ground pepper.
6.  Take a large iron skillet or stainless steel skillet that can hold all the chicken pieces.  Heat to medium high.
7.  Add the canola oil and the butter to the skillet.  Heat on medium high.
8.  Once pan is hot, add the chicken.  Brown, and continue turning chicken until all sides are browned evenly.  Chicken should look golden brown.
9.  Remove chicken from skillet and place in a large baking dish.  Salt generously with freshly ground sea salt.
10.  Place chicken in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, make a small cut in the chicken to check for doneness.  Meat should be white and juices should be clean.

Homemade Red Coleslaw

1 head red cabbage
1 bunch small green onions
3 small carrots
½ cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. freshly ground sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

1.  Cut red cabbage into ½ inch slices.  Cut again to make shred of cabbage approximately 4 inches long.
2.  Place in a 12-inch low bowl for dressing and serving.
3.  Cut the white heads of the green onion off the stems, remove the roots.  Chop the small white part finely.  Add to the chopped cabbage.
4.  Cut the carrots into 4-inch pieces, by slicing in half and then cutting into fine julienne strips.  Add to the coleslaw.
5.  In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper vigorously with a fork until smooth. 
6.  Place tablespoons of the dressing scattered across the top of the coleslaw.  Toss with salad tongs until coated.
7.  Add salt or pepper (if necessary) to taste.

Serve healthy portions with Fried Chicken.

Strawberry Salad with Lime
Make this strawberry salad with fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market. You don’t need much else. Strawberries that are truly in season speak for themselves!

Fresh strawberries
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
2 tbs brown sugar

1.  Wash, de-stem, and cut strawberries in bite-size pieces.
2.  Zest whole lime. Set zest aside.
3.  Cut lime in half and juice. Set juice aside.
4.  Pour strawberries into a large bowl.
5.  Mix in zest, juice, and brown sugar with a large spoon.
6.  Cover bowl with saran wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for one hour or more. The longer you let the berries sit, the juicier they’ll become!

Serve salad on its own, or topped with a dollop of whipped cream.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Trip To The Far East

Taken as I browsed a local flea market
I have always been a great lover of Europe. As our designs show, a great deal of the inspiration for Rosanna product comes from Italy, Britain, and France. However, for everything I know about the artistic and cultural eras in Western cultures, I know just as little about countries and cultures in the East. I never imagined I’d find inspiration from China, must less travel there. But when business took us to Guangzhou, we decided to make a family vacation out of it and use the opportunity to explore China.

was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed learning about the design history and intricate craftsmanship that distinguishes the arts in China. It was amazing to see firsthand the production of porcelain, jade, and silk, to name a few Chinese innovations that Westerners have enjoyed, admired, and employed for centuries.

The Chinese people, culture, landmarks, and history inspired me greatly. They broadened my worldview and provided me with a host of fresh ideas for new Rosanna products. Our trip to China extended my appreciation for the fine arts beyond the West in surprising and gratifying ways.

Here are some photos from our trip, including shots of the Great Wall and from one of my favorite flea markets we visited. When you look through these photos, even though I’m only an amateur photographer, I think it will be easy to see why I was so struck by this extraordinary culture.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Living In The Seasons--Spring

For centuries people lived in the seasons.  Their diets were determined by their geographic location, the temperature, weather, and the food they had access to.  Nowadays we are able to shop in grocery stores where most fresh fruits and vegetables are available year-round.  However, as we learn to eat fruits and veggies in their seasons, the tastes are so much more vivid, alive, and delicious.  Every spring I look forward to the fresh crop of artichokes that hits the local farmers markets.  The artichoke is an unusual vegetable, and some may find its spiny appearance intimidating, but it's so easy to prepare and so rewarding--especially when you get to the toothsome, flavorful heart--that it will likely become a regular feature of your spring menus as well.  A special bonus that the artichoke offers is healthfulness:  One large artichoke has only 25 calories, no fat, and 170 milligrams of potassiums, and is an excellent source of vitamin C.  Artichokes also contain folate, magnesium, and lots of dietary fiber.  Try this delicious and healthy recipe from my book, Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide to Creating Family Traditions.

Spring Artichokes With Lemon Butter (serves 4)

4 large California globe artichokes
Juice of 2 lemons
1 clove garlic, smashed, plus 2 cloves minced
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) good quality-salted butter

Wash the artichokes under cold water.
Cut off the stems at the base and remove any small leaves.
Fill a large pot with 2 to 3 inches of water.
Add half of the lemon juice and the 1 smashed garlic clove.
Bring to a boil.
Place the artichokes upright in the pot.
Cover and cook at a low boil for 35 to 45 minutes, until the artichoke's base can be pierced with a fork or you can easily pull off a leaf.
Drain the artichokes upside down.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter, minced garlic, and the remaining lemon juice.
When the butter is melted, pour it into individual ramekins.
Serve the artichokes with the lemon butter as a dipping sauce.

Tell your guests to pull one leaf at a time from the artichoke and dip it in the sauce, then scrape the leaf with their teeth to pull off the tender inner flesh of the artichoke.  After the large outer leaves are all eaten, paper-thin leaves remain.  These can be pulled out in sections and eaten, but the best part of an artichoke is the heart.  After you've eaten all of the leaves, remove the hairy choke with a tablespoon until you reach the heart.  Dip the heart in the butter sauce, and enjoy!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Arts

The poet Gary Snyder defined my first passion—art—as “an assimilator of unfelt experience, sensation, and memory for the whole society.”  The arts are a crucial part of any well-rounded education. They connect us with our human past, present, and future.

Encounters with the arts of any kind give me immense satisfaction. The most fulfilling work I’ve done for Rosanna Inc. has involved designing projects for arts organizations, including the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle and Metropolitan Museum of Art and Met Opera in New York.

These projects require me to draw on material I learned as a student, but also to research genres about which I know only a little. Since we began working with the Met, my knowledge of opera has grown incredibly. Through our work with the Met Museum, I’ve developed an appreciation for art from the ancient Chinese Qing Dynasty, a delightful surprise.

Because the products we’ve designed specially for these arts institutions don’t appear on the Rosanna Inc. website, I’m providing links here to share this work with you.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Qing Famille Rose Teapot
Qing Famille Rose Dessert Plates
Qing Famille Rose Mugs

The Met Opera
Evening at the Opera Plates
Carmen Mug
Rigoletto Libretto Mug
La Traviata Paperweight
Limited Edition Muse Collector's Plate

The Muse Collector’s Plate has also been featured in Gotham Magazine, below.