Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall is in the Air

Fall has always been my favorite time of year: the turning of leaves, the delicious first bite of a Jonathan apple fresh-picked from an orchard. Cider newly made, corn shocks, hay rides, a pot of chili on frosty nights and toasty memories of bonfires, wiener roasts, and fun.

In Florida, except for the intense muggy heat of summer, it’s green and glorious year round. Without the changing seasons, it can also lead to monotony. In today’s blog, I celebrate fall, Oktoberfest, and new beginnings.

Back by popular demand, I’m creating more art deco pieces; this time with an emphasis on the geometric shapes so popular during the era. For those who may be unfamiliar with this style, art deco (according to Webster) was a “pervasive decorative style in the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by bold outlines, streamlined and rectilinear forms, and the use of new materials (plastic).” Plastic – ish! Big in the 20s and now public enemy number one if you ask an environmentalist.

The sheen of chrome and plastic was the “cat’s meow.” The added glitter of silver and gold brightened the geometric patterns and gave off an aura of sophistication and glamour. The 1920s were high-flying times. America’s Industrial Revolution was underway and people were trying to shed the shackles of Victorian prudishness and pride.

My 11x14 panels will have a background of geometric shapes in varying shades of gray and black. (You really have to use your imagination!) I’m flitting between an eye-popping red apple off center on one and a flashy green pear on the other (perfect for the kitchen)...or glamour poses of flapper cuties for the boudoir or bath. Your input will help me decide. Please leave your comments and vote your choice.

And for all of you who thought you knew what “Starving Artist” meant. I’ll give you another definition: “An artist who spends so much time painting he or she doesn’t have time to cook!” Unless, like me, you have a husband (or wife) who does the cooking so you don't have to.

I thought it might be fun to include some “Starving Artist” recipes that are cheap, quick, and brainless. This month, I’m featuring a German dish.

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to be in Germany during Oktoberfest. It was fabulous! I stayed in Rüdesheim, a quaint romantic town along the Rhine River. The entire city was bedecked in hanging baskets overflowing with bright red geraniums. The surrounding emerald hills were spattered with the reds and gold’s of autumn and made a colorful backdrop.

Beer halls were bursting at the seams with overly happy customers. Steins were clicking, foam was sloshing, and hearts and voices sang loudly with the “Oompa” bands which played both day and night. In honor of Oktoberfest, here is my 30 min. meal for “starving artists” and anyone else that hates to cook and doesn’t have time or money.

Sausage Casserole:

1. In a large casserole dish, slice potatoes and onions to the three-fourths mark. Moisten with about ½ C. chicken stock.

2. Microwave for about 10 min. or until the potatoes are just tender.

3. Slice Kielbasa sausage rounds over the top. Microwave for another 10 min.

4. Cut a head of cabbage into wedges. Place wedges around the top of the dish and drizzle with butter. Cover and microwave another 10 min. or until the cabbage is just tender.*

*Another option is to use sauerkraut (I prefer Bavarian with caraway seeds) in place of the cabbage (or you can use both if there’s room.

All of these wonderful flavors blend and become a mouthwatering dish; a complete meal in one large casserole. Have a swig of beer and enjoy Oktoberfest!