Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When Artists Cook

I've introduced you to the amazing Jennifer Mclean before from Just Add Water Silly.  She was a guest on my series An Artist You Should Know in May of this year.  To read all about her, click here.  When I first conceived this series, Jenn was a natural choice as a contributor.  Her world is so energized and interesting and I'm agog at how much this amazing woman manages to juggle.  On top of all her art and blogging commitments, Jenn has recently been made contributing editor of Featuring Magazine. It's a huge honor to have Jenn as part of this series and I know you'll enjoy her art and cooking as much as I do.

Hi my name is Jennifer McLean but you can call me Jenn, all my friends do. I'm thrilled to be part of Dion's "When Artists Cook" series. What a great idea, to start a series about the influence of artistic temperament on how one makes food, sets a table, deals with a dinner party or arranges one's kitchen. I'll be honest, I'm a freakishly organized artist. It's not my general nature, I'm naturally chaotic, messy and ridiculously disorganized. BUT, I'm so lucky to have been raised by a logical and highly organized mother who taught me at her knee about how to fight against my natural tendency to be a scattered artistic type.


My kitchen is organized within an inch of it's life, ;o). All the containers are labeled using my Brother P-Touch label maker and cooking directions are taped to the back. Every utensil has a place and all drawers are filled with bins to separate and organize all the stuff. Even the dreaded plastic drawer is organized by size & type of lid. It's disgusting, I know. I blame my mother. Hehehe. (Thank God for her linear thinking mind and organizational skills or I'd lose my head somewhere between breakfast and page 4, as they say.) Now, please understand, the organization does NOT extend to my mind, lol. Therefore, when I'm in the middle of doing something like cooking or painting I'm scatterbrained, like many artists are when they work. I think it adds to one's creativity though, to allow one to come up with inspirational ideas.

Artist: Jennifer McLean Title: "An Apple A Day"
I recently found out I'm sensitive to gluten so my entire diet had to change, taking all wheat and wheat based products out. This has led to me being even more creative in the kitchen because beyond the Celiac symptoms, I'm also allergic to a myriad range of other things. For instance, I can't eat apples and since apple juice is a great sweetener and applesauce can be used as a substitute for fat, lowering the fat content on baked goods, I had to think creatively. I use mango juice instead and I make my own pear sauce (peel pear, crush, boil. Done.) I love to think outside the box when using any recipe. In fact, I don't know if I ever just use a recipe as written! It's kind of like trying an unexpected color in a painting when I add a tweak to a recipe. Speaking of recipes, I begged my good friend Tracey Fletcher King (also a contributer to this lovely series) for her mushy peas recipe. I've heard so much about Mushy Peas as I watch Coronation Street and I so totally needed to try them! I also love to paint peas, they're so round and abundant and of course, there's the color green, one of my favorite colors. The recipe is so wonderfully easy peasy (Ooh, bad pun, Jenn!). Here it is...
Mushy Peas

Artist: Jennifer McLean Title: "Peas Please"
Ingredients: a bunch of fresh or frozen peas a couple of garlic cloves a few peppercorns butter lemon juice fresh mint salt & pepper Directions: 1. Boil some salted water and throw the peas in with the garlic cloves and the peppercorns. 2. Let boil until peas are soft. 3. Drain very well. 4. Add the butter (to taste), mint and a splash of lemon juice and blitz it with a hand blender or something similar. 5. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve hot. Tracey suggests pairing mushy peas with salmon and I thought that sounded delicious as salmon is one of my very favorite proteins. I have a drop dead fantastic and simple recipe for salmon. Here it is...
Salmon With Mustard Dill Crust

Internet Photograph
Ingredients: salmon fillet Dijon mustard (I prefer Grey Poupon) dried dill weed Directions: 1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Cover your pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. 2. Place salmon fillets on your pan and slather with the Dijon mustard. Sprinkle generously with the dill. 3. Bake your salmon for a short amount of time, enough to just cook it, about 10 minutes. 4. Place mushy peas in the middle of the plate and carefully place fillet onto mushy peas. Serve with brown rice cooked using vegetable stock instead of water. DONE. :o) If you'd like to visit me just click over to Just Add Water Silly, I'll make sure I have the hazelnut coffee on and a fresh batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies ready for guests. It was such a pleasure to join Dion and the other contributers in this series. I'll see you again next month! Best,


Jenn's Blog: www.JustAddWaterSilly.com
Jenn's Etsy Shop: www.JenniferMcLean.ca
Jenn's Email: oilandwater@telus.net