Actually, that was yesterday, so I’m already one day behind! Who knew that little old not quite employed yet me (still running paperwork at my new job before I can start) would be so busy on my first day of Barrett being out town? I had big plans to do coffee shops every day while Barrett was gone and eat massive amounts of potatoes. The potatoes happened (yay!) but I didn’t get any coffee shop time in. Because I got to volunteer for the library! Bryan Collier was in town and I helped usher school kids through his display and I got to hear him speak to the school kids and in an open public event at night. He is SO good. He had those kids in the palm of his hand. I don’t know how he did it, but his shpiel, it is good.
Some key points he made:
-We’re all connected. He said he was building a bridge between us during the presentation and talked about how all books, all people, all events are connected. In the evening session for adults and families he added onto this by giving examples in his books of how the historical figures he writes about are all connected and how he shows that in his art. In Martin’s Big Words he has a cake with four candles on it to represent the four girls who died in the church bombing.
-With the kids he talked a lot about collage. Decide what you like and what you don’t like and layer those elements you like together to make a collage.
-He told the kids he was going to ask them a question that he already knew the answer to, that they’d never been asked, and that would blow their minds. The question: When you got ready for the day and stepped outside for the first time, what was the color of your day? Have you ever noticed something new, something you’ve never noticed before, something other people might not even see? He told them this was because they were artists and discovering the color of your day is part of being an artist.
-For the adults he talked a lot about storytelling and the seeds of story that happen in your life. He talked about how he tells stories with his art. He pointed out the clouds in the book about Rosa Parks that show a storm brewing just before she gets on the bus to represent something is about to happen.
-We build on those before us. This was for the adults and added to the we are all connected theme. He explained how all of these historical figures have led to Obama. He really loves Obama. I mean, I love Obama, but he REALLY loves Obama. The book he illustrated about Obama’s childhood is gorgeous if you haven’t checked it out yet. He even realized how much he was gushing at one point and clarified that he didn’t actually think Obama was Jesus. But still really really really special.
-He told us the two most important events in his life as an artist: He was working with a group of kids and he was passing out crayons, one girl asked for the purples, which really made him think. The other was a group of English as a Second Language students who told them they’d been waiting their whole lives for him.
Potato Dish of the Day:
New and Improved Party Potatoes
The first time I had the fabulous dish known in parts of the midwest as “party potatoes” (and in other parts as “funeral potatoes”) was at my friend Jessica’s graduation party. I was in love. Sadly, no one seems to love them quite as much as I do. At least they don’t seem to want to eat them every single day non-stop. So yesterday I made up a batch of party potatoes all for me. Evil laughing and all.
I now eat a new and improved recipe based on the original from Jessica’s party with a twist I got from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice one and a half pounds of red, yellow or purple potatoes into wedges (or into 1-2 inch chunks if you prefer). I used all three this last time and it was lovely. Peel three or so garlic cloves.
Throw potatoes and garlic into a pot, cover with water. Turn to high. When boiling add 3/4 cup to 1 cup of quinoa (yes, quinoa! I love this little grain and I swear it’s worth the trouble to track it down). Stir now and then, boil for five minutes. Tip the pot to drain out the water, but the quinoa is too tiny for most strainers so just try to keep an eye on it. Some water can stay in the pot, just drain off as much as you easily can. Put potatoes, garlic and quinoa into a casserole dish/oven pan sort of thing. Toss with olive oil and add a few little chunks of butter.
Roast in oven for fifteen minutes. While it is roasting, dice one sweet pepper (I like red, but you can go more colorful), and a large handful of scallions. Grate some cheese (1 cup or so) — I like a blend of a medium cheddar and something creamier like muenster or monterey jack. After you’ve been roasting the potatoes for fifteen minutes, stir up the potatoes and quinoa. Roast for another ten minutes. Keep chopping and/or shredding if you aren’t finished yet. When the ten minutes is up, everything in the pan should be looking golden. If so, add the peppers and scallions, toss everything together, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper it (just a teensy bit of cayenne). Sprinkle cheese over the top, put it back in the oven and bake eight minutes or so until the cheese is melted.
What are other people’s favorite potato dishes? I might need inspiration to attain my goal of potatoes every day for five days!