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 January 2017

2/27/17 - Mardi Gras King Cake - Topping

Cheese Making
The King Cake is all finished and there is a wonderful smoked sausage inside.  It needs to have the traditional Purple, Green and Gold topping.  The Purple is for justice, Green is for faith and Gold is for power. 

A traditional King Cake with the pecan, brown sugar spicy filling would be topped with icing, colored sugars or sprinkles, but we needed something very different.  Don came up with the great idea of making our 30 Minute Mozarella cheese.

In the picture to the right we are straining the whey to separate the curds so they can Making Cheesebe pressed and kneaded to make the cheese.  This gives the cheese a great texture.  During this time we also added basil and garlic to give a great flavor to our cheese.

This is also when we added the food coloring - Purple Cheese?  Why not!  And while we were at it, Outside the Box King Cakewe made green and gold cheese just to be accurate. 

I do have to say that purple cheese was a little different at first, but it is very tasty. 

We cut thin slices of cheese to put on top of our King Cake to give it just the right look - looked like frosting actually.

The cake didn't last long when it arrived at the local Mardi Gras festivities.  It was definitely an Outside the Box King Cake.   Next time we might saute some breakfast sausage, onions and bell peppers.

The sky's the limit!
2/26/17 - Mardi Gras King Cake - Outside the Box

Dough for rolling out
King Cake is that beautiful pastry we have durint he Mardi Gras season - or is it.  Does it have to be sweet with colored sugar and filled with pecans and cinnamon?  Not here - we took the King Cake outside the box this year. We made a whole wheat bread using out own home ground flour.

King Cake Rolled outFor the filling there are many versions, but for the most part the pastry is stuffed with varying combinations of  brown sugar, nuts, raisins, spices, etc.  As you can see, ours was just a little bit different.  We used a smoked sausage.

After we rolled the dough and shaped the bread it had to rise a little more before we put it in the oven.  It did not want to stay in the traditional shape, so we used a wooden skewer to hold it.  Dough Shaped for Rising

Home ground flour takes a little while longer than store bought flour to rise, but it is so much more flavorful and healthy that it is worth the effort. 

While we were rising and baking the King Cake, we had some other important tasks to perform.  Tomorrow we will add those important steps and show you just how our Outside the Box King Cake turned out. 

Recipe for the Dough

Mix and Disolve

1 Tbsp. Yeast
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 C Warm Water

Add, Mix and let set 1 hour

1 Cup flour

King Cake in the ovenAdd Mix and Knead

1 Cup Flour (plus probably about 1/4 c to make the dough right for kneading)

Rise one hour

Roll out the bread dough, add the sausage (cooked breakfast sausage could be used - maybe even with peppers and onions)

Rise 1 hour (or until doubled)

Bake at 350 F for et minutes (could take longer in other ovens)

Check back tomorrow to see what happens to our King Cake next.
1/ 27/18 - Design Time

What do artists do in the winter if they don't go somewhere warm for the show season?  I am sure pretty much everyone is working toward next season.  We tend to design, plan and write.  We are making a major step away from much of the jewelry into making dining and serving pieces.  We have also been working on two separate Etsy shops, KingfisherArtJewelry for our jewelry and jewelry tutorials and KingfisherDesigns for our dining, serving and home decor pieces.  We still have a long way to go to get them where we want them, but it's a start.

Sketch bookSince Christmas I have been thinking about a fondue set.  What a fascinating idea - and we would get to use so many techniques.  The page on the left is from my sketch book, which is always a mess. 

I am beginning to think of the general shapes metals and textures.  The forks will be German silver with brass handles.  Don got a new lathe and I think he will turn some little ebony wooden pieces for the handle ends so they don't get hot.  Right now the fork at the top on the right is kind of what I am looking for.

The stand for the pot will be textured German silver and the ends will beSpice Bowl generally shaped like the forks.  The band holding the stand will be hammered brass - at least that is the current plan.

We are also thinking about having small plates (maybe call them tapas?) to put the food on.  The drawing at center bottom that looks kind of like a high heel is an idea for a vertical spoon rest where you can set the plate. 

The warming candle will be below with cut out sides.  Not sure if it might be copper or enameled. 

The main pot will be our Eruption colorway and I don't know if it will have a lid or not, but if it does, it will not have the torch cut edge.  We are still planning, but this is "in the works".

Now time to start thinking about fondue recipes.

We'd love to have you in our Key Club - it comes out monthly with sneak peaks, sales, and some nice discounts in our Etsy shops. 

Kingfisher Designs Key Club

1/22/17 - Asian Winter Salad

Salad SetOur garden was amazing this year.  We picked over l80 lb. of tomatoes out of 8 hay bales.  We ate the last tomato out of our garden today. 

We had a wonderful Winter Salad with an Asian twist. We made both the salad and the dressing. We also tested out a couple of our Kingfisher Designs sets while we were at it.

Winter Salad

Spinach and spring mix leaves

2 Tomatoes (last ones of the year, but the salad would be ok without it.
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chopped in small pieces
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 Clementine sectioned
2 T. Sunflower Seeds
1 chicen breast cut in cubes and sauted in olive oil
Greens - we used mixed spinach and spring mix.

Leaf Salad SetAsian dressing

3 T Olive oil
1 T Ponzu Citrus sauce or squeeze 1/2 an orange
2 T Red wine vinegar
1 T Rice wine vinegar
2 T Panda sweet Pepper sauce.

Shake well and chill

It is nearing the end of January and we are beginning to make pieces for the spring shows and plan the garden.

This is a favorite time of year when we can bring the ideas we have been drawing and writing during the year together and see how they work.  We hibernate and create.

1/19/17 - I'm a New Year's Resolutionary

With the new year we are restructuring our business and along the way, hopefully our lives.  We have been making jewelryBowline Pearl Earrings for about 14 years or so, but have been making dining and serving pieces and home decor for about 3 of those years and has taken over most of our time.  Though we still enjoy making jewelry, teaching classes and writing tutorials, our path has changed. 

Over the next few weeks we will be rolling out our new branding and plans for what we plan to have available a shows and online. 

We will also be updating our blog on a regular basis and hope that you will find our articles and picturesSalt Cellar interesting.  There is only so much you can write about a pair of earrings of a ladle, so we will be talking about simplifying, organizing, maybe some gardening and recipes.  We will have some recipes and gardening ideas as well as a few stories of the life of an artist.  We hope you will enjoy this journey with us. 

The Kingfisher Designs brand will be for our home decor pieces and the jewelry will be
found under Kingfisher Art Jewelry.  To accomplish this, we will be redeveloping the website and have created a second Etsy shop under the new name.  Click the images below to visit the Etsy shops.

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