I’ve been working to replenish some of the sold ceramics because I miss using them, and I’ve also been messing around a bit with some new ideas. As I get closer to having all the dishes I want for my own use, I’m thinking in terms of future projects like pickling crocks and a sink for the bathroom.. But in the meantime it’s mostly plates and bowls that inspire me to cook food to go in/on them. And this woven basket thing, which for now makes a nice centerpiece for the dining room table, especially with the red runner we got as a Christmas gift.
I’m enjoying the boat-shaped plates, especially in the more useful larger sizes. The plates are a foot long, and the bigger serving dish is more like 16″. I tried a different glaze this time for a slightly quieter effect. They seem to like having smallish things nestled in them, like these caramelized leeks in vinaigrette, my new favorite vegetable side dish:
I’m really digging the leeks lately; like most people I enjoy the alliums in all their forms, but leeks seem to have more umami. They’re more of a vegetable, in a way, with a sweet and savory depth that makes them shine on their own. I wouldn’t do this with onions or garlic; to me they’re more about adding their flavors to things bigger than themselves (though onion rings are good). Of course the wonderful rich sharpness of the vinaigrette helps, too; this dish really gets the saliva flowing before the main meal, which is what an appetizer is all about.
I made six more of these plates, since they inspire me to put food in them, and 12 allows for a nice big party. This batch benefited from a bit more glazing skill, since I got the drips to behave a little more elegantly. The white glaze on the black clay is a new favorite combination.
In anticipation of a big dinner later this winter, I made more of my favorite three little amuse-bouche plates so I have 20 of each.
These three in together allow for nice combinations of contrasting textures and flavors, like the beet-themed fritter-soup-foie gras trio of amuses from Thanksgiving. And I drink espresso out of the little cups, which are based on Richard Serra’s monumental Torqued Ellipse sculptures. (There’s also a nifty gadget here for geometry geeks to play with). This batch of both spoons and tripods are glazed differently than the first ones, and I’m particularly taken with the dark blue on the spoons. I had an idea to make tiny little crèmes brulée in them, either of foie gras as an amuse or a sweeter one as a bridge to dessert. Crème brulée has been on my mind lately, and I just might have something along those lines to talk about soon.
Last, I made a bunch more of these lead-colored post-punk Asian sort of bowls, because I like them and gave some away as gifts. Now I have 20 of them, too, and they stack relatively well in the cupboard. I think I’m going to use them tonight, in fact. Which brings this back to why I do this in the first place: creative work is satisfying in and of itself, but hearing these forms call out to me from their shelves spurs me to make better and prettier food.