Friday, August 21, 2015

Sauteed Zoodles With Black Bean & Corn Sauce For One

Look Ma no pasta!
I finally purchased a Vegetti just to try out the zoodles (zucchini strands like spaghetti to fettuccine noodles) phenomenon. I got it at Burlington Coat Factory for $10. So yes, it's not one of those highly advanced, super sophisticated veggie pasta makers, but it did a fine job for my first attempt. Quite an amazing little gadget- holding onto rinsed zucchini and twisting it in the contraption. I did, however, manage to cut my index finger on a blade (those babies are sharp despite being cheap!). I recommend extreme care with these handheld devices. Hopefully no one else is as clumsy as I am.
Alongside piping hot sauteed zoodles, I threw in "sauce" ingredients instead of simmering it in a separate saucepan. Black beans, diced tomatoes, soy ground, and corn are the components of making a zesty accompaniment with a little lime juice squeezed action going right in. This makes dinner time quick and easy. Nothing like the pleasant sound of crackling sizzle and the beautiful eye palette of magical enticement greeting me. Bright vivid red, green, yellow, and black make for a presentable dish packed with so much flavor that one doesn't even miss the actual pasta. Zucchini has the texture perfect and laps up savory ingredients like a beneficiary soulmate! What's not to adore?
I am eager to start up some raw recipes! Imagine how walnut cream and walnut meatballs will taste on irresistible zoodles or a rich, tangy sweet peanut sauce! My guess? Raw noodles will be superb!

Sauteed Zoodles With Black Bean & Corn Sauce For One Ingredients and Preparation

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cup zoodles
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup black beans, rinsed
1 cup corn (used steamed frozen corn)
1/4 cup Yves Soy Ground
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings

In a medium heated skillet, toss in olive oil and zoodles. Stir for 3-5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, black beans, corn, and soy ground, and salt. Stir for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Turn off heat. Mix in lemon juice and black pepper, and Italian seasonings. 

This would also be a unique taco or burrito filling.
So much delicious pretty.
Look at all that beautiful color!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Black Rice & Veggies With Raw Walnut Cream

Raw walnut cream can be a super terrific topper for black rice.
Another year of school starts next week-- the last new school year. Well, the last unless I consider a doctorate in painting and drawing. I'm sure that has been done millions of times...
I cannot stop thinking about a dream food truck. The AfroVeganChick food truck would travel throughout the 50 states (Hawaii would be most challenging) and Canada, maybe even Mexico to bring about yummy plant based food goodness. I would like to have a menu mixing cooked and raw, savory cuisine and sweet desserts, water and fruit smoothies quenching offerings in between. How's that for an out of art school adventure?  Yes. It's still a dream. A nice dream.
In other vegantastic news, few weeks ago, one of my co-workers asked me, "what does one do with black rice?"
Black rice?! Now I love black rice! Black rice has a hearty, rustic flavor.   
I had no choice but to gush over the wonders of my grain ardor and making a simple sauce to give dinner time a creamy, nutty fulfillment. Both Lotus Foods and Lundberg make a great black rice-- I picked the latter brand for this recipe. With firm vegetables blended in, my favorite easy peasy walnut concoction gives any rice or pasta dish amazing flavor- no dairy free milk or heat needed!

Black Rice & Walnut Cream Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup Lundberg Pearl Black Rice (cooked according to package directions)
1 cup steamed veggies (used broccoli and carrots here)
1 1/2 cup walnuts, soaked in 1 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Soak walnuts overnight.
Do not drain the water.
Puree walnuts and walnut water into blender or food processor with olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, coriander, and black pepper.

After cooking black rice, mix with veggies and walnut cream.
Stir evenly.
Share with your happy, hungry friends.

Friday, August 14, 2015

"The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely" Is Rebirthing The Black Female In Toronto

The tragic story of Sarah Baartman heart pumps a vital breathing poetry in Ngozi Paul's Summerworks play.
Remember. Black women's lives matter. Remember even when the media deflects this imperative truth. 
Bright bulbs highlight centered figure.
Around some beige framed eight body-length mirrors, to steady beating of deep drum thumps, provocative movement begins, slow and fluid borne from dark ground. Cloaked in brown fabric mystery, the lone, ubiquitous protagonist shifts and exerts kinetics, both scandalous and sensual, risque and titillating. 
The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely starts on a note, a savory piquant flavored note of rhythmic dance. Emphasis on the figure's lower backside takes immediate heed, the lights reflecting on gesticulating the voluptuous curves, the predominant curves that symbolize both beauty and vulgarity. Ritualistic exertion ends. The exposed one woman show opens up its jaw full of clandestine shadows further, letting audience sink uncomfortably on the bitter taste of a boisterous affair between Ms. Lovely and a married man. They are reaping horrible benefits of the empty situationship- which many fall prey to its twisted complications promising nothing more than cataclysmic writhing and emotionless ecstasy. 
"What are you doing?" Ms. Lovely's mournful conscious asks. "What are you doing?"
Past and present shift from historical to contemporary decades. Humor and sincerity merge, American nostalgia mixed with innocent curiosity and churlish giddiness. Ms. Lovely is the wild church girl slowly seduced by seeds of scandalous eroticism, eagerly slipping into becoming potential victim early. In between Ms. Lovely blossoming in stereotypical chains, in between darkened corners dissolving face, Sarah Baartman, the original Venus Hottentot is inserted. Long ago, Baartman was a source of European entertainment, a human display, a human hostage holding colonist eyes of ridicule and fascination. After her death, she is still prisoner, her private organs touring for two hundred years. In a defiant recording, Baartman speaks in both scowling contempt and ferocious dignity to the ethnic beats of African diaspora. The regal figure majestically performs gratifying choreography meant to celebrate and personalize beautiful form.
Ngozi Paul, writer, performer, and creator of Da Kink in My Hair, delivers a mesmerizing soliloquy, riveting monologues, blending together light comedy and thought-provoking drama, rendering forth a poignant narrative that is tough and chewy like stout jerky. She gets to the heart of the matter, candid and honest, brave and tender. Questions are aroused, debating about the oppression of black women's bodies, facial constructions, identities, journeys to womanhood sometimes brutally thrust in the aggressive flare of masculine violence. The colonial gaze has negatively impacted what reflections sistahs see in the bevel glass. Self love is key. Black women need to engage in more self love, more self indulgence. Baartman knows her worth and value, knows that though they take and take, stealing what is not naturally own-- a definitive metaphor of exploitative cultural appropriation, she is queen of her internal throne, something no one else can own. Each time Paul graces stage to the honeyed timbre of Baartman's vocalized spirit, Paul's graceful steps and gestures are confident and celebratory. 
d'bi young anikafrika (director and dramaturgist), Roger C. Jeffrey (choreographer and assistant director), Birgit Schreyer Duarte (dramaturgist), L'Oqenz and Waleed Abdulhamid (music collaboration), Jeannette Linton (costume designer), and of course Paul deserve all the kudos in the world for pulling off this commendable vision!
Just eighty minutes long at Factory Theatre Studios, The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely runs tonight at 7:15 PM, Saturday at 12:15 PM, and Sunday at 5:15 PM. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Smoked Polenta and Black Beans

Black beans and polenta make a pretty plate presentation.
Welcome to August. Just a few weeks away from starting the final year of MFA studies. Wow. I would've never thought life's horizons could stretch this far. It's quite momentous. Each day feels like a great victory.
A great victory should always include good food.
I always keep a good supply of polenta logs (an ingredient that I'll have to buy in bulk soon) and black beans. Of course that inner genius stroked a late night hunger craving, saying combine these two ingredients in the nonstick skillet. Gotta obey that authoritative command. 
Black beans serve as the delicious sidekick to flavorful polenta rounds, golden and lightly crisp with a soft, melt-in-mouth center. Fork and knife slides and slices easily into rather romantic tenderness, all golden and sprinkled in herb, a smoked effervescence fully pleasing taste. There is a reason this recipe portion serves one.   

Smoked Polenta and Black Beans Ingredients and Preparation

Trader Joe's Polenta
1 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoon liquid aminos
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings (optional)

Mix liquid smoke, liquid aminos, cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper together. Set aside.
Warm up skillet and pour in olive oil.
Cut polenta into pretty logs that can fool people into believing they're golden scalloped potatoes.
Brush each side with marinade mixture.
Toss polenta rounds into the skillet. Flip over after 5 minutes or so.
Add black beans and cook for an additional 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and plate polenta first. Top with black beans.
Sprinkle with extra dried herbs.
That perfect luscious side view.
Can either be eaten plain or topped with creamy tahini or baba ganoush.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Purple Streak Box Braids + Thrifty Fashion = Easiest Math

The purple streaks were good for a while. It doesn't mean the end. I recently bought Manic Panic's Purple Haze.
Purple is the best color on the planet. The end.
Box braids had an amazing run. Amazing. I enjoyed the compliments, the feedback. It was a refreshing, enjoyable experimental experience that fulfilled some inner bucket list. Yet I do want my afro to have purple streaks. Right now, I'm softening and conditioning with a surging commitment because to color hair, mine has to be at top notch strength.
I must give a commendable shout out to the Goodwill, Philly Aids Thrift here in sweet ole Philadelphia, and Cure Thrift in New York City. These great thrift shops made it so easy to match chic hair to a frugal wardrobe. I found wonderful modern pieces and some retro flair that still matches my fashionable spirit and of course-- my retro specs! It's incredible how having purple streaked braids made me value my glasses so much I didn't put my contacts on during my whole purple hair experience.
Please do take the time to find indulging gratification in life's supreme joys: family, friends, summer, thrift shops, hair dye, good books. It's too short. Far too short.

$1 sequin color polka dot shirt with this $1 ruffled purple jumper dress and $3 floral printed purple scarf from Philly Aids Thrift made a pretty statement!
Proud lady getting the selfie smile down pact!
My friend gave me his hat- 100% straw which coordinated well with a $4 white blouse with surprising bit of lace around collarbone area and $5 floor length blue polka dot skirt looking skort from Cure Thrift. The suspenders were a long ago purchase from Hot Topic.
Box braids and retro specs did not hurt one bit!
I'm going to be a private detective one day.
Also looks killer without the hat.
Chic, very adorable $10 Forever 21 vintage style dress from Cure Thrift matches the bow I bought at Forever 21- $3.50 for a bow two pack. Scarf is from Eva's Head Wraps.
These nifty cat earrings (which tried so desperately to match the real life sleeping Siamese baby fluff cat) don't hurt either. You can find these at Books a Million.
It happens to be my one month anniversary of being employed at school in the museum's visitor services department. Yay me! Great to be able to take an hour break painting, enjoying sandwiches, and having oils splatter my nose. Oh this dress was $3 from Philly Aids Thrift by the way. Terrific pattern.
It's not sweater weather, but this is a thin light weight powder blue "I Am What I Am" long sleeved shirt that I found for a $1 at Philly Aids Thrift-- their Dollar Heaven is no joke. It's incredible the amazing items I keep finding!
$1 for a knee length turquoise off shoulder dress from Philly Aids Thrift? Really? Yup.
And of course working out wearing another $1 Philly Aids Thrift find- chocolate brown t-shirt featuring a happy cat about to enjoy an ice cream cone. Motivation right?
New artwork to come? Sniffs a little.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Studio Harlem's 'Everything, Everyday' Artists-In-Residence Deliver A Refreshing Bite of Black Ordinary Perception

Checked out the new summer shows at Studio Harlem and this year's artist-in-residents stuck out like a chewing gum with nonstop flavor.
In the asymmetrical upstairs gallery of Studio Harlem, among low ceilings, white walls and glossy hardwood floors, newly opened exhibition honors the museum legacy's three precocious artist-in-residents tradition. This year's eclectic trinity simultaneously pummel center stage without tripping over individual independence. Everything, Everyday thrusts forth magical manifestations of glitter and glamor tropes framed in a vapid sense of bourgeois commonality. Interruptions of psycholedic afrofuturism narrative weave in between Eric Mack, Sadie Barnett, and Lauren Halsey's wickedly delicious outer space continuum, their sharp laser-beamed unison encompassing defiant push and pull puppeteer mechanics.
Theoretically, afrofuturism is a pulpy concept beyond scope of tomorrow, blending visual art, literary writing, and science fiction in a consciously hot boiling pot with African diaspora seeds embedded in thought-provoking soil. Intellectual movement introduces gratifying brain stimulation to black consciousness; that kind of cerebral titillating stimulation serving as an erotically engaging current to those who know clandestine secrets and those in fetal yearning. The paradoxical triad of Mack, Barnett, and Halsey escort us into the golden cusp of afrofuturism via tersely maneuvered installations.

Mack's vivacious, high contrast palette emerges straight from Octavia Butler's obscure tenacity- sucking on systematic witchcraft and ironic symphonies playing orchestrated anarchy. Thick paint applique fabrics seem to mimic splattered blood speckles. Deliberate and intense like a confrontation, these vocal green and blue earth colored splotches deliver meaningful blows in a voracious rioting scream of acid tongued linguistics. Two medium sized urban styled jackets- one black bubbled and the other denim- feature fat sinister metal grommet holes like riddled bullet holes. On white hangers, they spin slow and creepily as if mirroring a barbaric Southern lynching. These ghastly unassuming 'bodies' tell cathartic stories that appear an almost violent commentary on the short life span of the African descendent or perhaps spark fueling debate about the politics behind used, voided cloth. In its sparkle, glimmered, textured surface, there is a mundane attitude, something cold and deceptive spitting blunt, metaphorical rhymes. He has carefully and precisely sewn together modern time with old history, logic with confusion.

Barnett is the pragmatic documentarian. Vivid, chromogenic color prints have a peculiar three-dimensional sensory reaching out and touching in soft, sedulous pleasure, harrowing leverage mirroring dilated pupils overwhelming eye sockets. On another wall, Barnett's collection of typewritten letters with faded stains and aged off white paper housed behind wooded frames and glass are highlighted by direct ceiling bulbs. They entail passionate correspondence from the heated 1970's. Angela Davis had been forced underground to escape the FBI who placed her on America's Most Wanted list, but these collected manifestos contain behind-the-scenes rebellious visionaries determined to keep Davis a free woman. Barnett has spoken strong, articulate language transcending boundaries of the norm. She lets past accounts bridge onto gaping passages of the now and of gritty obstacles burgeoning on horizon.

Halsey is the savory third branch, reigning sharp corners in a sweet effervescent surprise- a profoundly whimsical work-in-progress. On one side of her monumental cave installation, viewers are seductively invited inside hand tiled plaster floor and ceiling, reading chiseled Egyptian hieroglyphics as though in the midst of archaeological excavation. However, these are not typical, historically accurate Egyptian hieroglyphics nestled in perfect squared compositions. Alongside geometric pyramids and pharaoh motifs are braided hairstyles, nappy Afros, repetitive Air Jordan logos, chewed out Ebonics, and other recognizable iconographic chronology defining the twenty-first century black American experience. At cave end, majestic African deities simmer, but ambitious architecture turns monstrously abstract, submerging out of morphed wall in pastel colored clusters. Another white wall, resuming path of handmade cave, has rhinestones spelling “V.I.P.,” brown skinned portraits, and burned CDs. Just when engulfing enough saccharine dripped visual confection, Halsey presents an ebony world with outbursts of schematic saturation. A white My Little Pony with black synthetic braids hides under a cliff where a rainbow sun hangs mid orbit. A question rises to the surface. Is Halsey a reincarnated Butler? How else can one entomb heavy handed diligence and serious astrological chops?
Unified Mack, Barnett, and Halsey are varied in approaches, but sustain a quiet, ingenuous dignity. Everything, Everyday is an arousing, sophisticated science promising intellectual lexicons that aren't insufferable complicated jargon.

My traveling companion was Jonathan Chase an up and coming artist also in PAFA's illustrious MFA program. It was nice seeing what Studio Harlem's residents have to offer the world this year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Black Bean & Avocado Salad

A refreshing salad that greets summer appetite just right.
Exciting events are happening. Travels to NYC and Toronto. Published in Soap Opera Digest magazine. Painting cakes, donuts, and Basquiat. Frida Kahlo and the blossoming seeds of a new gratifying form of self love. BLM is up on the Harcum College auction site-- bidding starting out at $50. Nephew is growing bigger. Things are looking up on the sweet horizon of life. I wouldn't dream of any other enticement. Life is surprisingly delicious these hot summer days.

Getting my personal experience "Crossing the Toronto Border" fan story published in the July 20, 2015 issue of Soap Opera Digest was a splendid treat! Thank you so much to Michaela for letting me know on Twitter! <3
Nothing more festive than adding fibrous black beans to a salad dish recipe, especially one that was sounding close to holy guacamole. Not that I mind making guacamole and calling it a salad. After all, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, and onions dancing in a dressing of squeezed lime juice mirrors salad elements right?
Ingredients together provide zesty, colorful fare that pleases the taste buds. Scrumptious perfection for the season when one does not feel like cooking a hot and heavy meal. I love how meaty black beans can be and the creamy, rich texture avocados bring. Why not bring present amazing pantry-must-have twosome as the new dynamic food duo?

Black Bean & Avocado Salad Ingredients and Preparation

1 15 oz can black beans, rinse
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro
2 avocados, ripened
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of salt (optional)

Mix black beans, tomatoes, and cilantro together.
Mix in avocado, lime juice, black pepper, and salt. Voila!
A blend of crushed dried herbs top a feast. Feel free to serve black tortilla chips on the side!