Monday, October 19, 2009

Marble Cutter Soup

My great grand-
father was a marble cutter and sculptor in Carrara Italy. Carrara is well known for its marble and has a rich history. The current town originated from the borough built to house workers in the marble quarries created by the Romans after their conquest of Liguria in the early 2nd century BC. He eventually moved to Vermont to work in the stone quarries there. He has a sculpture at Union Station in Washington D.C. and he was asked to work on Mt. Rushmore but declined as he did not want to plummet to his death and leave his children without a father.

In Italy there is a soup named for the marble cutters.

2 medium red onions
1/2 medium carrot
1 small stalk celery with leaves
4 branches Italian parsley
Robust extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tightly-packed cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 to 3 pounds delicious ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or one 28-ounce can and one 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
12-ounces (about 3/4 loaf) rugged country bread of mixed grains (without fat or sweeteners), sliced and left to dry for a day
More olive oil
About 6-ounces Pecorino Toscano, Pecorino di Pienza, Toscanello, American sheep cheese (like Trade Lake Cedar), or young Asiago, shredded (optional)
2 tightly-packed tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
1. Mince together the onion, carrot, celery, and parsley until very fine. Film the bottom of a 6-quart pot with oil and set over medium heat. Stir in the minced vegetables, with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Saute to rich golden brown in about 8 minutes. Blend in garlic and basil, and cook another minute. Add tomatoes, crushing them with your hands. Boil 10 minutes, or until thick and flavorful.

2. Stir in 6 cups water, or a ladleful for each diner. Simmer 10 minutes, uncovered, or until soup is only slightly reduced. Taste for seasoning. Just before serving, break up the bread into bite-sized pieces and add it to soup, or place the bread in the soup bowls. Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve hot. The soup is also good at room temperature.

3. Sprinkle each serving with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and generous black pepper. A little chopped fresh basil is a modern touch, and a very good one. Pass the cheese if desired.

Light Boxes

SMARTS is an educational organization that promotes art and literacy in Youngstown. They have asked me to make them some lightboxes to sell in their shop. I met Becky, the director of this very cool organization, at an art show last month. She saw my boxes and thought they would sell well in her shop. We'll see what happens.

4x6 inches

I am participating in an art challenge, as it were...a contest for a grant. The idea is simple enough...

1. Sign up and complete your 4x6 piece of art work. It can be anything. A painting, drawing, sketch, photograph, or just about anything that can fit on the drawing paper we send you.

2. We will hold an exhibition in Brooklyn, NY of the drawings we get back and allow the viewers at the show to vote for the 100 best.

3. We will put the 100 with the highest votes on the website where the art house community will vote on the 50 best.

4. The 50 artists with the most votes will create a larger painting, photograph, drawing, whatever and submit it for a 2nd exhibition. (We will email more info to those artists that were selected.)

5. The person with the most votes will win the $1000 dollar artist grant!

Keep in mind this is a 4x6 inch piece of paper. What can I draw, paint, smear, print on such a small piece of paper that will be noticed in a sea of other small pieces of paper? Any ideas?

You can read more about it here