Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This time, pitchers and tomatillos

I find as I write this blog that I am heavily influenced by the photographs I have to accompany the words. Which was also the case in my journalism career. It's the way I work.
Today, we have tomatillos just out of the garden and biscuit-fired pitchers (or jugs) to be finished in a glaze firing next week.
The garden is dying outside my window here. The bean plants, though still producing, are turning brown and yellow and the tripod poles that hold up the plants are leaning to the northeast. The zucchini and yellow squash plants have stopped producing, few tomatoes remain, most of the cayenne peppers are picked, one stalk of Brussels sprouts is growing slowly, and I have finally picked and cooked most of the tomatillos.
Tomatillos look, as their name implies, very much like a tomato. But they grow inside a husk that turns lacy and brown before the fruit drops to the ground. Their flavor is bright and acidy, a bit like an unripe tomato. They're used a lot in Southwestern cooking, in warm sauces over meat and in cold salsas. I turned this lot into a green sauce for meatloaf, with fresh garlic, chopped green New Mexico chile pepper, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper.
The pitchers came out of the bisque kiln this morning, quickly replaced by smaller pitchers which will also go into next week's glaze firing. I'm on the final lap of making pots for a show at Libertytown Arts Center in Fredericksburg, VA. The show opens Oct. 4, with an opening reception that evening. It's a joint show of my work and that of my friend Lorraine Colson. Lorraine and I were students of Dan Finnegan 15 years ago at the Art League of Alexandria, VA. Dan founded Libertytown, a lively art center with a pottery school and a public gallery as well as shops and small galleries for many local artists. (Check out danfinneganpottery.blogspot.com to hear from a terrific potter.)
I will fire late next week and then open the kiln and pack pots for the show. Come to the opening if you're in the area. Fredericksburg is a great town, with my favorite coffee shop (Hyperion) south of the Cape Cod Canal.

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