Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Little dark Almandine crystals embedded in blades of metallic grey Graphite schist.
Mined in Erving, Massachusetts, they were interesting just like that, but the way they prepped the material, clearing out the schist out of the back of each individual Garnet, made the beautiful red color pop when backlit.
The production started almost a decade ago but they kept the material out of the market so they could prep a good amount of the material before selling it. It takes about 2 hours to prep each specimen. ( a lot of sand blasting involved)
After about 5 years, the material was finally for sale and the debut was in Springfield.
Most crystals were under 1 cm in average but I saw a few over that size.
The largest piece to come out of the ground, 3 years ago, was 2.7 cm.
Prices vary according to the size of the Garnets more than the size of the matrix.
And of course the clarity plays a factor in the price too.
Gems for sale were around half a carat, well cut, with moderate inclusions.
I was told the the largest cut stone was 4.72 carats.
When the Graphite is mined, you can't really see any Garnets. That is why the preparation takes so long.
Some pieces have interesting black needles. I've been told first that they were Amphiboles.
But later analysis showed them to be Dravite.
I had first pick at the show and selected pieces that had good clarity and were aesthetic. I did get some cheaper smaller ones too. So if you would like a piece, please get in touch.
Friday, May 9, 2014
I am the self proclaimed queen of left-overs. I don't like to toss food away. Plus I like using up
left overs in creative ways. This week I made a delicious Turkey Chili.
I had left overs and thought it would make the perfect stuffing for red peppers.
I also had a cup of brown rice from the other night.
I mixed the turkey chili with the rice and filled a couple red peppers (4 halves).
The main trick here, is to microwave the pepper halves (without the stuffing) on high for 3 minutes. Since the pepper takes too long to cook, it will expedite the process.
Compact the filling into the peppers, add some shredded cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve hot.
I served mine with corn bread on the side.
This is a fail proof recipe that will sure please everyone that tries it.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs ground turkey ( I like ground dark meat but breast works too)
1/2 cup diced onions
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced.
8 garlic cloves, minced.
1/2 bell pepper, diced.
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.
1 tbsp chili powder.
1 tsp dried thyme.
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 large can of kidney beans (or 2 small ones).
1 large can of chopped tomatoes with liquid. (unseasoned, no basil, no salt)
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded cheddar
In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil and saute the turkey, breaking up large chunks.
When it is cooked through, transfer to a bowl and add a little more olive oil to the same pot.
Saute the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and peppers for 3 minutes. Add all the dry spices and
give it a good stir to blend well. Add the turkey back to the pan and give it another good stir.
Add beans, tomatoes, tomato juice and chicken stock and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.
Stir once in a while and if you think it's drying up, add a cup of hot water.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and add 1/2 cup of cilantro. Simmer for another minute.
Spoon into soup bowls and garnish with the remaining cilantro, cheddar and sour cream.
Tip: before starting to simmer it for 40 minutes, Have a little taste. Sometimes I add a little extra coriander or chili powder.
If you have left overs, you can use it to make Stuffed Red Peppers
Saturday, May 3, 2014
To be very honest, when I hear the word burger, turkey is the last word that comes to mind.
What I really like is a nice all beef juicy burger.
That said, I also like to experiment with different possibilities and today I made one that was pretty good. The main secret is the sauce and the salad. They will give the taste and moisture that turkey usually lacks.
The recipe has three parts, the turkey patty, the sauce and the salad.
- 1 pound of ground turkey.
- 2 tbs grainy Dijon mustard.
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced.
- 2 tbs bread crumbs.
- 1/4 cup grated aged cheddar cheese.
- salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 bunch of black kale, or cavolo nero or any kind of kale you like.
- 2 carrots, grated.
- 1/2 cup good olive oil.
- 3 tbs tamari sauce.
- 2 tbs white vinegar.
Mix all the ingredients vigorously so the kale is completely covered with the dressing.
Kale and carrots are truly a match made in heaven. This salad is so good, you can skip the bun and
land your burger on the top of a little salad mountain. Or serve this salad with some grilled shrimp.
- 1 cup of mayo
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 2 tbs finely chopped mint.
- Juice of one small lime
- 1 pressed garlic clove.
- salt and pepper to taste.
Mix really well and keep it refrigerated until time to serve.
Cook the burgers on skillet or grill. Add a spoon of aioli to the bottom of the bread, ( I used brioche buns) the burger, and a spoonful of kale salad on top.
You can also add a slice of cheese to the burger just before they are done.
I served mine with an exotic mix of chips from Terra. It has carrots, kabocha and purple potatoes.