Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Horses take over the Denver Botanic Gardens

Yesterday morning my husband, Len and I finally made it over to the Denver Botanic Gardens to see the cast bronze horse sculptures by Deborah Butterfield.  There was a beautiful blue sky with little chance of rain, finally.  There are 15 horses on loan from the artist, private collections, galleries and various museums.  
Butterfield was born on May 7, 1946, the same day as the 75th Kentucky Derby, which is only fitting since she has such a love of horses.
"Charlo" shown grazing is Butterfield's latest sculpture: cast bronze, painted and patinated.
She works with wood and scrap metal fastened together with wire.  Photographed from every angle, she recreates these horses in cast bronze.
"Storm Castle" was inspired from pieces of driftwood found from a pond near her winter home in Hawaii.   I really like the whole movement from the rump to the mane as if a huge snow storm was blowing the horse from the rear.  She spends the other part of the year at ranch in Bozman, Montana. 
Great positioning of "Tracery" amongst the grasses.
In 1997, the Denver Art Museum acquired three of Butterfield's horses, "Willy, Argus and Lucky".  The trio can be normally be viewed in the Kemper courtyard that is located on the north side of the Gio Ponti Building. "Lucky" is on loan for this exhibition.  He was one of Butterfield's favorite horses and she captured him perfectly.  "Lucky" enjoyed curling up like this on the ground and being petted.  Many of the sculptures are named after her own horses while other names come from significant places that are special to her.
"Whitebark" is very substantial but also looks very content.  Butterfield casts and assembles the horses in a foundry located in Walla Walla, Washington, the largest foundry in the United States. She works from large scaffolding, meticulously assembling cast bronze pieces that resemble branches and sticks.  It can take up to 3 to 5 years to complete one of her horses.
Weighing any where from 1,500 to 2,500 pounds, they were carefully set in place with a crane at the gardens
"Crane" has a certain beauty about him.
From a different perspective of "Crane",  I feel like he is reaching over the fence for a handful of alfalfa. 
"Willy" from the trio of horses at the Denver Art Museum.
"Hawai'i" from her own collection.

These skeletal larger-than-life horses are magnificent!   
The show runs through October 18, 2015.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Little Dinner Party For My Mom's 89th Birthday

 Last weekend I had a little dinner party for my mom's, Lorraine, 89th birthday.  When my parents decided to move up to Denver two years ago to be closer to me and Len, I was fortunate to get many of my mom's gorgeous tablecloths since they were downsizing and had sold their huge dining room table.  I just adore this batik tablecloth that they had bought over 35 or 40 years ago in the small fishing village, Yelapa.  back then the best way to get there was by boat from Puerto Vallarta.
I made another horsetail grid armature to set nine roses on it, the stems cut two inches from the bottom of the square vase.
A wonderful photo of my pretty mom!

And my dad, Bob, handsome at 93!

More roses in one of my copper pots from Santa Clara de Cobre in the state of Michocan in Mexico.
This was the menu for the evening.  The spiced nuts and chicken liver pate will be in my upcoming appetizer cookbook.  I need to get cracking on that again but spending time outside in the summer seems to get the best of me.  Especially since I have a new bike!!  More about that later.
Appetizers and drinks in the living room.
Marinated lamb about to be put on the grill.
I finally made these Eggplant Parmesan Stacks.  What is great about this, they can be prepped ahead of time and then put in the oven for 15 minutes before platting them.


3 medium eggplants, 3" - 4" diameter
  olive oil
simple tomato sauce (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
6 ounces fresh whole milk mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated Paremesan 

Cut the eggplant into 18 slices, about 1/4" thick - sprinkle with salt
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute slices in batches until soft and pale golden.
Drain on paper towels.

I like to make the Basic Tomato Sauce from Mario Batali's cookbook, Molto Italiano.
I make a big batch of it and freeze 2 cup servings in zip-locs.  Sure makes life easier.
Add the oregano and basil to the sauce.

Line a baking dish or sheet pan with parchment paper.  Place six eggplant on the sheet.  Top with a tablespoon of the tomato sauce, a few pieces of mozzarella, topped with a healthy sprinkling of Parmesan.  Repeat layering twice.

Bake in 425 oven for 15 minutes or until the cheeses are bubbling.  Garnish with a few oregano leaves.

I made more of a casserole of this recipe and sent if home with my parents so they could have it the next night for dinner.  Actually two night in a row!

It was a great evening of delicious food, good wine, great friends and some very nice gifts.
Next year will be a big celebration, Lorraine's 90th.