Twinette Poterie

Small Batch Pottery. Made in Chicago.

That Tomato Salad

Emilie Bouvet-BoisclairComment
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Oh Summer is waning and it makes me so sad.

This is a little recipe I’ve been making a lot with those perfect juicy real red tomatoes that are about to go out of season. 

This recipe is a so simple, and the trick is to do very little.

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I’m not giving you measurments because:

A) this is so easy! The trick is to let the ingredients do the talking- and to use the very best you can get your hands on.

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B) You can make this for one, or for the whole family- adjust the ingredients to your taste.

So here it is-

Ingredients

The best tomatoes you can find, wedged

Thin sliced red onion

Lemon

Good Olive Oil- I love the locally imported “The Village Batch”.

Good Balsamic Vinegar. The Village Batch infuses theirs with wild honey! I know I am pushing these guys but the stuff is quality, and the owners are really nice- look for their line at Mariano's.

Goat cheese, mozzarella or baked cheese

Fresh parsley or basil, rough chopped

S&P

The beauty of simplicity with this salad is to prepare it right in the serving bowls, and the trick is in layering the ingredients strategically.

Im using my super versatile side bowls, they are great for mac and cheese (I designed these for serving mac and cheese at Chicago restaurant Son of a Butcher) or more healthy options like this salad.

Directions

Start with a layer of the tomato wedges in the base of the bowls. Give the tomatoes a decent sprinkle of salt. Add the thin slice red onion, then drizzle with balsamic to start mellowing with the acidity of the tomatoes, and softening the onion. Give the lemon a nice squeeze. Top with chopped fresh herb and cheese, crumbled or diced. Finish with another dash salt and pepper,  and a drizzle of olive oil.

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*this is great with add ons like avocado and cilantro.

That’s it! So easy and satisfying! Grab some heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market this weekend and give Summer time a proper send off!

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Pottery Can be FRUSTRATING

Studio WorkEmilie Bouvet-Boisclair1 Comment

One of the greatest gifts of ceramics work is the unpredictable. I say that with a grimace and sarcastic tone- even though I know it's true.

Because glazes pre-firings don't reflect the post fired colors, for example, my lime green stain is black before firing - which can make it difficult to know how much to apply- glaze game is hard, but full of surprises. 

 Goes on black annnnnndddd...

Goes on black annnnnndddd...

 Here you can see the black fades and almost completely burned out....  to a very nuances warm lime sherbet... I would have *liked* a bit more...

Here you can see the black fades and almost completely burned out....  to a very nuances warm lime sherbet... I would have *liked* a bit more...

 Different glazes in new combinations will create effects that I never would have thought of on my own. Outlier results can change the whole course of my work, as when I started to notice that excessive layering of our studio nutmeg glaze created a lovely 'frosting' effect on my pie plates. 

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Or when our studio pond scum glaze was on a piece near my vases, and fumed on my work in the kiln, creating striking blushes of pink on my pots. 

 This shit is random!

This shit is random!

Some of these results are desirable and re-creatable, some are more complicated. 

But this is not a story about those happy times, and when things go wrong, that can be a hard pill to swallow!

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stupid cracked bottom

and that bat was so cute...

Today in the kiln unloading I was excited, I had 9 mugs which I had spent 3 hours EACH on decoration alone. But one after the other **ISSUES**.

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Glaze got a little too excited... 

sigh. 

Glaze dripping onto the shelf, and snapping off the piece leaving sharp glass. Colors running too much and images on the mugs smudged and covered up. I even had a bottom crack off which hardly ever happens.

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icing on the cake...

another one bites the dust...

I know this kiln fired a bit too hot. Of course there must also be some factors which I did not completely understand or account for. The next time I make this design, I am hopeful that I will better be able to translate the visual image in my head to clay.

I also sometimes put away pieces where colors were not perfect, and later realize that the piece not meeting all my expectations does not make it completely faulty, just different. 

If you are a potter reading this, then I am sure this is a familiar rant. All the same thanks for reading. I feel a little better... I always tell myself, if pottery guarenteed perfect results every time- there would be no learning, and where is the fun in that?

Pottery life lessons... 

Patience patience patience

Have no expectations

Studio Work - Planters in January

Studio WorkEmilie Bouvet-BoisclairComment

Winter really hit the town this January, and predictably sun-forsaken, I craved greenery and tropical vibes. Well, the closest I can get to that in Chicago is tending to my house plants. Although I know it's a little early, I did a huge replanting last month- here are some pics of the inspired work. 

The large planter in this pic is a fav- the rough faceting reveals different layers of clay- and the stripes around the legs remind me of my brother getting ready for a pick-up soccer game. 

When making pots for plants, I like to think about the specific needs of the species that will call it home. When purchasing planters, think about the depth of the pot. Does your plant have a shallow root system, like some succulents? Or does it prefer to dig deep into the soil, as a cacti might? The Toupie (spinning top)  planter in the video above was specifically made for my monstera philodendron - a plant that as it matures develops holes in the leaves to adapt to windy conditions. My monstera is still young and has very few of these swiss cheese leaves. With the Toupie planter, I hope to facilitate some movement for the plant- and more holes! I also could see succulents working well in this planter- it makes for easy and fun rotation for even growth! 

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I have a couple of these in the shop, but look for more specialized planters this Spring- if you see one and can't wait, feel free to send me a message. Hearts & keep warm the season!

Childhood Favorite- Pate Chinois, Re-imagined with a Vegetarian Twist

SavoryEmilie Bouvet-BoisclairComment

Pate Chinois!! That was the answer whenever we were visiting my Grandmother in St-Gregoire, the small (*small*) town about two hours north of Montreal, Quebec. This French Canadian rendition of Shepard's Pie is supposedly named so as a dish Chinese cooks made for the rail workers during the building of the North American railroads in the late 19th century.

The question was , qu'est-ce que vous voulez pour souper? Or what do you want for dinner. This was my absolut fav, a combination of silky potato pillows over sweet corn, and rich buttery ground beef- served with ketchup.

This is one of my fondest food memories. As an adult, I have adopted a diet with less meat.

This revised recipe is savory- a touch of miso paired with mushroom and walnut  gives the tofu that craveable umami I am looking for in the ground beef component.

Don't be scared by the long ingredient list, this recipe is adjustable to what you have in your pantry- if you don't have red wine vinegar, use what you have on hand, if you don't have liquid smoke (it's a wonderful pantry item I recommend buying) but just omit it. 

**Check the shop for pottery featured in this post!**

Pate Chinois

Preparation 1h30, Serves 4

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut in half or quartered if especially large, for quick cooking
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups diced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup roasted walnuts
  • 1/2 table spoon butter
  • couple tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  •  1/2 tablespoon dry oregano 
  • pinch clove or one clove ground
  • pinch fennel, ground
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 2 splash white wine (I used chardonnay)
  • 1 can sweet corn kernel (14 oz)
  • 1 can creamed corn (14 oz)
  • 1/2 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

*Twist - add boiled or steamed turnip or cauliflower to the mashed potatoes for extra veggie points!

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Drain, rinse and press tofu to remove excess water so it can better absorb flavors. I usually sandwich the tofu between two plates, and set a heavy cast iron for weight on top for about 15 mins.                                         

2. Set a pot of salted water & boil potatoes.          

3. Saute onion in 1/2 a tbsp butter over medium heat until softened (5 mins), add garlic for a few more minutes, and then the mushrooms & spices. Drizzle with olive oil if pan is getting dry. Saute for 10 min, stirring occasionally. Once mushroom is browning around the edges, crumble in tofu. Your going for a ground beef texture.                                            

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4. Add a couple of splashes of white wine to deglaze pan, and a tablespoon of miso, the red wine and the liquid smoke, allow to cook for 10 mins.                                                                              

5. Add walnuts, and fresh parsley, remove from heat.                    

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6. Prepare whipped potato- I prefer to leave the peels of the potatoes on if I am using organic for extra nutrition. If organic is not available, I peel potatoes after boiling (instead of before), because it's easier! Mash potatoes with milk, whipped cream, and remaining tablespoon of butter. Salt and Pepper to taste.                     

7.  In a separate bowl, mix creamed corn and kernel corn.                             

8. Assemble the components- the tofu mixture on bottom, followed by corn layer, and top with the mashed potatoes, using a spatula or large spoon to smooth out the top. 

9. Pop in the oven for 25 min, or until it is bubbling and the top is browning. Serve Warm, with ketchup if your me, and the remaining wine!

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P.S.

- What to do with the little odds and ends? I freeze the parsley stems, and onion bottoms- when I have enough to fill a pot, I add water, and boil for an hour- it's the best stock I can get my hands on! and recycle the empty wine bottle

Clafoutis: Heirloom Recipes and Kitchen Ceramics

DessertEmilie Bouvet-BoisclairComment

This recipe is from my grandmother Antoinette (from whom my pottery business memorializes - with her nickname, 'twinette) and making this simple dessert using my ceramic cook/bakeware honors and celebrates her. Grandmama Antoinette was a woman with a hilariously sarcastic tongue, and a penchant for pushing buttons- she may not have been the most outwardly emotive person, but one way she showed us she loved us was through her cooking.  She never presented her grandchildren with less than 3 dessert options after a meal. Often the spread included fresh baked pies perfect for showcasing the summery goodness of fresh fruit- but she also often had old timey favorites like tarte au sucre... yes that is sugar pie. Her clafoutis recipe is one that my mother brought into our home which I grew up eating. This is probably because my mom is a health nut- and much of the sugar in this recipe comes from natural sources: fresh fruit. If you find yourself craving this bubbly jammy goodness in the winter, it can also be made using frozen berries, but expect longer bake time. 

 You know  summer is  right around the corner when pints of strawberries are going for 99 cents a pound at the grocery store! 

You know  summer is  right around the corner when pints of strawberries are going for 99 cents a pound at the grocery store! 

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Growing up, my mother always called this clafoutis, but when I had my mom dig up grandmama's recipe, it was under a different name, pate a poutine. Go figure. Classically french style clafoutis are more custardy and often use almond flour. This recipe is a bit more utilitarian, in that most people probably already have an egg, flour and milk in the pantry. This style clafoutis is also more cake like. For those of you who aren't familiar with this dessert, it features piles of fresh fruit which are baked with a cakey blanket covering the top. 

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Clafoutis (Pate a Poutine de Maman)

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 pints of strawberries (any ripe berries can be  substituted)

1) Soak strawberries in water- if your not using organic , soaking for 30 mins is the most effective to remove pesticides (thanks to chef Luke Creagan for the tip!).

2) Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry and wet separately- so whisk egg, then mix in milk.

3) In another bowl, cream sugar and butter to combine, then add flour, baking soda, and salt.

4) Incorporate wet and dry ingredients, the batter will be a fairly dry and thick. Stir until just combined. 

5) Heap halved berries into a pie dish. I used 2 pints of strawberries. Depending on sweetness of your berries, you can sprinkle sugar on top. I squeezed half a lemon over the top of the fruit, for a boost of brightness.

6) Spread the batter over top the berries. It's ok if it does not completely cover. I like the berries peeking through the batter in the end!

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7) Bake until golden 30-55 mins. Insert toothpick, when clean its done!

8) Cool a bit and serve! 

* Classy variation- adding lemon zest to batter *

Clafoutis can be enjoyed with ice cream, whipped cream, but also excellent warm and stand alone, Bon Appetite, Merci Grandmama Bouvet!