Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fruits and Veggies

I've been on a miniature break; finished these just prior...

Tropical fruit "grown" in Hawaii.  Italian crystal alabaster platter by Jeff Spera.
Gathering basket by Lidi Stroud; stained by me.

Wishing you a good week...

Friday, May 8, 2015

Steak and Shrimp...

Two of my favorite foods that go from prep to table in no time.  A large steak entree served on a carving board is a trendy presentation at some pubs and steakhouses.  At Bliss Miniatures, the carved porterhouse steak and grilled shrimp is a meal for two, served on a beautiful figured maple platter. Spicy cocktail sauce is served in a natural seashell as a condiment for the shrimp.  This piece is presently not in my possession and I apologize that the photo, taken in great haste with my smart phone, is not optimal; but you get the picture :^)

The steak slices and bone are textured on each surface except the underside, which was glued to the platter.  I made the shrimp skewers by splitting a toothpick lengthwise into quarters and gently sanding a quarter by hand until l /32" (approximately 1mm) in diameter and pointed on one end.  Finally, the blunt end is trimmed to the proper length.  Takes less than 5 minutes.  Tip: Choose a toothpick with a smooth grain versus one with a rough surface.  A rough surface grain will continue through the toothpick, causing splintering and breakage during sanding.  The skewers withstood bending to a slight arc with moderate pressure and typical handling, including threading uncured and cured polymer clay shrimp.

Turned figured maple platter by Thomas Saunders.  Shell by Mother Nature.  All else by me.

My inspiration...

Photo courtesy of Epicurious

Photo courtesy of Sunset Magazine

Restaurant serving board...

Photo courtesy of The Breslin, NYC

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Raspberry Charlotte - Bon Appétit!

Blown glass cake pedestal by Phil Grenyer.  Turned figured maple platter by Thomas Saunders.

About ten years ago, I came across a Williams-Sonoma Paris cookbook at Costco, a mix of recipes, great photos and wonderful insight into Parisian cuisine.  I was intrigued and challenged by the Charlotte Aux Framboises, or Raspberry Charlotte, and decided to give it a go.  It was delicious but the bavarois (Bavarian cream) was a fussy component to make; not a favorite task.  Haven't made another Charlotte since; some recipes are best left to the professionals.  I'll look forward to one day enjoying a Charlotte slice made by a patissier somewhere France :^)

Rear view.  See the "raspberry pulp" in the bavarois?

The appearance of the miniature Charlotte is based more or less on what I remember of the one I made versus the book photo.  The finished bavarois had specks of raspberry pulp that passed through the sieve while in the process of making the raspberry brandy coulis.

Each raspberry was built from scratch, by covering a polymer clay base formed on a toothpick tip with tiny clay spheres formed by hand.  My initial efforts in March 2010 were clumsy and the base was left exposed in the underside of the berries.  Practice and repetition brought improvements.  It's a tedious process, but I've yet to develop a quick technique for a realistic raspberry.  Shortcuts like molding will speed up production but it doesn't work for me; I'm terrible at making molds and cleaning up pieces takes more time and effort than building or sculpting from scratch.

Mat measles!  Approximately 1,000 raspberry bumps :^)

If you're in the mood to zone out while listening to your favorite music for hours on end, make raspberries ;^)

Wishing you an enjoyable weekend...