A recipe and a story - from two South Texas gals!
Friday is Cinco de Mayo - so this South Texas gal just has to share some festive food and art!
"Mexican Chickens" painting by Claudia True
20 x 16" acrylic on canvas
Recipe by Susan Keehn
Please check out this colorful page from the Cooking with Friends calendar, 2011. These little Hispanic chickens are all dressed up for a fiesta!
A very dear friend - Susan Keehn - shared her rather sophisticated recipe for Mexican food. When I was growing up in South Texas, we never had Mexican crepes. For sure I had never made crepes. And I never would have thought of using crepes for "enchiladas" when you could use perfectly wonderful flour tortillas!
Susan, who's also from South Texas, has this sort of "larger than life" approach to the world. I learned soon in our friendship that she would broaden my thinking on many things. She's also a wonderful cook so I was super excited when she shared this dish. It definitely wasn't your typical Tex Mex!
Here's part of what Susan shared about her recipe: "My Alsatian grandmother and British grandfather ranched in Northern Mexico. The wonderful meals at their hacienda blended European and Mexican flavors . . . " See, not your norm for the Tex Mex that I knew.
Great story! But there's more - It was Susan who suggested that people should tell us why they chose their recipes to share. That idea has added such a lush layer to the collection of recipes and art! The stories have also inspired my illustrations of the recipes. For instance, I once I got a recipe for meatballs (which are amazing and I still make them) and I was at a total blank about how to paint meatballs. But when I read about how her family got together every Christmas to make the meatballs as they drank Bloody Mary's, I was saved! I knew I could paint a Bloody Mary. But - that's another story . . . .
Susan still lives in South Texas. This is a photo of our visit 2 years ago at her beautiful home in San Antonio. Of course she whipped up some delicious appetizers and a most amazing meal. And boy did we share some great stories!!
Here's Susan's recipe for Chicken Jalapeño Crepes. If you haven't tried making your own crepes, I recommend you give it a try! I was surprised that they were pretty easy and it's worth the effort for this flavorful and festive dish.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!!
Chicken Jalapeño Crepes
Shred meat off whole rotisserie chicken. Add 1 pound grated Swiss cheese, 2 seeded and diced jalapeños (canned in escabeche, not raw), 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon jalapeño canning juice. Salt to taste.
Fill each crepe with 2 to 3 tablespoons filling. Roll up. Place seam side down in large Pyrex pan. (At this point crepes may be refrigerated or frozen.) To serve, warm to room temperature. Pour 1 - 1 1/2 cups cream over crepes and place in 350 degree oven until heated through for 25 to 35 minutes.
Click here to get insights into stories in the 2017 Cooking with Friends calendar. Still want a calendar? You may purchase it here -
Remember - the art and recipes are timeless. And the stories are so fun!
Lenora's Cats - 18" x 48" acrylic on canvas - Claudia True, artist
Look at all of these darling cats! My friend Lenora Larson commissioned a painting of her 2 cats plus 8 of their "friends." Lenora's cats are Chevelle - (2nd from left, top row) and Cher (middle, bottom row). What a delightful project this has been for this cat loving painter!
Previous critter paintings.
This was actually my first commissioned critter painting. I've done many critter paintings. Most were inspired by recipes for my Cooking with Friends art and food calendars. Think chickens, cows, pigs and goats - check out some on my website.
As I said, I truly love cats and have painted them in a very fun, whimsical style. For some reason I've been reluctant to paint a cat in a more realistic way so I made this one of my goals for 2017. I even set a stretch goal to paint 10 in this new style by April. I must have put this vision and goal out in the universe where it was swirling around and captured by Lenora! A couple of months ago she contacted me to paint cats. As we discussed the project, she said she wanted the painting to include 10 cats!! Wow! I just recently realized how serendipitous this has been - kind of gives me goosebumps!
What made this project even more special is that these cats all live with Lenora's very dear friends! This is also a painting of human friendship and love for those who adore the incredible friendship and love of our feline babies. I know cat lovers will understand . . . I sure do!
So here's a glimpse at how this painting evolved. Lenora sent me lots of cat photos and potential layouts and we talked about the style. She wanted "whimsical realism." (Okay I just made up that term.) After we selected the 10 cat photos to include, I did "value sketches" in black and white. She sent photos of the front porch of her farm home where this painting would hang, especially showing me the red bench and lavender accents. Her favorite color is lavender so she wanted some of that and a little red to tie in with the bench. Lenora even shared insights into personalities and moods of the individual cats - pensive, stern, sleepy, laughing, etc. At this point I understood what she wanted with color and layout, and I was ready to do the fun part - adding colors and personality.
Here's Lenora and her cats! I think her smile reflects her happiness with the final result! It was a real pleasure to work with my friend and try to bring her image to life. She had a very distinct vision of what she wanted - I'm thankful I could make that happen.
And here's the "end product" - those 10 whimsically realistic cats in their new forever home. The living/breathing Chevelle is saying hi to her painted pal Cher. How cute is that! I think she approves -
Are you interested in commissioning a painting of your pet? If so I hope this story gives you an idea of what to expect. Contact me and we can discuss your project. Hope you enjoy this one too!
Fiesta Chick - inspired by a recipe and ready for a new home!
Kansas City Artists Coalition - Art Auction
Saturday - Feb. 18 - is the annual art auction for Kansas City Artists Coalition, an organization of visual artists. My Fiesta Chick is there looking for a new home. She's hanging out with close to 200 other pieces of original art donated by artists from throughout the Kansas City area.
This auction is the place to be for artists and collectors! First - the artwork is amazing. Kansas City artists are extremely generous with their donations. Second - it's an exciting and fun event! $25 entrance gets you heavy, delicious appetizers - enough for a meal plus beer and wine. I promise you won't go home hungry! Sometimes the bidding wars get pretty crazy which can be quite an adventure.
I'm an artist living in Kansas City with my hubby and cats. My passions: colorful paintings, yummy food, and sharing my love of art and cooking with others.