Monday, November 29, 2010

Gluten Free Ebelskivers (Scandinavian Pancakes)

While searching for interesting gifts for people during the holidays, I came across this Cast Iron Aebliskiver Pan (that's how it's spelled at - made by Lodge Pro for $19.99). I then researched what one could make with it and found a recipe at Williams-Sonoma and another one in a cookbook titled, "The Cast Iron Skillet cookbook." So I sent away for both the pan and the cookbook, thinking it would be a great gift for someone who likes to cook. But the problem was, once it arrived, I couldn't bear to give it away. (The pan arrived completely seasoned and ready to cook in. A big plus!)

Now that I've made these delicious goodies, I'm thoroughly delighted I kept the pan. Maybe next year someone will be the the lucky recipient of one, though. :)

To make them, I used most of the ingredients from the cookbook, but also added the berries & Jam and technique from the Williams-Sonoma recipe. It called for regular flour, of course, but I substituted Gluten Free flour (the gluten free pantry all purpose flour).


1 1/2 cups Gluten Free Pantry all purpose gluten free flour (or your own)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup milk
3 1/2 tsp. butter, divided

Fresh blueberries, rasberries, blackberries or a simple jar of jelly. (I used thawed frozen berries and it came out okay, as well.)

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream and milk. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth. (I did it by hand.)

Heat a cast iron ebelskiver pan over medium-low heat. Place 1/2 tsp butter in each indentation. Allow to melt, and then fill each cavity with 2 tablespoons batter. Add 2 or 3 berries or a dab of jelly and top with 1 tablespoon batter. Cook until light brown on the bottom, about 2 or 3 minutes Turn gently (either with a fork or 2 wooden skewers) and brown the other side. Transfer to a platter and dust with confectioners sugar. Makes about 25.

You can also just cook them without anything in the middle and spread the jam on when they're done. They can also be served with maple syrup.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bewitched by Pitch

Gia has been teaching at Spruill, so I have been able to continue learning Repousse/Chasing, which I am truly loving. It has taken me a few starts and stops to get to this point. My first exposure to Repousse/Chasing was in a four-day workshop with Valentin Yotkov a few years ago (brought here by the Georgia Goldsmith's Group). I thoroughly enjoyed learning this new technique, but the class lasted only four days, and I wasn't quite sure what to do on my own after it ended. A couple of years later Victoria Lansford taught a class and I learned a few new techniques I had not learned from Valentin. But not until I started working with Gia did it all begin to come together. Gia is a true master and makes it all look easy, which, of course, it is not. Here he is showing us one of his own "works in progress."

I recently began an experimental design on copper for a cuff bracelet. I then transferred the same design (with a few modifications) onto sterling silver and am working on it presently. Doing a model in copper beforehand is extremely helpful. The mistakes are made in the copper, not in the silver. The one error I made on this copper piece was taking the design too far to the ends of the cuff, which I have corrected in the silver piece.

We often begin our designs on a "hard or medium" ROMA Plastilina before placing the metal in the pitch, but if there is not a lot of height desired on the design, using only pitch is completely acceptable. Here's is Gia's example of a project he's been teaching the beginning students, this one done totally on red pitch.

This is the design the entire class is working on.   Here we have Gia's example:

This is my final design, which I sawed out of the copper when finished. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's a Family Affair

A new family member joined us in July and his name is Leo. He's the sweetest, most scrumptious little baby ever. I'll show you what I mean:

These are Leo's twinkly toes.

Finally asleep, so everyone else can rest, too.

I can't wait to see little Leo again soon. : )

Sunday, July 11, 2010

YEAH! Burger

I just got back from YEAH! Burger in Atlanta where I had my first completely gluten-free hamburger in YEARS. We are not counting the ones I have at home with Udi's GF bread, mind you. I'm talking about a real hamburger bun here. What is amazing is about a month ago I was telling my husband how astounded I am at all the gluten-free offerings now available at restaurants, and I said, "I can't wait until I can go into a restaurant and order a hamburger!" About a week later a note was posted on one of the celiac message boards about the opening of Yeah! Burger.

They not only have gluten free hamburgers and buns, but also have gluten free french fries and beer. Wow! I felt like it was my BIRTHDAY or something!

Okay, it's a little pricey. But it's worth every cent. : )

Friday, July 09, 2010

Hammering In My Head

Another week at Wildacres up in Little Switzerland. North Carolina has come and gone again. This was my third visit and it is now right up there as one of my most favorite weeks of the year. Betty Helen Longhi was my instructor and we not only hammered ourselves silly, we bought every conceivable hammer and stake we will ever need for the rest of our lives (ya, right).

Here are some of the forms we made while learning how to hammer metal into different forms and shapes using anticlastic raising, synclastic forming, sinusodial stakes and mandrels. It'll take plenty of practice to become proficient at this particular skill. Betty made it all look easy, of course.

There were classes in chainmaking (Jean Stark), making miniature teapots (John Cogswell), blacksmithing (Zach Noble), Bi Metal (Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez), and finding one's individual style (Charles Pinckney). Below are Maggie, Jean & Julia, three women who inspire me with their wisdom, joy of life and vibrant, positive attitudes.

Here we are working in Betty Helen's class. We would work from 9:00 am until 6:30 pm. Some nights we would come back after dinner and work some more.

And talk about fun! Oh my gosh, we had had so much fun. Can you read Donnie's T-shirt? It says, "Midnight Plumber: Will work for M&M's." There is a long story behind this involving Maggie, a broken shower at midnight and Donnie to the rescue.

Part of the "Spruill Gang" below. We've all been taking classes at Spruill for a few years, and Tom is an instructor. One of the best parts of metalsmithing/jewelry making are the friends one makes along the way.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Chasing the Night Away

Taking classes with Gia Gogishvili is something I look forward to every week. We meet at his studio on Saturday afternoons and spend between 4 and 5 hours learning and practicing the art of repousse/chasing. For those of you who aren't familiar with this technique, here is the definition from Wikipedia: Repousse is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side. Chasing is the opposite technique to repoussé, and the two are used in conjunction to create a finished piece. It is also known as embossing.

Below are some of the tools used in this technique. No matter how many tools you use, you always need more. That's what Gia tells us. We're also learning how to make these tools ourselves.

This is where we work. It's smart to wear earplugs, because when everyone is hammering at the same time, it can be painful.

Gia is examining Maggie's piece of copper. She's just starting her design, so is chasing the outside lines of the design on a piece of copper which sits on top of a steel plate.

Here some texture is added before moving forward.

Now it's time to start pushing the metal and developing the form.

Here we are getting more defined. We're at a point where we're now beginning to turn the piece over when needed to develop the details.

And this one is just about done. It's probably been flipped 3 times...maybe more. The lines are sharper, the differing heights more defined and all the details are becoming clear. Just a little more definition and it'll be time to remove this from the pitch pot and move on to the next project. Can't wait! I've got my design already lined and am ready to start!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Golden Gaze

Harold O'Connor ( came to town last week to teach three worshops, and I was fortunate enough to be in two of them: Surface Embellishments and Unconventional Stone setting.

We learned about reticulating sterling silver, forming and folding metal, laminating copper to silver, laminating gold to silver, plus a demonstration on granulation.

In the stone setting workshop we watched Harold make sterling silver cable, a silver cone shaped piece that was then attached to a small stone by pegs and wire, how to use a tap and die set, and how to make a slide mount (among other things).

Here's Charlene working on reticulation:

And this is Amy, obviously enjoying herself:

Harold brought a few of his works to show us. Here are a couple of my favorites:

It was an excellent workshop. I learned so many new skills that my head is still spinning! I especially enjoyed learning how he reticulates silver and how to fuse gold to silver.

Here is the piece I finished a couple of days ago, inspired by Harold's workshop:

It is made of sterling silver, reticulated silver, granulation, and 22k gold fused to silver. It was then oxidized with liver of sulphur, which gave it all those wonderful colors.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Don't it Make Your Brown Eyes Blue

This particular chain (one of my favorites) is made to fit at the bottom of one's neck and is about 1/4" wide. I've made the aquamarine pendant removable, so the chain can be worn alone if one prefers. The chain pattern is from Jean Stark's book, "Classical Loop-in-Loop Chains," which is a MUST for anyone doing metalsmithing.

Then I picked a big, bold, blue Australian Opal for my next design.  I just can't tell you how much I love Australian Opals.