3 New prints released for Poetic. Aesthetic. at The University Of Maryland Art Gallery!

Hello hello. It’s been a few weeks! And we’ve been hard hard at work on a bunch of projects, hence the radio silences, as it were.

One of the new news is our inclusion in the very cool and brilliant gallery show Poetic. AestheticAn Exploration of Creativity in Poetry and Visual Art at The Art Gallery at The University of Maryland, curated by John Shipman. For this show, visual artists were paired up with poets and asked to interpret 3 poems via their visual medium. In our case, we worked with the poems of 2-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Dave Smith to produce 3 limited edition silkscreen prints for the show.

The exhibition opens on Friday January 28, 2011 with an Opening Reception from 5:00 -7:00 pm, and will be on exhibit through March 5, 2011. Works will be available for purchase at the show as well!

Poetic. Aesthetic. explores the relationship between the lyricism of poetry and the aesthetic force of the visual. By probing this relationship, Poetic. Aesthetic. also seeks to foster creative collaboration across artistic disciplines. Working with the University of Maryland Creative Writing faculty, The Art Gallery has partnered Maryland poets with national and international artists to collaborate on visual works for Poetic Aesthetic. Each visual artist will create three new works of art based on, and incorporating, the poems of one poet. Poetic. Aesthetic. exhibits works in various media, including paintings, sculptures, videos, drawings, screen-printed posters, and installations.

We chose the 3 poems of Dave Smith’s that spoke to us visually the most, and they are as follows: Goose Blind, June Bug and Come-Along:

3-color hand printed silkscreen "Goose Blind", poem by Dave Smith. Click for more info or to purchase.

5-color hand printed silkscreen print "June Bug" (poem by Dave Smith). Click for more info or to purchase.

2-color hand printed silkscreen print "Come-Along" (poem by Dave Smith). Click for more info or to purchase.

Dave Smithis the author of more than a dozen books of poems, including The Wick of Memory: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2007 (Louisiana State University Press, 2000), which was chosen as the Dictionary of Literary Biography’s Book of the Year in Poetry, and Little Boats, Unsalvaged: Poems 1992-2004 (Louisiana State University Press, 2005). He is also a novelist, critic, and editor. He has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He is the Elliott Coleman Professor of Poetry at Johns Hopkins University, where he is also Department Chair of The Writing Seminars.

The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland presents the exhibition Poetic Aesthetic: An Exploration of Creativity in Poetry and Visual Art. The exhibition opens on Friday January 28, 2011 with an Opening Reception from 5:00 -7:00 pm, and will be on exhibit through March 5, 2011. The multimedia exhibition brings together visual art with contemporary poetry in original, interdisciplinary works. Text from poets Elizabeth Arnold, R. Dwayne Betts, Lucille Clifton, Michael Collier, Jehanne Dubrow, Michael Glaser, Joseph Harrison, Ethan Huang, Linda Pastan, Stanley Plumly, Dave Smith, Saul Sosnowski, Elizabeth Spires, and Joshua Weiner will be featured in works from artists Kris Chau, Audra Buck-Coleman, Bill Dunlap, John Foster, Tim Gough, Dan Grzeca, Hero Design, David Hughes, Mirta Kupferminc, Ruth Lozner, Jefferson Pinder, Strawberryluna, Julianna Swaney, and James Thorpe.

If you are in the College Park / University of Maryland area, please stop by and check out this amazing exhibit, running from  Friday January 28, 2011 with an Opening Reception from 5:00 -7:00 pm, and will be on exhibit through March 5, 2011.

Cookies & wine. Oh yeah.

Chocolate Toffee Marbled Mocha Drops, aka bitchin' good cookies.

That sort of sums up the best of the holidays around here. Despite being super sick with a megaflu + hardcore sinus infection most of this December, we did manage to have a little holiday cheer right before Christmas in the form of cookies for our good friends’ family cookie exchange and in mulled wine for the same good friends’ family Christmas Eve fun too. In fact, this is the same set of friends that we started the Alphabet Print series for! So, you see? It all comes full circle. We’ve been working on and bringing the mulled wine by special request for years, and I usually just wing it. This year the recipe was in hot demand, so I had to pay attention as we made it, and the result is below.

Though I love to bake and Craig loves to cook (he’s a kitchen wizard!) we don’t usually share recipes via blogging, so I thought it might be fun to pop one or two up here every now and again. Seems like we talk about what we’re working on but not very much of our downtime, which often happens to be in the kitchen.

So, boom! I hope that you enjoy either & both, at any time of year. The Chocolate Toffee Marbled Mocha Drops are a cookie recipe that I developed on my own, and the mulled wine is a recipe we’ve sort of worked on over the years, but a lot more loosely.

If you make either, let us know what you think in the comments!

Chocolate Toffee Marbled Mocha Drops


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use 1 whole tablespoon)
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
3/4 cup chopped nuts (if desired, I omit them)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 12 ounce package (1 3/4 cups) Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Heath Bits ‘o’ Brickle Toffee Baking Bits (or any toffee / Heath Bar bits)

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit)
2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy; add egg, vanilla and dissolved coffee granules.
4. Blend in flour mixture and nuts (if using nuts).
5. Remove half the dough to a small bowl; set aside.
6. To the dough remaining in the mixing bowl, blend in cocoa powder.
7. By hand stir in the Semi-sweet chocolate chips & Heath Bits ‘o’ Brickle Toffee Baking Bits the into the two doughs, using half of the package of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup for each of the 2 doughs.
8. Combine the two doughs by folding together just enough to marbleize, about 4 strokes.
9. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls, about 2-inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheets.
10. Bake 10-12 minutes just until set; DO NOT OVER BAKE.
11. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack until completely cooled. Store in tightly covered container.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Mulled Wine

Hot-cha! Yummy mulled wine fills the house with a delicious and super holiday aroma that’s really sort of quaint and lovely all at once. There are a million ways to make mulled wine, so feel free to use this recipe as a jumping off point and vary to taste or adventure. The photo below was definitely just taken on the fly with an iPhone filter for dramatic effect, so don’t let the darkness scare you. This is good magic below.

Deep, dark mulled wine. Mmmmm!

Mulled Wine


1 – 1 & 1/2 Bottles red wine, typically a Cabernet or Merlot, but any decent red will do.
1 liter or one half of a half-gallon of apple cider (we use Apple & Pomegranate cider)
1 liter or one half of a half-gallon of apple cider (we use Apple & Pomegranate cider)
1 liter or on half of a half-gallon of an orange fruit juice mix (we use Orange, Strawberry, Banana)
3/4 cup Cognac, or Brandy
1/2 cup Sweet Vermouth
1 handful or 3-4 tablespoons of mulling spices
1 orange or 2 Clementines
1/4 – 1/2 cup white sugar
2-3 tablespoons honey

To Make:

1. Pour one whole bottle of wine, add Cognac or Brandy & Sweet Vermouth into a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add the apple cider & orange fruit juices, sugar and honey.
3. Place mulling spices into a large tea or mulling ball and hang into pot so that the contents are covered by the liquid.
4. Gently using a vegetable peeler, peel off the top orange part of the orange or clementines, avoiding the pith, but getting more peel than you would with a zester. Add to pot.
5. Peel and separate orange or Clementine sections and add to pot.
6. Bring the contents up to temperature without letting the liquid boil at all.
7. Turn down heat to very low and let simmer / heat for 1-2 hours.
8. When you are ready to serve, taste to check for bitterness. It often is bitter at this stage. If so, add another few tablespoons of honey and / or 1/4 white or sugar to taste and stir allowing them to dissolve, and feel free to add a big more juice, cider, and uncooked wine (up to half a bottle more) too, all to taste.
9. Remove mulling spices and discard. Strain if wish.
10. Serve toasty warm either from the cooking pot, or keep warm during a party in a crock pot, or an airpot. Thermos.
11. Enjoy!

Makes about 1 gallon of mulled wine.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year all!

May 2011 be your best & brightest.