New Year / New Directions

It’s a new year, and a new full moon, and we are certainly feeling the spirit of renewal over here at the Dolan Geiman studio. We’ve already introduced a new duo of original diorama artworks (The King & Redwing), a pair of Bluejay artworks (a sculpture & paper collage), and the brand new option to commission custom paper collage pet portraits.

Yet, the newness isn’t strictly limited to new artwork. In particular, we’ll be undertaking a complete and total overhaul of our website, including our beloved blog. In anticipation of this change, we’ll be temporarily suspending updates to our blog as we give way to a more personal journal-style format on the new site.

In the interim, enjoy these popular blog posts from years past below and follow Dolan on Instagram as he posts images and stories behind some of his most prized found-object possessions as part of our 30 Days of Souvenirs series.

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Cooking with Lady Smokey: Welcome 2014

southern cooking new years day

We have two new cookbooks that Grant’s sister Leslie sent us. As we welcome the new year, we can’t wait to dive in and start trying some of these exciting new recipes from both of these. One that I have had my eye on is the new book by Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy, and the other is Edward Lee’s Smoke & Pickles which I had not yet heard of but I have had his restaurant in Louisville on my list of places to go for quite some time. Leslie especially thought Smoke & Pickles would appeal to us after hearing about our Korean Thanksgiving. And speaking of new recipes, I am also excited that I was greeted with the newest edition of Saveur (as they celebrate 20 years!) as I went to the mailbox this afternoon.

One Christmas many years ago, my sister gave us a subscription to Saveur magazine. We have amassed quite a collection of them over the years. We have several piles all over our house. Most of them have little slips of paper coming out the top where we have marked recipes to try one day. One of my most relaxing rainy day activities is to sit down on the sofa with some good music on and just go through all those old magazines. It is one of those magazines you can never throw away as their stories about food are so interesting and the recipes timeless.

Mostly, I just get inspired by all the stories and recipes but from time to time, we decide to follow one of their recipes which is quite a task for us as we rarely actually follow a recipe without making changes or substitutions. This recipe below is one we tackled for our Christmas dinner. We had never cooked duck before so we carefully followed the instructions, making only a few changes (such as substituting tamari and mirin for the specific sweet soy sauce they recommended).

Crispy Duck with Glazed Carrots
Serves 4
• 2 lb. small Carrots, peeled (If you have to use large carrots, quarter them lengthwise.)
• 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
• 2 tsp Cane Sugar
• 1 (1″) piece fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
• Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
• Zest and Juice of 2 Limes
• 4 boneless skin-on Duck Breasts*, skin scored in a crosshatch pattern
• 2 tsp Chinese Five-Spice Powder
• 1 ½ Tbsp Tamari
• 1 ½ Tbsp Mirin
• 1 Tbsp Honey

* The only duck breasts we could find at the time were large so we only used one and our servings were pretty small since we served it over wild rice with a couple side dishes. So, using one large one with sides was enough for 4 servings.

To prepare the Carrots:
Place carrots, butter, sugar, ginger, salt, pepper, and ½ cup water in a 12″ skillet. Place a piece of parchment paper cut to the size of skillet over carrots; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until carrots are tender, 12–15 minutes. Uncover; cook until liquid is reduced to a thick glaze, 1–2 minutes. Stir in half the lime zest and juice; keep warm.

To prepare the Duck:
Season flesh side of duck with Chinese five-spice, salt, and pepper. Place duck skin side down in a 12″ skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Cook, without flipping, until fat is rendered and skin is crisp, 5–6 minutes. Flip duck; cook until browned and to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium rare or until an instant-read thermometer Inserted into the thickest part of the duck reads 130°. Transfer duck to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing on an angle. Bring remaining lime zest and juice, plus kecap manis and honey to a simmer in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring, until honey is dissolved, 1–2 minutes. To serve, divide duck breasts and carrots among 4 plates; drizzle with sauce.

Grant came up with this brilliant Roasted Brussels Sprout recipe to accompany the duck and carrots. We also enjoyed some Lundberg Wild Rice Blend as a bed for the sliced duck.

Asian Roasted Brussels Sprouts
20-25 Small Brussels Sprouts, washed and quartered
• 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 Tbsp Tamari
• 1 pinch of ground White Pepper
• 3 Tbsp finely chopped Roasted Salted Virginia Peanuts

Preheat oven to 375. Mix Brussels sprouts and olive oil in an oven proof baking dish. Roast until Brussels sprouts are golden brown and tender (approximately 30-35 minutes). Remove from oven. Sprinkle tamari and white pepper over sprouts and mix well. Place in a shallow serving dish and sprinkle the chopped peanuts over top.

Here’s the completed meal, as we enjoyed it.

Grant’s wine pairing which was delicious.

And since there were only two of us and we had enough food for four, the next day we chopped up all the leftovers and made a supper yummy fancy fried rice!

It was my hope to offer some delicious herbal cocktail ideas to you for ringing in the new year. Sadly, I came to the realization that just because I can make a variety of simple syrups and enjoy a good cocktail doesn’t mean I am a bartender. I need lots of practice before I can share my ideas. However, I can offer up one good suggestion. The other day Grant brought home a bottle of St. Germain which we have found to be quite delicious mixed with Champagne. So, if you happen to have some leftover Champagne on Thursday morning, enjoy a nice cocktail while you prepare your New Year’s Day lucky collards & black eyed peas.

I’ll close with this yummy shortbread recipe we’ve been enjoying all week. It is actually a Martha Stewart recipe that I found several people had posted online as being a favorite. These little gems go quite nicely with a little nip of Bourbon.

Apricot Shortbread
• 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
• ¾ cup sifted Confectioners’ Sugar
• 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
• 2 cups sifted All-Purpose Flour
• ½ tsp Sea Salt
• ½ cup finely chopped Dried Apricots

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt in large mixing bowl. Mix well with your hands. Add dried apricots. Form dough into a couple logs with about a 1” diameter and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator 1 hour. Slice dough about ¼” thick and place on prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

And, I’ll close with a little video of our friends (and a band Grant has had so much fun playing with the last few months), Off The Wagon, doing their version of Auld Lang Syne which was recorded at a Music City Roots show last December. I just love their version. It is so great done in a bluegrass style. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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Recent Commission: Tumbling Block Quilt Paper Collage

No doubt about it: Dolan loves a good challenge, especially when it pushes his art production in exciting, new, and unexpected directions. His most recent challenge came in the form of an extra special vintage-paper collage commission from a collector outside of Houston, TX, that we met at the most recent Marburger Farm Antique Show. Inspired by the precise, geometric, and mathematical textile technique of rhombille tiling (or tumbling block patterning), Dolan was asked to complete a likewise composition with the same vintage-paper materials of his most recent collages. This, our friends, is no easy task and has certainly produced within us some major newfound respect for quilt pattern makers and textile artisans!

Rhombille Tiling Quilt, Tumbling Block Quilt

Rhombille Tiling / Tumbling Block Quilt (via Amish-Country Quilts)

Tumbling Block Quilt Detail

Tumbling Block Quilt Detail (via The Mouse Hole)

A subdivision of hexagonal tiling, rhombille tiling is based on the precise patterning of three differently shaped, yet compatible, 60-degree rhombi cubes. Does that make sense to you?! Us neither, at first anyway. After studying geometric quilt patterns like those seen above, it all began to make sense; the quilts function much like a diced lattice of crystal shapes. All the production of this collage would take is some close, detailed cutting of hundreds of paper elements, delicacy and attention when placing these elements, and a whole lot of patience (and coffee!).

Dolan Geiman, Study for Tumbling Block Quilt Paper Collage

After receiving a few fabric swatches for inspiration (seen below), Dolan really got to work cutting and laying each paper element piece by piece until the full effect was achieved. Measuring about 54″ x 36″, the piece produces some truly stunning optic effects when taking it all in at once – at some points achieving a nearly 3-dimensional like quality. It is certainly a sight to behold, and (after about a month of work) it’s an artwork we can proudly claim as achieving an affect we always strive for: a compelling blend of the contemporary, the artisanal, and the traditional.

Fabric Swatch Inspiration for Dolan Geiman's Tumbling Block Quilt Paper Collage

Fabric Swatch Inspiration for Dolan Geiman’s Tumbling Block Quilt Paper Collage

Take a gander at a few additional detail and process shots (via Instagram) below, and let us know what you think. Are geometric, quilt-inspired works like this something you’d like to see more of in Dolan’s portfolio? We must say, with a beauty like this – we may have just caught the quilting bug ourselves!

If you’re interested in a commission of your own, check out our gallery of commissioned work and don’t forget that you can contact us at anytime with ideas and inspiration!

Dolan Geiman Studio Process Image of Tumbling Block Quilt Paper Collage

Dolan Geiman, Studio Process Image of Tumbling Block Quilt Paper Collage
via Instagram

Dolan Geiman Studio Process Image of Tumbling Block Quilt Paper Collage

Dolan Geiman Studio Process Image of Tumbling Block Quilt Paper Collage
via Instagram

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Cooking with Lady Smokey: Stay Grounded with These Root Vegetable Recipes

December is such a wonderful time for visiting with great friends and family. Often times, though, the holidays bring some extra stress to our lives making it hard to juggle work, extra visits, holiday errands and baking. Below are a few seasonal root vegetable recipes to help keep you grounded and nourish your house guests.

Grant and I have had some conflicting schedules lately but we try to make sure we get to spend at least every Sunday together. Often we make time to cook a good meal together on Sunday afternoons. Many times, Grant will prepare a roast chicken with vegetables as his Mom often did on Sundays when he was a kid. I am always excited for this as it usually means we have some excellent leftovers to carry us into another busy week. Here is his latest version, as they are always a little different.

Roast Chicken with Root Veggies
• 1 small Whole Chicken
• 30 tiny New Potatoes
• 3 Carrots, cut into 1” rounds
• Salt
• Pepper
• 2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
• 2 slices Bacon
• ½ cup Chicken Stock

Preheat the oven to 375. Butterfly the chicken (slice down the backbone and splay it out). Rub the chicken with salt, pepper, and most of the rosemary. Place chicken, surrounded by the potatoes and carrots, in a large baking dish or big iron skillet. Cut the bacon slices in half and drape over the breast and thighs of the chicken. Place the chicken in oven and cook until it is done, approximately 45 minutes. Add stock to the bottom of the pan and mix thoroughly with the potatoes and carrots. Turn oven heat up to 450. Remove the bacon from the chicken and place it in the bottom of the pan. Cook about 10 more minutes, until chicken skin is well browned. Let chicken rest 10-15 minutes. Chop up bacon and mix with the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle the remaining rosemary over the top. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

This next dish can be served so many different ways. You can serve it as a side dish or for breakfast with an egg on top and sausage on the side. You can spice it up with hot sauce or sweeten it up by adding apple to the mix. You can toss some greens in at the end to make it a more complete meal. You can sprinkle some bacon or cheese over top to make it a little more decadent. Oh, and you can use any combination of root vegetables you wish.

Root Vegetable Hash
• Olive Oil or Ghee
• 1 Onion, chopped
• 1 medium Potato, peeled and cut into cubes
• 1 medium Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into cubes
• 3 Carrots, peeled and cut into rounds and then quartered
• 3 Parsnips, peeled and cut into rounds and then quartered
• 2 Beets, peeled and cut into cubes (not pictured here)
• 3 cloves of Garlic, crushed and chopped
• 1 Tbsp Fresh Herbs, chopped (Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, and/or Sage)
• 1 cup Stock (Vegetable or Chicken)
• Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add the olive oil or ghee (enough to coat the bottom of the pan well). Add the onion and stir. Let it cook for a couple minutes. Add the garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Stir to mix and then let cook for about 10 minutes. A crust will form on the bottom. Reduce heat to medium and stir. Add the chopped herbs and the stock and let cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.

This next recipe is a simple, comforting dish. It can be a one-bowl meal or would be nice as a warm winter side dish.

Mashed Root Vegetable Gratin
• 2 Parsnips, peeled and cut into 1” rounds
• 2 Carrots, peeled and cut into 1” rounds
• 1 Sweet Potato, peeled and sliced
• 1 Russet Potato, peeled and sliced
• 1 Celeriac, peeled and cut into cubes
• 1 Onion, finely chopped
• 2 cloves Garlic, crushed and chopped
• 2 Tbsp Butter
• 1-2 Tbsp chopped Fresh Herbs, a blend of any of these- Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup grated Cheese, any or all of the following blended- Gruyere, Cheddar, Parmesan Reggiano

Prepare all of the root vegetables and place in a pot with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until they fork done. Meanwhile, saute the onion in one Tbsp butter. As it starts to soften, add the garlic. Cook for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the garlic and onion are soft, turn the heat off and add the herbs. Heat oven to 375. Once the root vegetables are done, drain the water from the pot. Add the rest of the butter and the milk (you may not need the entire cup so add about half of it first, gradually adding a bit more as needed to get the consistency you want) and mash the vegetables using a potato masher or a mixer. Add the onion mixture and the about half of the cheese. Mix. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a baking dish that has been greased. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for about half an hour, until top begins to brown.

I will close with this simple sweet potato pie recipe. I blended the ingredients to get a really creamy texture. It made it very light and fluffy.

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie
• 3 medium Sweet Potatoes (about 3 cups sliced)
• 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
• 3 Eggs, lightly beaten
• ½ cup Brown Sugar
• 1 tsp Cinnamon
• ½ tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
• 1 tsp Vanilla
• 1 ½ cups Buttermilk
• 4 Tbsp melted Unsalted Butter, cooled
• 1 unbaked Homemade Pie Shell

Preheat oven to 375. Peel sweet potatoes and slice into rounds. Toss with olive oil and place in an oven safe baking dish. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes, when sweet potatoes fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Preheat oven to 400. Puree the sweet potatoes in a blender with eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and buttermilk. Add butter at the end and mix. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes or until set. Let cool completely before slicing.

I hope you are enjoying plenty of Christmas music this month! Last year, we got a new cd to add to our Christmas music collection with a nice compilation of holiday tunes from our East Nashville neighborhood.

It has been in heavy rotation again this year and this past weekend Grant participated in a live performance and benefit with many of the musicians from the cd at 3rd & Lindsley. It was an excellent way get in the holiday spirit.

You can pick up a copy of it for yourself here and all the proceeds go to help the National Health Care for the Homeless Council so it makes a great gift.

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New Partnership: Cat Spring Tea & Stash Co.

Dolan Geiman for Cat Springs Tea, Artist Designed Food Labels

Dolan Geiman for Cat Spring Tea

It’s no secret that we over here at Dolan Geiman Headquarters are fanatical over the goodness of Cat Spring Yaupon Tea and Stash Co. Having featured both small businesses on our blog (Cat Spring feature, Stash Co feature), it was perhaps only a matter of time before the three of us all got together to launch a creative partnership endeavor fit for those of you seeking specialty epicurean gifts this time of year!

Dolan Geiman Illustrations for Cat Spring Tea 'As American as Apple Pie' Blend

Dolan Geiman Illustrations for Cat Spring Tea ‘As American as Apple Pie’ Blend

Having developed a new ‘As American As Apple Pie’ blend of earthy yaupon tea, Cat Spring offered us the wonderful opportunity of designing labels for their newest offering. Pulling imagery from our Red Fox Collection, and adding some classic Americana apple details, we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Currently, the tea is available as part of a gift set via Cat Spring’s website that includes the ‘Apple Pie’ blend, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ blend, ‘Stateside Chai’ blend, and also includes a tea strainer and bits of dried apple, sliced almonds, cinnamon, beetroot and other flavoring for a perfect wintertime cup of tea. Additionally, our fantastic friends at Stash Co. are offering individual tins of the ‘Apple Pie’ blend from their website.

Dolan Geiman's Longhorn & Bison Box Prints Installed in the Stash Co Houston Pop-Up Shop

Dolan Geiman’s Longhorn & Bison Box Prints Installed in the Stash Co Houston Pop-Up Shop

As an added bonus for those of you in Houston, Stash Co.  is currently stocking a few of our artworks in their downtown pop-up shop (2800 Kirby Suite A118) now through December 31st. The shop is open daily 11am-7pm, and there you can check out both box print & paper print versions of our Longhorn & Bison collages.

Check out more images of our artist-designed label for Cat Spring Yaupon Tea below!

Dolan Geiman illustrations for Cat Spring Tea 'As American as Apple Pie' blend

Dolan Geiman illustrations for Cat Spring Tea ‘As American as Apple Pie’ blend

Dolan Geiman illustrations for Cat Spring Tea 'As American as Apple Pie' blend

Dolan Geiman illustrations for Cat Spring Tea ‘As American as Apple Pie’ blend

Dolan Geiman illustrations for Cat Spring Tea 'As American as Apple Pie' blend

Dolan Geiman illustrations for Cat Spring Tea ‘As American as Apple Pie’ blend

Dolan Geiman illustrations for Cat Spring Tea 'As American as Apple Pie' blend

Dolan Geiman illustrations for Cat Spring Tea ‘As American as Apple Pie’ blend

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Scene from a Scrapyard

Dolan Geiman at a Chicago Scrapyard

Standing in line at the scrapyard. This place on Chicago’s South Side is always a bustling hub of gritty activity. There are four languages being spoken here: into cell phones, through teeth clamped around Pall Malls, under scarf wrapped hoods. This is a meeting place, a place of worship, a place to study the men and women who grease the wheels of the great machine that is this city.

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Shooting Gallery: For Him Handmade Gifts

We all know that men are actually so much harder to shop for than women. Despite all claims of ‘not caring’ so much about their man-caves or outfits, we all know that buying a gift for Dad, a husband gift, or a boyfriend gift is truly a task – right? That’s why we’ve made a dedicated effort over the past year or so to spend more time on the blog detailing for him art gifts, masculine decor, industrial artwork, and rustic accessories, particularly in our Shooting Gallery. We even have two Pinterest Boards dedicated to the topic – Masculine Design and Men’s Fashion & Gifts. Upon reviewing the blog and our boards, we put together this handy inspiration guide for those pesky for him gifts you’ve yet to buy – complete with many ready to ship originals and other artworks from our own stock.

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Final Shows of 2013

We’re so excited to bring a bevy of our brand new mixed media artworks to our last two art/craft fairs of the year, both going on this weekend as part of our annual holiday sale activities. That’s right – this year we’ve decided to divide and conquer by appearing in both Chicago and Pittsburgh events this weekend. We’re excited to premiere some brand new miniature metal bird constructions, like this Woodpecker Wall Sculpture and the Blackbird Diorama visible in the snapshot below, as well as several ready to hang artworks from our mixed media collections.

On Saturday, we’ll be participating in Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade, a wonderful indie-craft fair featuring hundreds of artists - including several that appear on our own personal wish-list. On *both* Saturday and Sunday, we’ll also be here in Chicago at The Renegade Craft Fair’s Winter Market, at which hundreds of the midwest’s best indie-craft artists will be selling some of the most unique holiday gifts you could possibly give this year.

One of our most favorite blogs, Modern Midwest, recently compiled their list of not-to-miss artists at this winter’s Chicago Renegade (including yours truly) and we’ve also been contributing our ‘Made in the Midwest’ choices both to the blog and Pinterest.

Check out any of the above links and get those shopping lists started, they’re gonna be a great events!

Dolan Geiman at Art vs. Craft 2013, Indie Craft Holiday Shopping

Dolan Geiman at Art vs. Craft 2013 with new Blackbird diorama
via Instagram

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