Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Antiquing Glaze


I have a new love: antiquing glaze. It is easy to use and instantly adds like 100 years of tasteful grime to any piece. I'll explain my methods and show you this (as yet unfinished) jewelry box. 

I used Valspar Antiquing Glaze which I applied straight from the bottle with a flat paintbrush to get it into all the crevices, then used a damp rag (okay, t-shirt sleeve) to wipe away the excess. I also made sure that I wiped with the wood grain to make it look more authentic. the glaze is workable for about 15 minutes, which is more than enough time to get it how you want it. Lastly, seal it with your finish of choice. I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax. It is that simple!

A couple hints:
1. make sure your paint is dry before glazing (I'm starting with the obvious one here)
2. Start with more than you think you'll need and gradually keep wiping it away
3. A damper rag is better than drier

A bottle of the stuff will set you back a whopping 8 bucks, and even if you apply it generously, it will last a long time. I've done 2 end tables, a dresser, and a jewelry box with only about a quarter of the bottle.

I'll show more pictures of this box when I have knobs for the drawers and door, and I've relined the drawers. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Incredibly Quick and Easy Corn Maque Choux

Sorry for not posting in a while. I'm working on a couple projects that I'm excited to share, but they're very much a work in progress right now.

For now, a super simple recipe for corn maque choux, which is a Creole/Cajun side dish consisting of corn, onions, bell peppers, lots of spice, and some cream. My version is a loose interpretation, because I've never had actual southern maque choux, but it's tasty nonetheless. It also falls under my favorite category of cooking: shit you just throw in a pan without measuring.

You'll need:
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced (if you like things extra spicy, sub a jalapeno with the seeds, etc. removed; and if you don't feel like buying 2 different kinds of bell pepper, use the other half of the red. No big.)
A couple handfuls of corn kernels (I buy the frozen fire-roasted kind from Trader Joe's, but any kind will work. This isn't rocket science.)
A splash or two of cream, half-and-half or milk (you'll want a little sprinkle of flour to thicken up the last one though.
A couple spoonfuls of Essence of Emeril (find the recipe here or buy it at the grocery store. I like to make it without salt so I can season whatever I'm making to my taste)
1 T. butter

Saute the onions and peppers in olive oil or butter (or a mixture) on medium/medium-high until soft, then add the corn.

Add a generous pinch of salt, then sprinkle on the Essence. It'll be about a teaspoon, but taste it and adjust. If you used a jalapeno, you might want less because there's cayenne in the spice blend. If you're ballsy, you might want more. I'm on the ballsy side, myself.

Cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. Or longer. Whatever. The longer the flavors meld the better, but it's perfectly passable after just a couple minutes.

Here I like to throw on a pat of butter, then a light sprinkling of flour. After it's all incorporated, cook a minute longer, then add your liquid dairy product of choice. Again, if you use milk with a lower fat content, go ahead and be a bit more liberal with the flour.

And you're done! My favorite way to serve this is with a few very lightly seasoned sauteed shrimp on top. And feel free to garnish with some scallion, parsley, or cilantro for a bit of brightness.

Serves 2, or 1 if you're really hungry.

Make it and let me know how it turns out, okay?