What’s Cooking? Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella!

We all know that artists and makers take their work seriously, but sometimes their playful side just can’t be denied. Artists love the art of the unexpected, juxtaposing elements that seemingly don’t belong together. Irreverence is second nature. Flights of fantasy and imaginary worlds come to life in the studio.

In this week’s Marketplace collection, Paradise City’s artists show you work that is fanciful, whimsical, and guaranteed to make you smile. It may be playful, high-spirited or simply full of witty visual puns. It may have bright colors, exaggerated shapes, introduce you to mythical characters or even tell a captivating story.

clockwise: Tom Dahlke; Joanne DeLomba; Roger Bisaillon; Carol & Jean-Pierre Hsu; Kathleen Scranton; Wendy Ellertson

Take Wendy Ellertson, a natural storyteller whose imaginary creatures (like Pageante and Roland, pictured here) populate the worlds of her very active imagination. Tapping into surrealism, Joanne DeLomba creates tongue-in-cheek digital collages of vintage photographs that are whimsical allegories with timeless themes. Roger Bissaillon’s wildly glazed vases, platters and sculpture take cartooning into three dimensions, while woodworker Tom Dahlke is enamored of elaborate visual puns. Carol and Jean-Pierre Hsu’s jaunty anodized aluminum earrings will put a smile on your face every time you wear them. And who doesn’t love Kathleen Scranton’s one-of-a-kind purses fashioned from recycled vintage books, like The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss!

What else is cooking at Paradise City? We love pie, and strawberry rhubarb might be our absolute favorite. Follow our recipe for Lattice Crust Strawberry Rhubarb Pie while the native fruits are in season!

Featured Artists

This Week’s Recipe

Out here in Western Massachusetts, quarts of juicy strawberries are starting to appear at the local farm stands, and you can still find fresh rhubarb. We have lots of favorite pies (Peach! Apple! Blueberry!) but strawberry rhubarb is on the top of our list. This pie crust recipe was handed down from Linda’s mom and substitutes orange juice for ice water. The acid in the juice makes the crust tender and flaky, and the citrus flavor works well with the sweet/tart fruit. The lattice top is extra fancy and fun to make.

Lattice-Top Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

For the crust:
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1½ sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup (about) chilled orange juice
1 egg white

For the filling:
3½ cups trimmed rhubarb sliced half-inch-thick 
1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3½ cups)
½ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)

  1. At least an hour (or even a day) before baking, prepare the pie dough. 
    1. In a large bowl, blend the flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse, lumpy cornmeal. (This step can be done in a food processor as long as you are careful not to process it too fine.) 
    2. Add the orange juice very slowly, mixing with a fork, just until it starts to come together into moist clumps. (The food processer can be used for this too.) As soon as you can form the dough into a ball, it is done. Cut it into two pieces (one slightly bigger than the other), flatten a bit, wrap them in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425º. Combine the first seven filling ingredients in a bowl, tossing gently to blend.
  3. Roll out the larger disk of dough on a lightly floured surface, also flouring your rolling pin, to a 13-inch round. You can roll it on a floured piece of parchment to prevent sticking. Transfer the dough to a deep nine-inch pie pan, fitting it into the bottom and letting the dough overhang the edges by about an inch all around.
  4. Brush the bottom crust with some of the egg white to seal it. Reserve the rest. Spoon the filling into the crust. Scatter the 2 tablespoons butter over the filling.
  5. Make the lattice top with the rest of the dough. Roll out the second dough disk on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round. Cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Lay about half of the strips on the pie in one direction, about 1/2 inch or so apart. Fold back every other strip halfway. Lay a strip perpendicular to the first ones. Unfold the strips back over the new strip, then fold alternate strips back halfway. Add another perpendicular strip; unfold the strips back over it. Repeat to form a lattice. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. If the dough is not sealing well, use the rest of the egg white as glue. Crimp edges decoratively.
  6. Brush the egg yolk glaze over the crust. Place on top of a baking sheet in the preheated oven – it makes clean-up much easier. Bake 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375º. Bake about another 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool completely before slicing.