The Chocolate Cake recipe

People are asking so at last here it is just in time for some good cheer as we plunge into darkness. While I wanted to include this and my Biscotti cookies in my new cook book 

Autumnal Feasting, Mostly Vegan


but alas the bittersweet chocolate and fresh butter and eggs had to stand by as the raw chocolates and other sweet endings came forward.

The cake is not frosted because it is a super rich all about the large bittersweet Guittard chocolate chunk at the center of the recipe.
The best chocolate available makes for a wonderful base for this nearly free of flour cake. Find quality Guittard locally at the Milk Pail market in bulk or in your neighborhood find another high end 70% bittersweet offering, please not a bakers chocolate it will not be the cake I am trying to share with you.

This photo below was taken in France. I brought the chocolate from Mountain View. See the  stenci cut from the parchment paper sitting on the cake and waiting for a young relative to come and shake the sugar into a pre cut design. After that it was all too exciting time for dinner and then eating the cake so we never got another picture of the sugar in place maybe you will be sending me a photo of your sugar design.

7 oz Guittard chocolate (bittersweet)

14 tablespoons unsalted butter (8 per stick)

1 cup sugar (split into 1/3 and 2/3 cups)

5 fresh eggs, room temperature 

3 tablespoons cake flour 

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

Prepair a 9″ spring form pan, with coat of spray oil. Or if in a regular cake pan cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the bottom and spray it and the sides of the pan to aid in quick release later.

In a doubble boiler (or makeyour own stacking a large metal bowl over a saucepan) bring 4 cups of water to a boil.   Rough chop chocolate and set above the boiling water bath, turn it down to medium high, to melt but not over heat.

In a medium sized clean bowl separate out the egg whites and save aside the yokes in a cup. With a hand mixer set on high whip up the egg whites 2-3 minutes. As they get foamy but before peeks from, have a 1/3   cup of sugar at hand, add half of it and beat the egg. Then as it becomes opaque add the remaining portion of the 1/3 cup measure of sugar.  Set that aside.

Turn off the burner and if not a steady arrangement remove chocolate from the hot water bath if that feels safer. Next use the hand mixer on the lowest setting to carefully smooth the chocolate.  Add in 2/3 cup sugar, egg yokes, flour and salt.

Carefully fold in the egg whites in stages. First stir on low with mixer in only third of them getting it going then add in another third being carful to keep the loft on slowest setting.  Stop, scrape of sides of the bowl. Lightly add the last bit by hand folding in the last of egg whites stop folding as the color becomes a unified silky brown.

Use a rubber spatula to scrape out the batter into the bowl into the prepaired pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 min. It is done when a toothpick, inserted comes out clean. (Your oven may take less or more time, your nose will also tell you it is done)

Cool and if using a springfromnpan remove the ring. If not carefully turn onto a plate.

I sometimes use a sencil on top to decorate with powdered sugar. Especially if parchment paper was used as it makes a receptive, uniform surface to design. Cut out a few hearts (see image above) or even use an object like a fallen leaf  (wash in advance) and see what you can do.

Very nice with whipped cream and cherries and no top. Store in a sealed container for future freshness. 

the vegans are coming.

If you are hosting a holiday gathering and have friends and family who eat mostly plants there is a new resource you should know about to bring ease and  harmony to your gathering.

Easy to follow instructions with seasonal ingredients quickly make up menus for a memorable holiday feast. All of the recipients are Soup House favorites and sure to please the friends and family gathered around the table.

Autumnal Feasting, mostly vegan From the Soup House , Volume 1

By Rachel L. Philips

Check it out:  $ 5.99

black and white paperback

5×7 inches

12 illustrations by the author

This is for you if you own a vitamix or if you want to enjoy eating more vegetables and spend less time on food preparation and more time enjoying tasty offerings.

Warning: this style of cooking promotes feeling healthy, energetic and tends to save a on grocery bills.

Available now on Amazon (free shipping wirh prime) or your favorite bookstore just in time for your feasting. Please write a favorable review if you enjoy the offerings.

Thanks, RLP

Click to link to Amazon

Anthropomorphic  Paintings

Lately I have been working outdoors in oil paint on small panels. Often it starts with found animal imagery that I mash up and  college into various new characters. Sometimes ladscape or place comes first. Other times I have the new creature and it is independent of a site and then the environment may be a lovely finished wood panel. 

Elephant Girl  4″ x 4″  August 2017

8 Fold Book

Once a dear friend showed me how to create a small book from one sheet of paper. It was like origami only with a letter size paper. It may be a photo copy for a small edition or several sheets could combine to make a larger book.  The  pages could be hand drawn, built using software or found paper content.

Today for a lark I am using this tiny book format with a group of junior high school students. The prompt is a packing list only with a twist, it goes as follows.
Summer Adventure, a Migratory Bird’s
Intangible Essentials Packing List.

Where are you headed, explore three at least three non tangibles, skills or kno
wledge that you need for your journey.

Show it.

In small scale use pictograph communication or simple
images that stand in for ideas. Visual representation of ideas is the oldest form of language, can you think of examples prehistoric pictogram iamges?  Can you recall seeing useful pictographs in use today, how about driving to airports on international signs, or on a poison warning label, maybe you used one today, perhaps an emogie or an icon?

Define your adventure.
Choose a destination, and draw up your intangible packing list.

8.5 x 11 inch paper yields a 2.75 x 4.25 inch book with eight pages

Optional: cut a paper cover for you book of a slightly larger size, hold in place with a rubber band, staple, or sew into place.
Happy travels.

Hippo 3D model

After much foot dragging at last I got a 3D hippo model laser cut. At a TechShop visit I learned a speedy path from a car designing fellow named Ryan I leaned how:
123D Design

By going to those two websites free 3D models can be had but they are usually for 3D printers and not sized for cardboard scale laser cutting. So with a bit of tweaking and alot of asistantce from my partner we got a few done last night. The big victory after the jigsaw puzzle complexity of assembly was understanding the importance of thickness of material and cutting line and how that impacts the form. Basically the smaller hippo is a bit to elongated and less hippo accurate. The second larger version is nicely detailed but we learned the direction of the planks all should be north to south and putting a few east to west we found the transparency is ruined by the "cross grain" of the coorigation. Lots of fun to be successful. Huge learning curves to make our own forms, but up for the challenge.

Japanese Apron by way of Santa Fe

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Santa Fe NM with my mom. We wanted to see the local Folk Art museum and galleries for a few days before the summer season brings more tourists. We had the pleasure of staying at the Inn on the Alameda. It was quilte convenient and charming. I especially enjoyed meeting Lisa the chef and checking out her cool apron. She was kind enough to let me trace it and make a copy. Here it is.
It is a very simple design, with three button side closure, finished edges with bias tape for long wear, busy but not nuts, looks great on and even has two pockets. I made it up in 100% cotton icot fabric in browns. It came out very nicely and I plan to make a few more. It looks good enough to wear around town as well as in project mode in the kitchen and beyond.

If you love it you can have it if you act now.
Raychil’s Apron

Dogs of Fashion


For a while I have been doing figure studies in oil paint from the live model. While I appreciate this line of investigation, almost by accident I found my way of working along rolling into a new body of work. 

The cherry blossoms were on the tree and I painted it from life. I had just stepped out of the session with the model and during a brake I pulled out an image of a Greek torso that seemed to fit nicely into the tree trunk as part of the spring day. It was a fun way to work and I liked how it turned out. 

I started making colleges that became source for paintings during the rainy season. While it is my preference to work landscape outside it is quite soggy and cool so this is a great thing to work on right now. 

See my work in progress slide show, fashion figures new backgrounds and faces for compelling compositions. Goals of the series include:

- full range of value
- limited glazing
- color dab building over blending



Skinless Portraits

Halloween  house party
Invites called for something eye catching so I decided to use a current landscape painting and make a double portrait out of it but with the twist of removing our skins. For years I have been bring painting materials up onto the hills were I hike,  here up over Steven's Creek in Cupertino. The painting was in color, drab but more about recording a favorite place than a final so it was fair game for expermentation.

Adding figures to a local landscape was a new direction for me. To do this I scanned the painting and then went skeleton hunting on line. The context of a specific place along with well lit snap shots turned out to be the key to making the mash up work . I plan to continue as purchased ($$$) rigged 3D skeletons  to position them into scenes with greater dexterity than "grave digging" on line.

Soup House Jam
(second slide show of musical friends) It started with the figures but I found it did not come together until I situated them in a particular place. I wanted to see them in their new home but I had not seen it yet, still have not some how imagine that, what a shame.

The piece was a fragment until I committed to bringing them into my home. See the image in progress on the painting stand with my own velvet curtains that frame and ground them in the final version.

The Godfather
This piece did not go beyond the photo mash up. Because this fellow is near and dear to me and currently facing health challenges I hated to depict him as skeletal and alone. Once I saw it coming together I put it aside for now. 
Today the "dogs of fashion" are barking , but it's spring and things are feeling more hopeful. 



Sewing with Circuits

Sewing with circuits 
Over the years I have used EL wire and LIly Twinkle products to get some glowing light into my sewn creations. This year I have been introduced to using the raw LED lights directly with conductive thread and hand made coin cel battery holders for a DIY approach that makes the work even more affordable and flexible. Using an LED, a 3V coin cell battery and a metal bell on a conductive thread a negitive power supply form the battery can make a smiple tilt switch that light up when it hits a negitively charged bit of conductive fabric.  Rather than buy lots of switches and fixed parts I want to learn to make my own to be appropriate to conditions and cost constraints. 

Using  pliers I learned (from the We Are Three, circuit sisters of FabMo) to custom bend the LED for easy identification and to catch into sewn stitches.

positive bends into a  spiral 
negative bends into a triangle

This has been a fun and with some further research I found a nice little project
Tilt demo module, involving a jingle bell as a switch to turn on several LEDs. 

First cut from conductive fabric a battery pocket (on black) I found it has too much surface area and is at risk of shorting out. Next I drew up a simple shape and laser cut a from card stock a coin cel holder for the 3 volts to be safe and not have to use the tiny needles sizes the traditional holders require. 

The original is design is a neat project that I have simplified to fit in to a one hour session for a high school art class this week. It is my hope that everyone will be glowing by the end of the session and they like the idea of building a tilt switch as much as I do.