Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beetle Chucking - a Diary

It's click beetle season.

This does not amuse me.

During click beetle season, I spend most days following clicking sounds, finding beetles, picking them up in a paper towel and flinging them outside.

They come back while I'm sleeping and it starts again in the morning. Beetle flinging.

You have to pick them up with a paper towel because the thing they do that makes the clicking sound is quite violent and unpleasant without the paper towel. I do not like it a bit. I do not like hearing them clicking all around the house like I'm living in a popcorn machine either.

They can't be happy either, going along doing their beetle thing and suddenly getting flung. You'd think they'd learn, even with their tiny beetle brains. Nuh uh. They don't.

Unlike click beetles, today's Splitcoast tutorial by my friend Jeanne Jachna is AMAZING! I've been waiting for this to go live for soooo long because I really fell in love with the sample the second I saw it. It's really a simple technique but it's a huge wow.

I decided to use Pan Pastels for my coloring method because I realized that one of the Pan Pastels Sofft tools is PERFECT for applying color horizontally like you need to. It's this one - sort of like an offset palette knife:

So I got to work! I decided to do cool wintery blues and greens. Since they blend so well, I just put down all blue, went back with touches of yellow-green, back with blue, etc. However, the blue I used is actually calle Phthalo Green Tint and the green I used is called Hansa Yellow.

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 I embossed our watercolor paper with the Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder - one of my all time faves.

Then I used White Christmas set - SQUEE - isn't that polar bear cute??? I made the ground and the glow around the little star with Pan Pastel. I filled in the star with gold glitter.

Now here's a little secret. I had completely made this card, photographed it and edited the photo and then I took it apart and did it again. I had originally made the polar bear panel on whisper white - and there was too big a color variation between that and the watercolor paper. I also had stamped the star in soft sky, and it just didn't match the pan pastel. I had almost hit publish on this post and then I stopped and started over. And it's a better card now. THROW YOUR CARDS AWAY! :) The next ones will be better.

Flinging all those beetles and doing a new technique (twice) really work up a person's appetite, so I have to share sort of a miraculous recipe with you.

First, I have to tell you a little story about eggplant.

I love eggplant. Always have. I started learning to cook with it after trying an amazing eggplant tapenade at the CIA in California. After several years of cooking and eating eggplant, the Other and I started to notice that whenever we had eggplant for dinner we both had severe insomnia. This took dozens and dozens of meals for us to realize. But when we did, it was an aha moment. Then we had to figure out why. This might have been in the dark ages before Google, and so it was only a few years ago that I discovered the answer.

Eggplant is a cousin of tobacco, and actually contains a bit of nicotine. Twenty pounds of eggplant has the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette.

So apparently .0125 of a cigarette is enough to turn me into a vampire. Good thing I've never smoked!

Now, I'm careful only to eat eggplant at lunch, never dinner.

But when I have it, I love it, and recently my sister made an AMAZING batch of what I call Italian nachos. My brother-in-law and I ate a really inappropriate number of these - they were sooo good. Somehow she came up with this crazy cornstarch technique that results in an incredible crispy crust on the eggplant that is even better than deep frying and much lighter.

Here's the recipe.
Cynthia's Eggplant

Peel (important) and slice one eggplant - I did about ½ inch slices - you don’t want them too thin. Sweat them in salt on paper towels for a few hours - 2 ish? Blotted water with paper towels.

Make a marinade with ¼ C balsamic, ¼ C Olive oil in a gallon ziploc. Put slices in, squish/shake them around, and marinate them in the fridge for 4 hours.

Remove from marinade and coat in cornstarch - including edges.

Put on Parchment, bake at 375 for one hour, flipping once. Serve like nachos with marinara on top.
AMAZING. Whisper my name. (required) Also works great for parmigiana. You will LOVE it! 

Also, did you know that the shorter, squattier eggplants taste better than the tall ones? Truth!


Okay - back to beetle chucking.



  1. Great job with the technique, Lydia, and those little Sofft tools look perfect for the job.

    Gosh, I don't know what a click beetle is and I'm sure that is a good thing. Wait! I just googled them. They look a bit familiar but not sure my part of the south has them, certainly not like you do. Yikes! I've never heard that click, click.

    I didn't know eggplant had nicotine, either. Now, I sure won't be having it for dinner. Like onions, I would have to eat them only at lunch. Onions in the evening give me nightmares and I don't sleep much already so I sure don't need that.

    Anyway, your card is awesome with today's SCS tutorial.

  2. Great card, great sounding recipe. We have a cricket in the kitchen right now. Last night my husband tried to find it. HAHAHA - good luck with that!

  3. Yet another reason I don't live in TX. #ew


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