Sunday, December 21, 2014

Surrealism in 1624? Giovanni Battista Braccelli's art was created 400 years before 20th century's modernism! + Food: South Louisiana Gumbo

Giovanni Battista Braccelli - 
Surrealism Seems to Have
Been Invented in 1624

SURREALISM (definition) a 20th-century avant-garde movement in art that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, often using irrational images and odd juxtapositions.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Réserve des livres rares has released this compilation of amazing engravings called “Bizzarie di Varie Figure”. The book of etchings was published (1624) in a city on the western coast of Tuscany, Livorno, Italy. The artist, Giovanni Battista Braccelli (1600–1650), was an Italian engraver and painter during the Baroque period.

Braccelli's engravings may have been influenced by Giuseppe Arcimboldo's style.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo's
Giuseppe Arcimboldo 1527-1593 was an Italian portrait painter who created images using fruits, vegetables and everyday objects. Braccelli also composed his figures from groupings of boxes, chains, rackets, and other fantastic objects. Along with these elements of surrealism, modern cubism seems to also be predicted in Braccelli's work.


4 tablespoons e.v. olive oil
4 tablespoons flour
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 29-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 cups fresh okra, chopped (canned or frozen/thawed okra is fine)
4 cups of bottled clam juice
2 bay leaves
pinch thyme
pinch dried parsley
pinch salt
pinch ground black pepper
2 pounds shell on shrimp
1 store package of frozen bay scallops (thawed)
Tabasco sauce

Mix the olive oil and the flour in a large kettle or pot. Cook over a medium to low flame until your roux is a dark brown, stirring constantly, until it is a silky and smooth texture. The color slowly changes from tan through caramel, milk chocolate and finally a dark espresso.
The roux should always have a sheen to it. If you ever see a dry, powdery finish on your roux, you’ve burned it and must start over. By keeping the flame low, you reduce the chances of burning your roux. Cook it low and slow - don’t let the roux cook without you stirring and keeping a close eye on it. The final color of your gumbo will be several shades lighter than your roux so try for a chocolate or if gutsy, espresso.  
When the roux is done, add the chopped onionsCook the onions for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. They will release liquid and you’ll see immediately how the roux serves as a thickener. When the onions are translucent, add the chopped garlic. Cook the garlic a minute or so before adding the other vegetables. Add the clam juice in a slow stream while stirring constantly.
Stir in the canned tomatoes, the bay leaf, the thyme, parsley, salt, pepper and 2 to 4 good shakes of Tabasco sauce. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Cook the shrimp separately in a pot of salted boiling water with "shrimp boil" added, until they are pink and opaque. Using a Chinese spider scoop, remove the shrimp to a separate bowl. When the shrimp have cooled some, peel them and add to the finished gumbo. Sauté the bay scallops in butter and olive oil for just a few seconds until they begin to "opaque", then stir them into the gumbo. 

In my experience, cooking the seafood separately will keep the shrimp and scallops wonderfully tender and sweet. All of the flavors of the seafood and sauce will meld overnight. (Refrigerate to keep.)
If you can wait, Gumbo is always better the next day. (Bring sauce to room temp or heat slightly.) 
Serve in a bowl, ladled the Gumbo over a bed of fluffy white rice. Have Tabasco sauce available, so individuals can add more heat if they desire.

Until later,

ARTSnFOOD, is an online publication dedicated to "The Pursuit of Happiness through the Arts and Food." ™ All rights reserved for all content. Concept, Original Art, Original Text & "Original or Assigned Photography" are © Copyright 2014 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All photographs were taken and/or used with permission. Artworks © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

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