Who Is Anastasia?

My photo
New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear, regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a visual folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown and/or painted by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how overgrown and wild it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ...


My Book Available on AMAZON

Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here

August 29, 2010

A New Day is (Always) Dawning Somewhere

Yesterday (Aug. 28), I was invited to the Indianapolis City Market to do a book signing and cooking demo from my new cookbook/memoir, THE BAJAN'S GRANDDAUGHTER. It was a successful event, and much fun. Old and new friends turned up, and I even got my mom and aunt to make the trip to Indy with me.

I made Trinidadian Curried Chicken, as well as Banana Boat Bread (bananas, coconut, pineapple, guava, mango, papaya & raisins). My book is available, should anyone be interested, just send me an email! You can purchase my book in my Etsy Store with FREE SHIPPING for the first copy.

A limited amount of copies will also be available at my Bread Booth in the (Henry County, Indiana) Farmers' Market until the end of our season.

All the best!

August 19, 2010

What's In Your Tomato Sandwich?

I've been feeling a bit sluggish, stressed, and sad that summer is once again leaving me behind without me getting to "join in." Okay, that was the pity party. Usually, to crash such a party, I seek comfort food -- that can be good or bad. But, in this case, it was actually a good thing.
Yesterday, I wanted comfort food - which, for me, involves hot, steamy chicken soup, Chinese ribs (not pre-fab buffet), oxtail stew or Bananas Foster ... none of which would be suitable considering my lowly state of financial affairs and the extreme heat. I couldn't bear to light the stove for stew or soup, and can't afford the ingredients for my all-time favorite dessert; at least not today.
But, just now, a neighbor knocked on the door. I was so surprised that my evil man-eating dog did not make a fuss, but he just raised a lazy eyebrow. The neighbor handed me four delightful Beefsteak Tomatoes, home grown in his yard. I thanked him, and brought the almost too-ripe 'maters into the kitchen. We stared at each other gloomily, and then suddenly, it dawned on me ... TOMATO SANDWICH!
I had not had a tomato sandwich in ages, and it sounded really good (and comforting) right now.
There's several ways to make a tomato sandwich; my favorite is two slices of old fashioned Sunbeam White Bread, some Miracle Whip, beautiful chilled tomatoes, sliced, and salt and pepper.
I improvised with:
2 slices thick, multi grain bread
Mayonnaise (on one slice)
One large Beefsteak Tomato, sliced thick - pile it on!
Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Smash it together, and go for it.
I've found my new comfort food.

August 8, 2010

Chinese Garlic Sauce

Garlic sauce is the base of so many Asian recipes many reasons. Beyond the fact that it is delicious, aromatic and adds full body to steamed vegetables, pan fried tofu, chicken, beef, pork or seafood dishes, Chinese Garlic Sauce is packed with powerful antioxidants. Asian cooks benefit from the simple sauce that creates wonderful flavor, while providing a healthy accent to many meals.

Don’t think that you must limit Chinese Garlic Sauce strictly to Asian dishes. It is a very good enhancement to lamb, veal and many Mediterranean recipes also.

Simple Chinese Garlic Sauce

6 whole garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons of chili paste with garlic
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ cup chopped, unsalted peanuts
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

* Quickly saute the garlic and red pepper flakes in the peanut and sesame oils on high.*
* Reduce the heat to low.
* Add the oyster sauce along with the light and dark soy sauces, plus the rice wine, brown sugar, ginger and the chili paste.
* Stir gently and simmer slowly.
* Slice the red and green peppers into thin strips. Toss into the skillet with the garlic mixture.
* Fold in the chopped peanuts to the above.
* In a small bowl, blend the water and cornstarch until it has a smooth texture. Gradually add the cornstarch blend into the simmering pot, and stir constantly.
* Season with salt and pepper to taste.
* Stir the garlic constantly, being careful to not allow the sesame oil to burn.

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips