The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California on December 19, 1993 · 292
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California · 292

San Francisco, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 19, 1993
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'GOLD 2 thin slices pancetta, diced (about 2 tablespoons) 1 teaspoon minced garlic Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 1. If using spinach, tear the larger leaves away from the stems; leave the smallest leaves attached to their stems. If using chard, grab the leaves near the base and pull upward, stripping the leaves from the thicker part of their central rib. Wash the leaves well and drain them thoroughly in a colander or, better still, spin them dry in a salad spinner. 2. Combine the oil and diced pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until well browned and slightly crisp. Add the garlic, cook for a few seconds, and add the spinach or chard. Cook, stirring and tossing, until the leaves are just wilted but still bright green. Taste for seasoning, tasting a bit of pancetta along with the greens; depending on how salty and peppery the cure, no more seasoning may be necessary. Serve immediately. Creamy Polenta with Parmesan Cheese and Rosemary 22 cups unsalted chicken stock cup polenta V4 teaspoon salt V4 cup cream teaspoon minced fresh rosemary V4 cup grated Parmesan cheese Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the polenta in a thin stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the sides and bottom of the pot, until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Stir in the salt, cream, rosemary, and cheese and taste for seasoning. The polenta can be served immediately or kept warm in a hot water bath for up to 2 hours. Serve in shallow bowls if serving as a side dish or first course, or on the plate at a bed for grilled meats. Serves 4. Examiner associate editor Jim Wood's food and wine columns also appear Wednesdays in the Epicure section. His restaurant reviews appear Fridays in Weekend. This is today's crossword solution A S C. A sjilp P REiDiRiUiMnMiEiRS EjVfT p A M P llp F R s o Kill IP i t ePnTe'c e sCj fsiTjsWfArv.i ,r lEMUOHO TjRiomnQlk M A R I EflH E fill S L 11 1 a u aii 1 n sr TAT lltUpngSiApwisiwrig tl e T01 rB s ipTlIn a"lH ITWE Uv e.P.aTy 10 R Bflt Q:ODM t,H t L IMP SUA B E EUS E HQ IS T E VVEjR A EL JR'I Ike n oTfTflR.D si If.e.ndU i i I-IR ll'Nlll E DUO S' IBA n'CiHUEIN IB E DDK E P TI1 IS U B Z E R OllP hi I E T I nIIp El I H F I F N A S T Y PODf. I 'E RllDiSjH'A R P EllAiSE AUD I E.S E I EOP.ALR.E N.SAflL.IX G A lIIe.c u SOFC.HR I ST MAS PjA TUACiM E NflG SiHiO P N DJ I H A V El GOO dHd F El sun fHf 1 f a Silitir JL 1 US A GjO RUNErIIe LA I N E O P A R tUr I D G E S YARDSCAPES By Mia Amato Gardens in a flew Lighf H Michael Barclay has combined neon and sculpture for an electric garden effect. utdoor sculpture and outdoor lighting grace many fine gardens, and now Michael Barclay is pushing the envelope with a garden sculpture Str marie of Writ neon lieht. A ear- a 0 0 den designer and well-known horticultur-alist, Barclay has spent the past year exploring the possibilities of neon sculpture in his own front yard in Kensington. Placed among other vines, where the roofline meets a Tolkien-esque wooden garden gate, electric blue flowers stretch 20 feet high to brighten the night at the corner of Yale and Vassar streets. Barclay commissioned the neon work on a whim. "I've always wanted a blue clematis, and I've never been able to grow one," he explained. "This one is the spitting image of clematis 'General Sikorski,' in shape and color. And Fve always wanted a piece of neon sculpture with a botanical theme." The sculpture (which is not the Bay Area's first neon garden sculpture: a freestanding abstract design at the corner of Connecticut and Mariposa streets in San Francisco predates it) was de signed by Barclay's chief landscaper, Vanessa Kuemmerle, and John Law of Central Sign Services in Oakland. The stems are green glass tubing; the three flowers have petals of clear glass, filled with mercury argon gas, which glows a bright, icy blue. Law is a neon artist best known in the Bay Area for his work in the past three years illuminating "Burning Man," a 40-foot tall wooden figure set alight in public spaces, performance art combining free-form ritual with pre-dawn, post-rave music parties. "This was a very difficult installation," said Law, who also builds commercial signage. "Most neon signs are built within a metal cabinet or housing, which grounds the electricity. This sign is on a wooden frame, which makes it more dangerous." Law said it took several months of tinkering to keep the sculpture from shorting out. The transformer is in the basement; it buzzes "like a fluorescent light" but you can't hear it outside. The neon is not expensive to run: Barclay said it draws the power of a 100-watt bulb, but the high voltage makes it slightly dangerous. Though grounded at several points, a tube squeezed or broken by a strangling vine would electrify a person who touched it. "Oh, you'd be compost," Barclay said cheerfully. "I wouldn't recommend this to a gardener with children, but by the same token, there are many garden plants which are poisonous." Both he and Law point out that home use of neon is severely restricted by both communities because of safety issues. By permit, Barclay's sculpture is only a "temporary art installation," which he is allowed to light six nights a month. Barclay lit it first on Christmas Eve last year, and plans to switch it on again this holiday season. Only one neighbor so far has complained, he said. More typical are the many compliments the glowing blue blossoms draw from total strangers so Barclay keeps renewing the permit. Sources: Central Sign Services is reachable in Oakland at (510) 530-3347. Master Gardener Mia Amato's columns also appear in The Examiner's Habitat and Real Estate sections. 30 I M AG E Sunday. December 19, 1993

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