Archive for the 'The Cardboard Kitchen' Category

Published by Patianne on 13 Feb 2013

Petite Making


(mouse over images for captions)

I am temporarily settled into a very diminutive studio space. It’s one wall, in a small room.  Although this may seem a challenge, I have embraced my work wall and all it’s demands. I refer to it as my “petite making space”. It’s has a poetic feel, and calls for me to be very organized, and to thoughtfully decide what  tools and materials I need for any given project. Gone are the days when cardboard was strewn all over the floor or leaning against the walls, and a painting was in progress at all times on the easel.  Now the easel is the work table,


and the scaled back cardboard collection is carefully housed and neatly stacked in plastic tubs against a wall.


The larger cardboard larder is in a heated dry storage, which I visit weekly for picking and choosing. Now I either paint, or work on cardboard, but I must chose which to do when.


It’s either one or the other.  This all seems to work, as long as both are relatively small scale. So for now, it really is ‘petite making’.

Published by Patianne on 01 Feb 2011

To Bake A Vision In The Cardboard Kitchen

Artists, musicians, writers, chefs and home cooks, or anyone in the midst of a creative endeavor would agree, inspiration is a mystery.

It can feel like floating through a delicious cloud, straining just a little to see an image that suddenly appears above the haze. Or, it can become a thick veil in which we become entangled. We thrash around with obscured vision until we break free and the image, word, flavor combination, musical notes, or theme becomes crystal clear.

So it goes in the cardboard kitchen. I recently found this lovely, deep cherry colored wine box.

What I envisioned was a towering, ambrosial multi- layered torte. My first inspiration was definitely the delicious cloud variety!

However, if there is a consistent theme in using recycled material, it is that cardboard is unpredictable. This beautiful cardboard would not cooperate. I was suddenly thrown into the thickly veiled cloud of inspiration, thrashing  around for another image.  Just when I was about to put this cardboard aside for another day, a friend gave me a box of Italian cookies. The cookies were so-so, but the box was the epitome of chocolate and vanilla, dusted with gold.

The solution: a scaled down version. I combined these two confection-flavored cardboard ingredients, and baked a ‘Swiss Pastry”.  Inspiration also works in mysterious ways.

And, I have lots of the  dark cherry cardboard left over, to bake with in the future!

Published by Patianne on 15 Nov 2010

A Morning At Art On The Menu

9 Am:

It’s cold today, and pouring rain, but I have to get to the post office to ship commissions.  Living in the city has advantages. I live within close proximity to several post offices. But I do have a favorite: it has a large tree lined parking lot. Here, I can juggle as many boxes as I like without having to worry about opening my car door into traffic or dodging cars with my arms full.  I could have the packages picked up as a time saver, but I prefer to personally “see them off”.

9:30 AM

After leaving the post office, I visit one of my regular recycle bins. It’s parked outside of an art supply store. I choose my cardboard carefully, and it has to be clean (no food containers in the bins). The cardboard from the art supply recycle is clean and sturdy since it’s used to ship delicate supplies. Because it’s strong, I like it for armatures, and monochromatic cardboard colored pieces like this  cupcake.

10 AM

Back at the studio. Immediately I cut up the boxes, keeping only the cleanest pieces. I then pencil the source of the box ( ie: Random House) on the sections, so I can accurately inform buyers of the ‘ingredients’ included in their purchase. All of the pieces from ‘The Cardboard Kitchen’ include an ingredients tag which lists the major sources of cardboard in each sculpture.

10:30 AM

At last I return to the organized chaos of the studio, and begin all over again. At least it’s warm and dry!

Published by Patianne on 06 Nov 2010


Why do I find oysters attractive as a subject. I have no doubt it is all the multi- hued layers of shell they build up throughout their lives. Layering is definitely a theme:  in the studio I layer paint; in ‘The Cardboard Kitchen’ I layer cardboard such as this Napoleon I constructed;  and in the ‘real’ kitchen as in this layered  strudel.

In ‘The Cardboard Kitchen’ I am still working out the construction details of the outer shell and the oyster inside. Although these are my first 100% recycled cardboard oysters, I know that as long as I have just the right cardboard box to complete the process, oysters will  soon be on the menu in ‘The Cardboard Kitchen’.

Published by Patianne on 02 Jan 2010

The Beautiful Napoleon

What a wonderful pastry! Traditionally made with alternating layers of puff pastry (mille-feuille) and pastry cream, then decorated with a shiny poured fondant and chocolate drizzle pattern of varying designs, it is elegant, delicious, and graphically beautiful.

I read through many online recipes, as well as my stand by Pastry book: The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, to gather the construction details I needed to create this quintessential pastry in The Cardboard Kitchen. I also looked through hundreds of photo’s from my talented Flickr friends. I used my Flickr friend Jen’s Photography food set as the resource for my primary image reference. Her Chocolate Napoleon not only gave me the graphic line quality I was looking for, it is also up close and personal luscious!

I had to ‘shop’ for four key ingredients: puff pastry; pastry cream and white poured fondant. Fortunately  I had  a small amount of chocolate glaze in The Cardboard Kitchen pantry from another baking project.

I began with  my hunt for the pastry, and found the perfect mille-feuille in a furniture store recyling bin. I think you will agree that, although it may not have “a thousand leaves”, after a little kneading  and folding, it looks like flaky layers of puff pastry!

The most difficult ingredient to find was the pastry cream. It had to be the perfect color and just the right texture to create the slight ooze between the layers of mille-feuille.

The  shiny poured fondant was created from a shipping box which once held wire shelving. The ink used to print on the background layer of this box provided just the right sheen.

The traditional chevron pattern is created by piping the chocolate glaze onto the white glaze  and pulling it through before the glazes are set up. Using this technique, the piped chocolate appears to be raised ever so slightly above the shiny poured fondant. In art we call this a bas-relief!

Of course there is no way to pull chocolate cardboard through white cardboard fondant, so to achieve this bas-relief feel, I inlaid it. No need to mention how many times I had to do this over to achieve the perfect glazed top, let me just say YIKES….

The  pièce de résistance  was my find of a discarded and torn section of architectural board: the type used by architects to make their fantastic models. It made the perfect pastry wrapper to prevent sticky fingers.

Although you can’t eat it, I think you’ll agree the Napoleon baked in The Cardboard Kitchen is visually delicious!

Published by Patianne on 29 Jun 2009

The Cardboard Kitchen Is Haute Cuisine!

The Cardboard Kitchen was featured in the April issue of Jalouse, the French style magazine!

Many thanks to my friend Otilia for providing the translation, and to Florence Valencourt for the virtual interview. Next time I would like to be interviewed while sipping café au lait along the Champs-Elysées!

To get the American version of the recipe, and to see the homage from the Cardboard Kitchen, be sure to read my next post!




Everything that comes out of artist’s Patianne Stevenson’s kitchen is recycled, eco-artsy, and calorie free! A real dream come true for foodies who are concerned about their weight.

“Everything prepared in the Cardboard Kitchen is made from recycled ingredients”, says Patianne Stevenson. “I visit wine stores for boxes with colors, grocery stores for the perfect textures, and art supply stores for that certain thickness. Everyone is very happy to have me remove cardboard boxes, and I love stocking the cardboard pantry! I begin my recipes with an organized work plan. I layout the utensils I will need for each recipe: various sizes of scissors, utility knives, glue brushes, and erasers. I then take a look in The Cardboard Kitchen pantry. I had stored a piece of peanut butter colored cardboard. Mixed with vanilla and chocolate colored cardboard, cut to fit and assembled, I knew this would become a sweet creation. I decided on a cardboard homage to one of my favorite cupcake recipes, Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcake With Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Dipped Cherry. What’s nice about The Cardboard Kitchen is there no waiting until the cupcakes come out of the oven! But sadly, you can’t lick the bowl!

For the gourmands, here is the real recipe:

Makes 12


50g butter
100g creamy peanut butter
256g broken chocolate bar
little vanilla extract
3 eggs
175g of flour
200 grams sugar
10g baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C
Melt butter and chocolate in bain marie, stirring to mix
Add peanut butter, blend well
Beat in eggs one at a time, until smooth
Stir in vanilla

In another bowl mix sugar, flour and baking powder.
Add to chocolate mix. Stir until smooth.

Fill muffin cups two thirds full.
Bake 20 min. Cool.

Peanut Butter Cream:

50g butter
100g peanut butter
150g icing sugar
20-30 cl cream

Use a pastry sock to decorate the cupcakes.

Chocolate covered Cherries:

12 cherries in syrup
75g dark chocolate
20g butter
Remove cherries from syrup and pat dry
Melt butter and chocolate in a bain marie
Dip cherry and place on parchment to set.

Place  cherry on top!

Published by Patianne on 18 Sep 2008

Iron Cupcake!

Get your cupcakes on bakers!  If you are baking in the “other” kitchen, let’s see your batter, bowl and spoons and your oven center stage. This little “Mini Cupcake With Buttercream and Cherry On Commemorative Silver Dessert Stand” is the October prize for the Iron Cupcake Competition.

And this cupcake was baked to order in The Cardboard Kitchen. That’s why it comes complete with a silver dessert stand: in the Cardboard Kitchen we can perform such magic as making silver out of gray cardboard.

Here are the specifics: height to top of cherry: 4 1/2″; width including stand: 3″. And your little cupcake arrives with a list of ingredients. Wait till you see what it’s made of!  So have fun and bake your pans off!

Read the winning recipe!: Muffin Cupcake House. Congratulations Fabiola!

Published by Patianne on 16 Sep 2008

What’s In The Oven?

I’ve  been baking lots of sweets in The Cardboard Kitchen lately. This cupcake was inspired by all the amazing cupcakes that are produced in the kitchen’s of the Flickr bakers. If you look closely at the mise en place pic below, you can see  that this cupcake, in the center of my work table,  is almost finished. In the same pic I am working on the fondant rose.

I bake just like all bakers: I need the cupcake paper first so I create that first; then the cake, the frosting, decorate, and place the finished cupcake on the doily which I create to fit. And those Flickr bakers are so right when they say in order to make a fondant rose, you have to practice, practice, practice!  I had to make the roses for this cupcake twice before I got it right!

Published by Patianne on 11 Sep 2008

mise en place

Welcome to The Cardboard Kitchen! It’s a busy place, so I keep it organized. There are utensils, pantry items sorted by color and use, and the necessary odd bits to keep in order. Although not visible here, I use post- it’s as recipe cards. This helps me to keep track of each ingredient in each piece. If I use the wrong ingredient in a particular piece, it tastes terrible!

So how do I organize all this cardboard: enter the pantry.

When a box arrives in The Cardboard Kitchen, I notate in pencil the origin of the box and it’s original function. It then gets sorted into the pantry. Although every piece gets sized down,  and no matter the size large or small, it retains it’s name and origin. That’s why when you receive your delicious no-cal food in the mail and read the ingredients list, you know just what it’s made of.

It’s amazing that eventually I begin to recognize the crumbs floating around: the ones stuck to my clothes or glued in my hair. It’s the same phenomenon as the “other” kitchen: you say to yourself  “I’ve got  that cookie dough in my eyebrow”. I say to myself  “this clump glued on my shirt is from that UPS box I was cooking with”!