Monday, May 28, 2012

Other things that make me happy (besides quilting...)

Jane's Addicted... to Potato Salad...

Sara's Famous Super-Veggie Healthy-Dressing Baked Potato Salad
Allow about 3 hours...

2 eggs
head garlic
sweet onion
8-12 potatoes
fresh vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, celery, swiss chard)
dill pickles
fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, dill)

balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper, spices
olive oil

nonfat greek yogurt
lowfat mayonnaise
nonfat sour cream

Preheat oven to 350/400.
Part I:
1. Prep onion and garlic. Place a clean, whole onion in foil along with a head of garlic. Drizzle a t. of olive oil and seal up foil. Cook for about 1 hour. Might need to check the garlic after 45. When done cooking, set aside til cool. Slice onion when cool and set aside. Add to mixed, raw veggies when they're ready.

2. Prep potatoes. Scrub clean & dry... Drizzle with 2-3 t. olive oil and then salt with 2t. mixed salts. Sprinkle with pepper. Rub the oil and salts into the potato skins til thoroughly coated. Pop in oven.Cook for about 45 minutes. When potatoes are done cooking, allow to cool to touch, then slice vertically to fully cool. When fully cool, dice into 1/2" to 1" chunks, leaving skin on and removing any bad pieces. Place in large bowl and refrigerate while prepping the remaining ingredients.

3. Hard boil the eggs. The method I use is to put cold eggs in cold water, bring to boiling. When water starts to boil, turn off heat and let sit in the hot water for about 15 mins. When you take the eggs out of the water, put in icebath. When cool, peel and set aside.

Part II: The Big Chop.
While all the above cooking is taking place, start prepping the veggies & dressing.
4. Dice and slice a variety of vegetables. I use about 1/2c each of:
- celery (sliced very thinly)
- zucchini
- carrots
- red, yellow, orange, green peppers
- raw onion/purple onion
- swiss chard (leaves and stems)

As each vegetable is prepared, throw it in a bowl in the fridge to keep cool. The only veg I would say is important for taste is the celery, but several cups of crisp vegetables (especially in a variety of colors) makes this potato salad what it is... Chop up a few pickles and that roasted onion up there and add to the fresh veggie mixture.

5. Fresh herbs. I use about 1T each of thyme, sage and rosemary, and about 2T of fresh dill. You could add others but this is what I typically use. Chop and set aside.

6. Dressing. Mix 1/2c. nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2c. lowfat Hellman's mayonnaise, and 1/3 c. lowfat or nonfat sour cream. Squeeze the pulp from 1/2 the head of roasted garlic and mix with the dressing. Use one yolk from one of the hardboiled eggs and smoosh with 1T. balsamic vinegar and 1t. olive oil, then mix this into the dressing mix. Refrigerate.

Part III: Assembly
7. When all ingredients are prepared, divide the potatoes by thirds to facilitate mixing... Layer ingredients - 1/3 potatoes, covered by 1/3 of the veggies, 1/3 of the herbs, 1/3 of the dressing. Gently mix with a spatula. Repeat with the next 1/3, then with the last third. Gently turn the whole mixture a couple times and then refrigerate.

8. Chill for at least one hour. Garnish with some fresh herb sprigs. Variations: added bleu cheese and crisp bacon pieces... or spicy mustard and added mustard seeds...

baking the taters.

seasonings... olive oil, sea salt, pepper,
misc. msg-laden seasoned salts...

baked potatoes, fresh herbs, roasted onions

light mayo, light sour cream & nonfat yogurt dressing


Pepper & Carrot chop.

the finished batch!

This has nothing to do with anything, but these make me happy too:
Heirloom Indian Yellow Peas

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

017.Arietty's Got a Case of the Cabin Fever - aka A-9, Cabin Fever

Arietty's Got a Case of the Cabin Fever

So anyway, I was in my happy tree working on another blue diamond late last night. It's hard to explain just how motivating it is to have a blog to come to with updates on the project (not that anyone's really listening) - but there's some illusion of accountability. Hard to describe - but since it's working maybe I shouldn't pay it too much attention. Avert my eyes. Just keep on keepin on. dododododooo.

Recap:  - so happy with the results. 45 pieces?? wow. I am trying to remember to add extra fabric to the outside edges so there's enough to trim down to 5" but I shorted the sides on this one a bit. Still within the seam allowance though. The other technical note is that I've tried to use the "pin trick" where you locate where the intersections need to meet in order to have the corners meet. I have not been having great luck with it. Seemed like when I inserted the pin all the way in it shifted the fabric and when I left the ends of the pin loose it still didn't really hold it in place. This time, I put the pin in and then holding the fabric very tightly, inserted the end in perpendicular to the seam, positioned the fabric under the needle about .25" from the intersection, took a stitch or two with the hand wheel (not the foot pedal) then eased the pin out a bit. Then sewed through the intersection to about .25 beyond and then picked up and did the opposite side, then the middle, then the whole thing from end to end. And whoo hoo - as you can see it worked (this time). But obviously that's very labor-intensive ... I guess I just got lucky with the diamond's intersections - kind of forgot to check for those.

I wonder if anyone else making this quilt has set a limit for themselves - a tolerance for imperfection - like if it's less than a 1/16" off let it go - or whatever... Seems like an eighth is too much for such a small block but I do have a few of those anyway. Sometimes 1/32" seems too large. Just depends on the block I guess. This one exceeded my expectations (even thought it's still not perfect) so I'll just focus on that. 45 pieces! Go, self!

almost done - just needs the outer edges...

Stumbled on the 1997 movie "The Borrowers" with Jim Broadbent and John Goodman. After thoroughly haaaating the recent anime inspired "Arietty," this was a genuine treat. Now, I was not much of a reader when I was a kid, but the Borrowers - with their miniature, ingeniously improvised tools and red blotter carpeting - always captured my imagination. The production design (Gemma Jackson) was a-mayyyyy-zing! Eye candy from end to end. Delightful bonus tidbit: she was also the production designer for Bridget Jones' Diary. So, who's the one who really makes every detail so brilliant and perfect? Art director? Production designer? the uncredited slave-team under her? Anyway, it was great.

Since Arietty's got so much spunk, and loves pretty little things, I dedicate this block to her. Arietty: here's to you, little sister. May you always find a way to escape your cabin fever and enjoy the finer things in life and high-speed adventures 'til the end of your days.

Arietty has a bad case of cabin fever!

interesting cloud formations the last few days. pretty.
Lighter blue fabric: #5686 from "Alexandria," Jo Morton/Andover.
Darker fabric: #1037-0120 from "Paula Barnes Basics," (Bonnie Blue), Paula Barnes, Marcus Brothers.
Background fabric: #24381-1 or -2 from "Vintage Muslins," Windham.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

016.LulaMae from Tulip, Texas - aka G-9, Mary's Journey

LulaMae from Tulip, Texas & cat.

Antique Top... How old do we think this is?

Check it out - I found this antique quilt top in my sister's garage sale yesterday. (She has a large vintage fabric/cutter quilt stash)... There are about 100 different fabrics in this top. ::crazy fabric hoarding expression:: I thought a lot of the fabric looked pretty early - maybe pre-civil war? I know just a little about dating fabric but, well, I guess not so much really... But! I do know this is a particularly pretty hunk. Let's all hold hands and sway back and forth as we glance upon this lovely little piece of antique charm. Ahhhhh.

The rest of the quilt, well, she has an "interesting personality." Ummm... The quilt is worth less as a whole than some of its parts?... or to use the vernacular: it's a little bit - how you say - fuugly.

Bright red and pink sashings mixed with chrome yellows and pale pinks and browns and grays...

Let's just say I like it better up-close: one fabric at a time... There are plenty of grays and browns and pale pinks and reds, some polka dots and plaids... And about 5" square total of each so I cooouuuuld potentially use some of these in my Jane's Addicted quilt... just a thought. I think for sure it's coming apart in order to make other things that are more appealing. Anyone want to talk me out of that?

Now I'm off in search of Barbara Brackman's fabric dating  book...

chrome yellow
poison green
some chocolate drops
wine with pretty little flowers
red with christmas greens?

Friday, May 4, 2012

015.Miss Minnie Fay - aka B-4, Chris's Soccer Field

Reworked the colors with two lights and a blue being the central piece so it would read as a "light diamond." A little confusing, but i think it works... Was watching "Hello, Dolly" when I sewed this and as a tribute to Minnie Fay's light blue dress, I named it after her.

many many many edges to trim...
Pine Tree Lodge (#4028) by Judie Rothermel - love this line.