Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Elephant Comes to Life!

Look! Look! Look! I made an elephant!

The other day, I mentioned that I was excited to make Peanut, the Wee Elephant but bummed because the pattern was missing from the library book. But Look! I did it! I used the pictorial that Amy was awesome enough to post (Thanks, Amy!) and pieced together the elephant based on her pictures plus some math and guesswork. The elephant ended up being a bit smaller than the 7" x 9" described in Last Minute Patchwork, but still seriously adorable. Also, I love that the last step in the book is "Hug elephant!"

I was really guessing on the size of the ears, and the first time I made them, they were probably only half this big, and they looked ridiculously tiny. I redid them, and I think they're a bit on the too-big side this time, but in a cute, Dumbo sort of way.

Most of the pictures I took look more like this, as someone seems to think that everything with stuffing inside belongs to her. (Have you seen what a couch cushion looks like on the inside? ...I have! Yay!) (Disclaimer: No stuffed elephants or boxer-dogs were harmed during the shooting of this photo.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Elephant

I got Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts from the library, and I was so excited to see the Wee Elephant was included, and so disappointed when I realized the template sheet was missing from the back of the book. There are so many wonderful things about the library, but this is definitely one of the not-so-wonderful aspects.

That's why I was so excited to see During Quiet Time had posted step-by-step pictures of the process. I want to try to replicate the Wee Elephant because, seriously? That thing is freakin' adorable.

Macaroon Fail

Yes. The lemon curd is wonderful. It's delicious. But it's not really meant to be eaten on its own. French macaroons seemed like the perfect foil for the lemon curd.


I should have known something was up when I had to grind almonds then sift them. Have you ever ground almonds? They get all sticky and clog up the grinder. Then I sifted them with powdered sugar. It was less like sifting and more like mashing almond bits through the strainer. That poor strainer.

There was meringue and lemon zest and folding and piping...

Everything was going (somewhat) well.


Until the end. When I was supposed to take them out of the oven and they were supposed to be beautiful and macaroon-like. Did you see what French macaroons are supposed to look like? In stark contrast to that, I give you...The Macaroons of Fail:

So sad. So burnt on the bottom and sticky on the top.

We ate them anyway.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lemonylicious Lemon Curd

I had seen lemon curd. I didn't know precisely what it was, but it looked like it would have promise. It's yellow, to start with. But not normal yellow. More like a something went wrong with the nuclear reactor shade of yellow. But I heard it was sweet, and I like lemon squares, so when I stumbled across a recipe, it seemed like perfect alignment of all the lemon stars. Lemon curd starts with lemons. Lots of lemons.

Lemons are juiced and zested and mixed with many, many, many eggs and sugar, which is heated over the stove until it thickens. Once that happens, it needs to be strained. If you strain it, you should probably avoid turning the burner on beforehand. See that bubbling there in the pan? Yeah... I'm pretty sure that's a no-no.

I wasn't initially sure why I was straining it. But I went along with it, because that's what the recipe said to do, and I tend to believe recipes, unless they're clearly wrong. This seemed legit, and the closer I got to the end, the more apparent the reasoning was. You see those bits? Those, my friend, are scrambled eggs. In my lemon curd. See why it's usually a good idea to listen to the recipe, even though it seems silly? Because if you ignore it, you'll have chunky lemon curd.

I heated the now beautifully strained lemon curd and added the butter, then let it cool a bit. Once it was a bit cooler, I put it in these containers and into the fridge.

So what do you do with lemon curd? I made the lemon lavender scones from the Macrina cookbook and served both the scones and the lemon curd to some friends for brunch.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blue Baby

The binding is finally sewn on to the blue and brown baby quilt.
A quick trip through the laundry, and it will be on its way to a new home. This one was a lot of fun to make, and went really quickly. I love that it's bright and colorful and has very distinct happiness all its own.I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I wasn't following a pattern, so it really kept me thinking. There were a few missteps, because I pretty much never managed to include the seam allowance when I was measuring. (Oh, hello again, seam ripper!)

But the monkeys! Look at how cute they are! And the giraffes! They're seriously adorable. That didn't stop me from cursing a blue streak periodically, but think of it as that little extra bit of love that keeps it together.

No? Not buying it?

But look how cute!

I stitched a semi-cute little octopus in the corner. You can see it if you squint. And maybe tilt your head. It's in the brown triangle there. See it? Squint more.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick Chicken Sandwich

These chicken sandwiches, from Eat and Drink in the Northwest, were really good. I really like seeing and experiencing how other people envision food and how it should be put together. This sandwich isn't anything I would have put together on my own - three different sauces - but it came together really well.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sneak Peak

I started a new project in December, and at this point it's quilted and just awaiting its binding. I'm really pleased with it, and LOVE the fabric with the jungle creatures. It couldn't be more adorable.

It's a gift, so here's a sneak peak!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Night Cookies

It's cookie time again in our house. Cookie time is that random day - usually a weekday - where the rhythmic scooping, measuring, and pouring rights all the wrongs of the day and yields (hopefully) delicious cookies.

Inspired by one of the featured recipes in the Culinate Newsletter, but stymied by a lack of rolled oats, I started looking around. I wanted to replicate a cookie from eons ago. Crisp and crunchy, with soft chewiness from the chocolate chips and slightly-sweet-because-they're-just-a-bit-burnt raisins, I try now and again to recreate it.

Today's attempt started off as the infamous Cup of Everything cookies, so called because - yay for creative naming! - most of the ingredients are measured in cups. Somewhere along the way, they turned into something else, something soft and light and chewy and crunchy. It may not quite be the cookie I remember so fondly, but it's awfully close.

Everything Cookies
These cookies are rich and on the sweet side. I'm not a huge milk and cookies fan, but there was something about these that made milk sound like the best idea ever (probably all the sugar). This recipe makes 4-5 dozen, depending on how big you make the cookies.

1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1 c peanut butter
1 c. flour
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c white chocolate chips
1 T. baking soda
3/4 C. rolled oats
3/4 c coconut
1 c. dried cranberries
3/4 c. pecans, roughly chopped

1. Cream the butter and both sugars until creamy. Add peanut butter and mix to combine.
2. Add the eggs and mix well.
3. Add the flour and baking soda and combine.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, coconut, oats, cranberries, pecans and mix thoroughly.

Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the tops look done.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cauliflower Soup?

Cauliflower. Soup.

Not two words I typically think to put into the same recipe. I got an immersion blender for Christmas and have spent the last two weeks trying to find as many recipes as possible with the word "puree" in them. Today's find was a recipe from the self-published and completely amazing
S.O.U.P.S cookbook written by the Hopvine's Michael Congdon.

I honestly can't say enough good things about this cookbook. I'd heard about it for a while, and stumbled on it in a now-defunct used bookstore. Every recipe I've tried has been phenomenal. As though the soups weren't good enough, his cookie philosophy is that there should be just enough dough to hold the chocolate chips and hazelnuts together. That right there? That's logic I can get behind.

The Curried Cauliflower Soup was no exception to the awesome. It's a pureed curry cauliflower base that's mixed with cauliflower florets, blistered jalapenos, and potatoes and then served with cilantro and diced tomato. This soup was so. very. good.

There was one rather large-ish 'however.' The soup? It took 2 hours to get it all together. I don't know how much of that time could be cut off by streamlining the process, but that's a long time. (Confession: I only read halfway through the recipe. If I had read the entire thing, I probably could have worked out that it was time consuming.)

Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Would I make it again? Maybe. But not for a while.
Curried Cauliflower Soup
(adapted from S.O.U.P.S) The original recipe called for five jalapenos, and after a misadventure with some habaneros last week, I'm a little pepper-shy.

2 T garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
1 head cauliflower
2 T curry powder
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
4 potatoes, diced
1 can coconut milk
1 quart stock

  1. Saute the garlic, ginger, and onion in vegetable oil until golden. Add the curry powder, cauliflower stems and leaves and saute 5 minutes. Add 2 cups stock and simmer 20-30 minutes, until the cauliflower is softened. Puree and set aside.
  2. Sautee the jalapenos in vegetable oil until just blistered. Add the potatoes and cook 10ish minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and cover, cooking 5-10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, the puree you made in step one, and enough stock so the consistency is to your liking.
Serve with cilantro and diced tomato.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Crispy Leaves

My brother and his wife flew out to visit us last week. I took this picture during a walk we took with the dog. We don't get many frosts in Seattle, so I feel like it's important to memorialize it. Or something.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

This thing

So I've decided to start a blog so I can talk about the things I've made - crafty things and food things and other things. We'll see how it goes, shall we?