Sunday, February 16, 2014

In the kitchen

Maybe it's the wicked cold weather that makes me crave hearty warm meals, but I've been cooking a lot these past few weeks. Last weekend was a soup extravaganza when I made two soups on Saturday and another on Sunday. (The freezer is full again!) I've also being trying a lot of new recipes, maybe to break up the monotony of the never-ending snow with a taste of something new.

Last weekend I tried this Korean beef soup called Yukgaejang. A lot of time was spent simmering, but it was an easy and tasty recipe. First it necessitated a trip to the Asian market near my work to find red pepper powder. Now I have a ton, so that gives me the push to finally try making kimchi. I love Korean food, but this is the first dish I've tried making. I would make it again and definitely try other recipes on the site, including one for black beans.

For lunch today I finally got around to trying a traditional Indian lentil dish that I bought the spice mix and lentils for several weeks ago at a great Indian grocery store I stumbled into. I never knew there were so many different types of lentils! And he stocked all sorts of spice mixes for all different dishes.

I picked one box for the lentil dish and another for chicken I'll try another day. The lentils were so good and with a rich heat. I had to stop myself from eating a ridiculous amount. Basically, you saute onions in oil, then add in tomato and spice mix and let it bubble for a few minutes until it's a paste, then stir in the cooked lentils. Naan or rice goes on the side, with cilatro on top.

My adventures with kale continued this past week with Tuscan kale, which is a bit more bitter and hardy than regular kale. I found a recipe to saute it with garlic, crushed red pepper and onion and then toss in white beans. Maybe it's odd, but I heated it up for several breakfasts and smashed a peeled soft-boiled egg on top. Yesterday I picked up a bunch of red kale, stocked for the first time in my neighbourhood grocery store. I am beginning to think they're watching my kale-buying habits and keep bringing in new varieties for me to try. "Let's see if the kale lady will buy this!"

Now it's time to stop blogging and rinse the cranberry beans that have been soaking for my minestrone soup tonight. It's from a mix with the beans, spices, etc., and you add the fresh ingredients, so homemade with help.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tardy crafter

Another friend's birthday is almost here, and another present is not yet done. Bad crafty friend. I really need to learn to scale down my plan to suit the time I have or start earlier, which really goes against all my reporter instincts. I need the adrenalin of a tight deadline.

I do have all the piecing done and it's all bundled up and ready to go off to the quilter. Here's a little peek:

I used Laurie Wisbrun's Tufted Tweets - a fun collection featuring chairs and birds in bold colours that I know the birthday recipient likes - along with hand-dyed fabric I picked up years ago when I first started sewing that went perfectly with the red and purple of the Tufted Tweets. Together they went into a star block.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Quilting math fail

See this mess of scraps, half-square triangles of various sizes, and Beautiful Mind-type scrawling on a notepad and scrap of paper?

That's me trying to figure out what surely should be a simple math problem to resize a simple quilt block. But was it simple? I nearly blew a fuse trying to figure out how to make a sawtooth star block starting with a 4" centre square. (Not shown are the other pages of increasingly unintelligible notes.) I took university-level calculus, dammit!

Sure I could have simply cut down the centre square to a standard size with a seam allowance, but I was not gonna let this defeat me. Notice the giant circled 2 3/4" on the notepad and then the dramatically underlined 2 1/4"? That's me finally figuring it out. Seriously, I am an idiot and need to go back to Grade 2 math.