A New Beginning

Now that I've finished all the stitcheries for my "Winter Wonderland" quilt, I'm ready to get started on the embroidered blocks for my next quilt, "A Day in the Life of Mr. Bear."  This time I'm starting with the largest of the stitcheries, the one in the middle.

I just love this pattern.  I found it when we were traveling this winter.  Wouldn't this be a wonderful quilt for a little girl's room?  Not that I have a little girl, but I'm hoping I might have a granddaughter one of these days.  Or a grandson.  I'm not picky.  In any case, I have enjoyed having embroidery to work on much more than I expected when I started on the Winter Wonderland quilt.  Now I have four embroidery projects on my to-do list (including the two I'm working on).  It's nice to have something I can pick up and work on without a lot of fussing with thread, the sewing machine, etc.  It's sewing at-the-ready, and I like that.  And since we're going to be camping this weekend, it's something I can take along without having to lug a bunch of equipment out to the trailer.

We entertained dinner guests last night, and I spent the entire day yesterday cooking and getting ready.  I try to do things ahead.  I enjoy cooking, and so I always end up wearing myself out preparing a feast.  If you want to know what was on the menu, here it is.  I'm sorry I didn't take the time to snap some pictures, but I didn't want to add yet another level of stress on top of everything else.  (And, by the way, this is why there was no Baking on Friday segment.)

My own Caesar Salad with Romaine Lettuce from my garden.  (I added avocado, red onion, heirloom tomatoes, lots of Parmesan cheese, and home-made Onion Bagel Croutons.)
Skillet Blackberry Cobbler (recipe follows)

The cobbler was a cover recipe in Bon Appetit.  For whatever reason, it isn't published on the internet . . . possibly because it was a family recipe?  I'm not above giving it to you here with full credit to Brenda Mitchell and Bon Appetit for this wonderful dessert.

Skillet Blackberry Cobbler
Recipe By Brenda Mitchell at Montesino Ranch near Austin, TX
Serving Size: 12    

3 cups  all-purpose flour
3/4 cup  sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
3/4 teaspoon  salt
3/4 cup  chilled solid vegetable shortening -- cut into 1" pieces
3 tablespoons  chilled unsalted butter -- cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons  ice water (or more)
1 cup  all-purpose flour
1/2 cup  sugar
1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/2 cup  chilled unsalted butter (1 stick) -- cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups  sugar
1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1 1/2 cups  sour cream
6 large eggs
7 cups  fresh blackberries

FOR CRUST:  Blend flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in processor.  Add shortening and butter.  Blend until coarse meal forms.  Add 4 tablespoons ice water.  Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry.  Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk.  Wrap and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

FOR STREUSEL:  Blend first 4 ingredients in processor 5 seconds.  Add butter.  Using on/off turns, blend until crumbly mixture forms.  Transfer to bowl.  Cover and chill.

FOR FILLING:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk sugar, flour, and salt in medium bowl.  Whisk sour cream and eggs in large bowl.  Stir dry ingredients into sour cream mixture.  Fold in berries.
Press dough over bottom and up sides (but not on top edge) of 12-inch-diameter cast-iron skillet or casserole with 2 1/2-inch-high sides (about 15 cup capacity).  Spoon in filling.  Sprinkle with streusel.
Bake until top is golden and center is cooked through and puffed, about 1 1/2 hours.  Cool 30 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

My notes about this recipe:  Be sure to cook all the way through.  This is a large cobbler and mine wasn't done in the middle when I made it the first time.  Also, the crust doesn't need to be rolled out.  You can work it into the bottom and up the sides of the iron skillet just using your fingers.

A note with the recipe in Bon Appetit stated:  We featured Brenda and Scott Mitchell's Montesino Ranch near Austin TX, in our "Entertaining with Style" section.  During the photo shoot, Brenda mentioned that cobblers are a tradition in her family and that in the summer she makes them with fresh blackberries from the farm.  It was so good--and so beautiful--that we just had to put it on the cover.

It's a great way to use a lot of blackberries, and we always have LOTS of blackberries in Oregon in the summer time.  They grow by the sides of the road, in your yard and flower beds, over the tops of roofs, cars, buses, tractors, and just about everywhere someone hasn't gone to great lengths to weed them out.  And even then . . . 

So with all that cooking, cleaning, and entertaining, I haven't had much time for sewing.  I really miss it when I get too busy.  Today, I'm getting back into the groove of things with this new project.  But first, I'm getting my monthly pedicure.  Ahhhhhhhhh.  (And I think I've earned it.) 

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

Snoodles said...

Be still my heart....can I come to dinner next time? Your menu reads like a five star restaurant!

Stray Stitches said...

Can I hire you to be my personal chef? It sounds devine!
Love the new redwork you are working on.

Jo said...

Oh that sounds so yummy! Have you ever considered adopting a grown woman?

Kate said...

Very pretty pattern. Have fun with it! Hope you got to sew after being such a great hostess.

quiltzyx said...

Are you going to do the new stitchery in redwork? It does look very cute.

Dinner sounds pretty darn awesome. I may try to make cherry sherbet (a la Pioneer Woman) this week - I have fresh cherries & the cream, so I'm ready.

Louisette said...

nice blog ,and wonderfull quilt, best regarsd from belgium, Louisette+2 golden , one cat

Becky~ said...

I adore the new stichery,how cute.

The dinner sounds yummy.I loveRomaine lettuce so your salad sounds so delish.The seafood pasta with lemon and herb and saffron is sounding to good to be true LOL.

Jen said...

I love the look of embroidery but can't stand the act. I should try again. These patterns are going to make beautiful quilts. Plus, I love what you said about being able to take it anywhere with little fuss. I do some applique but it seems like that is always 10hours of prepping and half an hour of needle turn!

Love the menu. I always do that too, prepare a giant, delicious, feast and totally wear myself out. It's always worth it, but I stress a lot in the days leading to the big meal.