Produce Production

There's been no sewing here at the Three Cats Ranch for two days. Thursday ended up being a day of running around doing errands. For one thing, I wanted to pick up some poblano peppers so that I could make some green tomato salsa. There were several stops to make. I generally try to run all my errands in one day so that I can stay home most days and nurture my inner recluse. When I arrived home that day I found the nicest surprise waiting for me.

Remember when I made this quilt for a high school friend's first grandchild?

Well, I happen to make it a personal policy never to quilt for money. (There is no more expedient way for me to take the fun out of something I love.) However, my friend Carol happens to be a very talented whittler. You can see her work on her web page cleverly entitled "Whittler's Mother". In exchange for the quilt, Carol agreed to make one of her Old World Santas for me. It arrived on Thursday, and oh my goodness. Wooden you like one too?

When we cooked up this plan, Carol asked me to look at her page and pick out something I liked. Her work is all so beautiful and clever that I told her I couldn't possibly choose. I simply said I loved the Santas with cats. This is Carol's response. Here's how he looks from the back.

Instantly, I recognized the quilt Santa is holding as the "Merry and Bright" quilt I made last Christmas.

And the kitties are Smitty and Gracie! I love how she captured Smitty's personality (running so fast his ears are back) and the white spot on his rear leg.

And Gracie's disgust at having to share her household with this interloper.

Just adorable, Carol. Thank you. It pays to quilt for talented friends.

So yesterday, I put on my suit of armor and went out into the jungle of tomatoes in the greenhouse. This picture was taken about a month ago. They've grown even more monstrously huge since then.

Unfortunately, it's grown very wet in the greenhouse with the changing weather, and the tomatoes have stopped ripening and are instead rotting on the vine. It's the same thing that happens when they are planted outside. Our weather goes from dry and warm to wet and kind of warm, and that marks the death knell for the tomatoes. Nevertheless, I was able to pick about five pounds of green goodness.

which I promptly turned into green tomato salsa.

This isn't the first time I've tried to do something with green tomatoes. I've always found it rather disappointing, but this turned out to be surprisingly delicious. This morning I made up a big ole' batch of scrambled eggs and we topped them with the salsa. Everyone knows that eggs are just a vehicle for salsa, right? 

The recipe was from Marisa McClellan's Preserving by the Pint book, which is one of my favorite resources for small batch canning.

I looked for the recipe published online but couldn't find it, and so I can't link to it. Sorry. You'll have to buy the book (which would be well worth the money), or else use one of the many other recipes published online for green tomato salsa . Just search the Google, and you'll find something that looks good. Here's one that's fairly close. The lime juice was a big contributor to the recipe I used.

While I was out and about Thursday looking for the poblano peppers, I also picked up a stalk of Brussels sprouts. (Cue the Brussels sprouts haters. To that I say, I'll see your hatred of Brussels sprouts and raise you a serving of lima beans. Yuck.) I happen to love Brussels sprouts, but Mike doesn't care for them. Erik told me he'd had them pickled once and he raved about them. I've been wanting to try them ever since (for about ten years now). When I saw the beautiful stalks of Brussels sprouts in the local outdoor produce market, I decided the time had come, and Voila!

A large stalk of Brussels sprouts (about 30 inches long) yields about 4 pints of pickled Brussels sprouts. They have to sit for a week before I can taste them, which is just plain torture if you ask me. I'm very much an instant-gratification kind of gal. This recipe actually IS published on line, and so if you are one who loves this delicious and nutritious vegetable (one of the smartest people in the world, I might add), here you go. Pickle away.

So it wasn't exactly true to say that there's been no sewing for two days. I should have said there's been no machine sewing. There's been plenty of hand sewing, and I'm making good progress on my Gingerbread Square block. In the interest of eating dessert first, I went straight to work on the candies at the top of the gazebo.

Since I did all my housework and canning yesterday, I get to spend the weekend sewing. If my Santa and my pickled Brussels sprouts didn't make you envious, perhaps a weekend of sewing will.


Before I go I wanted to tell you to be sure to head on over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival sometime this weekend. I have two quilts in the show, and there are some seriously beautiful quilts on display there.

16 comments from clever and witty friends:

Julianne said...

That Santa is so awesome and those are definitely Smitty and Gracie! Lovely!

Kate said...

That Santa is so fun, it's absolutely perfect for you. She did a great job with both kitties and how fun that she added one of your quilts. I'm not a big fan of Brussels sprouts, but DT is. She makes them regularly and like a good Mom I eat my share. Otherwise I don't get dessert.

Quilting Babcia said...

Love the Santa, so cute that she personalized it just for you and your kitties. I'll have to check out that salsa recipe when I get together with Lindsey again. I'm pretty sure that is one of the canning books we got her for Christmas last year.

Lee said...

I saw Smitty & Gracie right away next to Santa - your friend is very talented! You've now caused me to add a new 'cookbook' to my wishlist, and those Brussel Sprouts! Oh my, but they do look yummy - if one can tell by looks anyway. I'm a B'Sprout fan!

Kate said...

Oh, goodness, that's an adorable Santa! Good trading.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I think you got the better deal with the quilt trade - what talent and what a treasure! I love Brussel Sprouts but never had them pickled.

quiltzyx said...

Your new Santa is adorable with Gracie & Smitty along for the ride, so to speak! I think the two of you made a perfect trade. :D

Sally T said...

Wow! It really is incredible how well she captured Gracie and Smitty. Your friend may also have captured Santa perfectly as well, but I'm less familiar with him.

Marlene said...

OMG I looove your Santa. I immediately saw Smitty and Gracie-she has captured them so well. What a magical trade. I'm definitely a Brussel Sprout fan but have never heard of them being pickled.

Dana Gaffney said...

That Santa is so wonderful! That's a good friend to have, I'd be sending her quilts regularly :)

Michele said...

Love the Santa too. Lucky you.

Kathy H said...

I have been admiring all your sewing and produce production. That Santa is just perfect for you.

Jackie said...

WOW! That Santa is awesome! Your stitchery is coming along nicely....

Jacque said...

Santa and the kitties are adorable! She's a very talented lady!

liniecat said...

What a smashing Santa and with your cats too! Delightful!
Brussels are delicious, nice and crunchy though, not boiled to squidge like my Mum jused to do them.
the recipe says brine, but assume that's the cider vinegar and salt yes?
Might have to try this though don't have a canner gadget, but its definitely worth a try!
If you grate brussels into meals, even dislikers of the little gems, get the goodness from them without ever knowing lol

Chris said...

Oh my gosh.....your Santa is just so Barbara purrfect! How treasured your friend must be. I'm not taking the bet on either. Happen to love brussel sprouts AND lima beans but the sprouts have to be hot with hollandaise sauce and the limas in succotash. I don't do pickled anything or pickles! Have to go check out your friend's blog.