Cooking and Sewing

Yesterday got off to a good start when I met up with Matthew for breakfast. We went to the Original Pancake House in Portland, which is mobbed every day of the week. Since there is always a crowd waiting for a table, we moved along to a coffee shop after we finished eating to relax and talk for a while before getting on with our days. I needed to make a stop along the way. When I got home, I went to work on the bonus triangles.

The task at hand was to finish sewing the rest of them into half square triangles, and then begin the job of trimming them and sewing them into pinwheels. To avoid driving myself crazy trimming endless half square triangles, I'm doing them four at a time and then sewing their respective pinwheels together.

There is one more of these red and white ones, and then I'll move on to another color. The fabrics from the triangles are diverse in color and style, and so I'm curious how I'm going to lay them out once they're finished. It's going to be one mixed up quilt when it's finished. 

It seems as if I should update you on some of the new recipes I've tried over the past few days. There are some good ones. Thursday evening, we had this salad from Cooking Light. It was so good that we devoured it before I could reach for the camera to take a picture. I borrowed this iamge from the Cooking Light website.

We ate it as a main dish salad, but it could also be a side salad. When I saw this picture, it reminded me of my dear mother-in-law who used to make a salad using chunked up avocados, canned grapefuit, and Catalina dressing. It was so good. I used to take it to work for lunch. The acid in the grapefruit kept the avocado from turning brown, and it made a delicious and light meal. Mike's dad grew avocados, and you've never tasted a more buttery avocado than the ones he grew. He used to pick them just a little before they were ripe and then send us big boxes, which we relished. 

Okay...this requires a story. Our last name "Stanbro" is one that's easily misspelled, misprounounced, and...any other mistake you care to make...someone has made it at some point or another. Possibly because there's nothing fancy about it...it's pronounced just as it's spelled and vice versa. Folks are always trying to fancy it up by adding an "ough" at the end. Or pronouncing it with a "brow" sound at the end, like eyebrow. No, man. It's just bro, with a long "o".

So anyway...back to my mother and father-in-law: They were always getting mail addressed to the St. Anbro family or some such thing. My father-in-law's initials were H.A. Stanbro, and one day, they got in the mail something addressed to "Hastan Bros." Get it? So, forever after, his shipments of avocados came with a return address of "Hastan Bros. Orchards." I sure do miss those avocados, but not nearly as much as I miss my mother and father-in-law...gone many years now.

It's a simple recipe with minimal preparation. It uses a head of romaine lettuce, one avocado, a large grapefruit (or two small ones, which is what I used), and then some fresh tarragon and other seasonings in the dressing. What I loved about this dish was the dressing. It uses fresh grapefruit juice collected while sectioning the grapefruit. When I mixed it up, it smelled downright perfumy. I roasted the shrimp, rather than pan frying them, which is easier and makes the shrimp taste better. Just lay them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Then, roast them for 10 minutes in a 400°F oven. Also, I cut the avocado into chunks rather than slicing it. It's easier to eat that way. You can find the recipe for that right here.

Then yesterday, I tried this recipe for Upside Down Sweet Onion Cornbread from 12 Tomatoes. Oh wow. Was this ever good! It's baked in an iron skillet. You first melt some butter, then slice the onions and lay them into the skillet with the butter and brown them (I didn't stir) for about five minutes. While those are browning, you mix up the cornbread and then spread it over the onions for baking. When it was finished baking, I despaired how I was going to flip it over without simultaneously flipping it onto the floor. For one thing, the skillet is quite heavy, and I didn't have a plate large enough. I ended up using my pizza peel. By lining up the handle of the pizza peel with the handle on the skillet, I was able to manage it with just the two hands I have at the ends of my arms. (Don't you think humans could have been designed better with the addition of more hands?) And voila!

It has only 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, but the addition of frozen sweet corn made it sweet enough to serve for dessert! Also, I used some diced pancetta in place of the bacon...just some I had left over.

We had the cornbread alongside this other recipe I tried for Tomato Soup, which was delicious. For this, I used tomatoes canned from last summer's tomato crop. Homemade tomato soup isn't anything new, but this recipe appealed to me because it used half and half, and I had some hanging out in the fridge. It seemed a good enough reason to try it. Using the canned home-grown tomatoes gave it the brightest, most tomatoey flavor. Yum. The recipe makes enough to feed two small armies, and so I only made half. There's still plenty for lunch today.

Okay. Enough of the food. New recipes just get to me, you know? It makes cooking so much more interesting when I'm trying something new.

Finally, it was a fun mail call yesterday. I received the first of these stitchery panels from one of Meg Hawkey's new patterns called "Girls Getaway." When they're all released, there will be five patterns. They measure 12 x 31 inches. Cute huh?

She's used a chain stitch for that braid rug.

But check out this trailer!

Of course, I swore I wouldn't buy any more embroidery patterns because I already have so many waiting to be stitched. But this one reminded me of the trailer my family lived in while traveling back and forth across country to my father's many new duty stations.

Because I'm lazy, I purchased the floss collection that goes along with it. New embroidery floss is so pretty. It kind of looks like candy, doesn't it?

And that gave me traveling on my mind, which made this other arrival from yesterday's mail all the more appealing.

We've used these National Geographic guides for the National Parks of the USA. They're very helpful, with lots of good information, tours, campground listings, among a lot of other geological and geographical information. With our free pass to the Canada parks in 2017, we're set! September can't get here soon enough.

Today I'll just be continuing on with the pinwheels. Also, I'm getting ready to make a second attempt at the Peanut Butter and Jelly bread, this time with a different recipe. More in my next post.

10 comments from clever and witty friends:


You just got me into trouble---I love that camper block and just had to have it--soooo--it is now ordered!!! and like you I don't need another embroidery pattern--but love all the camper quilts I have seen and finally gave in to one--also ordered white crayons as I have at least one of their (Crabapple) patterns that I want to do that is colored and you use the white crayons some how--
also did you say there would be more blocks like this camper one????
enjoy the moments, di

claudia said...

What a FUN post today! I can feel your excitement for all that you have done and will be doing!!!
I just saw a smidgen of the picture of the corn bread and my mouth started watering...I didn't even know what I was looking at yet. Then read what it was and oh my! I need some of that!
The new embroidery piece is so cute. It looks just like your family traveling home. Adorable! I bet there are some great memories of those times, and they will be coming to mind as you are stitching that panel.

allthingzsewn said...

Cute pattern, but girl that cornbread looks delicious, as well as the salad. I'm ordering some patterns from Crabapple as well, just found them. waiting for the next pinwheels.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You have gotten a thing for bread and travel trailers.

SJSM said...

Oh! My! Word! That onion cornbread looks soooooooo good. A slice of that and the salad is a very nice meal. I love avocados, shrimp and hat dressing. I'm glad you had an enjoyable morning with your son. More good memories being built.

Brown Family said...

I am reading this at the wrong time of day. It is past midnight and not a time to start cooking! The cornbread looks very interesting. I have printed it so I can try it at a reasonable time of day!

Love the Girls Getaway. It appears you have some coloring to do before the stitching.

Kate said...

This red and white pinwheels are so pretty! Now I want that onion bread. I've passed that recipe on to My Guy, hopefully he'll want it to.

Teresa in Music City said...

Thanks for the recipes!!! I can't wait to try the salad. And that looks like a gourmet cornbread :*). You seriously tempted me with the camper embroidery, but I withstood the magnetic pull to the "purchase" button LOL!!! Crabapple patterns are always so delicious, and of course this one is nostalgic - double lure! We never camped when I was little, but that patio it reminds me of my grandmother's mobile on Montego Bay. Gosh I miss her!!!

Natureluvr57 said...

Wonderful post. I want to make that cornbread for Mom but I'll do it from scratch because she doesn't like the box stuff-I can eat either. She also doesn't like sugar in her cornbread. We always make cornbread in an iron skillet-is there another way that produces that nice outer crunch? Tomato soup...never made it from scratch. I would love a plain tomato soup similar to Campbell's classic since it's the only one I found I like. I've tried "Cream of Tomato" and the heartier ones but keep going back to the Classic. I don't like all the herbs added to the others but that's simple enough to leave out. I have pinwheels coming out of my eyeballs. Three boxes for three different stages. I'm making 3 of the tractor quilts in Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage book. I have the tractors finished but each one needs 166 pinwheels (x 3 = 498). Two tractors are the John Deere Green and Yellow and one is pink/purple. I have all the HST's sewn (box 1) but I need to press to one side and trim (goes to box 2)-box 1 Then I sew them together and the finished ones go in box 3. I love love love Crabapple Hill designs. I made two pillows and the "Over the River and through the Woods" quilt needs quilting. I made mine in blue and white and love the outcome. I have several patterns I haven't made but I want several more. I'm beginning to collect batiks for the Sandra Leichner Nature Studies applique-it will be another long term project, which I have several, like the Roses and Pineapple crochet bedspread. I do smaller projects in between so I can accomplish something. I do believe I have developed Adult ADHD because I have never had so many unfinished projects but I do work on them at least. I never say I'm bored! Of course garden season will be upon us soon and that will slow me down more. Sheeeshhh.

quiltzyx said...

That salad looks wonderful. I think I have some avocados at home too. The house I grew up in had 2 avocado trees, one summer, one winter. Yeah, nothing beats home-grown avocados!

That's amazing how much like your family's travel trailer that pattern looks! You just had to buy it. No getting around that.