Little Kitchen Things

There was quilting and slow-stitching yesterday, and there was also activity in the kitchen that I like to refer to as my "little kitchen things." I'll show you what I'm talking about in a minute. But first, let's take a little stroll through the garden, shall we?

I'm still waiting for the dappled willow to do whatever it's going to do. Things got a burst of energy when we had about ten days of summer weather at the beginning of the month. Now they seem to have gone back into dormancy, and not much is happening.

What I think is going to happen is that these little tendrils of new growth will get longer and longer, creating the sprays of pink that I expect to see. As they mature, they'll turn green and match the older foliage. I'm guessing now, but let's see if I'm right. We're going to have to wait a little longer to find out.

Our little rose bush is covered in buds. So far they've escaped the notice of the deer. It would be nice to get some flowers because this rose is very fragrant.

There are some baby pine cones on one of the pine trees. There are probably more on the trees that line the driveway, but this one is planted up close to the house, and so I pay more attention to it.

And then there's this. I'll probably get old and die before it opens.

While I was outside, I picked some chive blossoms and started the chive blossom vinegar. This constitutes a "little kitchen thing." Little kitchen things might be defined as things that take a long time to finish, but almost no hands-on time. To make chive blossom vinegar, one picks an appropriate number of chive blossoms to fit in one's container, whatever that might be. Then they are given a good wash because they have little bugs in them that you can't see. I use my salad spinner for that. Then, one puts them in a glass jug of some kind. Then, pour white vinegar over them to cover. You can see that mine have floated above the surface of the vinegar here, but they'll sink down as they absorb more liquid. Then, you put it in a cool darkish room and wait two weeks. After two weeks, I'll strain out the solids and put the vinegar in bottles, and that little task will be done for the year. (Pictures of the finished vinegar to come.)

Here's another little kitchen thing. I saved up all the things I've cut off and peeled off the CSA veggies. To that, I added some half-dead vegetables from the crisper and some beef bones I've been saving up. I threw all that in my stockpot and boiled the snot out of it. Then, I strained out the solids and boiled, and boiled, and boiled it some more to condense it somewhat. Then, I let it cool and refrigerated it overnight so that I could skim the fat off this morning. Just before sitting down here, I poured it into freezer containers and now I have myself three quarts of beef stock. Those will go into the freezer for later use. It's a good thing because I was down to my last quart from last year.

Usually, I just do veggie stock, but for this batch, I used the beef bones I've been saving up. Before the CSA season is over, I'll have a whole lot more. This is only the beginning.

The only other little kitchen thing I did was to mix up some bread dough. It's been in the refrigerator, and I yanked off a hunk this morning. It's rising downstairs as I write this, and I'll bake some bread later in the day today. I didn't take any pictures of this, so you'll have to take my word for it. Of course, I'll show you the baked bread in tomorrow's post, and so the proof will be in the, um, bread pudding...only no pudding will be involved.

So then, I got busy with my quilting. I still needed to finish off the bird beak, the tree branch, and the outer border. For the outer border, I did these roundy-roundy things. (As always, these are technical quilting terms, so try to keep up.)

When the border was finished, the quilting was finished, and I took it downstairs for its picture.

It's hard to see the quilting from the back, but here's how that looks.

No cats were assisting me in this process, but when I took it downstairs to sew on the binding, Miss Sadie showed up.

Whatcha' doing? Sewing?

Oh, this bird looks delicious...and it's so soft.

Removing the cat, I gave the quilt a green binding.

There was a nearly-empty spool of green thread. I figured I'd use it until it ran out, but when the binding was finished, there was still this much thread left.

When I took it back upstairs to start on the hand-sewing, I left Sadie here. She likes to bring her toys into bed with her. I'll admit, I did the same thing when I was her age.

By mid afternoon, I'd turned the first corner on the binding, and I'm very close to turning the second corner. Also, I'm still working on that same spool of thread. Perhaps it's a magic spool, and it will never run out.

Okay, so here's what we had for dinner last night. In my ongoing quest to use weird and unfamiliar vegetables, I made this Roasted Hot-Honey Shrimp with Bok Choy and Kimchi Rice. It isn't the first time I've made this. I tried it for the first time last year. The original recipe uses baby bok choy, which is a lot easier to use than the bigger heads. If you click on the link to the recipe, you'll see how they prepared it. For my large adult-sized head of bok choy, I simply cut off the root end, and then cut the rest cross-wise into 1/2-inch wide pieces and then followed the recipe as written. This is really quite delicious. Heck, I might even by bok choy on purpose to make it.

Mike is not a fan of kimchi, and so I left it out of his rice. Also, no sesame seeds for him.

So that was a full day. Now, all of my monthly assignments are finished, and so I get to spend the remainder of the month on a new project. It's from this book...

It's a great book. The pattern for the recently-finished Rainbow Jubilee quilt is contained therein.

The new project will be this Tile Works lap quilt.

For the dark fabrics, I'm using these pretty fabrics Matthew brought me from Guatemala.

And then, for the white lattice, I'm going to use the homespun purchased recently for that purpose.

Yesterday I spent some time looking at the pattern and seeing how the blocks are constructed. I actually think it will go together fairly quickly. I'm hoping to have the quilt top finished before June 1st hits, and then I'll have to get back to the "meat and potatoes" of my sewing projects. I realize nobody really cares whether I keep up month-to-month, but it's my personal attempt at appearing to have some discipline. Which reminds me...I need to make the current Tiny Tuesday block before I can do anything else. That shouldn't take too long.

So, I have a fun and busy day lined up for myself, made even more fun by a surprise visit from Matthew. He's flying in (maybe already flew in) from Las Vegas and coming up here to get his van before driving it back to Las Vegas and his new home. Lyndsey (his roommate in Guatemala) is picking him up at the airport, and so I'll get a chance to meet her too. So far, we've only chatted via Whatsapp while they were both still in Guatemala. Matthew will be in Portland for several weeks, and he'll be here for our family weekend get-together in June too. It's all good news on the family front.

And with that, I'm going to get going on my morning's slow-stitching. Hopefully, I'll get the cardinal finished today.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

Cathy Smith said...

I don't know how you do it! By the time I've read your recap for the day I'm exhausted! Wish I had half of your energy and organization. Seems as if all of my get up and go got up and went!

Quilting Tangent said...

Always interesting seeing what you are up to.

piecefulwendy said...

You have so many good things going on. Glad to hear you'll get to see Matthew and meet his roommate. The pattern you're using for the Guatemala fabric is going to work really well, I think! Enjoy your weekend!

kc said...

Ooh, la la, shrimps look yummy! Still can't wrap my head around the chive vinegar, even though it is pretty to look at. We bought some peach and white raspberry vineyard down in Tarpon Springs, and while tasty on their own, they tend to lose all flavor in my marinades. I don't know if I leave meat too long, not long enough, or some other spices overpower. That poppy IS going to open, someday. Hope it's not the weekend you go camping! Cardinal turned out mighty pretty...where you gonna hang him?

QuiltGranma said...

I've been wondering how you use the chive vinegar?

Beth said...

Barbara, when you make your vegetable broth do you add any seasoning? Mine always seems pretty bland if I use just veggies.

Hooray for Matthew coming to visit with Lyndsey! Blazing new trails can bring the start of so many good things that you can't see when you set out.

quiltzyx said...

The dappled willow is set off so nicely with the bright Rhoadies (?) all around it.

I always like the look of your Chive Vinegar, so pretty.

I like the green binding for the Cardinal. And zoom, it's done!

Great pattern for the Guatemalan fabrics. Glad you're getting a Matt visit too this weekend!

Nani said...

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