The Worst Day of the Year

It's the day I go to the dentist. (Sigh.) Who doesn't hate going to the dentist? I'm just going in for a check-up and cleaning...I hope. One never knows with the dentist. I think we should just dispel the notion that going to the dentist is ever good news. One can only be let down from the moment one walks in the door. It can be a "Look Ma! No cavities!" kind of day, and I suppose there's some relief in that. You still have to sit through the cleaning. I'm certain some of those techniques originated sometime during the Spanish Inquisition. On the other hand, instead of relief, you might get something much, much worse. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the torture of getting my teeth cleaned will be the worst of my worries. It makes those days when I get my hair permed sound downright blissful.

So let's see...what's happening besides the maiming of my mouth? I sat for a good long time stitching yesterday. Some days are like that, and slow-stitching is an excellent way to accomplish something while simultaneously procrastinating. I do like multi-tasking, you know.

After that, I checked on the poppy. It's slightly more open, and there's a little bit of red color showing. Still...no dice. Maybe today. I haven't checked yet.

When I finally made my way into the sewing room yesterday morning, my goal was to make two more blocks for the Countdown to Christmas sew-along. These blocks were posted by Moda before Christmas last year. They were all in red and white, but I'm trying to use my blue and green scraps for this quilt. I'm going to have to give it a different name. I'm thinking something like "Caribbean Waters" or something along those lines.

The first block was called Candy Cane Christmas and designed by Jen Van Orman of Heritage Threads. Since mine is a different quilt, I'm calling my block "The Gift." This was an excellent tutorial, and the block went together very easily.

The next one is called Grammy's Staircase, and it was designed by Heather Long of Coffee and Quilts. This is rather complicated to sew together, but it was easy with Heather Long's excellent instructions.

Here are all the blocks I've made for this quilt so far. This is only about half of all the ones I'm going to make, but they'll continue with the same colors of white, blue, and green. What would you call it?

Edited to say I'm linking up to the CDTC Linky Party at Mama Spark's World.

From there, I was ready to choose some threads for quilting the Cardinal Mosaic.

It's a small quilt...lap sized, or wall hanging...and so it shouldn't take too long. I have a lot of partially used spools of thread, and so I'm hoping I'll have enough of each to finish it off. First, I have a wound bobbin and a nearly full spool of this thread for the quilt back. If I run out, I have another spool that is close enough to the same color that no one would notice the difference.

For the blue background on the quilt top, I'm hoping I have enough of this variegated dark blue. I'm pretty sure I do.

I'll be quilting feathers into the cardinal, and I expect I have enough of this red variegated to do that.

There is just a little bit of black on the bird's face and legs. I should have plenty of this black, and in any case, I always have lots of black thread on hand.

This is one of the green variegated spools my friend Ila sent me a few weeks ago. I'll use that for the holly leaves.

And this variegated brown for the tree branches.

So, I spent some time yesterday getting my tension set right, and I practiced doing the feathers I'll use for the bird's body. It's looking pretty good here. (I flipped the extra quilt back over the excess of the batting and practiced there.)

Checking the back, it looks pretty good there too, and I think that blue is the right color for the quilt back.

Just as I was getting ready to start quilting in earnest, my furry friend's feet showed up. Here, I had to paws. (Ha! I'm so punny.) Sometimes a guy just needs to nuzzle for a bit.

And then, I started quilting just to see how it was going to look. I only did just a few loops of feathers when I quit for the day. I'll pick it up here this afternoon if I survive my trip to the dentist...and there's no guarantee that I will. Fortunately, I've given you instructions so you can finish this off for me if I die of tooth trauma.

It was time to quit because I was trying something new with our CSA veggies last night. Mike was smoking/grilling a flank steak. I'm constantly on the lookout for recipes that use greens of all kinds. Think, kale, bok choy, chard, spinach...that sort of thing. We were combining two recipes. We marinated the flank steak, and then it was served up with this "leafy greens salsa verde," made from kale. I spread it out on a warm plate...

And then, we put the sliced flank steak over the top and then topped off the whole thing with some grilled scallions. Oh my, that was so yummy.

The salsa verde can be made with a clove of garlic, but our CSA share has garlic scapes, and so I used one of those. I made the salsa verde using my food processor, and I chopped things finely, but not to puree stage. This recipe did away with half a bunch of kale, half the green onions, and one of the five garlic scapes from last week's share. I have plans for the rest of all three, but our next pick-up is tomorrow. Right now the vegetables are winning the race. So anyway...here's my adaptation of the two recipes I was combining.

Flank Steak with Leafy Greens Salsa Verde

Marinade for Flank Steak:
2 pounds flank steak
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup worcestershire sauce
5 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of two limes

Leafy Greens Salsa Verde:
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 scallions
½ small bunch kale, Swiss chard, collard greens or mustard greens, leaves and stems very finely chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 whole garlic scape, finely chopped, OR garlic clove, finely grated
⅓ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
1 lemon or lime, halved
Flaky salt

In a large bowl combine red wine, vegetable oil, black pepper, salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and lime juice.

Place flank steak in a ziplock bag and pour marinade over. Push out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 8 hours. You can use vegetable oil instead of olive oil so the marinade doesn't solidify in the refrigerator.

When ready to cook, start Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4-5 minutes). Set the temperature to 225°F and preheat, lid closed, for 30 minutes. Smoke for 3 hours.

Pull the steak off the grill, wrap in foil, and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

While steak is smoking, make leafy greens salsa. Salsa should be made at least one hour before steak is ready to serve to allow greens to soften and flavors to meld.

Cut 4 of the scallions into 2-inch pieces; set aside. Finely chop remaining scallions and add to a medium bowl with kale, garlic and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. The mixture won’t exactly be saucy yet, but as it sits the kale will soften and loosen up.

When ready to serve, spread salsa verde on a warm plate. 
Thinly slice the steak and return to plate with salsa verde. Top with seared scallions. Squeeze lemon or lime over everything and sprinkle with flaky salt. 

* * * * *

So, I think I have time to get in a little slow stitching before I need to take off for downtown. Wish me luck. I hope to be back here tomorrow to tell about my ordeal.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lyndsey said...

I hope the dentist went well. I really must book an appointment sometime soon as my checkup is overdue. Mmmm that dinner looks just perfect and again you're reminding me that I haven't been eating nearly enough veggies recently.

SJSM said...

Yes, I’m finishing up from my last dental visit this Thursday. A very small filling after having an old crown replaced. Dental visits weren’t too bad since the advent of the tube that sucks your spit and you get to lay down. I still remember sitting in an upright dental chair and the little whirling basin of water you had to spit in. You had to let the dentist know you needed to spit so they could stop. During this era I had 2 cavities filled. The drill was variably pitched and vibrated. You felt your teeth were rattling inside your head. When I saw "The Marathon Man" with Dustin Hoffman in the dentist chair to be tortured, that brought back the memories of the dentist. After that movie one of my nightmares consisted of me clenching my teeth together as they were wobbly to keep my teeth from falling out. It as difficult as to loose of a clinch they would fall out and too tight there was pain. I’m glad there is the current dental practices and can’t wait for the next generation of dental care that will prevent most problems before they occur.

Save your recipe in Paprika. This time your photo was used of the flank steak instead of the barn stitchery. A new aha moment as I learnt to save and paste your photo. This old (dog) cat can learn new tricks!

Debbie said...

The cardinal turned out fantastic! Such patience you have. I love the color selection for your quilting thread too. As for the dentist....I usually just grit my teeth and push on:)

piecefulwendy said...

Not talking about the dentist, nope, nope, nope, other than to hope that your visit is nothing but a cleaning. I always learn something from your posts, like grilled scallions -- why haven't I thought to do that? Do you prep them with olive oil and S&P? And I've never known about garlic scapes. Interesting. I have no names that come to mind for your quilt, other than maybe Blue Bay? I'm not too good at naming quilts; the names have to just come to me. Will be fun to see your cardinal quilt with the lovely quilting you have in mind!

kc said...

Hoping torture was minimal and you got your look ma moment! That's all I've had for years now, up until that last, oh no, you've got a problem announcement. Turns out, a broken root can be quite expensive and time consuming. Yours will be better, I'm sure. Your marinade and steak look yummy, I'm not sold on the kale yet.

Love the cardinal and wish I could snuggle those adorable feetsies too!

Heather R said...

Your Grammy's Staircase looks great! I love the fabrics you chose :)

Brown Family said...

Not sure what to call it, but I like it!

suzanprincess said...

My favorite photo is the paws--love those kitty feet!
Dentist: Whenever I get a cleaning I request a numbing agent be applied first, and it makes a HUGE difference in pain/discomfort level. And my regular hygienist is thorough but gentle, unlike some I've had in the past.
My dentist is so good I've asked him to not even consider retirement until after my death! Very determined to make dentistry pain free, and succeeds 99% of the time. Also friendly, stays current on dental improvements, and eye candy to boot. That my LQS is on the way home, in case I'm in need of some sale-fabric therapy, is a bonus. I almost love dental appointments; it's just the $$ involved that detract.

quiltzyx said...

Well, since I see there are newer blogs to come after this one, I know that you survived the dreaded dentist date this week. I will see more details soon, I'm sure.

Nice thread picks for the Cardinal.