Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CSA Box Breakfast

My youngest son has been working evenings, necessitating a quickly packed peanut butter sandwich or a slice of pizza for dinner. I noticed that his breakfasts and lunches haven't been all that substantial either, so I decided to make a good, healthy, sizable brunch plate for him today.
As I was rummaging around pulling things together, I realized that with the exception of garlic and orange juice, everything was from our CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture, specifically the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative) and my collection of herb pots. On today's menu:

Scrambled Eggs
Red Potatoes tosssed with Dill and Parsley
Toast and Orange Juice

I used Mark Bittman's awesomely good scrambled eggs method, without the cream, which gives the cook a little more time to prepare everything else. Steamed asparagus was set aside when the potatoes took their place in the steamer, while roughly chopped garlic and onion was softened (not browned) with olive oil and water to toss with the asparagus. A bit of butter and olive oil carried the chopped dill and parsley onto the potatoes, and we were ready to eat. The working boy had the lion's share, which, it turned out, was a potato or two too many. 
Hooray for bunch, local food, and hungry sons!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Seitan, Raspberries, and Avocados

Gorgeous day, can't wait to get outside, have just a few housekeeping chores to do....and I'm experimenting in the kitchen. Almost done.
My family likes seitan, even the carnivores. It's available in nearly every local grocery store, frozen, fresh in a tub, or vacuum sealed, and sometimes available from local producers. The problem is that we have a vegetarian with a soy allergy (I know, right?) and technically seitan is wheat gluten made with soy sauce. What I'm after is a vegetarian "wheat meat" ingredient, similar to the awesome products from Field Roast. Their Apple-Sage Sausage is delicious whether or not you eat meat sausage, and the original Field Roast makes a great sandwich. That said, I really need a plain, versatile, not-too-seasoned ingredient to use in a variety of recipes. Periodically, I experiment. I have high hopes for the version in the oven now. It is kneaded, rested, rolled into a log and wrapped in foil. I took good notes and measurements and if it works, I'll share!
Raspberries are simmering on the stove, for a sorbet later. The experiment here is to use agave instead of sugar syrup. I mixed a half cup of agave nectar with 12 oz. of raspberries and the juice of half a lemon. I'll cool and strain and see what happens after it freezes. (A splash of balsamic vinegar will pick it up if needed.)
That's just my lunch. I thought it looked pretty.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oh, Ottobre

I subscribe to Ottobre Design, a fashion sewing magazine from Finland, and love their patterns/styles. (There is also a children's edition.) A few times a year a super cute envelope arrives with artwork that I love and a glossy magazine full of pictures of real people modeling stylish, wearable clothes.

I categorize the garments as stylish basics, with garments ranging from outwear to dresses to leggings. Maternity is covered from time to time, it's worth noting, and the designs cover a range of ages. Stapled inside the magazine is a set of pattern pages, over-sized and printed on heavy paper, with sizes and patterns overlaying each other, like this:

The job of the sewer is to trace the required pattern pieces in the proper size.
Click and take a closer look:
I know.
And don't forget to add seam allowances.

It is worth the eyestrain, however. The magazine stores well, and is a bargain considering the number of styles contained in each issue and the range of sizes. I buy a roll of paper like this, in tracing weight, and find it is still heavy enough to withstand fitting, storing, and multiple use. Good lighting, pencils, markers, rulers, and patience are the other requirements.

I took these photos while cutting this pattern,
and what you see are the directions in their entirety. A beginning sewer would, I think, be at a disadvantage without more instruction. As someone with more experience, I do like the fact that there are methods I haven't encountered in a Big Four* pattern. I made the top just as shown, with two pockets, in a black knit and loved it so much that I redrafted it immediately into a longer tunic to wear with leggings, and made it right away.

Writing this post reminded me to pay for my latest issue, which was 15.90 euros, a little less than $24.

*Vogue, Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Finally, Inspiration

Decorating inspiration.

I have been keeping my eyes open for months for colors to use in my bedroom. New hardwood floors are in, the other three bedrooms look lovely with freshly painted walls in great colors, and it is time to get moving on the master. The delay has been lack of inspiration. Usually something - something unrelated - catches my eye and becomes a color scheme, as in this picture:
I carried that little green plate everywhere while planning the kitchen renovation a few  years ago. The kitchen is neither French nor that shade of green, but the soapstone counters, green glass tile, and metal finishes echo the plate. I just liked how the plate looked and felt, and whenever I strayed over to some beautiful Italian marble or a gorgeous red granite, my daughter would wave the plate in my face. It helped.

I don't have an inspiration piece for the bedroom project, but I have known I wanted light fabrics in some blue/green/grey combination but not "beachy". I grabbed this little twin quilt at Target one day and found the bright-light green pickstitch quilt at Pottery Barn. 
I think I'm on to something and am looking forward to sitting down later and playing with the swatches and colored pencils. I still have to gather more fabrics for windows, a table cover, pillows, and dust ruffle, but I at least feel I have some direction now. More to come!