building a log cabin

My first log cabin!

(I'll try really hard not to fill this post with puns of building a cabin with my bare hands, cutting down fabric, and sawing logs beneath the blanket -- I'm sure you're thankful for my restraint)

It's still just a quilt top (hmm, a familiar story). Not sure what I'll do for the back quite yet. It'll be a square quilt for a little tyke to play on.

I didn't go for the typical dark/pale contrast, but rather a colour contrast. Maybe my blue/yellow stripes would have been more obvious had I not used that strong orange, but since I just love that orange fabric I don't really mind.

The blue fabric in the middle is the nostalgic pattern that inspired this whole quilt. It reminds me of my sweet grandparents -- her apron and his pajamas.


leek and roasted bell pepper quiche

Mmm, quiche. Sometimes I just crave your flaky crust (thanks, Tenderflake) and eggy goodness.

This is kind of a wing-it recipe that used the buttermilk I had on hand, fulfilled my urge to roast a pepper, and put to good use the egg insides from my egg votives.

Usually when I make a quiche, I just mix everything together and pour it into the crust. This time, I tried layering the ingredients like Elise does, like so...

First layer: grated gruyere cheese. Second layer: sauteed leeks.

Third layer: julienned roasted bell pepper. Fourth layer: egg mixture.

leek and roasted bell pepper quiche
serves 4

olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thoroughly cleaned and sliced
1 bell pepper (I used yellow, but red would be pretty)
couple dashes of salt
couple turns of freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
3/4 C buttermilk (or you could use half-n-half)
1 generous cup of grated gruyere cheese
pinch of ground nutmeg (about 1/8 teas)
1 frozen pie-crust in its tin

Preheat oven to 375. Usually, these frozen pie crust directions have you thaw it a bit for 10-15 mins before filling, so I take mine out of the freezer about now.

In large saute pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add leeks, some salt, and some pepper, and saute until soft (10 mins.) Meanwhile, roast the bell pepper, remove skin, and julienne.

In medium-sized bowl, beat together eggs, buttermilk, nutmeg, and a small handful of cheese.

On an foil-lined baking sheet, set the slightly-thawed pie crust. Layer the rest of the cheese, the leeks, then the roasted pepper into the crust. Pour egg mixture over top (it'll be really full.) Bake until set and golden, and until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (about 40 mins). Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes before slicing.


egg votives for easter

(ready for their wicks to be cut)

I guess I have a weakness for melted wax.

I had so much fun pouring it into tea cups, I jumped at the chance to pour it into eggshells. I can't take credit for the idea -- this stroke of genius comes from the Martha Stewart archives.

Here's the scoop...

Use the end of a knife to turn a small hole in the top of the egg

Carefully widen the hole and pour out the yolks and whites, reserving them for an eggy dish
(I made a quiche -- I'll post the recipe soon)

Wash out the eggshells well and remove the inner membrane, if you feel like it

Dye the eggs (I used a bath of food colouring, vinegar and water) and let them dry on a piece of foam core stuck with tons of pins (another Marthonian good thing)

Put a piece of wicking in a wick sustainer and just try to get it to stand up straight.
Pour the wax and watch it set. Trim back wicks before lighting.

Pretty cool, huh! Our Easter table will be trรจs festive this year.


st. patty's split pea soup

I'm having a momentary lapse back to my childhood playground

What did you eat for breakfast? Pea green soup! What did you eat for lunch? Pea green soup! What did you eat for dinner? Pea green soup! What did you do all night? ...

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Although it ain't much to look at, this yummy soup is just like Steven Spielberg's mom used to make (according to Ina Garten.) The recipe is from Parker Hodges, the chef at Ina Garten's old Barefoot Contessa store.

This soup thickens up a lot. I would recommend using mostly broth to start, and then just "water it down" with plain water when it sets a bit.

(split) pea green soup
serves 6-8

1 C yellow onion, chopped (1 small onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 C olive oil
1/2 teas dried oregano
1 Tbs salt
2 teas ground black pepper
2 C carrots, diced (3-4 carrots)
3 small red potatoes, unpeeled and diced (for about 1 C)
1 lb dried split green peas
8 C chicken stock

In 4-qt stockpot, warm olive oil and saute onions, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper together until onions are translucent (10 mins.) Add diced carrots and potatoes, 3/4 lb of split peas, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Add remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the peas from burning on the bottom of the pan. Adjust consistency by adding more water. Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve hot with croutons, toasted slices of baguette, or just a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.


apple pancake

If you're anything like me, you get into a nice little food rut every once in a while. Not a boring food rut, but a comforting food rut --like breakfast for dinner on Fridays, or soup for lunch on Sundays.

But have you been needing a little variation on the comforting, but the have-made-enough-times-to-be-deep-in-the-rut pannukakku? Yeah, me too.

I'm not sure which country gets to claim this baked wonder -- Finland, Germany, Sweden, Holland? We'll just call it apple pancake.

apple pancake
serves 4

3 eggs
3/4 C milk
3/4 C flour
1 teas vanilla
1/4 teas salt
1 apple (or pear would be good too), thinly sliced
2 Tbs sugar
3/4 teas cinnamon
2 Tbs unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a 12-in oven-proof skillet into the oven to warm it. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, extract, and salt until smooth. In a separate bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar and cinnamon.

Remove the preheated skillet from the oven and add thebutter, swirling until it's melted. Arrange sliced apples (or pears) in a single layer and pour batter over top. Bake until puffed, golden, and cooked (25 mins.) And it does rise somethin' delicious. Serve with maple syrup.


a project for my juniper buttons

When we were traveling in Estonia, I picked up several of these beautifully smooth, aromatic juniper buttons. They smell so good.

And now I've found a purpose for three of them: look pretty on my new pillow.

Since the buttons were too big for my buttonhole attachment, I just sewed them on as decoration. The case is a basic envelope with overlapping pieces for the front, which are fastened together with Velcro.

I only wish I had a better head for figuring out what size pieces I'll need. When I got frustrated that my first two front pieces butted up against perfectly (when they were supposed to overlap), Jeff helpfully reminded me that a person's supposed measure three times before cutting. Yeah, but if I goof the original calculation, then what?

I think the answer is to just learn from my mistakes, "wasting" time and fabric as required.