Monday, February 28, 2011

I’ve been hibernating

It’s been so cold around here. The insulation under the house has not been replaced yet and the floors are very cold. The house warms up on sunny days, but not on cloudy days. Those days I go back to bed and burrow under the covers until the heater gets going.

I am as hungry as a bear so I keep on experimenting with new recipes. This week I enjoyed a salmon filet.

Simple sweet salmon

I’d never cooked a salmon filet before. I looked up possibilities on the internet and sorted though several recipes to come up with an idea to make this simple dish with ingredients I had on hand.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1 Salmon filet
½ half lemon
1 Tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Cut one thin slice off the half lemon and set it aside. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon into the bottom of a baking dish. Add a Tablespoon of brown sugar to the lemon juice. Stir to mix.

Put the filet in the baking dish on top of the sugar mix. Drizzle with melted butter. Grind a little fresh pepper over the filet.

Bake uncovered for 12 minutes.

Turn the filet over and put the lemon slice on top of it. Bake 7 minutes longer (or until filet flakes with a fork).
Pour the juices from the baking dish over a side dish of rice. Delicious.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My week

Because I didn’t finish my hearts project by February 14, I felt I couldn’t post on the blog. This is supposed to be mainly about quilting, after all. However I do have some miscellaneous stuff to post about, so here goes:

San Diego

We stayed at the San Diego Marriott in Mission Valley last weekend. I loved the carpet in the bright hallways.
And my bed was so comfortable.

For fiber interest, there was a charming photo in the room.

There was a yoga class overlooking the ocean. See the black blob thing on the far right side of the photo?

That was the instructor’s pig. I guess he brings him along to show his students how lithe and limber one can become by learning yoga.

Wardrobe failure

I planned a simple, coordinated wardrobe for the weekend in San Diego. Everything mix and match in black and white so I’d be prepared for any situation. I did some laundry. I chose black slacks and different tops and shoes, and jeans for drive. I laid everything out on my bed and was packed and ready to go early Friday morning.
I hung up my clothes in the hotel closet when we arrived Friday evening. When I got dressed Saturday morning for the funeral, I pulled back the curtains for a final check on my appearance. Oh no. I was wearing a black top, black shoes and hose, and blue slacks!

I changed to a white top and an overshirt with a tiny touch of blue in the front placket. I kept moving all day so no one would notice.

Scenic drive
Here is what I saw on the 940 mile trip:
We stopped at Harris Ranch on the way home. It is a very nice place with good food. I had French Fried sweet potatoes for the first time, along with my French Dip beef sandwich. Delicious.

Home again in the kitchen

I guess I’m not much of a gad about. I am so happy to be home. I baked some chocolate cookies to celebrate.

My mother made these all the time. They are rich in chocolate taste. Her recipe called for “Spry” but I’ve modified it by adding a little butter and using Crisco.

Chocolate wafers

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2 Tablespoons butter and 6 Tablespoons Crisco – Total ½ cup of shortening
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
3 ounces Baker’s chocolate (unsweetened) melted
¾ cup flour

Combine shortening, salt, and vanilla. Add sugar and cream well. Add beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Add melted chocolate and blend. Add flour and mix well.
I use baking parchment on the cookie sheets (or you can grease the sheets). Drop dough from the tip of a teaspoon and let it stand for a while. Flatten the cookies by stamping them with a glass bottom covered with a damp cloth.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. (They take exactly14 minutes in my oven.) This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

* * * * * *

Also in the kitchen – my two stove burners are acting peculiar. The back burner had little extra spurts of gas coming out under the sealed part. This sometimes made a pop noise and the burner went out. I carefully cleaned the circle of orifices and it seemed to work better. When I used the back burner I had to keep my eye on it and never leave the kitchen. This week the front burner started developing a little spurt of its own. This was a bit scary. I think the pan has rusted. I decided to order a whole new setup.

When I called Jenn-Air I learned that I could buy just the pan that goes under the sealed burners for only $139 (including tax and shipping). I could not figure out how the pan could be separated from the sealed burners. I tried to get them apart, but they have been together so long it seems impossible.
I decided to get the whole module for $329. I figured that if I only bought the pan I’d have to call an appliance repair person to come and take the old burner apart and put in the pan. That would cost at least $150. I’m pretty sure I can slip the whole module into the stove top myself. I’ve seen how it attaches underneath and slips in.
I hope I am right.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 14, 2011

A beautiful place to say goodbye

This lovely beach in San Diego was the site of the reception after Chad Corbin’s funeral Saturday. Our cousin was only 31 years old.

Chad lived near the beach. He was an avid surfer and he also loved playing his guitar. He graduated from U.C. Davis and was married to Carolina. He was an HR manager at a bio-tech corporation. Chad’s mother, Jamie Anne, was my husband Robert’s niece. I’d known little “Annie” even before I met Robert because she was my BFF’s niece. I married into the whole family because they were all wonderful, and I was right.

Chad’s younger brother, Drew, is in the Navy. He is stationed in San Diego right now after a two year stint in Germany and Afghanistan. It was good that Drew was nearby.

Chad died Tuesday, February 8 after a seven month struggle with stomach cancer. On Saturday many people said, “Now he is in a better place,” but it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place than San Diego. They meant, of course, that his terrible ordeal with illness was over. See Chad’s comfort quilt here.
I am sure there must be spectacular kite surfing spots in the hereafter.

My son Davis and my two grandsons drove me down to San Diego. They were such good companions.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Yo ho! Blow the fence down

Yesterday, there was a wind advisory for the West Delta. North winds blew at 30 or 40 miles an hour, with gusts up to 50, all night and day. The wind blew my back fence over. It came within two feet of smashing my propane tank and storage shed. I called Troy Wise and he came over and propped the fence up so it would not go any further down.

I was putting together pattern orders to ship out, but I ran out of plastic bags. I started to head for the storage shed where I have a supply. Then I thought, “I’m not going to risk my life going near the falling fence to get to the shed; the orders will have to go out later.”

The wind continued to howl until nighttime.

Today, Troy and his brother came and tore out the fence. He took all the old wood to the dump. I might not replace the fence. Redwood would cost around $2,000, plus the cost of labor. Perhaps I’ll plant fast-growing bushes.

I’m off to the post office to mail patterns.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Breaking bread

Breaking bread is such a great term for sharing a meal. Yesterday, my grandson Joe and his family were here.

Earlier in the week, April wrote and said, “Joe, Joey and I were wondering if you would be interested in spending the day with us this coming Saturday. We would love to come down in the mid-morning, have lunch and spend the day if that would be alright. We have all been wanting to come down for a visit, and this weekend we are off from Basketball and Baseball (for once!) and would love to see you.”

Naturally, I e-mailed right back and said “Yes.” I don’t remember ever initiating a visit with my grandmother; she was the one that set things up.

The family has to run their life around Joey’s busy schedule. He plays basketball, football, and baseball. He also plays the saxophone in the band. He is a top notch student in his class and loves to read. He just finished a research project on the Santa Barbara Mission in California. He started with a book from the library and then went online. He made a ceramic model of the building and drew a map of the interior. His written report and oral presentation covered everyday life of the men, women, and children. He explained to me that one has to cut down a written report by two-thirds to give a talk.

I cooked a small beef roast Friday night and baked bread Saturday morning. The bread came out of the oven a half an hour before they arrived. Joe carved the roast (very thin slices) and we had fresh tomatoes and lettuce for our do-it-yourself sandwiches.

Joey loves to explore. He covered the neighborhood on his own and then we took a drive around the island to gaze at the water and revisit places Joe remembered.

I have enough bread left for toast this morning. It keeps very well in this nifty little clear breadbox available through Amazon.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I wonder why

Blackie looked so cute curled up asleep behind the pillows on my bed, but by the time I fetched the camera he woke up. He looks a bit miffed about being disturbed.

The scene got me to wondering about things I do. Why do I make my bed every day when no one ever sees it? Why do I shut the bathroom door when I’m home alone? Why do I set the table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day when I am eating by myself?

Perhaps those are things my mother told me to do. They are just habits. I was slothful for two days recently and did not make my bed. I felt very uneasy, so I went back to my routine. The bedroom is just for sleeping and dressing. There is no TV in there. I never go in it during the day. (Well, once in a while I do take a nap in there.) I never have unexpected guests. I have summer quilts, spring quilts, and winter bed coverings. I love to have crisp, clean sheets. But, why do I make the bed every day? Maybe it is for the cat.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Third time

Maybe the third time will be the charm. I sketched out this heart quilt in 2001. I thought “If I can draw it, I can make it.” However, that proved almost impossible. I’ve made two full-fledged attempts that did not work.

I threw one out the window in March of 2009.

Here I go again. I think I have a way of putting these together – sort of like a yo-yo coverlet. Perhaps I can affix them to a backing and sandwich it and quilt it. I’ll try a table runner first. Valentine’s Day is my goal.

Labels: , ,