Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September FMQ Challenge - Fancy Feather Stencil

This month's tutorial was provided by quilting expert Paula Reid.  She provided excellent tips to fluff and stuff your quilt inside the harp as well as the table lay out to prevent the quilt from dragging or falling over the left side or back.  Paula used a stencil to mark the fancy feather design.

I don't like to mark my quilt tops as I find removing the markings a pain you know where regardless of the method used.  For my practice scrap I traced the fancy feathered design onto transparent wash away embroidery backing.  The scrap quilt sandwich is 100% cotton from an old sheet.  The back is 100% blue denim from recycled jeans.  The batting is  warm and natural cotton.  The thread is Marathon 100% polyester trilobal embroidery thread.
 I used an 80/12 Schmetz universal needle.
The back side is hard to see, this red thread did not have enough contrast to the blue denim.
For my sampler quilt I chose a feathered wreath out of a book and traced it onto parchment paper.  Then I sewed the design onto a second piece of parchment paper with no thread in the needle.  I pinned the needle punched design to the top of my quilt and quilted the through the parchment paper.  The thread is Superior 100% cotton, the needle was a Schmetz 80/12 quilting needle.
These photos were taken in direct sunlight using a Hoya cir-polarizing filter on my Canon Rebel XT slr camera.  The filter worked great, as the colours did not get washed out by the sun.
This is the back side of my sampler quilt.  Note to self, do not use thread that matches the back of the sampler quilt.  It is difficult to see the design and photograph it.
The echo feathering design outside and inside the wreath was done without marking the quilt top.
Yippee!! I completed the September challenge before the end of the month.  ~dancing around the room with glee!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dill Pickles Lacto Fermentation recipe

Alice Andrusek was my great aunt, my sincere thanks to Rick Andrusek (her son) for sharing this recipe. 
I added super chilli peppers and raw carrots.   They will be ready to sample in five days!
Dill Pickles  (Alice Andrusek) 
These Pickles are made by the process of Lacto Fermentation
Recipe for 1 Quart sealer
Put a fresh Dill seed head and some Garlic in bottom of a
clean 1 Quart sealer
Add ½ teaspoon of pickling spice if desired
Remove 1/4"of the blossom end (opposite the stem end) before putting Cucumbers in sealers.
Pack Cucumbers in sealer and put more Dill and Garlic on top
(Note:  Cucumbers may be cut if necessary to fit into sealer)
Add to sealer:
            1 tablespoon pickling salt
            1 tablespoon granulated sugar
            1 tablespoon white vinegar
Fill sealer completely with cold water, and tighten lid, being careful that rim of sealer is clean. 
Turn over and shake until salt and sugar have dissolved.
Put sealers in a room temperature location such as the kitchen counter, out of direct sun.  Place the sealers on a tray or a towel in case they leak.  It’s normal for the brine to turn cloudy during the fermentation process.
Pickles will be ready to eat (mild stage) in about 4-5 days. 

Open sealers carefully in the sink, or in a large bowl.
  The brine becomes very fizzy (almost like it’s carbonated) because of the fermentation process, and may ‘gush’ out of the sealer when it’s opened.  If there is no fizz at all and/or the brine has not turned cloudy, suspect something may have not worked quite right…but the pickles may still be just fine.

Refrigerate after opening.
Unopened sealers can be stored in a cool, dark place for several months, and pickles get even better if allowed to get stronger. 
Double quantities for ½ gallon or quadruple for a gallon sealer.
My doorbell just rang!  It was my dear friend Barb with two gallons of freshly picked cucumbers!  Yippee!!  More pickles.

Dear readers, do you have a favourite pickle recipe?  Have you pickled chilli peppers?  If yes, please share with me.  I'm kind of worried the chilli peppers may make the dill pickles too hot.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fall garden harvest & bruschetta recipe.

It is that time of year again when there is an abundance of wonderful local grown fresh vegetables.
These super red hot chilli peppers are the crown jewels of my garden.
Red potatoes are simply delicious roasted, baked, mashed, scalloped or fried.  Nothing beats fresh potatoes dug up from the garden the same day they're cooked and eaten.
Roma tomatoes are most excellent for making bruschetta.  This is my recipe:
  • one dozen ripe finely chopped roma tomatoes
  • a big handful of fresh curley parsley also finely chopped
  • one tablespoon of crushed fresh black peppercorns
  • five cloves of fresh minced or finely chopped garlic
  • one teaspoon seasoning salt
  • two tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • one quarter cup pure virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Refrigerate for  at least one hour to blend the flavours.  Serve with baguettes, freshly baked multi-grain bread or your favourite crackers.  In a pinch, this bruchetta makes a great salad dressing or condiment on scrambled eggs!  Enjoy.
The mini pottery bowl was made by Gabi who lives in Portage la Prairie Manitoba.
These tiny peppers are so hot that when I foolishly took a bite out of one, my mouth and nose were on fire.  My eyes were watering.. holy smokes.. they are hot! Hot! Hot!  
I have to wear latex gloves or coat my fingers in canola oil to chop them up.  The pepper oil burns the skin and is very difficult to wash off with soap and water. 
I am drying these peppers out to make crushed chilli peppers for spicing up pasta and chilli dishes.
These are purple pole beans, they turn green when cooked.
Group photo, I love to photograph vegetables, no one makes faces or closes their eyes.
I ate so many fresh green cucumbers this summer that I got a stomach ache.
 Fresh vegetables are so colourful.
Zucchini cake anyone?  Perhaps a lovely zucchini stir fry?  I didn't grow any in my garden, I bought it from the Deerboine Hutterite Colony's bake and yard sale yesterday.
Aside from a poor showing of peas because Lily (our dog) would pick and eat the pea pods taking most of the plant with her.  My garden was fabulous!  I planted beet and carrot seed strips which did not germinate well.  The carrots and beets that grew are delicious, but less  than 50% of the seed came up.
We eat beets with butter, black pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar.
 Or borcht, pickled beets and beets with horseradish relish.
It is a good thing we have a dog and fenced back yard, otherwise the  urban rabbits would be eating these carrots instead of us.
 Roma tomatoes ripening on the vine.
 Super chilli peppers
 Super chilli pepper disease? 
Sweet red bell peppers, mostly green but starting to ripen.  I planted four red bell pepper plants and four super chilli plants.
 Rosemary, enough said.
 Curly parsley.
 Flat leaf Italian parsley.
 Purple pole beans.
This is another red bell pepper plant, the peppers are still green on this one.
This is dill weed, I planted it in my garden once 25 years ago, it has been volunteering itself ever since.
Readers, do you grow a vegetable garden?  If yes, what do you plant?  What is your favourite fresh homegrown veggie?