I love the mountains anytime, but especially on chilly Fall days when there are low clouds skimming the top of the mountains. Which were the conditions on Saturday when we headed up to Apple Hill Orchard in Morganton, NC with some friends to load up on fresh picked apples. Four adults, a 2-year old and a dog took to the rows with a wagon and four empty baskets. By the end we had tasted every variety at least once (our favorite being the Pink Lady – crispy and sweet with a hint of tart), petted some nearby horses, been sprinkled on as we pulled apples off trees wet from a morning rain, and had a wagon filled with more apples than is probably possible for two families to consume in a reasonable time. The apples made it to the car, picnic lunch came out and we enjoyed conversation after a fun and relaxing day. And now… the apples. My first use was Bobby Flay’s Apple Ginger Chutney (served with an alternate brined pork loin). The bonus of both these recipes is that they were prepared (loin)/made (chutney) the night before and required very little work the next day other than adding a side. A great way to start the Fall.
Archives for October 2013
When my best friend got engaged, I knew her wedding present would be a quilt. We’ve been friends since we both moved to Charlotte at the same time, from different cities in 2003. After meeting, we hit it off and spent many weekends going to hear live music, grabbing dinner, making dinner, hiking, etc. Lisa got engaged in January, and set the wedding date for May, so I didn’t have a lot of time. In my quickness at picking out the pattern, the name of it went over my head until after the quilt was complete. I used Denise Schmidt’s Single Girl pattern, which is a play on the traditional Double Wedding Ring. Ha. I guess it is fitting since Lisa and I supported each other in the single times of life. So this pattern involved cutting out a LOT of pieces. It’s a good thing I was single at the time because I spent a lot of evenings cutting all the pieces out and eating whatever was convenient. I love how this wedding quilt came together though. Lisa has two favorite colors – green and orange. So the top has green circles, and I used a bright orange for the backing fabric. This is one I’d like to try to shrink down slightly and do a miniature version. You can’t go too small or it would be super tedious, but I’d be curious to try. It is on my list. Which is rather large.
In working on a recent sewing project, I needed frames for the pieces that went together in a specific way. I really wanted to use old wood, reclaimed barn wood. So I started asking around and found a place north of Charlotte where I could buy boards of all sizes, shapes, and type. This trip was an experience in itself – the man with the wood literally had it strewn all over his (large) back yard. I’m ok at discerning some types of wood, but not when they are weathered gray boards in random stacks. After a lot of staring, pointing and asking, I picked out a number of random boards that seemed like they might have extra character.
I let them dry out completely before taking it to my boss’ father-in-law’s (how complicated is that?) workshop to plane. And that’s when all the interesting colors and knots came out. I marked the boards for the sizes I wanted, we cut them down with a table saw, and mitered the corners. That night I glued and clamped the frames and used a nail gun to reinforce them with finishing nails. I love the variety of wood – pine, white pine, and red oak. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have a workshop or I’d make a ton of these barn wood frames.
My husband and I are in an international dinner group, which meets about every 6 to 8 weeks. We’ve been working our way through the alphabet, choosing a country that begins with that letter. We rotate what each couple brings, with the host couple making the main dish and deciding on the country. The others bring appetizer, side, drinks/fun facts, and dessert. So far we have enjoyed the cuisine of Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cuba, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, and most recently, India. A number of the dishes have made it into our regular dinner rotations. So this last dinner, India, we were responsible for the side. I knew the host was doing naan and rice, and I couldn’t tell by the descriptions of recipes what would be best to do. A couple of years ago I did a kayak trip in Yellowstone, and three others on the trip had grown up in India, two of them enjoyed hosting dinners. So I contacted one of them and she recommended Punjabi Chole Masala, based on the recipe found here, which is basically spiced chickpeas. Really good! It involved roasting the spices pictured above (bay leaves, peppercorns, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and chiles) and grinding them into a powder. I did this in my coffee grinder, so who knows what the coffee will taste like next time we grind the beans. Pictures of the final product are on my instagram (aforkinthequilt). Full of flavor, a little spicy, and went great with the Butter Chicken the host made.