I love mosaics – piecing together small pieces to create a larger design or picture. It may be because my life is often like a mosaic – lots of little colorful pieces. 😉 I’ve yet to try creating a mosaic with the traditional tiles, but did try a fabric mosaic quilt version recently and loved the process. Being a fan of bright colors, I chose Ricky Tims hand dyed yellow for the background, then a variety of solids for the “tiles”. This is a great way to use fabric scraps! Using steam-a-seam, I ironed the product to the back of a square of fabric, then cut out the rectangles with a rotary cutter. Then it was a matter of placing them on the fabric backing until I was happy with the design, and ironing the pieces down. It is a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, and I highly recommend doing it somewhere you can leave out while you come back to it and tweak some more. As in, NOT the kitchen table. Ha. Anyways, to sew the pieces down I used a variegated thread sewn through the middle of each piece and bound it with a mossy green. This is definitely something I want to do more of, and I had enough leftover pieces to do another project. Or two. It is addictive!
Archives for January 2014
I love anything (just about) that involves a flaky pie-like crust. And this galette is no exception, filled with fresh vegetables and grated parmesan cheese. It is a great way to take advantage of summer gardening, although I make it all winter long. It goes especially well with main dishes that are primarily meat – grilled chicken, roast, pork chops, etc.
When Smitten Kitchen posted it earlier this year I thought I would give it a try and not only was I a big fan, but my husband was as well and looks forward to when it makes it on the weekly menu. You would think with the only seasonings being a little salt, pepper and parmesan, that it might be lacking in flavor, but that is not the case. Partly due to a crust that is made with sour cream and a little lemon. If you are limited on time or oven space, you can make it earlier in the day and then warm it briefly in the oven prior to serving, or make the dough and filling earlier, and set them aside to put together just prior to baking. Either way, it’s a winner!
Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini
Serves 4 to 6 as a main or 8 as an appetizer or side dish
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces or 113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup (60 grams) plain yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) ice water
For the filling:
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher or sea salt
3 cups (about 450 grams) cherry or grape tomatoes
1 ear corn, cut from the cob (about 1 cup)
1 small (8 ounces or 225 grams) zucchini or summer squash, diced
1 bundle (3 to 4 ounces or 85 to 115 grams) scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (2 ounces or 55 grams) grated parmesan
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Make dough: Whisk stir the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
Make filling: Get down the saute pan with the lid. If you don’t have one, any large lid will do. Add olive oil, tomatoes, salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if that’s your thing) to your saute pan then cover and heat over high heat. Roll the tomatoes around from time to time so that they’ll cook evenly. In a few minutes, you’ll hear some putts and pops as the tomatoes burst a little. When most have, remove lid, turn heat down to medium and add zucchini chunks. Saute for two minutes, until they soften. Add corn and cook one minute. Add scallions, just stirring them in, then turn off heat. Adjust seasonings if needed. Transfer mixture to a large plate and spread it out, so that it will cool faster. You want it cooled to at least lukewarm before assembling the galette.
Assemble galette: Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round and it really doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; I like to fold my dough gently, without creasing, in quarters then unfold it onto the baking pan. Sprinkle tomato-zucchini-corn mixture with half of parmesan and spoon the mixture into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. If any liquid has puddle in plate, try to leave it there as you spoon. Sprinkle with almost all of remaining parmesan, leaving a pinch or two behind for the crust. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze. Sprinkle glaze with last pinches of parmesan.
Bake the galette: For 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
We have officially reached the halfway point, and will be meeting the bun in only 4 and a half months! Which means we should probably get on this nursery planning. A few days ago I got sucked into pinterest and started a board of ideas. Painting the nursery was job one and I had previously settled on gray with a bright aqua and maybe some golden yellow or lime green accents. We finished clearing the room, formerly a guest room, this past weekend and painted the walls gray (Valspar Coastal Villa). It actually turned out to be a quick project, and included a short stop to order Girl Scout Cookies our neighbor came by selling. (They are for the bun. The bun likes cookies.) The crib, which we picked up a couple weeks ago when we found a serious deal at our local Furniture Outlet, is “backporch white”. A fancy way of saying “cream”. It is currently in a rather large box outside the room. All 150 lbs. Of box #1. We’ll save that project for another weekend. I’m looking forward to having the main furniture pieces in so I can start with the fun decorating accents. Thankfully my mom will be coming to town later in February to help with sewing projects and other details. The bun has been moving more lately – I’ve started feeling little pokes the past couple weeks here and there, but yesterday they were going to town. I’m wondering if that is a hint about what is to come. 😉
I happened on these scones while looking at Apartment Therapy’s site and based on the name alone knew I had to try them. I can eat Scones any time – for breakfast, dessert, snack, summer, winter. I first started making scones in college when I worked at the local coffee shop, Espresso News, and baked twice a week. We always did three batches of scones in addition to the muffins and coffee cakes. The scones were always my favorite and I still use those same recipes today (not that it was THAT long ago…). Anyway, this recipe is pretty amazing. Sour cream scones with real strawberries folded in, and a sweet, crumbly brown sugar topping that just makes it perfect. In terms of the liquid, I would use a little less than it calls for. In scone recipes, the wetter the dough, the more it spreads out in the oven. As the recipe says, they are definitely best the day of, and just out of the oven, although my husband and I both don’t have a problem consuming them days later, cold or warmed up slightly. So no matter what kind of day you’ve had, or what the occasion (or consolation), MAKE THESE SCONES!
Strawberry Sour Cream Scones with Brown Sugar Crumble
Makes 8 scones
For the scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped strawberries (about 1/2 of a pint basket)
For the topping
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Dice the butter into small cubes and toss with the flour mixture. Work the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry cutter until it looks like coarse bread crumbs.
Whisk together the sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the sour cream mixture into the well. Using a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, mix and fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture. Be as gentle as possible.
When almost all the flour has been incorporated (it’s ok if there’s still loose flour at the bottom of the bowl), turn the dough out onto the counter. Pat it into a wide rectangle and sprinkle half of the strawberries over half the dough. Fold the dough over onto itself and pat again into a wide rectangle. Sprinkle the remaining strawberries over half the dough and fold it over itself again. Fold it once or twice more to work in the strawberries, being as gentle as possible so as not to smoosh the strawberries. If any strawberries fall out, press them into the top.
Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat. Shape it into a disk roughly 1-inch thick. (Or divide the dough and shape into two small disks to make small-sized scones.) Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
A half hour before baking, heat the oven to 400°F. Combine the flour and brown sugar for the topping, and then work in the butter using a fork until it becomes a smooth paste.
Remove the scones from the refrigerator. Crumble the topping evenly over the surface of the scones. Use a bench scraper or pizza wheel to slice the disk into 8 equal-sized wedges. Reposition the wedges on the baking sheet to put a few inches of space between each scone.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until the scones are firm on the sides and golden-brown on the top. Let the scones cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
These scones are best on the day that they’re made. If you’re planning on keeping them for several days, skip the topping (which will absorb moisture and get mushy) and instead spread the tops with soft butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar just before eating.
I’m not someone who loves change. This my be even more true due to being pregnant! However, one week after we found out I was pregnant and were just trying to wrap our heads around that, we found out I was getting laid off. I didn’t see it coming and was feeling pretty overwhelmed as I went home to tell my husband. The main thing I remember from our conversation was him saying – we will figure it out. He’s pretty amazing. It was hard to lose the job. Especially one where I had worked for 9 years. But as my husband and I discussed a potential photography business (which we had talked about prior to everything), and my additional pursuit of the arts in other areas, I got excited. This was something I had always loved to do, but been scared to pursue full-time. It felt like I was being forced out of my comfort zone to do something I was passionate about. And so has begun a whirlwind of change. I’ve learned more about business plans and planning in the past few months than the rest of my life … and I’m loving it. I’ve had conversations with other business owners that have been incredibly helpful and interesting. I look forward to getting to my desk in the morning and working through each area on my list. I know that will not always be the case, but I am thankful for it now, and for the ability to pursue this, while the little bun is on the way. We don’t know where all this will lead, or how it will change, but we are doing our best to plan wisely and pursue fully. You never know unless you try. Live what you love!