Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
We are not building Rome in a day, but we are making some progress in the bathroom renovations. My bathroom is glowing in its new coat of English Hyacinth (Benjamin Moore). It's two shades deeper than my bedroom (Lavender Secret) and looks marvelous with the white trim and, of course, the dreamy travertine tiles.
Roomier pictures to come, as Rome gets more built.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Colossal chocolate cake from the Low Country, with a gargantuan frosting recipe. Fifteen cups of powdered sugar? We cut it in half, then only used a part of what we made.
A very impressive and towering three layers but secretly, I think we all preferred our old standby.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Clara's been using up her leftover cotton yarn by crocheting a set of washcloths.
She chose three different stitch patterns and made simple squares. I love the contrasting textures . . .
and of course the fact that she's feeling the using-up-the-scraps love.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I'll let you guess while I step away--off to Seattle for my grandfather's funeral. He was a wonderful man who lived a long and full life, riding his bike to visit "the elderly" when he was in his late eighties.
I'm travelling with three of my many brothers, which will be a treat. See you on Monday.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
This piece of gorgeousness belongs to *me*, Clara made it for my Christmas present! It's as soft as it can be (mohair and silk), and weighs as much as a feather.
The main body is this beautiful repeating leaf pattern,
and each short end is made from knot stitch.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
I continue to bake from my Tartine cookbook. It's been weeks since I made regular sandwich bread; I'm just not interested in anything but my sourdough loaves.
Mostly I bake four weekdays, and one of those bakings is for my neighbor, in exchange for her fresh eggs. The routine, which seemed so complicated at first, is second nature now, and easy to fit into the day.
The leaven raises the night before, and then I don't mess with it until I'm up for the day and done with my run. Then I mix the bread (two minutes), and give it its first rest while I clean up and dress. Since we're generally home in the mornings, it's no trouble to give it the bulk rise with its "turns" every half hour or so until lunch time.
After lunch I divide and shape it, and give it the bench rise all afternoon. I bake it when I start preparing dinner.
And I'm ready to do some branching out. Today I added three cups of hickory nuts (from my dear and ancient neighbor Havis) to make some gorgeous loaves. And, simultaneously, baked four loaves of brioche from dough I had started yesterday. A milestone--brioche takes both a leaven and a poolish (such a crazy word).
I'm not sure if I can sustain the artisanry once the summer heats sets into my kitchen. Rising in the fridge, yes. Oven turned on to 500, no. So I'm baking while I can.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Clara models the pretty sugar-pink shrug she made from Pretty Knits. She didn't seem to be troubled by all that lacy pattern. I love how it contrasts with the moss stitch yoke.
She started it back in June and finished it months ago, and now it's warm enough to wear.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Isn't this violet lovely against the copper? I'm thinking about this color for my bathroom.
So much hither and yon this week. I think we went out of town every single day, between Bella's choir, Clara's orchestra, and various other commitments. After this weekend, it's all garden.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
We are loving this pattern this spring--it has wonderful shaping through the bodice, easy to construct and very effective. Also, I'm able to leave the zipper off and so it sews up fast.
Daisy's wearing it in a peachy quilting cotton trimmed with turquoise velvet.
Tuxedo bow, always a yes.
Monday, March 05, 2012
A big weekend for us, watching in awe as my contractor brother James ripped two of our bathrooms out and started making them beautiful. My personal bathroom had been paneled with cedar painted white (umm), boasted a clunky plywood vanity sink base, and sported some old showerboard around the tub.
Travertine, James said laconically. I didn't know what that was, but he assured me I wanted some around the tub. Turns out I did. It's beautiful stone something.
Fresh painted walls and a pedestal sink to come.
And upstairs in Clara and Bella's bathroom, the showerboard was even more dreadful (there was more of it), and it was replaced by fresh white tiles. And the linoleum floor got pulled up, and black and white tiles are going down. And the plaid wallpaper is facing some numbered days. Glory.
With three very hard-working men in the house, and three of us running massive long runs, a dinner with *presence* was in order, but I only had a chicken in the house.
•Creamed Chicken over Biscuits•
Gently simmer a whole chicken in a large pot, almost covered with vegetable or chicken broth. Keep the lid on and the heat low until the chicken is quite tender.
Remove it from the broth to cool, and take the meat off the bones, pulling it into bite-size pieces.
In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 sticks of butter over a low heat, and whisk in
2/3 cup flour.
Cook and whisk for a minute.
Whisk in 4 cups of the broth you cooked the chicken in, then add
3 cups of milk or half and half.
Whisk and cook a little more, then begin seasoning the cream sauce with about 1/4 cup of sherry, the juice of a lemon, lots of salt and pepper, and about a 1/2 t. nutmeg. Use a heavy hand with the seasoning, and when it tastes like the best fried chicken gravy you can imagine, stir the chicken into it and serve it over fresh, hot biscuits, but only to people who are really in need of calories.
This will serve about ten big eaters.
(mostly from Joy of Cooking)
Saturday, March 03, 2012
I'm going to be honest and tell you that this was my second try on the caramel cake. Caramel can be tricky, yes--but what I did was to leave the sugar out of the actual layers (the Composer was telling me something absorbing) and bake some flat buttery disks that Daisy thought were the best bread ever.
Anyway. Bella made the layers today, and I made the caramel, which came out lovely.