Saturday, June 27, 2009


I have loved quilts since I was a child. At Gram Potter's when I spent the night, the bed was made up with quilts and afghans. My room was directly at the top of the stairs and I remember sunshine. It was a double bed - very lumpy mattress - but with the quilts, it was a nest. I still have one of the quilts. My father was an only child and this was his room growing up. If you turned right at the top of the stairs and went down the hall there was a guest room. I don't remember too much about this room. There were maple twin beds with crocheted bedspreads. I had one which I gave to dear friends who use it in their guest room. The pillows had cases with either crocheted or knit lace. I still have many of them.

I always loved antiques and when we bought the village farmhouse in Gorham, I set about creating a feeling similar to Gram's house. I'm not sure whether it was intentional or not but the house seemed to call for it. My parents had absorbed some of Gram's furniture and stuff and as they downsized, they gave it to me. I had a big house and was delighted to have it. Gram's oak dining room table was in my kitchen. Her china was in my china cabinet. Her silverplate was in the buffet. She collected a grape pattern by redeeming Betty Crocker coupons. Although, I no longer use silver, I have and treasure those spoons.

I went to an antique show and saw some scrap quilts. My favorite one was over $200! I said to myself, "I can make that!" Now, thousands of dollars later - sewing machines, sewing equipment, enough fabric to have a stash - $200 would have been a bargain! I took classes and I read books. However, it was not until the rotary cutter and ruler that I actually enjoyed the process or could achieve accuracy. I don't know how many quilts I have made or what happened to all of them but most of them are still being used and I'm still making them.

I have changed my style and tend to make brighter quilts. I like batiks and Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I like fabrics for children and quilts made with jelly rolls. I also buy quilt kits! Years ago I would have frowned upon that but now it's an issue of space.

One block wonders, whack and stacks and 4 patch posy quilts are fascinating and leftover fabric gets patched for the back. Fat quarters are a wonderful way to plan a kit and the books that show how are abundant.

I like to sew in the morning. If I don't get an early start, I don't start. Sometimes I listen to the cooking channel on TV but usually I just sew. A perfect sewing day is to sew with a friend, have dinner brewing in the crock pot or oven, and good bottle of wine to celebrate the progress.

Crock Pot Pea Soup
1 smoked ham hock
1 package dried split peas
1 onion cut in quarters
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
Night before put in crock pot - fill 2/3 with water. Cook on low. The next morning remove onion and ham hock. Remove meat from bone and dice and put back in.
Chop 3 carrots, 2 stalks celery and 2 uncooked potatoes (optional)
Add to crock pot - salt and pepper to taste cook on low. About noon put your favorite bread recipe in bread machine. Voila!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today is the big day.....

Well, I am officially 65 today! Medicare has had me at this age for months now. I may choose to celebrate my birthday for a month however I do not recall giving them the go ahead!

We finally had sun yesterday! We went to North Conway for a food shop and lunch with friends. We stopped at the Glass Cottage to see what vintage Fenton glass Lucy had and poke around some of the other stores. The shopping list was huge! The trunk is small. Sometimes I have to drive back with groceries in my lap. Jack drives and I have stuff by my feet and in my lap! I am trying to put together a tablescape with my Sascha Brastoff dishes so I am looking for compatible stuff.

I follow several blogs now and when I figure out how to share them I will. This blogging is a real learning experience. Some of them even have music playlists! I especially like the blogs that decorate tables and rooms with a sort of shabby chic feeling. As a "dish" person, I read them and want to go shopping!

Jack is making chili today and the cabin will have some wonderful smells. He starts with


and the browned meat. It cooked all day. The cabin smelled delicious! We will serve it Saturday night!

Sunday is "Bloody Mary Sunday". We will have our guests and our neighbors over and I will serve some light munchies. This Texas Caviar is easy to make ahead. It makes a lot. Serve it with Tortilla scoops!

Texas Caviar

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar

Bring ingredients to a boil and let cool completely.

1 can black eyed peas (rinsed and drained)
1 can pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can white shoepeg corn (drained)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
3 tablespoon chopped pimentos
3 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
2 scallions, chopped

Mix all the above in a bowl. Add marinade and mix well. Refrigerate overnight. There are many variations of this recipe. If there is any left, serve it with grilled chicken!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's my party....

My birthday approaches. Friends from South Portland are coming on Saturday and we will sew and cook and laugh. If the weather is good, we will have cocktails on the beach and a cookout! However, the weather in June in Maine can be dreary and so far this year has been.
I have been reading other blogs and have really been enjoying them. One blogger talks about Food Network's Tyler Florence and participates in Tyler Florence Fridays. Neat idea! As I was trying to find a recipe for a chocolate cake I used to make in the food processor with a can of Hersey syrup, one of Tyler's recipes - Dad's Meatloaf with Tomato Relish - popped up. I read it to Jack and we went to the store and got what we needed. It was scrumptious. The wheat germ bread in the freezer is calling our names and a meatloaf sandwich is right at the top of my list of favorite sandwiches! That recipe can be found on It is a basic meatloaf recipe with the twist of adding a ketchup based relish of red peppers and onions to the mixture.

The weather is disappointing. One of my favorite ways to cook in the summer is grilling! Nothing fancy - just a good hamburger or steak or pork loin. I like to brush summer squash and zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle on some herbes de provence and grill. They can be served at room temperature with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Grill lots of them because the grill chef is apt to snack on them! Yes, Jack - you!

However, the weather was not going to cooperate and I had to cook the pork inside. I decided to cut the loin into medallions. It was delicious!

Sometimes I use recipes but most of the time I just cook. I read cookbooks like novels and buy cooking magazines to look at the pictures and ads. When I start with olive oil and butter, it just has to be good. Jack is a marvelous prep cook so I have the luxury of on-demand-dicing. So, with my olive oil and butter, I usually use minced onion or garlic or shallots or a combination. To make the dish above or something close to it, this is what I did. In a small saute pan, I melted some butter with olive oil and sauteed a box of mushrooms with fresh thyme leaves (3 or 4 stems) and when they were done I stirred in about a cup of chopped flat leaf parsley. In my all-clad grill pan, I heated olive oil. Because you don't need a lot of oil for this particular pan, I used a paper towel to spread the oil in the grooves. I cooked the medallions until they were done (165 degrees for pork) about 10 minutes. The medallions went on top of the mushroom mixture and I deglazed the pan with some sherry and that was it. Baby greens with Ina's vinaigrette, a bottle of wine and a good dinner was made.

Had we grilled the loin outside, I was going to serve it with a recipe that my sister gave my mother years ago - Posh Squash. I haven't had this for a while so if the sun ever comes out, I will make this and serve it with grilled meat. I make this in a Pyrex loaf pan.

Posh Squash

2 pounds zucchini or yellow squash or a mixture, sliced and steamed for about 8 minutes - still firm not limp
mix together and add
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated parm
1 medium onion chopped finely
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes

Monday, June 22, 2009

cooking in the cabbage....

My grandchildren could not decide whether I lived in a cabin or a cottage so it became Mimi’s “cabbage” and the name has stuck. They know that there are cookies in the pantry and juice boxes in the refrigerator. The “washable” crayons are in the table drawer. Tiny pine cones and acorns are along the path that used to be a railroad track. But their favorite place is the beach. We can all sit and watch them closely as they run back and forth between the water and the neighbor’s swing set.

Saturday was a beautiful day. The air was crisp but the temperature was warm - a perfect day for making bread. I had all the ingredients for my wheat germ bread on hand. I had not made this bread for years and I had forgotten how easy it was. The cabin smelled wonderful and it was all I could do not to cut off the ends and slather them with butter.

It is a little more difficult to bake some of my favorites because I don’t have all the “stuff” at the "cabbage" that I have in Florida. But the cake I am going to make for this weekend doesn’t need all that. This cake is called Marian Beeson’s Party Cake and is deep, dark and delicious. Marian Beeson was a friend of Gram Potter’s in Sussex, NJ. Church suppers and socials thrived and this cake was always a hit. As I have been writing this blog, it is interesting to find out if the foods I remember loving so much were really that good. I know that my love of twinkies was misplaced.

Marian Beeson's Party Cake

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
1 heaping teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together eggs, sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Melt chocolate and butter. Add to above mixture. Add flour and mix well. Then combine baking soda and boiling water. Add quickly to cake batter. Pour into a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Frost with favorite buttercream icing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Well, the sun has finally decided to make an appearance. I was getting concerned about the window boxes and the pots of herbs and flowers. Last year the rains were so torrential that I had to replant everything.

I used to have perennial gardens and a good sized vegetable garden. I miss them but not the work. Gram Potter had wonderful gardens. They were well planned. The gardens on the side of the house were visible from the dining room and the side porch. They were colorful and something was always in bloom. The backyard garden was defined by a fruit tree at each corner with a lawn in the center. The shade under the trees called for hostas and other shade loving plants. In the center of the area was a bird bath. Behind this garden was the vegetable garden. I can remember digging up potatoes as a little girl. The tomatoes were wonderful. We would think nothing of taking a salt shaker into the garden and eating the tomatoes right there. I don't know what they have done to tomatoes but they are just not the same. Behind the vegetable garden was a barn. I can remember chickens but I was scared to death of them. Next to the barn was the berry patch. There were raspberries and black raspberries.

I have been working on my One Block Wonder. I am almost done. I want the borders to have hexagons so I will need a quiet morning and some coffee to do the math necessary for that to happen. Then I will work on the back. I won’t get this one quilted until it is almost time to go back to Sarasota because that’s where this quilt is going to live. On the floor in the cabin under the table I have a box of projects and if I can finish them all it will be a miracle. However, I will certainly try.

Tonight will be a cookout! Maybe we will even be able to have cocktails on the beach. I cleaned the cabin yesterday so today I can do what I want. I think my only domestic responsibility will be a marinade for the steak and salad dressing. The soy sesame marinade is a recipe that my friend Patti gave me years ago. She uses it on pork or chicken but I use it on steak as well. I keep a little container of toasted sesame seeds in the freezer.

Soy Sesame Marinade

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup oil [use vegetable oil and toasted sesame oil mixed together for a more intense flavor]
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine and pour over meat. This can be done in the morning or the night before.

My favorite vinaigrette this year has been from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris Cookbook. I love the simplicity of it. We are trying not to use bottled dressings so this dressing is perfect.

Green Salad Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 extra large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil

In a small bowl. whisk together vinegar, mustard, garlic, egg yolk, salt and black pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil. Toss with your favorite salad.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Club House.....

In Sarasota, there is quilt shop where I hang out. Jack calls it the club house and if I seem antsy around the house, he will suggest that perhaps I should go there. Sue, the owner of Sew Worth It is always happy to see everyone and of course she always has just gotten something in that I need. I take classes, I just sit and sew and talk, and sometimes I get to help her pick out the fabric for the coming season. Spending other people’s money has always given me a great deal of pleasure! The ladies that work there are wonderful and talented and have always just finished a project that I have to make.

This year has been different, though, because I have taken computer classes. The sewing machine companies and quilting companies promote and sell this very expensive software and you install it on your computer and there it sits. Or there is class and you get as far as changing the smile on the gingerbread man to a frown. I do not need to know how to do this........

So this year, there have been classes and they have been wonderful. Virtual Quilting is in! I can design a quilt on the computer, use fabric directly from the designer, pick a quilting design and print the directions. I don’t even leave the house. The quilt above is called "Beaucoup Begonias" from the book EQ6 Simplified by Fran Iverson Gonzalez. The class was taught by Loreen and we worked our way through the whole book!

Labels for my quilts have become a favorite. The ladies at the shop and some of my quilting friends have taught me to be more creative on the back of the quilt. What used to be a hated chore has now become part of planning the quilt.

Years ago I was a member of a quilting guild in Maine and occasionally we would have a pot luck dinner or a holiday party. Quilters are usually wonderful cooks and some of the recipes I have from those years are still my favorites. Magic Pickles are easy. They won’t last long but they are a treat with a sandwich.

Magic Pickles

1 quart kosher style dill pickles, sliced
(from supermarket - any brand)
½ cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon pickling spice
3 cups sugar

Drain the pickles and discard the juice. Put spices and vinegar in a larger jar and add the sliced pickles. Top with the sugar - DO NOT STIR. Let stand in the refrigerator for 8 days. Then enjoy.

Today is Jack's birthday. He has gone off to do errands and I will start to make preparations. Thank goodness the weather is good enough to eat on the porch because the table in the cottage is busy!

We will have a New England Boiled Dinner tonight. Nothing too fancy since we can't be sure enough of the weather yet to plan a nice steak dinner. There is nothing to making a boiled dinner. Just throw everything in a crock pot or a brazier! Some people cook everything at once except for the cabbage which is added towards the end of the cooking time. Some just cook the meat and the seasonings in water to cover and then remove the meat and cook all the vegetables in the broth. The end result is about the same. I use potatoes, carrots, turnip, parsnips, cabbage and onions. I roast beets separately and this year I am using golden beets. I serve this dinner with vinegar and horseradish on the side. The leftover corned beef makes a wonderful sandwich.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"huntin' and fishin'..."

Gram Potter made pickles and relishes. She made pickled beets and jams and jellies. At the bottom of the cellar stairs were shelves with her treasures. I can see the jelly glasses with the paraffin on top and the mason jars with the rings and the wire bales. Today we use jars with seals and rarely use paraffin.

I learned to can tomatoes from a neighbor when I lived in Portland. That was a lot of work. I put up 40 quarts one year when the kids were little and a few beef stews and sauces later, they were gone! Imagine making enough to last a family through the winter!

I became more interested in making “gifts” from my kitchen and searched for recipes that made small batches. A friend in Buxton taught me to make bread and butter pickles and green tomato relish. A neighbor gave me her recipe for Pottsfield pickle. I found a recipe for very thinly sliced cucumbers called crispy cukes and that’s how it started.

Green Tomato Relish

1 peck green tomatoes (about 10-12 pounds)
4 large red sweet peppers
6 medium onions
½ cup pickling salt
6 cups cider vinegar
7 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Grind tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Drain off juice. Cover mixture with salt and let stand one hour. Rinse and drain well. Combine remaining ingredients and vegetables and cook until mixture looks dark and thick (about 30 minutes). Pour the hot relish into sterilized hot jars and seal according to manufacturer’s directions. Yields about 8 pints.

My friend Patti and I used to go up to her cottage in Wolfeboro for a week. We called it our “huntin and fishin” trip. At the end of the week, there was not a pickling cucumber in the area because they were all in jars at her cottage. I think our record was 90 some odd jars a piece. We took our sewing machines. On the way to Wolfeboro, we stopped at Keepsake Quilting, the liquor store, and the market. Fortified with lots of fabric, enough vodka and wine, and the biggest roasting chickens we could find - we would head to the cottage. During those days we washed our fabric so we got that done first. We would roast those chickens and live off them for the whole week. We'd grill vegetables and make salads and bake potatoes and the whole idea was to just stay in and make stuff. And we would laugh our heads off (could have had something to do with the vodka or wine!)

When it was time to go back to Gorham, we would each have at least 40 jars, a quilt top, some Christmas ornaments and a gourmet dinner for the husbands the night we got home. I wish I had taken pictures.

Her cottage was like a little doll house. It was probably one of the oldest houses in Wolfeboro. The outside was a mustardy gold and sat on it's lot surrounded by lilacs and day lilies. Inside was wood and oriental red. The furniture was antique and the hutch was full of white ironstone. When we got there nothing was out of place and when we left nothing was out of place but in between.......

I want to thank you all for your positive feedback and encouragement. I am still having trouble with the spacing - so just keep on scrolling because there might be more!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pie or cake or both???

I love a brunch. I like Prosecco in a champagne flute with a splash of peach nectar and a fresh raspberry. The creme brulee French toast is wonderful. Real Maple syrup can be served or fresh strawberries sliced and mixed with a little sugar works as well. Prepare this the day before.

Crème Brulee French Toast
1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
8-9 inch round country style bread ( or baguette or challah)
5 large eggs
1 ½ cups half and half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 big teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat stirring until smooth. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Cut 6 1-inch thick slices from center portion of the bread, reserving ends for another use. Arrange bread slices in one layer. Squeeze to fit if necessary.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt and pour evenly over bread. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Before cooking bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake casserole uncovered in the middle of the oven until puffed and edges are pale golden for 35 to 40 minutes. This may take a bit longer because you want to make sure the center is cooked. Serve immediately.

Of course, Bloody Marys are good for a a brunch as well. Bagels with many toppings would be a good and easy combination with the bloodies. A neighbor in Chatham had a weekly Sunday brunch and this egg dish was a favorite.

Brunch Eggs

2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chili pepper
1 8 ounce package mild cheddar cheese, sliced
1 8 ounce package sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
12 eggs
1 pint sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons salt

Cover the bottom of 9 x 13 casserole with the cheeses. Sprinkle chili peppers on top. Beat eggs, sour cream and salt until light. Pour over cheeses. Bake at 350° about 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.

As a young wife and mother, I was a fan of Tasha Tudor. I loved her illustrations and wanted to live in a Tasha Tudor world. Self-sufficient and so very creative. She illustrated the New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac and New England Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook for Mary Mason Campbell. I must have taken those two books out of the Falmouth, Maine Library every other week. When we moved to Gorham, I was delighted to find a wonderful patch of strawberry rhubarb and of course there was a recipe for rhubarb pie in one of those cookbooks that intrigued me.

Rhubarb pie and potato salad lovers have very definite ideas about how these two dishes should be prepared. I know I do. No strawberries in my pie!

I couldn't make a pie crust to save my life in those days. In another cookbook that I received with my Cuisinart, there was a recipe for vinegar pie crust which is a wonderful partner to my rhubarb pie.

Vinegar Pie Crust

This pie crust is made in the food processor.
Using the steel blade in your processor bowl, combine 1 cup frozen butter (cut into small pieces before freezing) and 2 cups flour. Pulse until the butter is cut into the flour. Then add:
1 egg
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons very cold water (I put a few ice cubes and some water in measuring cup to get very cold water.)
Turn the processor on and off a few times, then just let it run until a ball of dough forms. Chill the dough in the freezer for ½ hour before using. This recipe makes enough for a 2 crust pie.

Fresh Rhubarb Pie
Roll out 1/2 pie crust and slide into a 9-inch pie plate. Cut about a dozen stems of red rhubarb into ½ inch pieces and put in the pie plate.
In a bowl beat two eggs lightly. Add 2/3 cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons flour, juice a half a lemon, pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Stir together well and pour over rhubarb. With second piece of pie crust, cut strips and weave in a diamond pattern across the top of the pie. Sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake until crust is browned and a knife point stuck into the rhubarb indicates that it is tender. The egg mixture will puff up between the lattice spaces.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wired in the cabin....

Well, we raced around yesterday and actually had a rather pain free experience at Verizon! I now have internet at the cottage and I am thrilled. There have been a couple of grumbles that I have not posted recently.....Now that I can use just one computer, I hope to be more productive because writing on one and publishing on another gets cumbersome.

I have written two other posts which have disappeared into cyberspace???? So I am now writing in Word Perfect and pasting onto the blog. Hopefully this will be the answer.

I am definitely now in the birthday mood. My birthday month has officially started. Jack and I have been going to our favorite stores and restaurants. Deb’s Flowerbed Antiques in Bridgton is a favorite. I saw a parrot salt and pepper and little creamer and Jack spotted some dishes he thought I might be interested in.....I was. Further research proved that they were quite unusual. They are California pottery from the 50's made by Sascha Brastoff. The pattern is Surf Ballet in the black and gold. I have a service for 6 and the coffee pot, sugarer, and creamer. Already the box to go back to Florida has started and we have only been back 7 days!

We have friends coming for my birthday weekend and already we are working on the menu. Jack will make his now famous chili adapted from my brother-in-law’s famous chili. I will mix up some corn bread. I also feel a brunch is in order, so I will make creme brulee french toast which can be made the night before. My sister, Jean, gave me this recipe and it is a winner. I think my kids will contribute some special dishes as well. There is a wonderful bakery in Waterford and the flourless chocolate cake is the perfect birthday cake for me.

Jack’s Famous Chili

3 Pounds lean beef stew meat, trimmed
2 pounds ground sausage (Jimmy Dean)
3 large onions, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
good pinch of oregano
Olive oil
3 cans chilies, chopped
1 large can tomato sauce (28 oz.)
4 cans rotelle tomatoes
small jar fire roasted red peppers, chopped
2 15-oz cans dark red kidney beans, drained
2 beers
Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili kit (salt package optional)
5 Tablespoons cider vinegar

Brown meat in olive oil. Drain and set aside. Brown sausage in same pan, drain and set aside. Saute onions and garlic in 1 T oil and 1 T butter. Add oregano while cooking. Add meat, 1 beer and all the remaining ingredients except the Masa to a large pot. Simmer for 5 hours. After about 2 hours, add the other beer. Before serving mix the Masa with hot water and add to chili. Cook for at least another 15 minutes. We make the day before serving. I like to garnish with chopped jalapenos, chopped purple onion, sour cream, Mexican style grated cheese and sliced black olives.

Jack likes cornbread so I make it from a mix and doctor it up a little. I add one small can shoe peg corn, well drained, a healthy handful of the Mexican cheese, and 1/4 cup chopped jalapenos. Then follow the mix directions.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rain, rain go away.....

At least we had a good week to get settled because today it is really raining. We have the heat on in the cottage just to take the chill off and I have on socks! The cookout planned for tonight will not happen but that's ok. I will not be saying ok, however, if it is still raining next week.
UPS (my favorite vehicle) brought my new EQ add ons. Amy Butler is working with EQ and her software includes 22 projects. I'm sure there will be another rainy day soon to play with this program. The new Stash is out for Spring and that is now installed. I like to look out at the lake and make virtual quilts!

We are off to visit family over the weekend and then we will settle into our routine of not leaving the cabin except to buy food or go out to lunch. We have done almost all the errands. The cars will be serviced in the next few days and a few things need to be done at Jack's house. At least if it's raining, I can be working on this blog.

In Sarasota at Sew Worth It, I took a class from the ladies who wrote One Block Wonder Encore. I had hoped to get it all put together before I left but it just didn't happen. So I have started working on it in the cabin and I love the process. I did a quilt from their first book but the second book allows for additional blocks and fabrics. The first one block wonder I call "Old Port Kaleidoscope". On Exchange Street in Portland there used to be a shop of exquisite items including these magnificent, handmade kaleidoscopes. I wish I had bought one!

The new one in progress....I love the cubes. Planning them requires concentration. Some of the class participants did cubes that went wow and others were more subtle. Can't wait to finish this and send it to Lynn for quilting!

Tonight for supper we will have fish chowder. This recipe is very easy and comes from a community cookbook I bought in NH years ago.
Oven Fish Chowder
2 pounds fresh haddock fillets
4 - 5 medium potatoes, ½ inch dice
few celery leaves
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
4 whole cloves
3 onions, chopped
½ cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
½ cup dry white wine or vermouth (optional)
2 cups boiling water
2 cups half and half
Put all ingredients except cream in a large casserole. Cover and bake at 375° for 1 hour. Check to see if fish flakes and potatoes are cooked. Heat cream in a medium saucepan to scalding. Add to chowder. Stir to flake fish. Yields about 8 servings. Serve with salad and crusty bread.

Back in the cabin......

So now we are at the cabin. There are still some boxes on the floor but hopefully by the end of the day they will be organized and my new Babylock Sophia will be in her sewing position on the cabin table.

My son and grandson came by for a visit and helped us plant the garden. We are trying some heirloom tomatoes. I want an Ina Garten type picture of the sliced heirloom tomatoes on an antique platter drizzled with olive oil! We also planted pickling cukes. Then I bought lots of flowers in containers from a darling little shop in Naples. I put herbs in the window boxes. There is never enough basil! I also plant purple basil which I use in salads - just mix it in with the spring greens or steep in some vinegar for a nice vinaigrette.

I made a wall hanging for Jack’s house. It is a machine embroidered scene of a covered bridge. Anita Goodesign’s designs are wonderful. So today I hung it the back of the cabin door so I could look at it for a few days before we take it up to Jack’s.

Friends are coming for the day and we will have our usual cookout of Hamburgers and potato salad. There are many varieties of potato salad but I am quite partial to mine. I read recently that potatoes must be combined with dill and I heartily agree. There is no exact recipe for my potato salad and it does not always taste the same but it always tastes good!

My Potato Salad

2 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes or red bliss potatoes
Kosher salt
½ purple onion
dried dill weed
cider vinegar
vegetable oil
good quality mayonnaise (Hellman’s or Duke’s)

Wash potatoes and cut into big bite pieces. Do not peel. Cook in a large pan of salted water until done (about 10-12 minutes). Chop onion finely and put in mixing bowl. Drain potatoes into bowl. Drizzle oil over potatoes to barely coat them and then sprinkle cider vinegar over the potatoes. Toss very gently. The potatoes should be just coated and the you should be able to smell the vinegar. Shake dill weed over the top and lightly salt the salad. Now let this sit covered at room temperature until about 1 hour before dinner or serving. Then stir again - you should still be able to smell the vinegar. Add mayonnaise to bind the potatoes together. Taste and add more dill if needed. Depending on the potato, more salt may be needed. Put bowl in refrigerator until ready to serve.

I always served this in a green ware bowl. Sometimes I made flower decorations with chives as the stems and sliced black olives as the petals. If you are a person who must have hard-boiled eggs in your potato salad, this is not a good recipe for you. The eggs take on a different (as in not good) flavor from the vinegar.


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