Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Happy Garlic Day

April 19, 2017

According to my food holiday calendar, today is Garlic Day.

A decorative member of the garlic family

In honor of this made-up celebration, here are my favorite garlic recipes:

Garlic and Sage Chips

1 tablespoon – 1 stick of butter (depending on how decadent you feel)

1 tsp olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced REALLY thin (basically shaved)

1/8 cup fresh, whole sage leaves

salt

Melt the butter over medium heat in a frying pan. Stir in the olive oil. Turn up the heat to high and spread the garlic slices/shavings evenly in the pan. After about 30 seconds, stir in the sage leaves and salt. Fry until garlic is golden brown, stirring often. The garlic chips can turn into garlic charcoal in the blink of an eye, so stay alert. Use the chips as a topping for baked potatoes, salad, soup, or Brie.

Garlic and Split Pea Soup Base

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp olive oil

10 cloves garlic, peeled

1 pound yellow split peas

4 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions in the olive oil in a medium-size pot. I prefer my onions to be nearly caramelized, but you can stop when they are translucent, or even leave them a little crunchy. Add the garlic cloves, and cook for another minute or two. Add the yellow split peas and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until split peas are soft (about 20 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. You can strain the liquid and use as a clear soup base, or puree the lot for a creamier soup base. This is a great substitute for chicken stock when you are cooking for your vegetarian friends.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped in half

1 tablespoon butter

cream

salt

Put the potatoes and garlic in a medium pot and add cold water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are mashable. Some people like a little substance to their mashed potatoes, others want it to be as smooth as yogurt, so you get to decide what done is. Drain the potatoes, put into a bowl, toss in the butter and mash away. Add cream until you like the consistency (or you start freaking out about your arteries). Salt to taste.

The proper keeper for those who really love their garlic

Luck and wisdom!

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Where The Buffalo Roam

April 6, 2016

Since I didn’t have a plan for the embroidery on my buffalo collage, I put the threads and a couple of pattern books next to my place on the couch. When I watched TV, I also picked up my needle and thread. Hey, if buffalo can roam, so can my stitching. This is what I had by the end of the week.

Lani Longshore buffalo collage

Most of the stitches came from one of my crazy quilt pattern books.

The stencil is probably an auroch, but that's close enough for me

The stencil is probably an auroch, but that’s close enough for me

The backing comes from leftover pieces in my collection of High Plains and Southwest fabric.

Lani Longshore collage backing

I might add more embroidery later, but for now I’m auditioning beads in my new sorting container, which is the carry-out shell from the really cool cupcake place downtown, Cake Delight. When I finally finish the piece, I’m heading back there for my celebration treat.

Lani Longshore beads

Luck and wisdom!

Donut Day

June 3, 2015

My trusted made-up food holiday calendar says June 2 is National Donut Day. Who am I to disagree?

A mixed dozen - perhaps a metaphor, perhaps just dessert

A mixed dozen – perhaps a metaphor, perhaps just dessert

I even felt that I deserved a donut or two, since I finished the row quilt top.

Lani Longshore row quilt

The best part was getting down to the bottom of the fabric pile and finding just enough of this blue for the final row.

Lani Longshore row quilt detail

I used every bit – there are no scraps to bedevil me. Sing hallelujah!

As I was separating the fabric I didn’t use in this top into new collections, I noticed a kit for sun printing fabric. Heaven knows how old it is. I have a vague memory of buying it years ago at a silent auction. I’ve moved it around the sewing room every since, waiting for the perfect project. This week I decided there is no such thing as the perfect project, and who knew if the prepared fabric would react in the sun anyway? I gathered up a few objects and put the whole lot out on the patio.

Doilies and vases, forks and scissors, whatever I could grab

Doilies and vases, forks and scissors, whatever I could grab

When I ran out of stuff to put on the squares, I used the weeds growing between the pavers.

Using weeds for art beats pulling them any day

Using weeds for art beats pulling them any day

Wonder of wonders, the stuff still worked.

A salad fork and a spatula

A salad fork and a spatula

It even worked with my beaded wire reindeer.

My Christmas reindeer in blue

My Christmas reindeer in blue

Yes, I now have another collection of fabric waiting for a project, but the squares take up a lot less room than the kit. Reason enough to celebrate with another donut.

Luck and wisdom!

Chocolate

March 18, 2015

Easter candy – it is more dangerous than Christmas or Halloween candy because it comes in chocolate and pretty colors. I thought nothing could tempt me more until I read about Ariel Segall. When she was at MIT she founded the Laboratory for Chocolate Science, a student club. When she graduated, she started a part-time chocolate business, Dark Matter Chocolate Laboratory. She makes chocolate Daleks, people. Then I remembered The Chocolate Vault, which doesn’t make chocolate Dahleks, but you can get a chocolate submarine on a stick.

I’m not a candy maker, but I do collect candy fabric. This stack is waiting for piecing inspiration.

Lani Longshore chocoate fabric

In the meantime, I made a small landscape quilt inspired by a pendant.

Lani Longshore landscape

I have several other large beads, pendants and assorted embellishments that might be useful for landscapes, so this may be a new series for me (to add to all the others I hope to finish in my copious free time).

Luck and wisdom!

Pi Day and The Bribery School of Living

March 11, 2015

My second favorite holiday is this Saturday. It’s the Pi Day of the Century – 3/14/15. Yes, it’s a made-up math day, and it only works in countries that put the month first, but that’s part of the charm. We will have pie, and because I am a life-long practitioner of the Bribery School of Living, I don’t even have to make it.

When the kids were little, I discovered that bringing pizza home after spending all day at the Amador Valley Quilters monthly meeting made everyone so much happier. Even when I don’t go to the meeting, the second Saturday of the month is pizza day. Even when we are out of town, the second Saturday of the month is pizza day. So, we will have pizza pie on Pi Day, and all will be very well.

Here’s how the Bribery School works – when you have to make yourself or someone else do a hard thing, make sure there is a reward for completing the job. The kids would behave when I ran errands all morning because they could count on doing something fun in the afternoon. Sometimes the difference between finishing an unpleasant task and not is knowing there’s a treat waiting. Also, when you can’t face the job regardless of the bribe, you know it is time to get some help.

Lani Longshore beading project

The beading project that has been part of my bribe for the bathroom remodel is going well. I may not be able to lift it before long, but it’s shiny and pretty and I like it.

Lani Longshore bathroom remodel

The remodel is almost done. Everything but the shower is in place. For now, I’m counting this as a victory.

Luck and wisdom!

Seasonal Petulance

November 26, 2014

This time of year I sink into my own slough of despair, and revel in seasonal petulance. The holidays are too crowded, too commercial, too costly. Whine, whine, whine. I guess the universe got sick of listening to me kvetch, because – try as I might to be grouchy – I have been surrounded by kindness and love. “Self,” I said, “get over yourself.”

A pie crust in waiting

A pie crust in waiting

The first thing I decided to do was give myself permission to celebrate all the holidays in order. Thanksgiving comes first, and I am extraordinarily thankful for my grandmother’s never-fail pie crust recipe.

Original Recipe

2 cups flour

1 cup butter

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons vinegar

4 teaspoons cold water

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Sift dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter. Gradually add the egg and vinegar. Pour water over dough and mix.

My Version

2 cups flour

1 cup butter

1 egg, beaten with 3 teaspoons vinegar (cider or sweet balsamic for a sweet pie, white wine for a savory pie)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Put the butter and flour into a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles corn flour. Add baking powder and salt; pulse a couple of times. Add egg/vinegar mixture. Blend until smooth. You will need to heavily flour the board and pin when rolling out the dough.

The start of my personal, private Advent calendar

The start of my personal, private Advent calendar

Next comes Advent, which for me means the little calendars with numbered boxes and chocolate prizes. The bad news is this year I missed out on my favorite one – they sold out before I even put it on the shopping list. The good news is, I made my own version with all those mint tins I’ve been saving, and some leftover holiday trims.

Lani Longshore Christmas ornaments

Next comes the Ceremony of the Tree. My daughter has decorated the tree for years, but she won’t be home until spring. I was all set to skip the tree, when I remembered the new ornaments a friend gave me. My daughter has her own favorite ornaments, so this year I’ll put up my new ones and some of the older ones that have been buried at the bottom of the storage box.

Lani Longshore Christmas card

I don’t write the Christmas letter until Christmas day. The cards get sent out sometime between Boxing Day and Epiphany. This tradition stays.

Lani Longshore Christmas fabric

Last is the Time of Forgetting. This is the celebration of discovering you’re a day late and a present short. It’s not the best tradition, but it’s one with a long history in my house. I guess it stays, too.

May your season of holidays – whichever ones you celebrate – be joyous.

Luck and wisdom!

The Practical Side of Creativity

November 12, 2014

Creativity starts with asking “what if” – for example, “What if I crushed the leftover Whoppers from Halloween and made cookies?” Since we had a lot of them, I figured there was no real downside to experimenting.

The candy known in my house as Whackers

The candy known in my house as Whackers

Who knew that those chocolate-covered things turned into a wonderful flour? They also make a satisfying crunch when you whack them with a rolling pin, which helps with stress management. I substituted half a cup of finely crushed Whoppers for regular flour in my basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, and the results were great.

Lani Longshore cookies

The next “what if” question I tried was, “What if I make the letter Challenge project with one of my grandmother’s leftover embroidered pieces and name it Jardin de Grand-mere?” Never mind that my grandfather was the one who did most of the gardening, or that the only connection my grandmother had to anything remotely French was that she would make frog’s legs every summer – for the annual fish and frog fry. Jardin begins with “j” so it fits the challenge, and I used a lovely bit of embroidery for which I had no other project.

Lani Longshore quilt Jardin de Grand-mere

Here is my grandmother’s work:

Georgia Wright Longshore did beautiful work

Georgia Wright Longshore did beautiful work

So it appears, wonder of wonders, that you can be both practical and creative.

Luck and wisdom!

Gifts

July 16, 2014

 

The universe gave me some lovely gifts this week. The first two will find their way to other people, the last will stay with me.

Lani Longshore beaded green quilt

I finished the beading for this project last week. This week I found the perfect green to use as a base quilt. As the beads and fabric told me what they wanted me to do with them, I realized they were also telling me they could be a gift for a talented artist I’ve known since elementary school.

Lani Longshore spice basket

My daughter gave this basket of spices as a thank-you gift to a mutual friend. I helped her put it together with jars and a basket I had in the sewing room.

Lani Longshore fabric

The last gift is a new-to-me technique. My quilt guild is making pillow cases for a community outreach for local veterans. I read the instructions more in dread than anticipation. I couldn’t visualize how the fabric in the photo above could go from this:

Lani Longshore pillow case tube

to this:

Lani Longshore pillow case

Despite my misgivings, the technique is simple and fast. You can find the pattern on many sites, but click here for the About Quilting version. May you all be equally blessed in the weeks to come.

Luck and wisdom!

 

Chenille, Dragons and Licorice Herring

May 14, 2014

 

My friend Jordan Bernal (1dragonwriter.wordpress.com) asked me to be part of a blog tour. I’m supposed to talk about my writing process, but since I found these cool licorice herrings and won a bid for two yards of green chenille I’ll write about that, too.

Jordan writes about dragons. She loves dragons, always has. She also loves all things Celtic, so her first book is set in Ireland and her second in Scotland.

 

Jordan Bernal - photo by Patrick Coyle

Jordan Bernal – photo by Patrick Coyle

 

You can find The Keepers of Eire on Amazon, but you’ll have to wait for The Keepers of Caledonia.

I write about what I love, like science fiction and candy and odd connections. My fiber art incorporates things I love, too – like science fiction and candy and odd connections.

cover Death By Chenille

cover When Chenille Is Not Enough

The books that Ann Anastasio and I wrote, are writing, and plan to write are about quilters who save the world from alien invasion. We like to think we invented the genre of quilting science fiction. We also claim to have invented quilting vaudeville since we sing and dance about quilts as Broken Dishes Repertory Theatre. Shameless self-promotion – you can find Death By Chenille as an e-book on Smashwords.com (click here). When Chenille Is Not Enough is also an e-book on Smashwords.com (click here) or a paperback at Amazon (click here).

I think most of us create what we do because it seems like a good idea at the time. The concept of quilters saving the world from alien invasion by smacking them with chenille pillows wriggled into our brains like an ear worm, so we ran with it. It’s lasted through two books, one more in progress and a title for a fourth. Ideas are out there, floating on the breeze, waiting for someone to reel them in for fun and profit.

So I’ll be making something out of the chenille I bought to inspire me while writing the third book in our series, The Chenille Ultimatum. I don’t know what I’ll make – perhaps my own chenille pillow.

green chenille

Two yards of green chenille

 

I probably won’t include dragons in my stories, but I’ve got one on my shelf.

blue soft toy dragon

My dragon

 

Heaven knows where the licorice herrings will take me, but they’re very tasty.

licorice herring

Licorice herring – who knew?

 

If you want to be part of this blog tour and write about your creative impulses, send me a link to your blog and a photo (of you would be nice, of your quilt would work, too). I’ll list those in future posts.

Luck and wisdom!

 

Puttering On The Edge Of Productivity

May 7, 2014

 

There are days when I can see the end result of my creative work, but not the first step. Those are the days that I putter on the edge of productivity, hoping for a word, an image, anything to put a mark on my blank page/canvas/design wall.

Even my baking asks for a jump start sometimes. I needed to make treats for a meeting, and everything I thought of seemed blah. I went shopping, which is usually a big mistake because if I’m looking for inspiration I buy a lot more than I need. This time, inspiration came cheap.

Googly-eye cats on St. Patrick's Day doilies

Googly-eye cats on St. Patrick’s Day doilies

I found the googly eyes, remembered my long-neglected cat cookie cutter, and hoped I had enough butter for a shaped cookie (I did).

Of course, there are times when I get the first step, and the second, but the third is missing. My workshop beading project is like that. I beaded a little, let it sit, beaded a little more, let it sit a little more. I think I’ve finally found step three, which is to mount the beaded piece on a separate quilted piece.

The water challenge - study in blue

The water challenge – study in blue

We’ll see where steps four through seven take me. I think I might need a few more tassels, but the beads haven’t told me what they want yet.

This tassel may want some sisters

This tassel may want some sisters

Luck and Wisdom!