Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Scrabble Table

I made my husband a tiled "Scrabble-like" table for his birthday a few years ago. It was an easy weekend project. You do have to remember what the colored squares represent, but it's easy: the fewest one (dark blue, how I made it) is triple word score; the second-fewest (dark red) is double word score; the next most common (grey-blue) is triple letter score; and the most common (pink) is a double letter. Details below.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gallo (Rooster) Adovada

The idea here was to make carne adovada New Mexico-style, but with rooster instead of the traditional pork. Although many carne adovada recipes have you marinate the meat overnight in the sauce, I put it straight in the slow-cooker and let it go for about 20 hours. It is not a quick ordeal to cook a tough old rooster! This will go much faster if you have a store-bought, young bird or even an older hen.
Rooster adovada.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chicken Pho

We've been cooking a few of our old laying chickens. You can follow this recipe for a store-bought chicken, too, but the timing will be different because older birds are much, much tougher and require more cooking time. When it comes to cooking the old birds, the strategy is to make the stock with all the chicken parts and bones (back, neck, etc) and cook it for a long time, then retrieve the good meat (discard the rest), shred it, and cook it for a long time more, a lot longer than you would for a store-bought chicken. This is usually pretty easy to adapt into chicken soup recipes; it just means leaving out the things that shouldn’t cook too long until the very end. Our chicken went straight from the freezer into the stock.
Enjoying a bowl of chicken pho with all the trimmings.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ski Bench

Have a few pairs of extra skis from the bygone days when they were ultra-long, skinny, and pointy-tipped? My husband did, and we wanted to make some furniture out of them. Not feeling handy enough to make a ski Adirondack chair, we made these simple benches, and they're awesome. If you don't have old unused skis, Goodwill or yard sales may be good places to get them, depending on your vicinity to decent skiing.

Garden Greens Pesto

Continuing on the theme of recipes to help eat your greens, this simple non-basil-based pesto makes a great healthy dip for crackers and chips, or sandwich spread. It's an easy way to use up or incorporate greens into your diet. Depending on the greens you choose, the dip may be almost sweet in flavor, or more sharp. I use some combination of kale, chard, beet greens, broccoli greens, spinach, arugula - whatever's growing. If I do have some basil, I add it, but it's far from necessary. A little mint adds a nice flavor if you like that kind of thing.

The finished product - simple, delicious, healthy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hot Greens Dip

Make this unholy mixture of healthy greens and molten cheese with whatever greens you feel like you “should” be eating for their healthful properties: kale, chard, spinach, broccoli greens, Chinese broccoli, radish greens, and so on. Go ahead and turn it into something you’ll actually like: this is a delicious, warm and satisfying dip to be slathered on French bread slices or eaten with tortilla chips. I make this with far more greens than any other spinach-and-artichoke type recipe calls for. Just keep packing the greens into this dip until it almost feels righteous.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Brick Pattern Pieced Pillowcase

I was inspired by this design and wanted to make some bright, cheery, pieced pillowcases for our hard wooden sunroom chairs. Here are some instructions to help you out. I'm not the most experienced quilter myself, but this is an easy project. I made two pillows, one in shades of blue, green, and yellow, and the other in pink, purple, and blue. The latter one turned out a little too pink for my preference, but some of the individual fabrics in there are just so strikingly pretty that I wanted to get them used in something.

The brick-patterned, pieced pillow.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pickled Radish

This makes a delicious pickled radish, great for snacking on as well as for garnishing hamburgers and hot dogs and veggie burgers. I've served them with Vietnamese style vermicelli noodle salad and with homemade chicken pho. They also make great gifts, with their sparkly pink prettiness, to your fellow pickle-loving friends.
Crunchy, spicy pickled radish.