WIP Wednesday


Today I have for you the latest installment of Cloudsfactory’s Zodiac Sampler Mystery SAL. I love how it is shaping up! Of course having purchased new Q Snaps makes my life a whole heck of a lot easier to work with the Marlitt. Hurray for taught work surfaces! We have off on Friday as a corporate holiday for Independence Day, and I took tomorrow off to go along with it. I don’t remember when I took a day off just to hang around at home (last time I took time off it was to take care of my hubs post surgery), so hopefully there will be plenty of stitch time for me. I did set up my Snaps for the next installment of the Zodiac Sampler, but there will be a brief stitching interlude – a friend consigned a special stitched piece from me, so stay tuned for that. I may be able to get that completed over the weekend, but I need to pick up some supplies first.

Anyway, I did get a head start on the Zodiac border last night, and hopefully I won’t lose my mojo and take a full month to finish the installment like last time – I am eager to get back to Tradewinds. In all fairness I did get the bug to clean my non-self cleaning oven at the beginning of the month, which was a serious project, and I have had some distractions from the work end of things, which maybe I will be lucky enough to share with you in the coming weeks. Those work distractions have also, well, been distracting, hence the decrease in posts this month.

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Tuesdays With Dorie – Cherry Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake

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Originally this was to be made with Rhubarb in May, but then there was alot going on at home, and I was not too anxious to eat Rhubarb, so I skipped this, intending to come back to it when there was a fruit in season that I wanted to use. When I saw how plentiful the cherries were at last weekend’s farmer’s market (and this week being a rewind week) I knew that would be my choice!

As a side note, I did try some of the at home Cherry de-pitting tricks that i saw on YouTube, which all turned out to be more trouble than they were worth. Instead, I found myself going at it the old fashioned way with a paring knife and Cherry juice stained fingers! While I am not big on gadgets that replace knife skills, if anyone can comment on whether they have a cherry/olive de-pitter, and whether you think it makes de-pitting more efficient, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Aside from using cherries I didn’t do anything to change the recipe, though I think that I might have added less sugar to the cherries for maceration. They are already pretty sweet, and it would have been nice to have a little tartness. However, the smell of the cherries in the caramel and the batter itself had me excited for the finished product. Definitely one of those moments that has you thinking as you assemble the different parts “oh my goodness this is going to be so good!” I did need an extra 5 minutes on the bake since my tester didn’t come out clean at time, and i did finish with a sweep of peach preserves on top. All in all I definitely thought this was such a great recipe because you can really do anything with it – using any fruit that is in season (and adjusting the sugar accordingly) – and you really do come out with a very elegant and delicious cake!

Posted in Baking, Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Strawberry Shortcakes, Franco-American Style

Untitled design(2)When I first told my husband that this was the second recipe selected for June, he wasn’t too thrilled, through personally this was one I had voted for. When it came down to it, it turns out he was expecting a Bisquick Biscuit-style dessert. No wonder he wasn’t looking forward to it, though he should know me (by way of Dorie) better than that after 12 years of marriage!

And delicious these shortcakes were. It almost became Cherry shortcakes, as cherries are EVERYWHERE at the Farmer’s market right now… Berries haven’t quite come into season yet. However, next week I need to make up the brown sugar upside down rhubarb thingamajig, and THAT will likely be made with cherries. Or apricots. I started to see a few of those at the market this week.

Side note. The ladyfingers required 3″ circles. Am I the only one that seriously considered buying a compass for this? No joke. Although I just went around measuring the bottom of my mixing bowls to find one with a 3″ wide lip. Also, my batter yielded another 10 disks, so we will be having this for a few days. It’s a hard knock life.

So anyway, I wound up roasting 1 lb of the strawberries with the cloves and sugar, and then slicing and macerating another 1 lb of strawberries in 2 tbs of sugar, and then mixed them together. This gave a lovely taste and texture differentiation to the strawberries. Some sort some firm,some really sweet, some a little more tart, and a lovely syrup to go with it. The cloves really emphasized the berry-ness, and I am glad I added them.

Posted in Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Vodka Collins

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Glasses: “Orb” from Crate and Barrel

As the heat of summer has descended on uus, and it feels like we are standing in front a hot open oven, thoughts turn to a classic summer drink: lemonade.

And let’s be honest here. Isn’t it ironic that lemonade is such a popular summer drink considering that citrus is so far out of season anywhere that citrus is non-native? At least where I am it takes approximately 5 million lemons in June (exaggeration) to create a pitcher of lemonade. And the lemons are about $.85 a piece!

The. Worst.

Anyway, refreshing summer drinks. We love Vodka Collins, a riff on the popular Tom Collins, and an adult turn on lemonade, despite the lack of good lemons. So cool and refreshing, and very easy to drink. Perfect for those hot summer cocktail parties, or even a bridal shower. We like to relax on our deck overlooking the mountains with one of these, on a Saturday evening.

Scale for your needs (the following serves one drink)

1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp extra fine (caster) sugar

2 oz fine Vodka (we use Grey Goose)


Club soda

If you like, before mixing your drink, dip the rim in lemon juoce, and then caster sugar to give it that extra special-ness.

In a high ball glass, add ice to fill the glass 3/4 of the way. Add your lemon juice, sugar, and Vodka. Stir briefly with a drink stirrer. Top the glass with club soda and stir gently again. Garnish with a wheel of lemon. Enjoy!

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WIP Wednesday


You guys? I got new Q Snap clamps. They are the world.

I did this work on the old, failing clamps, but thought I would take a progress picture of the whole thing while I switched it out for a hot second. Isn’t it coming along? I am so pleased with how it is shaping up! Next I will start working on the bottom right pipe with the dolphin, but for the minute I am finally starting work on the June installment of the Zodiac sampler. Since we are halfway through June I might suspect that I jump into July’s section since I will have it up already, but we will see.

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Tuesdays With Dorie – Chocolate Cherry Brownies


Right after I took this picture the whole stack fell over. Onto the floor. However, no one saw it but me, so did it *really* happen? 5 second rule and all.

Anyway, this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie challenge is “Chocolate Cherry Brownies” from Baking Chez Moi. The dried cherries are re-hydrated with, in this case, a lovely, fruity Syrah. I wound up using double the Syrah and water than was called for because I didn’t have enough to rehydrate my cherries. And oh my goodness. That aroma from the cherries and wine! Totally killer. I was thinking how lovely it would be to have the re-hydrated cherries, plus that extra reduced wine, served as the star on top of some other delicious dessert.

These brownies did not last long in our house. They were gooey, to be sure. Some stated in the P&Q that they chilled their brownies before cutting them, which might have been a good idea, but I love being able to see the whole juicy cherries hanging out the side of the brownies. I think it’s what the French call “rustic”, no?

Anyway, would definitely make these again, although I instantly wished for a double batch, and might do so the next time. You can find this recipe on Page 322 of Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking Chez Moi”. Buy the book! Join us!

Posted in Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

June Wipocalypse and WIP Wednesday

I think it has been a few months since I participated in a Wipocalypse! I definitely have been stitching, but there has been SO much going on that it has just come and gone before I realized it had passed!

This month’s question is whether I feel I am a more productive stitcher in Summer or Winter. Honestly I have never thought of any one time of the year being less productive since I don’t really change my routines too much. I will say that I always stitch during Football games, which time I don’t necessarily have set aside at other times of the year. Not only do I love the weather, but I love our Sunday routines when football is on!

Anyway, here is my latest Trade Winds update:


Of course I am working on finishing the right alphabet motif, and then I will work on the dolphin border below it. My Q snaps have died, and I won’t be able to pick up new ones until a week from Saturday, so my tension is shot. Such is life!

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