Saturday, April 19, 2014

Buttery Goodness: Kouign-Amann

More often than not, a recipe will grab me.  I might spy it on a blog or catch a glimpse on a food show and that little kernel of information somehow finds its way into my cerebral cortex and blooms.  As that recipe grows in the need to be made (sending me messages: "Find me on the Internet" and "Print me out!"), I start to plan out when.
About two weeks ago I picked up the April 2014 Bon Appetit from my magazine pile and took it with me to read while waiting for an appointment.
When I got to this page, this recipe seed jumped into my brain and began to bloom.  
Page 43 April 2014 Bon Appetit Magazine
I've wanted to attempt "lamination", a technique where dough is wrapped around a thick sheet of cold butter and folded, rolled, folded, rolled...etc., for ages.  As described by Claire Saffitz in Bon Appetit, kouign-amann is a "sort of denser, sugar-crusted croissant made with indecent amounts of butter". She wasn't wrong.  
It was "Buttery Goodness".  
butter, a little sugar and a pinch of salt  for the "butter block"
butter block...more of a rectangle
butter block all wrapped up and ready for the freezer
dough and butter block ready for lamination
enclosure of butter block in dough
first fold - wrapped in plastic and put into freezer/fridge for chilling time 
first roll out.  No oozing butter ~ a very good sign
second fold
again wrapped up in plastic and into the freezer/fridge to chill
  also did this a third time  
final roll out
  you can see chunks of butter where I didn't fully mix it as well as I should  

This is where all of the work became super fun.  My older son and I were working on this project together and once he made the cuts, we could see the layers of dough where the cuts had been made.  
Twelve squares  
                                                
See the layers?  We were gleeful at 10:45 pm when these were ready for their last 8 hours in the fridge.  
These were amazing.  Truly.  Worth all of the effort and time.  I would change two things ~ making sure to completely mix the butter before spreading on to the parchment paper to make the butter block and possibly using a little less butter.  There was so much butter that it oozed out of each muffin cup and dripped on to the bottom of my new baking oven.  Burning butter smoke is not the greatest at 7am.  

I will make Buttery Goodness again as it was very well received.  Go here to read the step by step directions.
Time to go clean my oven and start preparations for my Easter Meal tomorrow,
Ciao~
Susan

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The History Quilter Podcast Episode 41: The Hiatus Is Over!

Hello History Quilter listeners...
The Hiatus is over!  I'm thrilled to share with you that I've just recorded and published a new podcast episode.  It might take a day or so for iTunes to grab it from Podbean but it will be there shortly.
The episode is mostly about the remodel of my home for the past seven months with a little bit of quilting mixed in.  My next episode will get back to quilting, food...all the normal stuff.

Here is the address of the website you must check out if you are considering remodeling, relandscaping, redecorating, etc.  An excellent resource for brainstorming and research, check it out:  Houzz.com 

A few new pictures...
Baking bread in the new wall oven

Right now: getting ready for the concrete man to visit 
"Buttery Goodness" I'll expand on these in my next blogpost.  
Hope you enjoy the new podcast!
Ciao,
Susan 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Adventures in Remodeling Part IV: The New Kitchen

At approximately six months to the day from breaking ground, I am back into my (new!) house and loving it.
This means many things:
1. My computer is now my own again.
2. I am cooking inside a warm, light-filled open space.
3. The History Quilter hiatus is over...back to my normal life!

My own creativity spans baking/sewing, sewing/quilting and reading/researching but for the last six months those have all been cramped due to the constraints of space.  Now I can access my computer whenever I want, bake/cook what ever my heart desires(within reason), and I can finally get back to sewing/quilting.

Creative me is so glad to be back in business! 

I'll explain a lot more on the podcast - now let's get to the photos!  I know you've seen some of these already but I thought a full "before to after" would be enjoyable.
My former kitchen - perfectly good little kitchen.  Served me well for 17 1/2 years.  

And a few weeks into the the remodel, the demo begins. 

And within a week the old kitchen is down to the studs.  
  About a month in the old walls are coming down.  

The kitchen was on the right side of this photo.  The pipes you see in are for my old kitchen sink and the bathroom plumbing just on the other side.  
Now the new walls go up.  The window to the left is my new kitchen window.   The new kitchen is on the north side of my house, same as it was before.  
Sheer walls and electrical going in and a roof on.  

And now windows!  

Drywall - goes up so fast and suddenly there is a room!  

Before the drywall was finished in the pantry, I placed a "time capsule" for whomever may open up these walls someday.  
Kitchen cabinets arrive 
Kitchen cabinets and island are placed into position.  This is where it started to feel like I may truly have a new kitchen.  During 95% of this process all I seemed to be doing is researching and buying things for my new space but I wasn't spending any time in it.  It always felt like the construction worker's space.  
Range Hood and more cabinetry.  Door is to the walk-in pantry.  
New counter tops ~ White Springs granite.
Island is 4' x 7' 

New back splash in place. 
Hardwood flooring and back splash grout in production. 

Blurry picture of me at my new range ~ I love her! 

My new kitchen ~ earlier this week/fourth day cooking in the new kitchen.





There is a still a lot left to do; boxes to open and kitchen contents put away (feels like Christmas), electrical outlets in the back splash need covers to match and decorating the floating shelves, etc., but that is all a work in progress.  I'm in my new space, it is warm and I am no longer cooking all alone - all things to be very thankful for.
One major bonus with the island that I didn't realize until about a month ago - the island is an instant cutting table!

Next blogpost I'll have more pictures of the rest of the new space.
Come over and visit!
Ciao,
Susan 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Road To CA Quilt Show in Photos

Buongiorno Quilters! 
It's been a while ~ last week marked four months in the remodeling phase.  In the quilting world that translates to four months since I've gotten my quilty on. With the advent of the Road to California Quilters Showcase two weekends ago,  I was able to remedy that.
Here are the quilts that caught my eye this year: 
Disclaimer ~to my untrained photographic eye, there is no way to take a good photograph of a quilt at a quilt show.  I do my best to reduce the awful glare/light  from above.  As you all know, these pictures do NONE of these pictures justice.   

I think I want a whole slew of these in my front yard.  Samba Zinia was stunning in person.  Grace J Errea of Amazing Quilts by Grace used her own "Heat-Set" machine applique technique to create this quilt which was inspired by zinnia's grown in a corner of her garden.
Samba Zinia by Grace J Errea
Capturing Brittany looks more like a photograph than a quilt. Amazing!  Go see more of Lenore Crawford's work at www.lenorecrawford.com.
Capturing Brittany by Lenore Crawford
This one made me laugh.  I thought it was a mistake, possibly left out while the behind the scenes crew was setting up the quit show. Once I read through the placards describing each quilt, I knew this was no mistake. The Real Quilted Northern was made by Jerry Kay of La Mesa, CA and her rationale was, "The TV commercial showed little old ladies with knitting needles and I wanted to show the "real" thing."   
The Real Quilted Northern by Jerry Kay
Citrus Slices by Marie K O'Kelley has a great story.  Ms. O'Kelley made this quilt for her brother in honor of his career UCR hybridizing new citrus varieties.The quilt features his varieties along with more common ones.  Also mentioned that she would be giving this quilt to her brother after the show.  I love the citrus she added in along with the ladybug.
Citrus Slices by Marie K O'Kelley
Robin Gausebeck was inspired to create Dans les Bains de Maroc by Moroccan motifs on wallpaper in her master bathroom.  Now I want some of that wallpaper in my master bathroom!
Dans les Bains de Maroc by Robin Gausebeck 
At the show there were about 12 signature quilts in a display called, "Lest I Shall Be Forgotten" and they were all lovely.  The First Lady Celebrity Quilt created by the Flying Geese Quilters Guild in Orange, CA especially caught my eye for all of the notable women of the last 60 years or so, who were featured.  As I am Julia Child fan, I couldn't resist taking a photo of her block.
First Lady Celebrity Quilt  - Flying Geese Quilters Guild
It was a wonderful quilty day at Road to California with Zina and Tami.  Now that the Long Beach Quilt Festival is no longer, we are considering what's next - there are plenty of small quilt shows and shop hops to keep us busy for months to come.  Now we just need to go! 

Ciao~
Susan 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Adventures in Remodeling Update #3 It's About To Get Warmer

Since my last post SO much has happened around here.

I have begun substitute teaching which I absolutely love.  Here is me on my very first day with my older son as I subbed in his AP US Government class.  

And of course the house has been changing.  In my last blogpost I left off with this - demolition complete with new lumber in stacks ready for the walls to come up.  


In early November the first wall went up facing the street. I remember thinking, "It's so tall!"



The huge beam went in which delineates the kitchen area from the living area.  

Ceiling joists began to appear.  

I was given a sign for the Garage Kitchen.  My boy is so silly & awesome. 

Roof line began and I was finally able to visualize what I'd seen on paper.  Exciting day! 

Then the beginnings of my new front porch.  

Ugly original garage roof in process of demolition.

New garage roof to match.  It's chilly in the garage kitchen.   

View facing south:  Roofer has arrived!  

Then there were windows!  

This is where things stand now.  After weeks of inside rough work (electrical, plumbing, etc.) which makes it appear like things have slowed down, they are now ready to start wrapping the house.  
Wrapping = warmth.  

Inside facing east toward front of the house.  Drywall has been delivered!  

Facing north.  My new range will be set directly in the middle of the sheer wall. Window on the left is my kitchen window and the sink cabinet will be centered there.   
The doorway left of the kitchen window is the entry for my pantry.  
Has there been a shred of sewing or quilting going on during this time? No time or space.  That will be resolved soon enough in February/March when things should be done and we will be living in our new space. I commented to my contractor the other day that I still couldn't believe that this space would be mine someday and he was a bit offended as he thought I was complaining that they were taking too long. Quite the contrary I replied as I meant that it still seems surreal that this big beautiful space will someday soon be mine.
Wishing you all the Happiest of Holidays! 
Susan