Monday, October 27, 2014

Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum

Jack really likes airplanes.  He had dreams of flying fighter aircraft.  Unfortunately, the air Force recruiter took one look at his glasses and laughed.

Years later, a friend took him out for a flight in a small airplane.  He had to lay down on their front lawn until his stomach came in for a landing.

But we can still go to air museums.  And we found a doozy just outside of Hood River Oregon:

I am not an airplane (or aeroplane) fan.  But this museum is different.

This has 118, airplanes, like this Curtiss Pusher, which recently flew from Portland to Vancouver.  (In fact, most of their airplanes still fly.  Except for the ones that are currently in pieces.)

It has 138 automobiles, like this Hudson Hornet (for all you CARS fans out there).
The best ever name for a Repair shop
Also jeeps, motorcycles (Any Harley fans out there?)
And stuff related to airplanes, like an airplane quilt...

Cameras...  (do I have to explain flashbulbs to anybody?)
Phones (those of you who are less that 25 can now see an actual phone dial)...
And dolls.
This is an unpaid advertisement.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Making Bread

There is a certain cachet that we accord to those who can make bread.  They know exactly how much flour to use, under varying humidity (here in the almost desert, it can vary from 10 to 100 percent).  They know exactly when the dough is "elastic" enough to stop kneading.  They know where in the oven to place to bread to the air flow conditions allow perfect baking.  Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

I make bread.  More properly, I make two recipes fairly decently.  I did try to make rye bread recently, and it was a...failure.  My Danish student said it tasted good, but I think she is just naturally nice and said it to make me feel good.  It tasted OK, but for some reason it dried out before we finished eating it.  There was something missing.

So today I decided to make Asiago Cheese Bread (recipe below), one of the two I make.

I sautéed the onions and garlic, and then put them in the mixing bowl to cool off, so that the yeast does not contact hot butter and die.  I proofed the yeast with a little water and sugar and set it aside.  Then we finished putting dinner in the crockpot and ate lunch.

After lunch, I put water and eggs into the mixing bowl with the onions and garlic, and then discovered that I add the onions and garlic later.  Well, I mixed them in anyway, it was a little hard to separate them.  So I started adding flour.  It is always tricky to put in the right amount of flour, so this time I decided not to measure and just added flour until the dough ball looked right.  I set the stand mixer to knead and started chopping up asiago cheese.

At this point I would like to point out that any cheese bread you buy at a grocery store has the cheese sprinkled on top, then put in the oven and the cheese is reduced to a crackly mess.  The rest of the bread tastes like white bread, and you have paid extra money for crackly cheese that tastes half burnt.  In the recipe I use, the cheese is cut into cubes and put inside the bread, where you can actually taste it. 

And I might also add that one time I had Parmesan but not Asiago, and Parmesan just doesn't work.  So you don't have to experiment on friends like I did.

I weighed the bread, divided the dough almost exactly in half, ( I weighed it.  One of them was 822 grams, the other was 776 grams.) folded in the pieces of cheese, put them in the pans, and put a towel over them so they could rise.

Then my husband asked me if I wanted to put the yeast in.

At this point, the bread aficionado would have thrown the loaves away and started over.

I am not a bread aficionado.

I put the two loaves back together, added the yeast mixture, added more flour, kneaded it by hand for perhaps two minutes and separated it into two loaves (this time without weighing) and hoped for the best.

It turned out pretty good!

I am beginning to suspect that those who make bread and talk about the right amount of flour and water and elasticity and humidity are just blowing smoke.

Anyway, here is the recipe.  I used water instead of wine (it tastes better and it less dry), but milk also works if you prefer.  The entire cooking time was 36 minutes.  Oh, and I don't preheat the oven before the bread rises. And, since I used a stand mixer, it only rose once.  I used a dry towel, the damp one is cold.

Here is an Asiago Cheese Bread recipe that calls for wine and garlic. It comes from Margaret Fox's Cafe Beaujolais. Note: not tested in a bread machine. Go the old-fashioned way of bowl & spoon!

Preheat Oven 375 degrees Makes two loaves

6 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup minced scallions

2 pkgs dry yeast
4 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water

2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
6-6 1/2 cups flour
1 lb. aged Asiago cheese, 1/2" cubes

Saute onions & garlic in butter for i minute. Avoid
browning. Dissolve yeast & sugar in water. Set
aside 10 minutes. In large bowl, whisk yeast w/
eggs, salt and wine. Gradually add 3 cups flour-
mix thoroughly. Add onions and garlic. Add remain-
ing flour. Knead on floured board till smooth and
springy. Cover and let rest. Place in greased
large bowl to rise. Cover with damp towel.

Divide dough in 1/2. Knead half of the Asiago in
each. Grease two loaf pans or form dough in rounds.
Cover dough, let rise till doubled.
Bake 25 min.-then 5-15 minutes more.

Cool 30 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The creation of a quilt

I like quilting.  I like choosing colors.  I choose...different...colors.  (Ask my friends.  In a quilt shop they give me strange looks!)  I like piecing, I like putting a quilt top together, I like changing things.  (When I get a pattern, it never looks like the quilt of the cover.  When it does, I am disappointed.)  I sort of like the quilting, I like binding because it means I am done!

So, when a friend asked me to make a t-shirt quilt to commemorate her son's first year, the directions were:  not square.  (plus a few other details, not pertinent here.)  This should be perfect, right?

Except I had never done it before.  So, I did what I do best:  procrastinate.

4 months later, I decided to get started.  I googled t-shirt quilt images, and got a lot of quilts put together as...squares.  Except for one:  it had a silhouette of a giraffe in the background.  It got me thinking...could I do a silhouette of a mother and child?  The ultimate answer was no, I don't have the skills.  But the blocks, while rectangular, were placed randomly around the quilt.

The next month, the local quilt guild offered a workshop on t-shirt quilts.  So I put it on my calendar and forgot to go.

But I finally got started.  I cut the t-shirts up, ironed them onto stabilizer (the wrong one, as it turned out) and cut them into shapes.  None of them were square, although several were rectangular.

Disaster struck:  I trimmed two blocks at the same time.  The one underneath had some letters cut off.  A google search showed the same wording ("Daddy and I agree, Mommy is the boss") is available on any number of shirts, but not (OF COURSE) the one I had.  A conversation with my friend revealed that yes, this is a Very Important Shirt, and so I repaired it by zigzagging the pieces together with invisible thread.  And plowed on, being more careful.

I sewed random pieces of fabric on the blocks to make them square, laid them out, sewed more fabric, trimmed more fabric, resewed, trimmed, and finally got the quilt together.    So of the pieces ended up about 6 inches by 1/4 to 1/2 inches...should I plan better?  Or take it as a design feature?  It took me about a month once I got started.  I am really proud of the fact that the one that says "Caution:  may cause sleepless nights" is not only not square, but not straight either.  That and "Center of Mom's universe" is in the middle, although not the exact center.

I asked for a bible verse to put on it, and was given Psalm 27:14:  "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."  I printed this onto t-shirt fabric and added it to the quilt.  I almost printed Proverbs 27:14, which read "A cheery greeting shouted too early in the morning is counted as a curse."  While this is an accurate description of life with a toddler, I decided not to add it also.

I had been given a couple of plaid shirts, and cut them up into 2 inch squares for a border...then realized that neither dimension of the quilt was a multiple of 1.5.  So the border has blue fabric around two corners...adding to the random quality of the quilt.

Anyway, it was quilted, bound and shipped.

Pictures were taken...and are Some Where on my Computer..  So this picture is courtesy of the recipients.

The next t-shirt quilt is going to be machine appliqued on top of one piece of fabric.

Oh, and that procrastinating bit?  I started this post 3 months ago.