Friday, May 21, 2010

Cute top

This cute top (#129) from the February 2009 Burda magazine has been reviewed favorably by many people and I suddenly had a desire to wear it to dinner this last Saturday:

So at about noon the same Saturday I wanted to wear it, I started tracing the pattern and got the fabric cut out and partly sewn, but of course I did not make it in time for dinner. What was I thinking!

I finally finished it some time this week. I love it in black-and-white print I finally decided on, which had been in my stash for a long time. I don't think the actual fabric, a cotton blend with a slight stretch, was a great choice, being a little stiff. Dave likes the top too, mostly because he likes black-and-white abstract prints on me.

The pendant on the necklace I am wearing is a likeness of a yeast zygote. See, I'm not just a domestic scientist, I am a real scientist who did yeast genetics many years ago. When yeast mate, they form this distinctive structure called a zygote. Here's a picture of a real yeast zygote, and below it, a close-up of my necklace.

I like the top a lot, so much so that I went out and bought some nice silk in a silvery color to make the same top to wear for fancier occasions. I think the pattern would work better in a softer, drapier fabric. The cotton blend I used is a bit stiff, and I also interfaced the bands, which is a bad idea. The stiffness causes the top to sort of poof out under my bust, which is precisely where you don't want your clothes to poof out!

Meatballs VII

After all the exotic meatballs I'd been making, I decided to go back to basics and consulted this cookbook, the most-used of my half-dozen or so Spanish cuisine cookbooks:

There are no fewer than nine meatball recipes in this book alone. I chose the one that appeared in the "Tapas" section. You can't get more basic than that!

Meatballs in Almond, Garlic and Parsley Sauce:

As you can see, Huxley Beagle thinks that the meatballs smell delicious! He didn't get to have any, though. A friend of mine who is a fan of my cooking once said that it must be torture for Huxley Beagle to have to live with all the cooking smells and not get to eat the food! He did get to lick the sauce off our plates and he did such a good job he must have thought it was delicious!

Meatballs VI

Maghrebi Veal Meatballs with Spinach and Chickpeas is from another excellent cookbook that I have lately been sadly neglecting:

The dish is more like a stew containing meatballs cooked with spinach and chickpeas. I used a mixture of beef and pork instead of veal for the meatballs, which were flavored with a complex Tunisian spice mix containing paprika, coriander seed, caraway seed, anise, cumin, cloves, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne.

It was very delicious and went particularly well with the Pinot Noir from Mendocino County that some nice friends had left at our house (Thanks, Beth and Tim!) A great hearty one-pot meal to make on a cold weeknight; all you need to complete the meal is some nice wine to drink with it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sheer tunic

I found this great sheer fabric with an interesting geometric print and decided to make this Burdastyle February 2009 top #110

Here's my version, with fabric-covered buttons. I left out the elastic gathering on the sleeve bottoms, although I am thinking maybe I should put them in afterall with drawstrings.

The dritz button kit for making fabric-covered buttons came from Grandma Laura's stash of cool sewing gizmos and buttons. It is very cool, this is the first time I've made self-fabric buttons.

I'm not sure I like the tunic all that much, but then I'm not sure I like colors other than black all that much... on me, that is. Dave isn't a huge fan of the tunic style. He says that it makes me look like a worker on a farm collective. I wore this to a show and dinner with nice wool pants. Maybe next time I'll try it with jeans for a more dressed-down version which might be more my style. I do still like the fabric, though, just to look at. Perhaps I should go back and buy some more for a different kind of top. I still like the idea of having a top with those colors and crazy swirling print.

Meatballs V

Looking for a more basic meatball recipe to try next, I made Moroccon Lamb Meatballs from the following cookbook

The meatballs were made from ground lamb and flavored with cumin and paprika. They were browned and then served with the following essential relishes, cucumber yoghurt salad and a salad of dressed mint leaves, all part of the same recipe. I also made a classical Spanish side dish of spinach sauteed with garlic, pine nuts and raisins.

The wine was an imported Spanish white from The Spanish Table, made from moscatel grapes grown in Malaga, from where one can spy the Moroccon shoreline directly across the Mediterranean Sea.

Huxley Beagle, Wine Critic Extraordinaire

Huxley beagle has many talents, one of which is his discerning palate for fine wine. He doesn't get to drink any of the wine that the humans have with their delicious dinners, but he gets to enjoy the bouquet and taste a bit of the wine from the wine cork.

When the humans open a bottle of wine, they toss him the cork, which he gleefully runs after and sniffs delicately. Then, if he approves, he will settle down to enjoy it by chewing off the end of the cork that was in contact with the wine.

He doesn't actually eat the cork. He just chews it up to enjoy the aroma and taste. Here he is spitting out the cork bits after he's savored them.

Often, you can tell by the remains how much he liked the wine.

This cork got almost totally chewed up, so he must have liked the wine a lot. The end that is still intact is the end that was farthest from the wine in the bottle, of course!

He also prefers red wines to white wines, and he likes fortified wines best of all. He also rejects old, dried up corks (only a cork from a freshly-opened bottle will do) so we know he is really in it for the wine. Also, he will not touch a TCA-contaminated cork from a corked bottle of wine. No bad wine for Huxley Beagle, no sir!

Meatballs IV (Bacalao Croquettes)

Here's a very different kind of meatball than the sort that usually comes to mind, but fish is a type of meat too, right?

These are salt cod croquettes, made from a recipe from the first Moro Cookbook.

Salt cod (bought from our neighborhood Italian deli, at a good price!) was soaked for 24 hours with several changes of water, then poached, shredded and mixed with boiled mashed potatoes and parsley and formed into quenelles that were then fried in olive oil. It was served with a green salad and home-made aioli and a Oregon Pinot Gris from Lazy River Vineyard.

Dave really liked them, said it reminded him of the fish cakes that Grandma Laura used to make when he was growing up.