Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Berries berries berries berries berries berries berries berries

Perhaps you get the idea. I made a plan to go blueberry picking with a friend on Sunday, and we rolled my sister and another friend into the fun.

We started with blueberries, but didn't stop there. It took just an hour to pick over 35 pounds of blueberries! The bushes were absolutely DRIPPING with fruit:
And there was row upon row of bushes:
I was already unsure what the heck I was going to do with the fruit, but the rest of my party was all fired up and wanted to pick MORE. So, we drove a bit and stopped at a place that had both raspberries and marionberries and picked.. a lot more fruit.
SO  much more. The red are raspberries, the darker are marionberries. I think those might be specific to the Pacific Northwest - I'd never heard of them before I moved here, and it makes sense that they may not ship well. They only really should be picked when they're absolutely falling off the bush, and they are rather soft and very juicy. I really like the flavor - sweet and complex. It kind of reminds me of wine.
They look a lot like a blackberry, I guess, but I think marionberries are juicier and their form is a bit bigger and more oblong. I tried to get a picture of one in the wild, so to speak, but it's blurry. It was a nice day, though. (That's a field of raspberry canes in the background.)
By the time we were done with these berries, we were DONE. It took a lot longer to gather these and we were pretty tired. And my freezer is now absolutely jammed with berries! Stay tuned for Usage Reports.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Garden update

My, have I been lax. I've been taking pictures of my garden, but not sharing them! Here's just one glimpse of the progress.

Right around May 17 I planted this spaghetti squash. It's actually two starts lumped together because I'm lazy, foolish, optimistic - your choice of adjective.
 Less than two months later, this is what we're looking at (look at the bricks in the pics to get some scale): 
Here's another shot: 

I just counted at least 14 squash-bubbles forming on the plants. Here's the biggest - I swear it's getting larger on a daily basis: 
It's clearly too soon to harvest it, and I know they probably won't all make it .. but good thing I like spaghetti squash fairly well. I may have to make some secret deliveries, too, to get rid of the bounty!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Now it can be told

I've been keeping a crafty secret for six months! One of my very best friends got married this weekend, and two local friends and I conspired to make a quilt for the brides. Talk about blog-fodder! It was really hard to not mention it. And now that it's done it's hardly worth the blogging, alas.

Here's a picture of it on the long-arm sewing machine:

And here is some of the detailed quilting we did with the machine:

And a shot of the mostly-finished object:

I guess we got it done in about four months, from buying the fabric to hand-sewing the binding. It was a fairly simple pattern, and my quilting-expert friend probably could have knocked it out in a weekend, but with three of us and busy lives, we really did have to schedule our work nights!

I made a photo book for the recipients so they could get caught up on the process of making the quilt, and since I found a 60% off coupon online, I made small soft-cover versions of the books for the quilt-makers to have.

It was great fun, and I don't imagine ever making a quilt again. But now I can assist my expert friend when she wants some clumsy help!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Easiest summer dessert ever

I wanted to make a summery dessert to bring to a pot luck; I found a recipe for roasted apricots with honey mascarpone, and decided to make it. But as per usual, I tweaked it some! I needed to scale up the recipe, and mascarpone is expensive, so I bought a good-quality Greek honey yogurt instead.

Cut a bunch of apricots in half, dip the cut face into some sugar, and place cut side up in a shallow pan:
Broil for a few minutes, until the sugar starts to brown a bit. Remove from the oven, dollop the honey yogurt into the center of each, and sprinkle with toasted pistachios and chopped lemon verbena:
 Summer in a mouthful!