Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cross Stich Progress....Or, Lack Thereof!

I had such good intentions the start of this tax season to keep up with my cross stitching.  In late January I started on a marriage sampler and made pretty good progress.  My goal was to get some stitching in every few nights, for relaxation, if anything.  Well, life and other projects got in the way! I joined a quilt sew-along so have been (barely) keeping up with each week's new block.  I have had three eye surgeries since January, none planned. Days off for the procedures, doctor visits and recovery meant I got behind at work.  I've been working very long hours and weekends. So I haven't gotten as much done as I had hoped! I started on the second row in February and that's as far as it's gone!
I did manage to finish two projects that have been gathering dust in my to-do pile. They didn't need much done to finish them, I just got bored with working on them.  They are now ready to go to the framer.

This very bright piece will go in my craft room. I love the little bee and ladybug!

This hummingbird piece took me forever to finish.  There are 45 different color threads in this and I stitched it on a piece of high-count (think small stitches!) linen. I was continually changing thread colors so it felt like I was never making progress.  Finally done and it will go in our guest bathroom where my other hummingbird stitcheries reside.

Three more weeks of tax season to go!  I have so many projects waiting!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Crisp

A few weeks ago, while driving home from San Francisco, we stopped at a little grill-type restaurant and had a late lunch. The daily dessert special was a rhubarb pie.  I haven't had rhubarb pie in eons, I instantly craved some, and ordered it.  Well, lo and behold, it seems this restaurant doesn't make their own pies.  What they thought was rhubarb was actually cherry.  Not even close to being the same!  Now I have nothing against a piece of cherry pie, but I wanted rhubarb!
 Rhubarb makes its annual appearance each spring.  Imagine my delight when my local grocery store had a display of freshly-picked rhubarb. Into my basket they went! Checkout took a little longer than normal as the clerk didn't know the produce code for rhubarb and had never heard of it. Nor had the friend, who I had run into, and was behind me in line. I was amazed! 

In case you don't know what rhubarb is, it's a pink or light red crisp stalk, very similar to a celery stalk.  Rhubarb is very tart.  Sugar is a must when baking with it!
I didn't have time to bake a pie.  The next best thing, in my opinion, is a crisp.  A layer of sweetened fruit on the bottom, topped by a brown sugar, crumbly top. It baked while we ate dinner.  My Hubbers likes his with ice cream, I'm fine with just the crisp.  It was equally good warmed up the next morning for my breakfast!

Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Crisp

4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine rhubarb, sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Mix thoroughly (it will be crumbly, the sugar will not create a juice).  Pour into a greased 8" x 8" glass baking dish.

In same bowl, mix butter, oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt.  Sprinkle topping over the rhubarb mixture, creating an even layer.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until topping starts to brown.

Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lemon Tart

The last few weeks found my Hubbers and I having to spend a lot of time in San Francisco.  Doctor's visits, labs and scans, and emergency surgery meant that we drove back and forth three times and spent numerous nights in the City by the Bay. San Francisco is one of my favorite places.  However, the only sightseeing we were able to do was driving from hospital to hospital! I can say I saw parts of the City I had never seen before!

The City has wonderful restaurants, I always have loved to explore the eating scene there.  On two nights we were able to get out and  have a nice meal. At one place my Hubbers ordered a lemon tart for dessert.  Anytime he tells me he enjoys the meal and/or dessert, with the comment that I could do better, I take that as a personal challenge to recreate that dish.  So making a lemon tart went on my to-do list!
I started with homemade lemon curd (made the night before), using my favorite recipe from Martha Stewart (recipe here). I whipped 1/2 cup whipping cream and lightly folded into the curd.  It all got poured into a baked tart shell and refrigerated. My Hubbers ate two pieces so I think he enjoyed it!
The restaurant served the tart with fresh raspberries. I love raspberries so I put them on my grocery list. I forgot to buy them. My excuse is either that I'm having general anesthesia brain, tax season-tired brain, or, as we say in the drag racing circles, "all cylinders aren't firing".  But the tart would be extra good with raspberries or strawberries!

Lemon Tart

I pre-baked pie shell
Lemon curd
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

Prepare lemon curd, per recipe.  Refrigerate overnight.

Gently fold whipped cream into lemon curd, pour into baked pie shell.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries.