Monday

[cooking] Blueberry Hand Pies

Just in time to do this month's Bakealong Challenge from King Arthur Flour: Blueberry Hand Pies-

Blueberry Hand Pies


For months I've been working my way through bags and bags of frozen blueberries that my mom has given me every summer over the years. That's right- years. I've been using bags dated as far back as '2014' to boil and reduce into compote. Sure those berries are hella icy but I'm dumping them into a pot to boil down so all the water eventually evaporates. I add a glug or two of maple syrup and a teaspoon of cinnamon while it reduces. After simmering a few hours, I have a very thick blueberry sauce. (I bring this to work every morning for breakfast, in a cup with plain yogurt and granola.) I was thrilled to FINALLY be down to the last quart bag marked '2015'. Until I pulled out the top freezer drawer looking for something and saw 6 quart bags of blueberries labelled '2016'. WTFFFFFF. 

Anyway- these hand pies were easy for me because the filling was already done. The only hard part was the dough. Which wasn't even all that hard:

Blueberry Hand Pies

It's like a faux laminated dough. Lots of butter (two sticks... TWO STICKS OF BUTTER). I used uber thick plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream (because yogurt for breakfast). The dough was a little finicky to bring together because butter and yogurt are the only things adding any kind of moisture- and even then, you want the butter to stay kind of cool and solid so it can evaporate in the oven and add flakiness to the finished pastry. So I'm just kind of mashing together flour and yogurt together with my hands, trying to press it into something that will hold together. A little plastic bench scraper came in handy here to scrape under the dough and fold into an envelope.
Let the dough chill in the fridge, then roll it out into a 14" by 14" square to cut into sixteen 3.5" squares.

I mean, I don't know what your rolling skills are like but mine are non-existent. I remember taking a cracker class at KAF with my mom and sister and when it came time to roll out the dough to cut into crackers, my mom looked at my dough, laughed and pointed it out to my sister- "Look at Amy's dough- ha ha ha." (#tigermom) I was going for a rectangle and it looked like Westeros. That's why I like making pies- you can cut away all the messed-up, cracked edges. 

This 'roll into a 14" by 14" square' plan wasn't working for me nor the dough, so I took a big ring and made an executive decision- these f'ing hand pies are going to be round. I found some small cutters to cut away vents for the tops.

Blueberry Hand Pies

I did have to re-roll some scraps, which isn't ideal for loftiness but I just stacked the scraps and rolled them, still hoping for layers. And re-rolling allowed me to cut enough circles to make 10 little pies instead of 8 (and probably the fact that they were round instead of square affected the final number).

Crimped edges, brushed with milk, sprinkled with sugar:

Blueberry Hand Pies

All baked:

Blueberry Hand Pies

Only a few leaked and that's because the seal wasn't sealed properly. I'm very (pleasantly) surprised that none boiled up through the top shaped vents.

Dollar's away this week so there's no one to help me eat these. There's so much butter (dos palos!), I'm going to freeze these and see how they reheat from frozen at a later date. Sigh, putting blueberries BACK into the freezer.

Friday

[spinning] Blue Sea Handpsun

Finally got around to taking pictures of the 4oz of silk/polwarth fiber that I spun during Tour de Fleece:

Handspun

Turned out to be a gorgeous DK(ish) weight two-ply. The silk adds a touch of sheen and drape to the finished yarn. No plans for the yarn at the moment (other than my go-to hat pattern for handspun DK: Rikke).

Handspun

The spinning fiber is dyed by FiberStash, a Vermont independent dyer. She is usually a vendor at local sheep and wool festivals and I always make sure to stop by her booth to pick something up. I've never been disappointed in any of the yarn or fiber that I've purchased.

The last of the TdF yarn is plied, washed and currently hanging to dry. Pics to come.

TGIF. I have no plans this weekend, so I'm going to stay at home and do... homey things. Actually, one of my big tasks will be using up eggs. I have two dozen in the fridge with another dozen scheduled for pickup Monday. So... ideas? Of course I want to make a bundt (OF COURSE I DO) and that uses, like, four or five eggs. I'm waiting on a dozen to hang around another week before I convert them into hard-boiled eggs (fresh eggs are so frustratingly hard to peel). I'm gravitating towards separating six- using the whites for meringue (by way of pavlova) and curing the yolks.

Thursday

[cooking] Smorrebrod- with flowers

Made a colorful smorrebrod for supper:

Lunch. Toast with dill-caper remoulade. Beet pickled eggs, shrimp, beets. Topped with purslane leaves. Nasturtium flowers. This is how I'm using purslane from the CSA, @lunableufarm! #lunableufarm

Beet pickled eggs (I'm starting to scrape the bottom of the mason jar for these- they've been pickling for a while and you can see the color is starting to creep into the yolks), beets, mini shrimp, caper dill remoulade (fresh dill from the CSA!), purslane leaves dropped on top (also from the CSA- never had it before; it tastes lemony like wood sorrel) and nasturtium flowers (started from seed at home a while ago- love these peppery flowers- tastes like arugula!).

Is it Friday yet?

Wednesday

[knitting] Double Cable Twist Socks - Progress

Last Saturday morning I turned the heel on the first sock:

One more cup and however much knitting that is- then it's go time... "Go Buy Flowers Time". #knitting


And at this point, the toe is nearly done. Knitting goes so much faster when you get to the stockinette sole of socks.

Going to cast-on the second sock tonight. And wash the last of the Tour de Fleece yarn.

There's a popular free pattern on Ravelry now: Wonder Woman Wrap. I broke down and ordered some yarn for it- with enough extra gold to knit a new baby blanket (with plans to enter it into the Fair). But I think once the above socks are done, I'll go back to the Lodestar mittens. And then finish up a couple of the amigurumi I started months ago. And, oh yeah, what about that Sophie's Universe crocheted afghan that I started years ago? Sigh, not enough hours in the day.

Tuesday

[vermont] Hold'n Heaven Daylilies

Went to a local daylily garden this past weekend to pick up some new plants. This woman has so many different species. I checked out her flowerbeds to see what was blooming now...

Daylily

Daylily

Daylily

Daylily

Daylily

Daylily

Daylily

Daylily

Garden dragon

I ended up getting 6 new cultivars, one of which is called "Spacecoast Tiny Perfection":

One of my new ones: 'Spacecoast Tiny Perfection'

Solid peachy-orange, not too tall, simple. I placed it in one of the front flowerbeds right in front of the house to fill in a gaping hole (I don't think my dwarf Asiatic lilies are going to bounce back from the ravaging chipmunks). I'm wondering whether I should attempt hybridizing some of the daylilies that I have now... Hmmm...

Monday

[gardening] Harvesting and drying Lavender

Harvested all my lavender last Friday:

Cutting lavender at home to dry

A little late, maybe. It shouldn't quite be flowering this much but I think it will be fine- the open flowers will add nice color to sachets I make.

Bundled up:

Cutting lavender at home to dry

Drying in the stairwell to the basement (I turned the light out after this picture- it's best to dry in the dark):

Lavender drying

Busy weekend. Tried to wrap up as much Tour de Fleece spinning as possible. Went to Hold'n Heaven to buy daylilies Saturday and spent 3 hours on Sunday planting everything (not sure why it took so long but a significant amount of time was spent weeding and struggling with a boulder- on which I broke my little half-sized shovel). Pictures tomorrow...

Friday

[gardening] What's blooming late July

I have an extra-special daylily that is blooming now:

Daylily

I bought this last year at a local daylily sale (to which I am going again this weekend- squee!). It's extra-special because the frilly edges of the petals are trimmed in gold glitter:

Daylily

Gold glitter!

Gold glitter along the petals of this daylily

This is a specimen that the woman who does her own hybridizing created and it's unreal. I need to ask her how the plant makes gold glitter. 

Other things going on around the flower beds... Bee balm starting in the back yard:

Untitled

One of the boughs on the apple tree in the back broke off (possibly during a heavy downpour) and is lying on the ground. There are lots of little apples all over it and the deer have been coming up to munch on them. I suppose once the bough is dead and dry, we'll drag it away over the bank. So, like, probably next spring? #lazy

Yo, I heard you like bee balm, so I put bee balm in your bee balm:

Untitled

Quite a few of the bee balm are mutants (I mean that lovingly) and have a little flower head growing out of the main flower head.

Some red daylilies are blooming now:

Untitled

Untitled

Nasturtium, edible, which I plan to pick and pop onto a smorrebrod sandwich this weekend.

Untitled

Not sure what this is- it's a hitchhiker that came with a clump of daylilies. 

What is this?

It's interesting and I like it. Would be worth separating from the daylilies when I decided to divide them.

One of my chores this weekend will be cutting and putting the lavender up to dry.

Lavender

Balloon flower:

Balloon flower

Something the woodchucks don't eat, so I should dig it up and divide it as many places as possible.

Can't wait to see what new daylilies I pick up this weekend!

Thursday

[knitting] Double Cable Twist Socks

My newest knitting project:

Socks started in Quebec. #knitting #sockknitting

Pattern is Double Cable Twist socks. Yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer. Needles US 2. Working up quickly- I did most of that knitting just in the mornings in the hotel room before we would go out exploring. I'll try to remember to do all the cable twists in the opposite direction for the other sock.

I don't think I've finished a project since... April? I keep starting new stuff and the WIPs are piling up. Sigh.

Wednesday

[travel] Quebec City

Back from a quick vacation to Quebec City. This is the third time we've been to the summer music festival and every time is wonderful. Good music, good food, good sight-seeing, good people. 

We stayed down around the Place d'Youville in Old Town this year, right across from one of the outdoor stages. Our hotel room was bonkers: two levels with the bathroom and sitting room downstairs and the bedroom upstairs.

Untitled


Untitled


Untitled


The view from our windows:

Hotel room view. Left a rainy, grey upper valley and finally reached blue skies.


Live music starts wafting in once bands start doing sound check around noon. But by then we're out and about. We love to have Boreale beer:

Sitting outside at a bistro with more Boreale. We are around the corner from a candy boutique and the smell of caramel keeps wafting over. This is heaven.


And there is no bad food in QC. Baklava:

Baklavaaaaaaaaahhhhh


Smoke salmon and salad for Dollar (I had beef tartare- so much yum):

#beclubbistrobar #quebecrestaurant #vieuxquebec #salmon


And poutine (this is 1:30 am poutine after the Metallica show):

Poutine


Duck confit tortellini:

Duck thing tortellini. Perfect fork-tender duck meat.


Smoked salmon flatbread:

Salmon fume pour moi. Neapolitan pour le garçon.


We did lots and lots of walking and sight-seeing. Down in lower Old Town:

Untitled


Building mural in old town.


To the museum of fine art:

Untitled


Untitled


Untitled


Untitled


Untitled


But the main raison d'etre was the music. We saw The Who Thursday night but I really liked the opening band The Struts. They were en feu. Metallica was the next night- awesome but soooo crowded. Gorillaz was great the next night. And the last night was Muse. Some of the crowds:

Photo


#FEQ


All around the city were street performers and walking back to our hotel one night, we caught Transe Express. Six people making up a human mobile, suspended from a crane, singing and playing music live:

So this happened in the street last night walking back to the hotel after the Gorillaz show. Transe Express performance. Six people (a singer, four musicians playing violins and a cello, and an acrobat) ina human mobile suspended from a crane. #transeexpr


Untitled


They were eventually swung over to a band that was playing on a flatbed truck (dressed like skeletons with a couple acrobats teeter-tottering over the drummer):

Untitled


I can't really explain it. The whole thing was surreal.

Merci, Quebec. Until next time...