Archive for October, 2011

I know, you thought I’d never write another quilt-related post, ever. It’s true that I haven’t been sewing lately, but I’m always thinking about it. I have a top that’s ready to go to the longarmer and would have this week, had she not been out of town. I realize that 2011 is rapidly slipping away, so I’d better get my butt in gear if I’m going to make a dent in my UFO pile.

So anyway, while you’re waiting for some actual progress, here are some pics from this weekend’s Richmond Quilt Guild show. I’m not a member but I love seeing entries made by friends. I’ll post them separately so that you won’t have blog post fatigue.

I was surprised to see art quilts by Anita McLarin. She and her family went to our church back when our girls were in high school, late 90’s-early 2000’s. She and her husband Mac sang in the Chancel Choir with us. I don’t know where they’re going now and I don’t think I was aware that she is a quilter. Although someone looking at them alongside me said Anita considers herself an artist, not a quilter. I presumed the lady knew her and that it wasn’t meant to be snarky (although it did sound a little like that).

Next up: Karen DuMont


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This morning I made a fall soup that was published in our local newspaper this week. It’s not a new recipe, just Google the name and you’ll see all kinds of sites with this recipe.

Chunky Butternut Squash, White Bean and Tomato Soup

Makes 4 main-course servings

1 large garlic clove, minced
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces (2 cups)
2 cups water
2 cups chicken stock or store-bought reduced-sodium broth
1 16- to 19-ounce can white beans, preferably cannellini, rinsed and drained
4 canned San Marzano tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
½ cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), optional
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook garlic in 1 tablespoon oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 1 minute. Add squash, water, stock, beans, tomatoes and sage. Bring to a simmer [is this a typo? shouldn’t it say boil? that’s what I did], cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pumpkin seeds, if using, in remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until seeds are puffed and lightly toasted, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and lightly season with salt.

Mash some of the squash against sides of saucepan to thicken soup. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, if using, and additional cheese.

Note: The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool, uncovered, then refrigerate, covered.

— Adapted from “Gourmet Today” edited by Ruth Reichl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

On the advice of a friend, I substituted these for the San Marzano tomatoes. I wasn’t familiar with the San Marzanos but found them on Amazon with a boatload of negative comments about that particular brand, as it is not imported from Italy as the can would lead you to believe. Apparently the appeal of these tomatoes is their low acidity. My friend recommended the Tuttorosso brand as they also have low-acidity and are cheaper and easier to find.

I don’t have any pumpkin seeds so I’m not using them this time.

Here’s a blog that has better pictures than mine:

Garlic Shoots

Try it!

[Edited to add]: This soup is excellent. The only thing I’d change is to add more beans. Back when this recipe was written you could probably buy a can of beans in that size, but I could only find 15.5 oz cans. So that’s what I used. Another tip regarding the stock/broth: I bought two 14.5 oz cans of Swanson reduced-sodium broth but only used one. It was so close to 2 cups that instead of opening/wasting most of the 2nd can, I just added enough water to reach that mark. No harm/no foul.

[Edited again to add]: Yesterday we stumbled upon pumpkin seeds in the salad bar at Whole Foods. I had no idea.


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Morning Walk

I took the new lens for a walk around my neighborhood this morning.

So far so good, as far as lens quality. However, this is a heavy lens. I don’t know that it’s appropriate for a walk around the neighborhood.

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Lens test

I decided to rent a lens that I’m considering purchasing to test and see if it would really work for me. It’s the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS. A friend of mine has the 24-70 f/2.8L and it’s a nice lens. But more and more, I keep hearing professional photographers say the 24-105 is their everyday, walk-around lens. I would gain more reach in the longer focal length but lose one full stop of light if I bought this one over the 24-70. I do a lot of zooming and I’m thinking I’d rather have the reach. I don’t know how often I’d need f/2.8 and I can always use ISO 3200 (the max on my camera) in low-light situations. After waiting all day yesterday for UPS to arrive with the lens (it requires a signature so they won’t just leave it on the porch), it finally came at 3pm.

Here are my first two trial shots.

Considering the cardinal was shot through the window, so far I’m impressed.

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A Very Special Day

Today is a special day for our friends Kay and Tom.

It’s their 10th anniversary.

We’ve had the pleasure of their friendship for a couple of years since they moved to Richmond. They’re such a great couple, fun to be with, generous to a fault. Kay is an awesome cook, event planner extraordinaire and I hope to get her hooked on quilting very soon. You know how we quilters like to evangelize. Tom has one of the most gorgeous singing voices I’ve ever heard.

Happy Anniversary, Lovebirds! And I wish you many, many more!


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