Monday, July 30, 2012

Interlocking Seasons Block

Interlocking Seasons Block En Point

This is the first of 30 blocks I'm doing for a quilt for family.  Have been working on these for a long time and have not wanted to share any of it since it's a present, but I just can't wait any longer!!  I have the centers done for all of them now--actually about twice as many as I need since putting it en point won't use as many.  Will have a bunch to make some table runners or other things with.

It's an interesting block to make and am fascinated by the process it must have taken to figure out!  These are colors my family members picked out--not ones I'd have chosen, but have fallen in love with them and love the subtlety the various fabrics have produced.  Can't remember how many maroons, but there are two golds and five blacks.  The original blocks were made using strips 1.25" wide and various lengths in each color.  Mine are 2" strips so my center measures considerably more and with black triangles, it's even bigger.  I loved working with those sizes.

Here's where it originated from:   and there's a pdf file for it.  If you're interested, my strip lengths were 2 (her 1.25), 2 x 3.5 (her 2), 2 x 5 (her 2.75) , 2 x 6.5 (3.5).  I'm not sure it's exactly as hers are, but the triangles I used are cut from a 12.5 square.   

Pieces laid out so could be chain pieced.
Markings on red pieces with Roxanne's white marker          
 so could line up golds across from each other

Pencil lines drawn so can line up reds across from each other.
I'd lay that little clear ruler along the red pieces already sewn.
Pencil marks barely show and after awhile did them on right side of fabric.
At first, I sewed each "season" section together, but after a few were done, figured out it was much easier and faster to chain sew all red and gold squares to their black counterpart, reds to the 5" blacks, etc.  They were all done in sets of four, so it worked out well.  Then they were cut apart and ironed so could go to next step, then next, etc.  It also seemed to work out best when it came time to put all four "seasons" together--especially after I re-read her instructions on the last little black square over a couple times.  Even so, each inner square with all four seasons took over an hour to put together.  I'm compulsive about ironing well, so that is included in time.  Of course, doesn't count cutting everything--here's where my strip cutter (Donna Dewberry's by Fiskar) worked really well.  Think got it at Joann's when 1/2 off.  Worth it!!  

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Oh, my!!  This was so easy, delicious, moist and definitely my new favorite way to do salmon and chicken!!   Large pieces of parchment paper is used either in heart shape or squares/rectangles.  There are videos online showing how to do this, and that's what I watched before doing.  It's something I'd wanted to do but was intimidated by--DON'T BE!  I'm going to do this with grandkiddos next time they visit.  They will love it, and so will you.  
Salmon en papillote.  Used Alton Brown's recipe with some variation

Julienned veggies, salmon, heart shaped parchment pieces
Julienned carrots, snow peas, fennel, green onions as bed for Salmon
Seasoned veggies, layered on salmon, then seasoned it, layered on more veggies, then lemon slices

Salmon en papillote in microwave...4 minutes
Finished Salmon--absolutely fantastic!
Veggies and citrus prepped for both salmon and chicken

Salmon Fillet En Papillote with Julienned Veggies by Alton Brown
  • 1/3 cup julienned fennel bulb
  • 1/3 cup julienned leeks, white part only
  • 1/3 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/3 cup julienned snow peas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon whole coriander seed, ground fine
  • 1 (8-ounce) salmon fillet, pin bones removed
  • 1 orange cut into wedges with white, pithy membrane removed--used lemon slices
  • 1 tablespoon dry vermouth--I used V8's fusion of pomegranate and blueberry


Take a 15 by 36-inch piece of parchment paper and fold in 1/2 like a book. Draw a large 1/2 heart on paper with fold of paper being the center of the heart. Cut out heart and open. Lay fennel, leeks, carrots, and snow peas on parchment in center to 1 side of fold. Mix together salt, pepper, and ground coriander. Sprinkle vegetables with 1/2 of salt, pepper, and coriander. Lay salmon on top of vegetables and season with remaining salt, pepper and coriander. Top with the orange wedges and sprinkle with vermouth. Fold other side of heart over fish and starting at top of heart shape, fold up both edges of parchment, overlapping folds as you move along. Once you reach the end tip, twist several times to secure tightly. Place on microwave safe plate and cook for 4 minutes, on high in microwave, or until fish reaches 131 degrees. Open parchment carefully and serve for a complete meal.

Not sure where I found the chicken recipe, but I changed it up a lot!

Chicken En Papillote

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts        4 Tbl. sauce         salt and pepper                                                          2 c. sliced/chopped veggies--carrots/onions/peppers, etc.       butter 

Cut two 24 inch long pieces of parchment paper and cut about 2 feet of string for each "purse".  Mix veggies. Cut chicken breasts horrizontally so you have four thin fillets.  To prepare: spread butter in middle of a parchment piece & place bottom piece of one breast there--salt & pepper it.  Put 1/4 of veggies on top and pour 1 Tbl of sauce on.  Place top of breast over bottom, season it and top with 1/4 of veggies and sauce.  Pull up and gather parchment around chicken & veggies.  Gather tightly & tie string tightly with a bow.  Repeat with second one.  Put both on a microwavable plate, then cook on high for 8 minutes.  Should reach 131 degrees or higher.  Place each on its own plate to open.  This is good served over rice, so can empty purse over rice (HOT  when open these!) or add hot rice to opened packet.  We used pineapple habanero sauce--spicy.  Use terriyaki, hoisin, honey mustard, bbq, or whatever sauce.  Easy, moist and delicious.  Make these ahead 1-2 days. Might try 6 or 7 minutes first.  If doing only one maybe only 3-4 minutes.
 Ingredients for chicken: chicken, onions, broccoli, snow peas, peppers, citrus pieces, pineapple habanero sauce from Costco
Chicken en papillote alone without rice--very juicy and very spicy!!!
 Two chicken "purses" in sure to put them on a plate.  Can always find a recipe for baking in oven.
 Buttered about a 4 x 4 inch area on parchment before laying chicken down, then veggies and spoon over whatever sauce
 Tied packet ready for microwave or oven
 Chicken en papillote served with brown rice--it helps to spread out the spiciness a lot!
This is what was used instead of alcohol in salmon dish and next time would add more per each packet have to try this--it's just so simple and you can change it up however you'd like.  ENJOY!
Blog-checking lines: Our July 2012 Daring Cooks’ host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Three more blocks from the Garden Steps quilt along.  Two with words I added to their cute designs.  Also some designs of my own: butterfly, heart and ladybug.
Block 8 is a darling birdhouse.  
Banner design.  Had fun adding some different details to the little flags.

This was supposed to be flowers in a basket, but can't get my computer to print and  had to copy by  using tracing paper gingerly held over design.  Flowers are larger than hers and left off basket.

Close up of design with words.  Have tried to live by this motto as we moved around  U.S. and Europe in  lots of moves with Army.  10 moves in first 10 years alone!

Butterfly design adapted from something found online.

My own heart design--basic heart shape with lots of lazy daisy flowers  and some swirlies

HAD to have a ladybug in there somewhere.  My interpretation of a round ladybug design from online--sort of heart  shaped body!
Have several other centers done waiting for "steps".  Trying to do the "have to's" that need doing first.  Clover and Violet are sponsoring this quilt along--really love their designs and ideas for fabrics.  Have added a few extra fabrics found online that go well with the others.  Know my picks don't always follow basic steps design, but love them all.  Look on flickr here:   to see others' interpretations.  If that doesn't work try looking up Clover & Violet :: Quilt Along.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


This month on the Daring Kitchen, baker's were challenged to make Battenberg Cakes in honor of Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee...since I'm a granddaughter of British Isle immigrants, I thought it was appropriate! There are sort of a pound cake, baked in either a special pan or with divisions in a larger pan to make at least four separate strips of cake.  Then those strips are held together with something like jelly or strained jam.  After they're together, fondant/marzipan/chocolate plastique covers it.  Here's my version:
Triple Threat Battenberg Cake

Mixing Chocolate Plastique--very easily came together!
Takes a bit to get it warmed up enough to roll out.  Next time would use  chocolate powder as it ended up with  white  on the outside.  Some people had shiny plastique but don't know how they did it

Pampered Chef Casserole dish prepared to hold three different batters.  Made tinfoil divisions, then covered them and bottom of pan with buttered parchment paper.

Used the spatula to measure strips and cut with sharp serrated knife
Made green mint, yellow orange, and chocolate cake by dividing batter into three bowls and then colored and  flavored them

Cakes out of pan and trimmed
Cake strips "glued" together and covered with applebutter.  Next time I'd use the recommended apricot or something less spicy, and would frost with buttercream before covering with plastique.  Hubby would have much preferred buttercream for the "glue" and covering!
Batter before dividing--nice batter

Pulverized a whole orange to put in cake batter after taking out seeds

Rice flour I made in my Magic Mill from white rice kernals
Someone even made a rubik's cube (look it up online) and lots of Daring Kitchen baker's made just beautiful decorations for their cakes.  One think that was a problem was cutting the plastique--it tended to crack.  Oh, and DO NOT chill your ready to be covered cake or plastique cracks very easily--yep, I know about this from experience!  Three of my girlie girls loved this when they came to visit gramma last week...sometime we're going to make it when we're not so busy decorating sugar cookies, learning to do crewel embroidery and just generally having fun, fun, fun!!!

Hope you'll go here: for the chocolate plastique, or if want to make your own fondant, look up marshmallow fondant--easy and tasty.  for the cake, try this site for one using pound cake mix, or use a good pound cake recipe:

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

If you look up poundcake in my labels, you'll find my absolutely favorite and fabulous recipe from a cookbook I got in Germany in 70's.  Posted January this year.