Monday, August 30, 2010

Moorish (Tortilla) Afghan Update

The heat wave this week has kept me out of the garden. I was forced to sit under the fan and clear up long overdue paperwork. Glad that it done. On the plus side, I finally joined  the beautiful Moorish motifs (Tortilla) to make the Afghan. It was exciting to see it come together.

I started by using the main color to join the pieces together per the instructions but did not like the look of it. It was too contrasting.Whip stitching the pieces together made it a tedious process to undo placement mistake. Prowling through the CrochetMe blog, I found others were slip stitching the pieces together using the dominant color between the motifs. I used this method. Any placement mistake was easily 'unzip' by pulling the thread, undoing the chain of the slip stitches. I also like how using dominant color between the tiles made it flow better- like using the right color grout between tiles. To make it easier I color up the motif chart to make it easier to keep track that of the motifs I was joining. 

The finished product is beautiful, soft and cozy. However, I think it is a bit small than I like. I currently cozy up to a gorgeous quilt my good friend C made for my 50th. Birthday. I want to make it closer to that size.  I ordered more yarn and I am in the process of making more of the Moorish tiles motifs to enlarge the afghan. Will update again.

Deciding which color to use to join motif

Color up chart to make placement easier

Keeping track of diamond motifs

All motifs used up

Way smaller than the gorgeous birthday quilt my friend C made for me

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tomato, Artichoke and White Bean Penne

This one of our favorite pasta dish, the one that makes my son ask with a smile on his face -"Is it the one I eat a ton of ?" Literally, he would have eaten 4 bowls before I ask if he is having seconds! I made it this week for my daughter as part of  her count down Must Eat before College dish. It is something she can easily make in her new apartment.

I make it a lot in the summer with tomatoes from my garden and also at other time of the year with just pantry staples. It is best with fresh tomatoes but canned whole tomatoes will work too. As long as you have cans of whole tomatoes,white bean and artichoke hearts in the pantry and pancetta or bacon in the fridge, you are on your way. It is a dish that you can easily substitute with items you have on hand. I think italian sausage in place of the pancetta or bacon and asparagus in place of the artichoke will work well too. Just experiment!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mee Hoon Kuih in Soup

This is another of my daughter's Must Eat Before College request that I obliged this week. This posting is for you, my darling daughter! Now that you have your  own apartment complete with a kitchen you can cook a little taste of home whenever you want. Of course, 1-800-Mommeeee is always available to you.

This is a traditional Hokkein dish which is essentially fresh handmade pasta in a flavorful broth. It is a favorite of my family here in the US as well as our families in Malaysia. My mother makes a top notch version. She is particular, often making and serving individual bowls. That way, the pasta is truly el dente. Since I am the only one forming the pasta and somehow my family is always already too hungry when I make this dish, I make all the pasta first before calling everyone to the table. I just remove, drain and keep the cooked pasta hot in a big serving bowl. A drizzle of shallot oil keep the pasta separate.

The toughest part of the dish is stretching out the dough thin enough to make Mee Hoon Kuey (pasta), tearing the pieces off and dropping it into hot simmering broth. It is a tedious hot work so you must love your family! Not many families make it at home in Malaysia these days because of the work and skill involved. Lucky for them it is possible to order this dish at food stalls. Some vendors have updated it, rolling out the dough through a pasta machine and making fettucine style pasta. I prefer the old fashioned, rustic torn off pasta.The toppings is everything!! I serve it with fried anchovies, meat topping, chinese bok choy, fried peanuts and fried shallots. Like I said, lots of work but yummy! 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blueberry Scones

This posting is in honor of the secretaries and the other wonderful ladies at the front office of my son's high school. My son recently suffered an injury to his eye and he had to be out of school for awhile. These ladies helped get his homework from his various classes and got him his off campus passes for follow up doctor visits. This truly helped me in a stressful situation. I bake some of these blueberry scones as a treat to these special ladies.

The pictures are from another batch I made at our Temecula weekend home. I had fresh peaches and blueberries but no sour cream. I improvised by adding 2 tablespoon of buttermilk powder to 1 whole cup of milk in place of the 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 sour cream. Another substitution I made was 1/2 stick of non-trans fat cisco and 1/2 stick of butter in place of 1 stick of butter. Again, based on what I had on hand. I am a great believer in making it work! The scones were flaky and moist. Original recipe was from CooksIllustrated. These are so easy and fast to make that I made an extra batch for the freezer. I freeze them unbaked so that I can have truly fresh Blueberry Scones the next time I am up at the house.