Archive for July, 2010


Recipe of the Week

Shrimp Etouffee

4 tbl butter

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tsp Cajun Seasoning

1/4 tsp dried thyme

16 oz chicken, fish or vegetable stock

1 cup chopped tomato

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1 lb medium-large shrimp

3 cups cooked long-grain white rice

Melt 3  tbl butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion, bell pepper,  and celery in melted butter until soft, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking two minutes. Remove from heat and reserve vegetable mixture in bowl.  Melt remaining 3 tbl butter in Dutch oven. Stir in flour over medium low heat and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture turns a rich amber color, about 7 minutes. Stir in Cajun seasoning, thyme and stock. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in vegetable mixture and tomato. Simmer over low heat for 18 minutes, or until thick. Add green onions and shrimp. Cook five minutes or until shrimp are cooked through, stirring often.  Serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves 4


Recipe of the Week

Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies

These cookies are very adaptable. If you prefer chewy cookies, roll them thick; if you like your cookies crispy, roll them thin. Cut them into shapes appropriate to the season, and sprinkle with colored sugar before baking for a festive touch. Note: You can easily mix the dough in a mixer, rather than using a food processor. Makes about 30 cookies.

1 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 º; lightly grease baking sheets.

Place flour, cinnamon, and salt in work bowl of food processor; pulse five or six times until blended. Remove to a small bowl. Process butter and brown sugar about 30 seconds, scraping down sides once or twice, until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and process about 10 seconds to blend. Add flour mixture and pulse six to eight times, just until blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour or overnight. (Dough may also be frozen up to a month.)

Roll out dough, half at a time, to 1/8-inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter and place cookies two inches apart on baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake seven to eight minutes until firm and just beginning to darken at edges. Cool on wire racks.


Recipe of the Week

Oven Fried Pecan Chicken
1/2 cup biscuit mix
1/2 cup ground pecans
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
1  chicken, cut in  pieces
Combine first 5 ingredients, mixing well; set aside. Melt butter in a baking
dish. Dredge chicken in pecan mixture, and
place in the prepared dish. Bake uncovered at 350º for 30 mins. Turn
chicken over and bake an additional 30 mins or until done.


“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

I am of two minds in approaching content for this blog. Many have encouraged me to keep  my thoughts relevant (and exclusive) to crochet and my design business. I have been told that to share any part of myself amid these scribblings is unnecessary and unwelcome by my readers. My attention has been directed to other bloggers in my profession as examples. “No one wants to know who you are” , they say, “just tell us what you do”.

How do I engage my readers, my friends, (my fans?), without acknowledging my person? How does one become detached from self? Some have shared that my limited and faltering success in designing can be attributed to the fact the some folks just don’t like me or, more accurately, don’t like who I am.  So be it. I cannot alter nature nor would I wish to do so.

My recent 60th birthday and various recent personal disappointments have reminded me that my life, all life, is finite. How I spend my time will frequently change; who I am remains constant. If I don’t celebrate my life, with all its quirks and foibles, then even the greatest accolade is worthless in the greater scheme of events.

If what I do pleases you, I am grateful. If who I am inspires you, I am fulfilled. There seems little more to be said.


Twin Set, Triple Trouble

I have never spent so much time and energy and mental gymnastics in my entire designing career (short that it is) on one project.  My brain knows exactly what it wants to see. The hook has a mind of its own.  I have ripped and ripped and ripped and ripped some more the same stitches over and over and over again (you get the picture?).  And this is just one of the front panels. I’ve got to do the other front panel yet so I get to look forward to this hell again, only in reverse. God willing and the crick don’t rise, the back will present less frustration and stress.

Everyone who has seen the shell portion of the set and what little I had done of the cardigan has admired the colors and classic simplicity of the design. If they only knew the cartwheels I have been executing in the process. And the greatest trick yet to be played is to make the pattern attractive and straightforward to execute by others. Fingers crossed.

I will not attempt to recreate the wheel in relating to you my busy June.  It began with my 60th birthday…. the rest is a whirlwind of crochet madness. Check out the Men Who Crochet blog for all the hooking escapades of the month.

One amazing consequence of working at the San Mateo County fair was getting  to know Julie Curry of Heritage Oak Quilting who coordinates the Home Arts building where the hand crafts are housed. Julie’s handiwork was displayed in many of the numerous quilts  at the exhibit. She’s a warm, gracious and welcoming person and an incredible quilter. On our second day there, I was struck with the most exciting proposition for Jule: a quilt made by her in exchange for a sweater made by me. I didn’t know if she’s go for it; some folks balk at exchanges, and rightly so. Frequently, one party gets the short end of the stick in such enterprises. I was counting on the fact that Julie had often admired my work and had often expressed an appreciation and admiration of crochet. As luck would have it, Julie was crazy about the idea. Indeed, on the next day we were at the fair, Julie was ready with pattern books and swatches for me to look over. Long story short:  I have picked out my colors and the pattern and I couldn’t be more excited by the prospect of owning one of these masterpieces. For my contribution in the transaction, Julie will be thrilled to receive the Aran sweater, re-designed as a cardigan. I couldn’t be more pleased.

So now I must get back to the Twin Set. I am calling it “Spring into Spring Twin Set”. Let’s hope it’s finished before next spring. I’d like to submit it for publication but time is running out. Lord, no more brain farts, PLEASE!

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