29 November, 2011

The easy way and...

My way (that is, the hard way).

I am a wannabe quilter. I recently finished my first real quilt, ten years in the making. I learned a lot, mostly about what not to do. I'm working on my second quilt now Having just finished my second quilt I'm learning more still. Best of all, I'm changing how I learn.

I have a habit of approaching new and complicated tasks as if I should be able to figure them out on my own. This is how I went about making my first quilt; that didn't go too well. It's also how I started the second quilt. I learned a bunch on the first one so I figured the second one should be effortlessly great, right?

At Rhinebeck I told Craftivore about the mistakes I made with the first one, namely the unintended pleating (on. both. sides!). Then something marvelous happened, she gave me some advice:
  • Tape each layer of the sandwich to the floor before basting the sandwich together.
  • Use a walking foot. 
Maybe not earth-shattering stuff to you guys, but for me I learned some stuff the easy way and, as Homer Simpson would say, with sexy results! [eyebrow waggle]

This second quilt was a great learning experience and the key lesson learned was that I don't need to come up with all the answers by myself. Sadly, I started the quilt before my epiphany and did learn a bit more the hard way (fabric grain is pretty important, we'll leave it at that) though mostly I found workarounds to any issues as I went.

20 November, 2011

Getting my mojo back

Sorry I've been so quiet. Took a while to decompress from Rhinebeck, then we got walloped by a freak storm and lost power for a few long, cold, dark, boring, dirty days. Getting our power back was hugely invigorating and I've been riding the high. The past couple weeks have been particularly productive for me in which I've taken care of my body, mind and spirit. Some of that meant limiting my online time so I'm only now getting around to telling you what I've been up to.

Some of my best recent successes have taken place in the kitchen and since I'm talking about mojo, let's start with the marinated pork loin!

I took the marinade from this recipe and modified it a bit. I omitted the Worcestershire sauce (didn't have any), used olive oil in place of vegetable and added some finely minced shallot. Also didn't measure any of the herbs and I have a feeling that I went a good deal heavier than instructed on the cumin. Oh, and I added some ground coriander too. 

I blitzed the marinade with a stick blender then poured it over two halves of a pork tenderloin in a sealable bag, pressed out the air, sealed the bag and let in marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.

The next morning, I transferred the meat and all the marinade into a heavy-lidded casserole dish and cooked in a slow oven (275-300F) for a few hours. I cooked it until it crumbled when pressed with the back of a fork.

It was awesome; you should make some!