Here is what I came up with:
The globe (blue) and the continents (green and white) are polyester fleece. Globe is in 12 segments, stuffed with polyester fiberfill, “Poly-Fil”. Continents are hand stitched to globe. The stick figure is denim, sewn into tubes, turned, and stuffed with fiberfill. Head is in 6 segments, of cotton. Crown is “stiffened felt”. Rainbow is bias strips of satin remnants (that I had leftover from making art2love capes!), stiffened with plastic tapestry grid and padded with polyester fleece. The clouds are in two pieces, of 4-way stretch knit, hand sewn to the globe and rainbow, and stuffed with fiberfill.
I came across a pin pointing to The Library of Congress On-Line Search where one can search for, and view old publications! Searching for “garment cutting”, “dress making”, “tailoring” and “garment drafting” returns great old publications and books on the subject. For example, here’s a page from “Elements of garment cutting”, Madison, J. O. (James Otis), 1878:
The lesson there is that when applying iron-on lettering, check and double check before applying heat in anger, ’cause there ain’t no second chance!
But all’s well that ends well:
I made another cape for art2love. The child who designed this cape took his (her? I don’t know whom it’s for; I’m not supposed to) inspiration from “Dragon Ball Z”, a Japanese anime series.
The construction of this cape is similar to the first cape that I made. The major color blocks are applied with Wonder-Under, an iron-on fusible web with paper backing. Since the pieces are huge, I only applied Wonder-Under around their perimeter. Backing an entire large piece with Wonder-Under would make the cape too stiff.
I used white polyester fleece for the “cloud”. I did a black outline as depicted in the excellent original design; it’s necessary to give the piece an “anime” feel. I did the outline with black permanent marker, then do a narrow zig-zag satin stitch over it. The black ink gives the outline more defined: I only needed to zig-zag the outline once instead of twice as usual.
The black border at the bottom is a bit of FUBAR on my part! I miscalculated and made the design too big so I had to add some length to the cape to accomodate it!
The Kanji script on the character’s white chest enblem is, AFAICT, Japanese Kanji script for “dragon”. I hope it doesn’t actually mean “dumpling” or something worse!
The “Dragon Ball Z” was replaced with the child’s initials, to avoid any possible copyright issues (though the design itself may have copyright issues as well; hopefully they won’t go after the kid for copyright infringement!).
art2love is a non-profit organization that aims to “touch hearts through art“, to “to empower, encourage and elevate children in crisis through art – their own art“. Children come up with design for things such as capes, soft toys, etc. and volunteer craftster bring the designs to life.
I volunteered to make a cape for a 14-year old. Her design is quite… challenging. She was highly creative in her choice of design for the cape, of its crest, and of its colors.
I executed her design as is, with one small artistic license: the construction of the wavy royal blue borders lent itself to thin black outside borders. I thought the fine black lines lends even more “pop” to the blue borders.
I also learned something new: working with Wonder-Under. Wonder-Under is a paper backed heat-activated fusible material. One of its uses is to apply appliques. One would heat fuse Wonder-Under to the back of the applique material, let it cool, draw the applique shape and cut it out. Peeling off the paper backing leaves behind the adhesive and the applique can now be heat fused onto background material. To add a final, neat-freak, touch, one would zig zag around the applique’s border. That would also make the applique more rugged, to withstand possible laundering. I zig zag the border twice, to make the stitching more dense and to give it more visual presence.
I love the end result (if I do say so myself!). I see many custom applique-festooned garments in my future!
Overall, making the cape was a rich and rewarding experience. I will definitely do more of it.
It’s basically a roasted salsa (all veggie ingredients are broiled under the broiler in my electric oven) with the addition of white truffle oil (Grapevine brand) and seasoned with Chihuahua de Mexico smoked salt. I think the earthy truffle oil and the smoky salt really spice up this classic roasted tomatillo poblano salsa.
Several days before the contest, I made different versions of the salsa, starting with just the vegetable ingredients, then successively adding olive oil, lime juice, and truffle oil, fine tuning as I go. I leave the salsa in the fridge overnight and taste and fine tune the salsa further the morning after, as would be the case on contest day.
I didn’t decide on adding Chihuahua de Mexico smoked salt until making the final iteration of the salsa. I’m happy the salt’s smokiness did something good for the salsa.
For presentation, I crafted a basket lined with Spanish moss, representatives of the ingredients, and a “bouquet” made from the husk of the tomatillos.
Roasted Poblano Tomatillos Salsa With White Truffle Oil
- 6 roma tomatoes
- 6 tomatillos
- 2 fresh poblano peppers
- 1/2 small red onion
- 8 whole garlic cloves, skin on
- 1/2 C very finely minced cilantro, leaves only (include stems and chop less finely for “chunkier” salsa)
- 2 Tsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp Chihuahua de Mexico smoked salt, finely ground with a mortar and pestle
- 2 tsps truffle oil
- dash of coarsely ground black pepper
Roast tomatoes, tomatillos, poblano, red onion, and garlic cloves 3-4″ inches from broiler’s flame/element for 7 minutes then turn and roast for another 5 minutes, until blackened all over.
Squeeze garlic out of their skin. Mash to a paste with back of spoon.
Optional: remove charred skin from tomatoes and poblano. Leave more skin in for more smokiness, at the expense of having some rough bits in the salsa.
Separately, coarsely purée tomatoes, tomatillos, poblanos, and onion in blender. Remove to separate bowls.
Start with equal volumes of tomatoes, tomatillos, and poblanos.
Add onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salts, truffle oil and pepper. Taste and adjust.
- Cajun seasoning blend
- Chili powder, Bolsa
- Cinnamon: stick & ground
- Cumin: whole seeds & ground
- Curry power
A quick Google’ing shows that this is either an “Atlantic” knot or a “Bosphorus” knot. The same Google results also open up a whole new world of tie knots! For example, “The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie” is a book based on mathematical formulation of the act of tying a tie, ”equivalent to persistent random walks on a triangular lattice, with some constraints on how the walks begin and end”. The book specifies a notation used to describe how to tie a knot. I bet CK Chin has that book, ’cause I saw another pic of him with his tie tied with another fancy knot.
“En papillote” is a fantastic way to bake fish, especially fish that is delicate and might fall apart from handling. I used Atlantic cod which is quite delicate. I don’t think I’ve ever successfully pan fried Atlantic cod before. It always manage to crumble upon turning. When baked “en papillote” and therefore not handled at all, the fish comes to the table intact.
Even though there was no extra fluid added, the dish has a fair amount of sauce when done, probably juice from the lemon slices, the tomato’s juice and the fish’s juice, drawn out by salt.
For example, I bake French baguettes. A lot. I bake all the bread for our family of two. My issue is regardless of how fastidious I am with my ingredients and methods, the end result is never exactly the same. A loaf would be slightly more brown or less brown, slightly more or less crusty, the crumb slightly more or less open. One might think that I am being too critical and too unrealistic, but I don’t believe so, and I think I know the reason why the results are never the same.
Recently, I was chatting with a colleague at our Friday beer bash-cum-company meeting about brewing beer. I asked him if he thinks he can reproduce a particular batch of beer if somebody asks him to. We eventually decided that while it may appear that a product is reproducible, it’s really quite near impossible for amateur small-batch producers to do so. Variance in ingredients would singlehandedly thwarts such an effort.
In my case, the flour might differ depending on the crop, on how soon it was milled after harvested, on its age when I use it. The water, though from the same faucet and filtered in the same filtering pot, might have varying quantities of dissolved gases because of temperature, season, or atmospheric pressure. The long pre-ferment time may give the yeast too much leeway in its interaction with the flour, diverging down different paths of development each time.
Large-quantity producers produce products of consistent quality perhaps not only because of greater skill and experience, but also because the amounts of raw materials involved are so large that there is a much much larger “averaging” effect within any one batch, and also from batch to batch, such that the products vary little in quality.
To serve, I add caramelized/crisped thinly sliced shallots and thinly sliced scallions (no chewing required!) to bring a bit more oomph to the dish.
(When I do phở gà, I refrigerate the chicken meat in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Upon uncovering, the chicken would give off a rather strong smell, a ”chicken” smell on steroids! It dissipates quickly and by the time it’s served, it smells great, but the initial smell is always quite off-putting. I wonder why it’s like that…)
Julienne and boil yellow beets until fork-tender. (I only used about 1/2″ of water in the saucepan to boil/steam the beet, keeping the pan tightly covered.) Hull an slice strawberries about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick. Thinly slice green scallions. I cut the scallions into 2″ sections then julienne them (lengthwise), but you can also slice them crosswise thinly. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper. Toss & serve.
Bring 1/2 C of orange juice to a boil and reduce to a simmer; reduce to about 1/4 C.
Cut two bacon slices crosswise into 1/4″ pieces. Line a bowl with paper towel (to soak up bacon fat) and microwave the bacon for about one minute. Remove the paper towel and microwave the bacon some more until crispy; it will render some more fat. Remove bacon bits to a paper towel and add the bacon fat, about 1 Tsp, to the orange juice.
Meanwhile, slice zucchini thinly, 1/16″ or less: my kingdom for a mandolin! Actually, with a sharp knife, it didn’t take too long to slice up a couple of zucchinis. Thicker slices is OK too, if you like your salad crunchy (I don’t, much).
Cut cherry tomatoes in halves (which makes them a lot easier to eat; chasing little spherical objects around a bowl with a fork is no fun). Thinly slice two scallions.
For dressing: add about 2 T olive oil to orange juice/bacon fat mixture. Add salt and pepper and about 2 tsps red wine vinegar. I also threw in a bit of orange zest. Whisk until emulsified.
Toss zucchini, tomato, and scallions in dressing. Sprinkle with bacon bits just before serving.
The first is about customs: everybody, and I do mean everybody, from children to old people needing a walker, introduces themselves and/or greets everybody else upon entering the house. I thought that was so cool: it immediately familiarizes everybody with each other and makes for a more comfortable gathering.
The second revelation was about the food: amazing combinations of flavors, tastes, and textures. I had had various versions of “Persian” food before at places around town so many of the dishes are familiar. However, there were two that were new to me and they also happen to be my favorites: mirza ghassemi, Persian eggplant, tomato, and egg; and zereshk polow, Persian saffron rice with cranberries/barberries, candied tangerine peels, onions, with chicken. The zereshk polow was by far my favorite, with its contrast of flavors (saffron, turmeric) and taste (cranberries/barberries) and texture (the tangerine peels are quite chewy and are a great contrast). Here’s a quick vid of the banquet.
My sis-in-law gave us the rice cooker as a housing warming gift when we moved down to Austin over twenty years ago. You read that right: twenty, as in, two decades! The rice cooker still works as perfectly, cooking our rice almost every day. Its Teflon-coated liner has collected a layer of gunk, from years of
cooked rice bits not properly cleaned off thus getting “re-cooked” upon the next use. Despite such abuse, the non-stick coating still works and rice does not stick. All the same, I don’t like the way it looks, so I researched into getting a new liner. I emailed Zojirushi’s support. They replied:
Unfortunately our model NMDC-R10 has been discontinued since 1998. We no longer manufacture the inner pans. The inner pans are not interchangeable with other models. I apologize for the inconvenience.
It’s so old Zojirushi no longer makes parts for it! I suppose such is the downside of appliances that last forever!
My tart this week is filled with anise bulb, eggplant, and zucchini squash, all thinly sliced and sautéed separately, blue cheese, and topped with fried fronds from the anise bulb.