Saturday, May 2, 2015

Serbian Potato Salad and Baby Quilts in Progress

I want to be one of those women whose homes look like pages from a Better Homes and Garden magazine.  But… unfortunately, I am not.  I am not even close.  I am so far from close that one of my daughters says she is going to stage an intervention and call Hoarders to feature me on their show!  That is a slight exaggeration, unless you dare to open a closet door or go into my basement or garage.  I have watched Hoarders a time or two (quite by accident, mind you) and most of my house looks nothing like theirs!  I will admit, however, that with the ease of online ordering on my computer, and the eagerness of merchants to send me emails announcing their fantastic deals, even with free shipping, I have taken advantage of a few of those specials! Most of my Christmas gifts were ordered online and delivered to my front door in record time.  When the weather makes driving hazardous, I can order many things online from the big superstores, from flour to canned foods, yarn, and fabric… and every other non-perishable thing I can think of. I've discovered most perishable items can be ordered in powdered form, like milk, eggs and butter.  Dried and canned fruit are readily available, as well, but I haven’t found any substitute for a good, fresh salad!  I am a seasonal recluse, seldom going out by myself when the sidewalks may be slippery.  Too many of my friends have slipped and fallen, and I do not yearn to be in their number.

There is usually a quilt in progress on my design wall, which consists of a flannel-backed tablecloth hung in front of the fireplace in my family room.  Here are the baby quilts I have had there recently… the first is a basic 9-Patch, made with Fossil Fern fabrics and a tone-on-tone white cotton background fabric.  I finished the edges of the basic quilt by using just two parts of the 9-Patches.  I love the Fossil Fern fabrics... Alyssa says they look like watercolors, and I agree with her.  I made this from 2-1/2" strips of fat quarters I ordered online from Craftsy... when they had a sale I couldn't resist!  They were only a little over $1 for each fat quarter, sold in a box of 90, and each of the fat quarters is a slightly different shade, with all the colors you could imagine included.  The white center blocks are 6-1/2" squares.  By pressing the seams on the 9-patch blocks in opposite directions, I didn't need to do any pinning until I pinned the rows together for sewing.  It's a quick and easy quilt to make, and the result is beautiful and colorful.  I will not put a border on this, but will bind it in one of the Fossil Fern fabrics, probably blue or green.  

The other is made up of leftover pieces from a Quilt-Along Wedding Dress Blue is featuring on her Blog.  A link to her Blogspot is included below. Check out her blog... she has some lovely free quilt patterns and tutorials, plus a uniquely designed wall quilt rack that her father makes from oak that can be ordered.  I am getting one for myself... my birthday is coming up this summer!   I made mine a bit differently than she did, using strip cutting and piecing.  I made the big queen sized quilt with mostly jewel tones.  The center of the star is a 16-patch and the star points were made by sewing a colored 8" square to an 8" background colored square and making 8 half square triangles at once.

My friends know I enjoy cooking and baking as much as quilting.  Recently, I was talking to one of my favorite people, who happens to be Serbian.  She told me about two recipes that she makes, even in the nursing home where she now resides.  The first is something I will dub “Raw Onion Relish”, which she said is delicious as a condiment to accompany the roast chicken you can buy already roasted in many grocery stores.  The other is her version of Serbian Potato Salad.  Both sounded so good, I had to make them both last week.

Raw Onion Relish:
Chop one onion and place it in a small bowl.
Drizzle with about one tablespoon Olive Oil.
Sprinkle with salt to taste (I used flaked Sea Salt… Becka stressed NO PEPPER)
Mix well.  Delicious served with roast chicken.  Becka’s instructions:  Take one bite of roast chicken then a bite of the onion relish and chew them together!  It really is delicious.  I didn't have a chicken to roast, but I fried a chicken breast and it worked well as an accompaniment to the onion relish.  An added bonus… raw onion and garlic are great antioxidants. 

Becka’s Serbian Potato Salad (my version):
Bake 4 large red potatoes in the microwave
(or boil or bake in the oven; see link below for the bag tutorial)
While the potatoes are baking, dice one medium onion
Peel potatoes when they have cooled enough to handle.
I left a lot of the red skin on, as I had scrubbed the potatoes before baking.
Dice the potatoes into a large bowl.
Put diced onion over the potatoes in the bowl.
Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt (I used flaked Sea Salt)
Drizzle with ¼ cup Olive Oil
Drizzle one to two tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar over all, depending on taste
Optional:  may sprinkle with black pepper
Mix well.  Can serve warm or cold, as a side.
Since food should look pretty, also, I think this could be garnished with a chopped hard-boiled egg and/or some chopped chives to compliment the red potato skins.

Daughter Tricia grilled boneless pork chops, and we had a delicious fresh fruit bowl and lightly cooked asparagus spears on the side, along with the Serbian Potato Salad.  Fresh strawberry pie for dessert, rounded out the dinner menu.  Dinner on the patio with a warm sun and gentle summer breezes… and the company of good friends… that’s what memories are made of!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Alaena, I so sympathize with you!! We are quilters first and not housekeepers. My girlfriend, Anne and I tease each other that we are only "Semi-Hoarders" because there are still safe walkways through the stuff! LOL! I do what makes me happy!