Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tales of a Farmer's Market Addict

So, it's still cool enough that we neither need the Air Conditioning on nor get over-heated making food at home. Huzzah! That means I finally get to experiment with my farmer's market treasures from this week. On Tuesday I purchased fresh homemade Pierogies, asparagus, rhubarb, zucchini, strawberries and some plants. Today, Paul and I were both actually home for the same meals, so cooking commenced. First off, I pan-fried the pierogies in some butter with garlic. I decided I was too lazy to wash two pans, so I threw the asparagus into the pan and added a bit more butter.

Turns out, Pierogies and asparagus apparently take the same time to cook, so I lucked out. It looked (and tasted) delicious!

Sprinkled with some parmesan cheese and paired with a local beer, it made for a delicious, locovore lunch!

For dessert, I made my "last meal" dessert of choice: Rhubarb Crisp, just like grandma's!

I sometimes struggle with making a good crisp. I have a tendency to be impatient with the saucy sugar mixture or not make enough of the oatmeal crumble, so it's sometimes a gamble for me to make rhubarb or apple crisp. But this time, it turned out perfectly. So bubbly and delicious, with just the right amount of sweetness in the crumble and the sauce to counteract the sour rhubarb. Yum!

Can you see the bubbling filling sneaking up the sides? So good. I had a piece with vanilla ice cream after it cooled a bit, but while it was still nice and warm. Delish. If you're looking for a decent, easy recipe, this one is pretty good: Rhubarb Crisp. If you like a strawberry-rhubarb crisp (or pie, really, it's the same filling, just with a different crust) it gives instructions at the bottom for subbing in half strawberries. I'm just not a fan of the strawberry-rhubarb mixture.

Ultimately, I feel everyone should take advantage of their location and spend as much time in the farmer's market as possible. For Chicagoans, this helpful link will show you the locations and days of the city's farmer's markets. Spend this summer exploring local foods... you won't believe the delicious results!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Beer Cap Trivet

Some time in college, I got it in my head that I needed to save my beer bottle caps to use for a project. I think it started when I saw a coffee table in a friend's dorm room that was covered in beer caps that the boys hammered into it every time they finished a beer. I didn't have anything I was keen on ruining by hammering spikey metal into it, but, somehow, the obsession just continued and I now have hundreds of them, with no real craft to use them for. So, when I found a pattern for a crochet-covered bottle cap trivet, I was intrigued. Mixing my favorite craft with beer and a material I have readily on hand? Yes, please! Here is the project: Crochet Beer Cap Hot Pad.

Materials: Bottle Caps (19 caps that haven't been bent from an opener)
Crochet Thread (I used some vintage size 5, Coton Perle DMC)
Tatting Crochet Hook (The pattern calls for a size 9, but I only had a size 8)
Tapestry Needle

The beer is optional, but serves as "inspiration" for this project! :)

This was a great project because I could sit and fiddle, covering one cap at a time, and could stop after one or a couple. I can do a cap in about 10 minutes, so if I wasn't really in the mood to crochet a lot, I could just cover one cap or sew one or two together and then put it down. I didn't have to think about where I was in the pattern or marking my stopping point, and it's all just single and double crochets, so it's easy to do while zoning out to the TV. And, when you're done, you have a really funky, vintage-y looking trivet! I think mine looks great with this Hardanger tea-table cloth that I took from my grandma's immense collection of linens. My next trivet will be a bunch of grapes, inspired by a trivet my dad found among more of my grandma's things. Turns out, this craziness runs in the blood!