Saturday, September 21, 2013

Finally, FALL!

Gracewood Apples

Wherever you are you may be able to hear the hurrahs from Gracewood this weekend for Fall has arrived!  Our time of year begins and we are surely ready for it.  The woodstove has been cleaned, the pile of firewood is growing and the mornings are crisply cold.  As we go to bed on these moonlit nights we hear the elk bugling to his harem in our meadow and the fruit in the orchard is bending the branches to breaking.  Can't wait till I step outside, exhale and see the whisps of colder air.

We're picking apples and pears and have baskets like the one above full of apples all around the kitchen/dining room and the aroma is ravishing!  The ones in the photo are from our tree of Ellison's Orange, a cross between Cox's Orange & Calville Blanc, it has a sweet tart, anise like, crisp, juicy and aromatic flavor.

It is definitely Apple Kuchen time and as soon as one is consumed another must be made!  It is a very simple recipe and I thought I'd share it with you.

Apple Kuchen
  • 2 Teaspoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup room temp water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Approximaely 3 1/2 cups Flour
Place milk, butter, sugar and salt in a large measuring cup or bowl and heat in microwave until butter melts, let cool to room temp.  Whisk yeast into the 1/4 cup water and then add it and the egg to the milk mixture and then add enough flour to make a firm dough, turn out on floured board and knead for a few minutes or if using mixture knead with dough hook till it cleans the sides of the bowl, turn into lightly oiled or buttered bowl, cover with cling wrap and put in warm place for about 2 hours.
Dough patted out and topped with Apples

  • 5 Large Apples (combining a few types works best)
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar (1/2 white & brown works well too)
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons cold Butter
Peel and slice apples (thin slices, about 1/4")
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and flour together, cut in butter (food processor works great)
Ready for the oven, this one looks lighter since I was low on brown sugar and used more white
Assembling Kuchen
After dough is risen, heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly oil a sheet pan (I often use parchment paper instead) and pat the dough out in the pan (don't use rolling pin) leaving the edges slightly thicker.
Spread the apples over the dough pressing lightly. Spread the flour and sugar mixture over the apples and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve this warm with a big mug of tea or coffee and enjoy! or let it cool, slice it into serving sizes and put in freezer bags and freeze.  Take out amount you want to serve and let  come to room temp or lightly microwave, great either way. 
Just out of the oven, wish you could smell it!
Just add steaming cup of coffee or tea!
Though harvest time is leaving a little less time for stitching, Carolina is progressing and I think it is going to look nice hung next to Beauvais.  I hope to have it finished by the time the magazine returns the model.  
Enjoy your Fall if you are on our side of the equator! :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Stitches in Time", a Sad Goodbye & a Happy Hello


Since I'm in the midst of designing and stitching patterns that reflect my interest in vintage textiles, I  was happy to come upon a recent article in the Wall Street Journal about an exhibition at the Met featuring such fabrics.

Here is an excerpt -

Stitches in Time: A History of Fabric

An exhibit opening Sept. 16 tells the story of history and economics through three centuries of fabric.  By Stephanie Cohen
In 2005, during a Matisse exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Decorative Arts curator Amelia Peck was asked to help explain the origins of a particular piece of blue printed fabric depicted in many of the master painter's works.
[image] The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A cotton Wentke coat from mid-18th century Netherlands.

The fabric swatch had long been a mystery to textile scholars. All the known pieces of its type—variations of a blue and white printed-floral design—were in museums in America, and scholars had for years assumed it was an early example of American printed fabric. When a British excise label was found on one such fabric swatch in the 1950s, scholars decided it had been made in England and exported, although no piece had ever been found in the U.K. Now a swatch had turned up in France, where Matisse had bought it, and she was intrigued.

Ms. Peck began researching the fabric. In the Met's library, she found a book about Indian fabrics brought to Europe by the Dutch East India Company and realized that the blue and white pattern had been made in India for a European or American consumer.
"I'd been an American textile specialist for 30 years, and I'd never thought about them in the context of the bigger world," she says. Most scholars had assumed colonial American textiles had come from England. ....
the rest of the article can be read through the Wall Street Journal's online site, sorry it won't link, just google Stitches in Time: A History in Fabric.  There is also an online exhibit at the Met, featuring floral patterned textiles.

And now a sad goodbye.  We recently lost our eleven year old German Shepherd, Zoe, to age and illness.  This was the third such heart wrenching farewell we'd experienced in the last three years and that day I thought, that's it, no more dogs.  My heart can't take such things any more.

Our Zoe

However, the next morning dawned and all around the house were the memories of happy dog times and the lack of a dog bed by the woodstove and a dog dish in the laundry room was even harder to bear so we began our search for the next Gracewood dog to love.  It turns out he was born just two days before we lost our Zoe.  He is a Chesapeake Bay Retreiver and is somewhere in the heap of puppies in the photo below.

Somewhere in this pile of puppies is 'Jasper'

We can't wait to take the five hour drive over to Wenatchee, just this side of the Cascade mountains, to pick up 'Jasper'.  It is going to be a challenge to go from years with three older dogs to a brand new puppy with all of his enthusiasm and energy, but thankfully with this addition to the family Terry is home full time now and will have the joy of being a much bigger part of  'puppy life'.

Zoe would not have actually liked having a young puppy in the house, but we're sure she would be happy that our hearts will find some ease in loving another dog.