Friday, June 27, 2008

Another vintage pattern

I found this on the Flickr vintage apron patterns group.

While I don't have the actual pattern, I do have this picture of my brother and me on Easter 1959. The dress was a brown cotton with tiny blue flowers and the pinafore was a pale blue organdy, both sewn by my mother.

My brother is the one who turned 50 last February. He's taller than me now.

I <3 April Cornell

I was so sad when they closed all the U.S. stores a few years ago due to some financial reorganization issues. I loved shopping there. Shopping online for clothing like this just isn't the same. I want to see and touch and feel all the pretty fabrics. It drove my daughter crazy because I would spent hours picking out one dress. So when we were in Philadelphia last week, I had to go the store there, one of only three they reopened in the U.S. I was thrilled to find that they were having a sale and I was able to buy three dresses for a total of $90. This is the "Fable dress" in black cotton with crocheted trim.

The "Genevieve dress" in celadon cotton with lace sleeves and bodice that remind me of those machine made lace tablecloths.

And my favorite, the "Mayur dress," in this fabulous rayon art deco floral.

I LOVE the embroidered ribbon trim!

So now I have my April Cornell fix for a while. And best of all, I got it in Pennsylvania where, unlike Texas, there is no sales tax on clothing!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 28, 1970

I was reading the Pink Penguin yesterday and totally freaked out when she blogged about buying this pattern at a thrift shop. I have this pattern, and amazingly I was able to put my hands on it!

But what is even more amazing is that I was able to find this picture of me (and my first husband, John, before we were married) wearing the dress that I made from it. And yes, it really was that short!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blogging on vacation

We are in Philadelphia for the RTOG meeting, which started on Thursday. I talked Mike into taking a few days of vacation and we went to Lancaster County for the beginning of the week. We stayed at the Vogt Farm B&B and went to Gettysburg for a day. Mike is at his meeting, and here I am...blogging while on vacation. Some photos from our is an actual farm.

With this lovely farm house...

Complete with a grain elevator...

and cows...

and corn...

and a gray barn cat...

This was our room. Kind of 80s country decor, but very comfortable. And you will notice that the windows were open. They had temperatures in the 90s the week before, but it was wonderfully cool when we were there. We even got to sleep with the windows open...something that never happens in Houston. I slept like a baby!

Here in Philly we are staying at the Loew's Philadelphia. It's in the great old art deco PSFS building and right across from the Macy's in the old John Wanamaker store. I happened to be there Thursday evening while the organ recital was going on...quite a unique experience.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Soap opera box

I came across this great vintage wrapping paper in some stuff from my grandma that I saved when we closed down her house 6 years ago and moved her into assisted living. It is so classic, and I am always looking for "masculine" wrapping paper.

Well, of course I didn't want to actually use it and have it be torn off and thrown away. So I decided to make what my friend Margie and I call a "soap opera box." If you have ever watched a soap opera (All My Children has been my guilty pleasure for the last 30 years :-) you may have noticed that when anyone gets a present, it is always in a box that can be opened by just taking the top off. I didn't do a very pretty job of this from the inside...

...but the outside looks great, and it can be used over and over, year after year for Fathers' Day and birthdays as well. And he probably won't even notice.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Best salmon ever

We LOVE salmon and eat it at least once every other week. I must admit that I usually buy the fresh farm-raised Atlantic salmon, despite the whole wild vs. fresh controversy. It's cheaper and tastes better than the "previously frozen" wild stuff. Well, it's the season for Copper River salmon right now, which is apparently the best salmon you can buy. I say apparently because it is between $30 and $40 a pound at Whole Foods and Central Market. So when Randall's (aka Safeway) had it on sale for $14.99 a pound, I ignored my dislike for shopping there and bought some. It was gorgeous.

And now I am going to share with you the recipe for the best salmon ever, even if you are using farm-raised or previously frozen. These are the ingredients you will need:

First, make the sauce:

1 stick unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 T. American-style mustard
1 T. ketchup
1 T. Worchestershire sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer until the butter is melted and the flavors are well blended, about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, start your grill. We use a charcoal Weber, but I guess you could use a gas grill, just as long as it has a cover. When the coals are HOT, brush the salmon fillet with a generous amount of sauce. Put the salmon skin side down on the grill and cover. Cook for 8 -10 minutes (we like ours on the medium rare side). Uncover the grill and slide large spatula between the skin and the meat. Leaving the skin on the grill, remove it onto a platter.

We have served this at numerous dinner parties (and had probably eaten it a hundred times ourselves) and it always gets rave reviews. Try it and let me know what you think!

Monday, June 9, 2008

On my way to the farmers' market...

...I had to stop for gas. I don't drive a lot (my 2002 Passat has only 52,300 miles on it) and I get fairly good mileage, so it had been a while since I filled up. So it was the first time I paid over $4 a gallon. I know people in California have been paying this much for some time, but hey, this is Houston!

I use premium, because that's what I'm supposed to do.

Like I said, I get fairly good mileage, 20 in the city and up to 28 on the highway, and I have a fairly small tank, but even so, it was kind of a shock to spend over $50 to fill up.

And yes, I am so O.C. that I have to "top it off" up to the next dollar...not hard to do at $4.12 a gallon!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saturday at the Bayou City Farmers' Market

I hadn't here been for quite a while. We used to go fairly often, but haven't gone since Mike has been spending every Saturday at the Proton Therapy Center "making cancer history." I finally decided to go by myself. Not as much fun, but an enjoyable experience nonetheless.

In Wisconsin, we didn't get tomatoes at the farmers' market until late July or August...not the case here in Houston.

And look at these lovely squash...

I usually have a tendency to go overboard and buy way more than we can use, but this time I exercised some self control. This is what I came home with...

These beautiful eggs...

And this delicious chevre from Blue Heron Farm

Tonight I am going to make this Summer Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Basil Vinaigrette, and Fresh Herbs. Doesn't it sound yummy?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What to make for dinner when it's a record 97º

Grilled Fish Tacos (from the May 2008 edition of Bon Appétit)

I made them on the indoor grill because it was too hot to cook outside. I will definitely make these again...simple prep, quick cook, light and refreshing to eat!


2 cups chopped white onion, divided
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 pound tilapia
Coarse kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon milk
Corn tortillas
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced
1/2 small head of cabbage, cored, thinly sliced
Salsa Verde
Lime wedges


Stir 1 cup onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, 3 tablespoons lime juice, orange juice, garlic, and oregano in medium bowl. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange fish atop onion mixture. Spoon remaining onion mixture over fish. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Turn fish; cover and chill 30 minutes longer. Whisk mayonnaise, milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice in small bowl.

Brush grill grate with oil; prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish with some marinade still clinging until just opaque in center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Grill tortillas until slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side.

Coarsely chop fish; place on platter. Serve with lime mayonnaise, tortillas, remaining 1 cup chopped onion, remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, avocados, cabbage, Salsa Verde, and lime wedges.