Thursday, July 19, 2012

Crazy Quilt Summer

Last week I was blessed with an invitation to visit with a friend for lunch. The idea of me offering to bring dessert like in my pre-infant days seemed far fetched when most days I can't even guarantee myself a snack. So I grabbed an empty quart jar and intended to fill it with flowers from a farm stand, only when I got to the stand, the few flowers left were frying in the heat and past their bloom. Ah, the best laid plans. Wondering what to do as the clock ticked, I bought a thin, paltry bouquet of the best of the worst. Since my stem clippers were in the car, I could snatch a few roadside lilies or daisies along the way to fill out the bouquet, piecing together beauty from random places.

This summer has been a case of making it up as we go along, like stitching together a crazy quilt with no plan, discovering hastily added pieces from the remnant pile. Plans have changed with the wind -literally. A gusty storm came through town a few weeks ago and left us without power for days. We were the fortunate ones, as some of our neighbors were stuck in hotels for over a week. No one noticed the Fourth, and the nearby park has remained closed. I showed up for church on Sunday with salad for the potluck a whopping MONTH early. Why yes, I was tired and overwhelmed. Thank you for asking. I'm just clipping flowers along the way during this crazy, mixed up season.

One patch for my crazy quilt arrived in the form of some summer squash from my brother-in-law's garden. I think the best way to enjoy squash is to mix it with corn and make succotash out of it. I found a recipe for a southwest-inspired succotash and adapted it a bit for what I had on hand. It was delicious! The cumin and cilantro made it very flavorful, and a little bit of heavy cream gave it a smooth, silky texture.

Succotash with Summer Squash  (say it ten times real fast)

2-3 jalapeno peppers (or hot pepper of your choice)
olive oil
1 medium red onion, coarsely diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, finely cut
2 cups fresh corn (3 ears)
1 large tomato, diced
2 yellow squash, sliced thickly and cut into thirds
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 T lime juice
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Dice the jalapeno peppers while heating 2T olive oil in a large pan. Cook the jalapenos, onion, and red peppers in oil, stirring constantly for five minutes. Add garlic, black pepper, cumin, and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook for a minute. Add corn, tomatoes, and squash. Season with a shake of more salt and cumin, and then cook covered for 8-10 minutes. Remove lid, and cook for another 5 minutes while stirring until liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream, lime juice, and cilantro. It will take about 3 minutes to thicken. Top off with a little more cilantro. Talk about how good it tastes while eating it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Our First Family Outing

As some of my long time friends and readers know, I usually declare our annual visit to the Kutztown Folk Festival to be the best day of the year. But for the past two years, it actually hasn't been that at all. Last year I was too sick with my pregnancy to leave the house most days, and the year before, the Mister had a miserable head cold and my stamina was dead after battling an infection. Rough times. This year, however, we were forging ahead with our family tradition and including our newest member in the event. We also met up with some very fun friends at the festival, and despite some early challenges that morning (a storm that knocked out power the previous night, road blocks, baby fussiness, and missing our all important exit off the turnpike) we rolled into the scenic hills of Berks County, PA in the hot noon sun and bravely embarked on our adventure. 

Won't you join us? 

It's only ninety degrees. Stop complaining. Who told you to wear black?
Here's that llama who ignores me every year. But I hear the petting zoo animals are rescues from tough situations, and I am too, so I understand.
They really do bake bread in this. 

First place in the quilt barn. Garden Tracks. It's called hand quilting, folks.
I had never heard this proverb before...interesting!
The Mister showing our Little Mister some petting opportunities.

See you next year!


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