Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Zucchini Pancakes with Blossoms and Basil

Got zucchini? Serve up a savory pancake that uses both the squash and its flower.

Photo by Mars Vilaubi
One of my favorite appetizers at the little Korean restaurant in my neighborhood is pa jeon. This Korean-style pancake isn’t a thin, delicate crêpe, nor is it your average fluffy breakfast mainstay. No, these are denser creatures with a mild batter, which makes them the perfect vehicles for mix-ins that pack a flavorful punch (I have a particular weakness for the kimchi pa jeon, but you may be more familiar with seafood or scallion versions.). Pan-fried to a light golden brown, sliced into wedges, and served piping hot with a spicy dipping sauce of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and chili flakes, these simple, easy-to-make pancakes are a delicious savory appetizer to share (if your fellow diners are lucky).

Friday, July 24, 2015

Caroline Burch: Postcard from the Backyard

A home improvement project satisfies the neighbors.

For the past two years the stone walkway going into my garden shed was only half finished. Last Sunday I decided to complete the job. Two hours later, after setting in the final stones, weeding around all the existing stones, and spreading down mulch, I stepped back to admire my work. Fortunately, I also thought to take the picture above.

Little did I know that two days later, I would go out in the morning to find it looking like this.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

English Paper Piecing (EPP) Project Inspiration: Pentagon Drawer Sachets

Turn pentagons into items for the home, from sweet sachets to spherical pillows.

Photo © Alexandra Grablewski, excerpted from All Points Patchwork. All rights reserved.
A handful of these pentagon balls, filled with lavender or cedar shavings, makes a sweet little set of sachets to give as a gift. You can also make them from larger pentagons and end up with juggling balls, or use even larger pentagons to create baby toys. I can even see them made from very large pentagons to form very interesting pillows.

Need a quick English paper piecing refresher? Brush up on your EPP fundamentals here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lavender-Lemon Bread

Lavender’s calming, cooling properties are baked right into this sweet treat.

A slice of lavender-lemon bread is the perfect companion for that evening cup of tea. Photo by Mars Vilaubi
Lavender is one of my favorite plants. Its clean scent, deep purple bee-attracting flowers, and ability to soothe make it a beloved presence in my garden and home. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Brooke Dojny: After the Book Comes Out

Introducing a new book to the world brings a shift from the solitude of writing.

Brooke Dojny signs copies of her new book, Chowderland. Photo © Elke Dorr
Cookbook writing, like most writing, is done in isolation. For stretches of months and months, it’s just you researching, you in the kitchen developing recipes, and you typing at the computer. True, there is the tremendous satisfaction of serving recipe-tested results to guests — receiving feedback and usually praise — but the next morning it’s back, once again, to that one-person endeavor.

Derek “Deek” Diedricksen: The Origins of an Obsession

For the author of Microshelters, a childhood hobby became a lifelong passion.

Derek “Deek” Diedricksen (right) and brother Dustin, in a childhood fort. Photo courtesy of the author.
This photo was taken in about 1985. What clues me in is the Mets hat I’m wearing — a hat I wore for a few months after going to Shea Stadium to see Dwight Gooden pitch in his rookie year. This shot reminds me of how my brother, Dustin, and I would find scrap materials discarded by neighbors or at worksite dumpsters and cobble together forts with any plunder we could get our tiny mitts on. Heck, I’m still doing that!

Deborah Balmuth: From the Publisher’s Desk

Storey’s publisher reflects on the satisfaction of flow.

Deborah in the flow, sewing at home.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative process and what it brings to our lives. One of the trends we’re seeing in the publishing world is the popularity of coloring books — for adults! Storey isn’t publishing coloring books (yet!), but it makes me curious about what’s behind this attraction.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Real Food, Frozen: Banana Pudding Pops and Avocado and Lime Creamsicles

Summer is popsicle season! Storey Editorial Production Manager Regina Velazquez whips up recipes from Making Vegan Frozen Treats.

Avocado and Lime Creamsicles and Banana Pudding Pops (with a little dark chocolate mixed in). Photo by Mars Vilaubi
If aliens were to study only recipes from women’s magazines from the 1960s and 70s, they’d think us a race of people who were desperate to change the molecular structure of everything we ingest.

I’m not sure if she was inspired by a women’s magazine or her classy new set of Tupperware popsicle molds, but my grandmother went through a phase of scientific experimentation in her freezer with one such recipe: Jell-O popsicles. I suppose they seemed like a good idea, but something was always off about them. For starters, they never actually melted and dripped. They came out of the freezer and, exposed to warm air, simply got softer. But the most disconcerting thing was that they would occasionally develop little chewy sections on the outside where the gelatin had begun to set before going into the freezer. It was as if they had a rind.

Bloom Day — July 2015

Storey staffers and friends share July garden scenes.

A lily in the garden of editor Hannah Fries
One of our regular Bloom Day contributors, MaryAnn Nøbben, said in her email to me that it’s been a strange year in Norway. Here in New England, summer has gotten off to a rainy, humid-but-not-very-hot start. That hasn’t stopped the flowers, as you’ll see from this month’s Bloom Day post. Lilies in particular abound (and in case you weren’t aware, daylily buds are awfully tasty when stuffed with gorgonzola). What’s blooming where you are? — Emily Spiegelman, Digital Features Editor

Monday, July 6, 2015

An Increase, Decrease Q&A with Judith Durant

Knitter and author Judith Durant wants to take the guesswork out of shaping your knitting.

Judith Durant. Photo © Adrien Bisson Photography
It might sound obvious, but how a knitter chooses to follow a written pattern has a big impact on the look of the finished product. So when you encounter that line in your knitting pattern telling you simply to“increase” or “decrease” the number of stitches you’re working with, how’s a knitter to know the right method to choose? Enter author Judith Durant and Increase, Decreaseher new book of 99 step-by-step ways to increase and decrease with as much subtlety or flair as you want. Judith kindly agreed to answer my questions about the origins of Increase, Decrease and what she hopes every knitter will discover. — Emily Spiegelman, Digital Features Editor

I love the story you tell in the introduction of Increase, Decrease about how you used the same increase and decrease method for 30 years. 

I’m actually a little bit embarrassed that I made that confession for all to see! But it’s a rather weird truth. Knitting, sewing, and cooking were all revealed to many girls of my generation when we were about eight or ten years old (how sexist we were back then!). And we were fortunate to have these skills reinforced through a course of study in public school called home economics. Completely amazed that one could take a few materials and create clothing, food, and stuff that’s fun to look at, I was hooked. I like to remember that the first thing I knit was a dishcloth, and the second was a royal blue fisherman sweater to go with the plaid pleated skirt I’d just sewn for myself. There was probably a step or two in between, but I don’t recall.