Sunday, July 30, 2017

New York, New York

Over the past years, my family has come to learn that going on vacation also means adjusting our travel routes to accommodate trips to quilt shops. This aspect of vacationing has its current origins in our trip to the east coast 10 years ago this summer. During our visit to New York City, we stopped by the City Quilter quilt shop in Manhattan. Sadly, this store closed in October 2016, however, they are now an online shop only and focus on New York City-themed fabrics.
My purchase from this shop was a bundle of six different New York City-themed fat quarters. For those of you who don't know what a fat quarter is, it is 1/4 yard of fabric that has been cut in the dimensions of 18 x 22 inches versus 9 x 44 inches to allow for a more versatile piece of fabric. Granted, at the time, I didn't have the slightest notion how I would use those fabrics, but I decided they would make a nice souvenir for me.
Fast forward about another year, and I decided it was time to decide what to do with these fabrics. I took them to a local quit shop to get some ideas. Fortunately, the owner had some time and helped me find a pattern that would accommodate the prints and helped me find some coordinating solids that would bring out the key colors in the prints and also tie them all together.
Here are some close up views of the blocks and prints in the quilt. I really like the variety of prints from art deco to graffiti, from the Statue of Liberty to taxis, an uptown Manhattan print, and some greyscale scenes around New York City. I was very pleased at the end result and they all fit together into a larger whole.
This picture gives you a close up of the art deco print and the graffiti print. You can also see the silhouettes of the Statue of Liberty on the dark blue print. The greyscale is of the fountain in Central Park.
Here is another close up. The greyscale print is of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Because of the sizes of the images on the greyscale print, that piece was the most challenging to cut up to include in the quilt blocks. 
 Here's a close up of the taxis. You can also see some of the detail in the quilting. An all-over crown-type pattern in the center of the quilt and then stars in the inner border.
For fun, I thought I would also share a few images from our trip to New York City. Of course, our trip included a visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
This is among the buildings at Ellis Island where the immigrants were received. I don't have access to official records, but I anticipate that several of my own family line came through Ellis Island.
 The Manhattan skyline as viewed from the ferry to Ellis Island.
Little Italy in the evening. I loved how the streets were blocked to traffic in the evenings to allow the restaurants to extend seating out into the streets.
The Apple store in Manhattan. We visited the day after the release of the iPhone.
One of the most fascinating things about New York City is that, more than any other place in the United States, one can encounter individuals from so many different parts of the world. Although each individual is distinct, collectively they add to the beauty of the city - similar to the manner in which the distinct patterns of the fabric add to the whole of the quilt. 
Among my favorite memories of church as a young girl was learning to care about people in other places around the world. I was fortunate to be part of a faith community that emphasized missions and God's love for all people and His desire for all to come to faith in Him. I love the imagery in the revelation that the apostle John received of the multitude of believers who will be present in heaven. By his describing them of being of "every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, I can't help but believe that we will somehow be distinguishable based on our ancestry here on earth. I look forward to seeing the beauty of all of these faces as we worship around the throne.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands, and they cry out with a loud voice saying, "Salvation to our God who sites on the throne, and to the Lamb." Revelation 7:9-10.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Summer Stand-by Salad

As I've shared over the past few summers, our family enjoys cool salads as we cope with the peak heat season. One of our standbys is, what is for us, a traditional macaroni salad. The recipe I will be sharing is my attempt at quantifying the recipe that I have been using since my elementary school days.
For fun, I tried to get a sense of the history of the macaroni salad. In general, a "macaroni salad" differs from a "pasta salad" in that the macaroni salad is traditionally a mayonnaise-based salad whereas the pasta salad is traditionally a vinaigrette-based salad. 
I was able to locate a recipe for macaroni salad dating back to 1916. This recipe uses a combination/mixture of whipping cream, horseradish, sugar and salt in place of the mayonnaise. Another interesting thing about this recipe is that it seems that, at that time, macaroni was sold in long sticks. After the sticks were cooked, they were then cut into pieces for use in the salad. Another interesting thing is that the cooked pieces were placed in pickled beet juice to "dye" them a pink color before mixing them into the salad.
I've also found a wide variety of ingredients that have been included in macaroni salads. These include chopped eggs, onions, potatoes, shrimp, sweet or dill pickles, olives, or chicken. Most sources indicate that the typical pasta that is included in macaroni salads is elbow macaroni. I've typically made my salads with ditalini (also called salad macaroni) or small shell macaroni.
Here's how I put my salad together:
First, a picture of the ingredients. Trying to quantify what I have just put together over the years is a bit challenging. A picture of what will go into the salad might be more helpful.
16 ounces of pasta - I have a preference for small shells but use what you like
1 bunch of green onions
1 bunch of radishes
1 chopped cucumber
Chopped, cubed cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and chill.
2. Slice the green onions and radishes. I like to include some of the green parts of the onions. Depending on how big the radishes are, I may cut the slices in halves or quarters.
3. Now to cut up the cucumber and cheese. Here you can get an idea as to how much cheese I typically use and the size of the pieces I use.
4. Stir in some salt and pepper and mix the ingredients together.
5. Stir in the pasta and the mayonnaise - use as much mayonnaise as desired to moisten all of the ingredients.
6. Serve with a favorite main dish. We enjoyed our salad with some grilled teriyaki burgers.
Happy summer and happy eating!