Monday, July 18, 2011

It's All About The Process

I tie dyed for the first time in forever, at our annual Fourth of July Husum Pride Parade Prep Party. We took the leftover "You Win Some, You Husum" white shirts with blue letters and tie dyed them red. Also our hands, and a few planks of the deck. They came out quite nice, and the four of us doing the project got more than 30 of them done in a few hours.

Fast forward a week, it's time to get ready for the Nights in White Salmon Art and Wine Fusion. Lots of boring leftover tan Event Staff Shirts. What to do? Tie dye them with chocolate brown dye. I spent a day working on them, and cranked out 34. All that experience, you know. It helped make me a little more efficient.

My dear sweet husband took the finished products downtown for safe keeping at Postal Express. Celynn liked them. A Lot. So much so that my dear sweet husband came home around 2 pm with more dye, so I could do the leftover shirts that didn't proclaim Event Staff on their backs. I guess he thought people might buy them now that I'd classed them up a little bit. Did I mention, the event was 48 hours away and that I was working the next day in the tasting room? There were about 65 or so in the box. Really. You want them WHEN????

I had to streamline my process or I was sunk. I am writing about it now, not so much to entertain, but to have it documented so I can recreate the magic. I hope I don't have to...

Prep and materials: the biggest pot you have (I used my 5 gal stainless steel brewing pot); bag of rubber bands, long idled forceps from my college dissecting kit, salt, boxes of RIT dye, detergent, plastic garbage bag to cover portable table, drying rack, clothesline, wood rods, beverages. Lots of beverages. Heat about 3 gallons salted water to about 160 or more, add a pack of dye and a tablespoon of liquid detergent. Mix it all up with a long large spoon, pref stainless or your spoon will get dyed, too. Set it on your outside table, open or pour a beverage, and begin.

Step 1: Lay shirt flat. To do a spiral on the bottom half of the shirt, pinch the shirt and start a swirl. Clamp the forceps into the center, and keep turning. Wrap the spiral around the outside with a rubber band. Add 2 or 3 rubber bands criss-crossing the spiral.

Step 2: Put a rod through the sleeves. If you need to adjust the level of the shirt in the dye, bunch up the top and use another rubber band. Dip the spiral into the dye and rest the rod on the top of the pot. Pot can do 2 shirts easily. Meanwhile, prepare next two shirts.

Step 3: After about 5 minutes, remove from bath, and hang on rack.

Put the next two shirts in the dye. Put on gloves, remove rubber bands, shake out the shirts. Rinse well with hose sprayer. Allow to drip a bit. Then go make up 2 more shirts.

Step 4: When second batch is ready, move the finished shirts to the clothesline. Then the next batch can go on the rack, the third batch into the pot, rinse, repeat....Until all the shirts are done or it's dark or you run out of beverage.

Afterwards, I did a quick cold water wash of all the shirts, then dried them in a hot dryer. Between 2 pm and 9 pm, with a short break to eat pizza and watch The Daily Show, I successfully dyed 58 shirts in various sizes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Garlic Scapes...Who Knew?

I like to think of myself as a Foodie. And I love it when something new comes my way.

GARLIC SCAPES. What are these crazy things and what do you do with them?

I love Kim O'Donnel's description:
Here's the anatomy lesson: Garlic and its relatives in the allium family, (leeks, chives, onions) grows underground, where the bulb begins its journey, soft and onion-like. As the bulb gets harder (and more like the garlic we know), a shoot pokes its way through the ground. Chlorophyll- green like a scallion (maybe even greener), the shoot is long and thin and pliable enough to curl into gorgeous tendrils.

This stage of growth is the garlic scape, folks. If left unattended, the scape will harden and transform from green to the familiar opaque white/beige color of garlic peel. Keeping the shoot attached will also curtail further growth of the bulb. So, in an effort to allow the garlic to keep growing, the farmer is getting a two-fer with this edible delectable that cooks are just beginning to discover.
There were some in our marimba band's 'food pay' from a Farmers Market gig last season. I had no idea what they were. Someone said, use them like scallions. OK. I had like TWO. I used them. The other night, during our Husum Pride Parade Prep Party, Miki dropped off a box full. What does one do with a box full of garlic scapes?

First you give a bunch away. Then, thankfully, there is the internet. Which is how I found Kim's article. And then I made her recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto.
Garlic Scape Pesto

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¼-1/2 cup grated parmigiano
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

For ½ pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.

To Die For. I am now a huge fan. How did I live 58 years before I knew they existed? And now I'm heading out to the garden to cut the scapes off my garlic so the bulbs will grow bigger...

All Star Break

Boston5535.611-28-1727-18482371+111Won 69-1
NY Yankees5335.602130-1923-16455334+121Won 26-4
Tampa Bay4941.544621-2128-20380343+37Lost 24-6
Toronto4547.4891119-2226-25426416+10Won 35-5
Baltimore3652.4091822-2214-30355454-99Lost 71-9

Well, all is almost right with the world at the All Star Break. We sit atop the AL East by a mere one game. The lead has changed hands regularly, as usual, and will continue to do so. Keeps everyone on their toes. I said ALMOST because most of the pitching rotation is on the DL. I would like Lester and Bucholz back ASAP. Dice K can stay there a while. Lackey is giving us enough fits. I've enjoyed Tim Wakefield's solid year so far, his knuckleball is dancing and he's helped keep things where they should be. And the new kids on the block have lots of potential.

Here in the Gorge, we are enjoying all that July brings. Great weather, with warm days and cool nights. The AC has yet to fire up, and all but a few nights have required a blanket. Snow is finally starting to melt on Mt. Hood, with ridges becoming visible at last.
The Husum Pride Parade and .1k Micro Marathon was outstanding this year. (photo from the front page of the local paper, thanks Sverre Bakke.)

The Husum Yacht Club pre-parade preparation party was great fun. We tie dyed leftover shirts from last year, painted the kayak (float), ate barbecued thai chicken and drank plenty of wine to accomplish all our tasks.

On Parade Day, we had excellent participation, with a large crowd of observers, more 'floats' than ever, a growing kazoo marching band, color guard, hula hooper, fire truck, and, for the first time, a CANNON! We even found a beauty queen to ride in our float this year.

At the end of the parade route, we turned and fled for the finish line, quenching our thirst at Joel's water stop. The Husumites gathered in front of the District 3 Fire Station for the annual group photo. The band took this opportunity to play the National Anthem, and bombs were bursting in air as the cannon fired (in the opposite direction). Excellent.

The hot dogs and watermelon at the Husum Roadside BBQ were the perfect energy builders after our exhausting run. Even the sign got decorated.

The new addition to the Husum Pride traditions: a pickled egg eating contest. Even with a $100 prize offered, only two participated. The winner choked down NINE in an 8 minute period. His competition only managed a couple. Yours truly did not even think about it. I have yet to bite into a pickled egg. Take a look. Would you?

The day was far from over. We'd received this special message from the kids down the street:

We HAD to be home in time to witness the first Brislawn Loop parade. We were treated to tootsie pops thrown by bike riders, who'd taken lots of care to decorate both their bikes and their helmets. On the second time around the loop, one rider dismounted, unpacked his fiddle from his backpack, and played us a tune. As he rode away, another rider stopped, dismounted, drew her recorder from her backpack, and played us a tune. What a treat! And seriously, I can't remember the last time I had a Tootsie Pop.

Next up: the concert at the park. We brought a picnic, a little vino in a water bottle, flags and spirit. Finally, we were fortunate to be invited to a bluff house to watch the fireworks, which were being launched directly across the Columbia River. It was a great Happy Birthday America!