Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pillows and Packages

Summer is still hanging out in our neighborhood and our front porch swing needed some new accessories if we are going to use it comfortably into autumn.  Last year Mr. Lucky refinished the frame on the Nags Head Hammock swing that we've owned for more than twenty-five years.  This year I needed to make new small pillow headrests but, of course, couldn't commit to a fabric choice when there are so many outdoor fabric alternatives out there.  I settled on these coordinated prints from and then added two comfy pillows to brighten the area.  
The chevron like print is 

Swavelle/Mill Creek Indoor/Outdoor Glamis Peppercorn

and the ikat like print on the headrest pillows is

Swavelle/Mill Creek Outdoor Marva Volcano

I liked the fabrics when I opened the package a few weeks ago and I like knowing that lets me return them if they aren't what I expected.  Great deal for the price.
Speaking of liking package contents (ok, a bit forced, but a segue nonetheless) I also enjoyed seeing my friend Cathy on Friday and examining the contents of her first package from Stitch Fix, StitchFix an online personal styling service. You fill out an online questionnaire and a company "stylist" picks out items for you to try and purchase or return.  Cathy and I are both no longer working full time so we've had several discussions about what to wear each day....besides staying in my dogwalking clothes all day long, for instance.  There were three tops, one "dress".....more like a tunic for someone in our age range....and a necklace.  We agreed unanimously that the one top in particular was a real hit, of course the most expensive item since it was silk.  But it flattered her in the silhouette and the colors and it was something neither one of us would have ever tried on in a department a matter of fact, we wouldn't probably have shopped in that department at all.  The clothing choices trend to a younger market (hey, 40s are younger these days, yikes) so it was interesting to see if anything would fit our age and taste.  I still have enough stores near me to try such snoop shopping in real time but I can see a market for this service particularly for time-pressed women.  It's sort of like Zappos, free shipping both ways but someone is selecting the clothes and, with your feedback, can get better at discerning your taste and style.  It's a whole new business model for fashion and I'll be curious to see how it develops...and if Cathy buys that lovely blouse.   
I won't show you the gift package that I sent out on Saturday until after the recipient's birthday this coming weekend.  
Last set of packages that arrived early last week:

Mr. Lucky and I took a beautiful drive and country walk about one hour north into Pennsylvania farm land.  The peaches come from our favorite pick your own orchard and the tomatoes from a farmer who I met two years ago.  His daughter put him on craigslist and I think he's still surprised by the good response he gets.
Yes, it's canning and jam making season here.   From that to this:
and this:

Tomato Crostata With Honey-Thyme Glaze


  • 125 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 cup), more for rolling out dough
  • 75 grams fine cornmeal (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons), cut into small cubes
  • 35 grams grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 1/2 cup)


  • 1 1/2 pounds different-colored tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (or halved if cherry or grape tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt, plus a pinch
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 65 grams extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • Flaky sea salt, like Maldon


Make the crust: In a food processor, briefly pulse together flour, cornmeal and salt. Add butter and cheese and pulse until mixture forms chickpea-size pieces (3 to 5 one-second pulses). Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, up to 6 tablespoons, pulsing occasionally until mixture is just moist enough to hold together. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Spread out tomato slices in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and let sit for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
In a skillet over medium heat, combine vinegar, honey and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer; let simmer 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Wipe out skillet, then add olive oil and garlic. Cook garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, or until garlic is golden and caramelized. Remove garlic and finely chop. Reserve garlic oil.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin. Gently roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, dusting with flour if dough is sticking. Transfer dough to baking sheet and return to fridge for another 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pat tomatoes dry with paper towels. Brush tomatoes with honey mixture (reserve the thyme sprigs). Leaving a 3-inch border, distribute cheese, garlic and half the chopped thyme leaves on center of crust. Add black pepper to taste, then layer tomatoes in an overlapping pattern, maintaining the 3-inch border. Drizzle garlic oil over tomatoes, sprinkle with remaining thyme leaves and lay the reserved whole thyme sprigs on top. Gently fold crust up around tomatoes, making a 2-inch border.
In a small bowl, whisk egg and 1 teaspoon water. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash over crust and sprinkle top of crostata with flaky salt. Bake for about 35 minutes, until pastry is deeply golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
6 to 8 servings

I'm no food photographer but this recipe was fantastic and is sure to be in our summer rotation. 
I hope you've had good new discoveries this summer as well.


  1. Hey Jane, I did splurge on that tunic and have set up for my next Stitch Fix next month.

  2. I just saw this recipe (via Rhonda Buss) and I have to say it looks so delicious -- I am putting it on my to-make list. I envy you all that good produce and canning. This year has been a bit of a bust for me in that department.


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