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Embroidery At It’s Best

IMG_0020_2A year ago, a couple girlfriends and I took an embroidery class at a small sewing shop, appropriately named Stitch Lab.   Embroidering was something I always wanted to pick up, but the thought of needle and thread, or any needlework craft, seemed very intimidating.  My Grandmother is incredible with a needle and thread.  She could sew anything. Her embroidery and cross stitch work, all done by hand, looked as perfect as if it were done by a machine.  I felt like I had a lot to live up to.  I realize when you are learning something new you have to be very kind to yourself.  Even thoughI know this, when I get in front of people, I immediately feel as if I have to get it right, and perfect, on the first try.  I will say, it was a humbling experience. French knots and the stem stitch were the only things standing in my way from my first timer perfection.

Immediately after taking the class, I became an embroidery fool.  Sitting and impatiently waiting at the Doctor’s office, I would bust out my needle and hoop.  Every time I send off a gift basket of jams & jellies, I would throw in a towel.  It is therapeutic and relaxing.  It forces me to slow down in a wold that is constantly go, Go, GO! The best thing I have gotten out of embroidery is the bond that has been created between my Grandmother and I.  Whenever I start a new towel, napkin, bag, etc. I always think of my Grandmother.  Would this be something she would want in her kitchen? On her table?  I have been completely in love with embroidering flour sack towels with herbs or produce.  I have gotten the Nettie Stamp of Approval.  Now, I’m not quite to her level of mastery, but I think I’m on my way!

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First You Take A Leek…

Ok, I realize this is a little bit of an alarming title, but I am so excited leeks are back in season! As some of you know, I work at the farmers market for Johnson’s Backyard Garden. You can fully expect to see me every Saturday and Sunday morning hustling veggies. Nothing makes me happier! (ok, there are a few things…but as far as work goes, this is pretty awesome.) Anyway, leeks are back!

I have an odd love of leeks. It all started as a kid, when my Dad and I were in this tiny book store in Long Island. My Dad picked up this bright green cook book with the title, “First You Take A Leek” He and I were in stitches laughing so hard. We actually got asked to leave! Unfortunately, we didn’t end up getting the book, but to this day I still think about it every time I see leeks.

How do I cook my leeks? Well, I am so glad you asked!

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– 1 bunch of JBG leeks
– 1 Tbs. butter
– 1 Tbs. sesame oil
– 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a saute pan. Add leeks. Let them cook down and soften. Add sesame oil. Keep cooking them down until they caramelize and then add sesame seeds.
*Note: I like to watch my sodium intake, but I recommend adding salt to taste. Great as a side dish!

Don’t believe me on the cook book, order it here: First You Take a Leek