In 1986, my oldest daughter had been entering needlework in the Ohio State Fair for several years. She kept nudging me to enter something in the food division but I was hesitant after seeing all of the beautiful entries that come in from all over the state. Finally, I gave in and decided to enter a blackberry pie to use up some of the buckets of wild blackberries we picked every day in a thicket on the far edge of our property. I used a recipe from a book by Susan Purdy that my daughter had just given me (unfortunately, I lost the book and I’m not sure of the title*) and made the long trip from Cincinnati to Columbus to enter the pie for judging.
I was pleased to win a third place ribbon on my first Ohio State Fair entry.
We no longer live in the house with the blackberry thicket but there were some beautiful blackberries at my farmers’ market in Loveland, Ohio (Blooms and Berries) and the pie turned out great.
STATE FAIR BLACKBERRY PIE
- Pastry for a 9″ two-crust pie (click here for my favorite recipe)
- 4 cups fresh blackberries
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
- 3 Tblsp. cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tblsp. quick cooking tapioca
- 2 Tblsp. butter
- 1 Tblsp. milk
Preheat oven @ 375 degrees F
In a heavy pan combine the blackberries, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, salt, and 2 Tblsp. water.
Mash fruit very slightly with wooden spoon to start juices flowing. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until mixture nears boiling point (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and cool completely. Stir in tapioca.
Pour into unbaked pie shell and dot with butter. Fit top crust over fruit, sealing well. Brush top crust lightly with milk and cut vents.
Place on flat pan to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
The flavor of this pie is so delicious – even the leftovers the next day were good.
*UPDATE: I was able to identify the book – As Easy as Pie by Susan G. Purdy and found a nice hard-cover 1984 edition on eBay.com. I feel better now. That was the only cookbook that I have ever lost and I’m happy to have a copy to complete my collection.
Over twenty years ago when my husband and I lived in rural Ohio on the Indiana border with a huge vegetable garden, I tried a lot of recipes to deal with the surplus produce. In 1985, I found this recipe for Fresh Corn Zucchini (or Yellow Summer Squash) Relish in a cookbook called, “Seasoned with Sunshine”. I made it on July 21 and the next week entered it in our Hamilton County Fair (Cincinnati). It won a blue ribbon and became a family favorite.
Since I’m by myself now in a small bungalow with no garden, I pick up produce at the farmer’s market and make one quart of the relish.
- 2 cups fresh corn, cut from cob
- 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. pickling salt
- 1/2 tsp. celery salt
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
- 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 cups zucchini or yellow summer squash, unpeeled, sliced 1/4″ thick (cut larger diameter slices in half)
In a large pot, combine all ingredients EXCEPT ZUCCHINI/YELLOW SQUASH. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add zucchini/squash slices and simmer uncovered on low heat for 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Spoon relish into sterilized jars – one quart or two pint jars. Relish can be kept in the refrigerator for use within a month or so, or processed in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes for longer storage.
I could refrigerate the two pint jars for my own use, or even more fun, keep one jar and make up the second one for a neighbor. It’s easy to dress up the giveaway jar with a circle of fabric placed between the jar cap and lid. Yes, I think I like that idea best. Now, which of my neighbors would enjoy some relish today?
I made this shopping bag-size tote several years ago for the Warren County (Lebanon, Ohio) Fair. It won a blue ribbon and I enjoyed doing the harness horse design. I used a coloring book sketch transferred to white fabric, then embroidered the design with black floss. I used crayons to color the picture and heat set it by placing a piece of white paper over the coloring and pressing it with a hot iron.
I used the same patchwork blocks to make the back of the bag, machine quilted it with low loft batting and made a lining and handle.
I found the large size of the bag to be extremely useful. My oldest daughter recently mentioned that she would like to have one the same size and I started looking through my orphan blocks and scraps to see what I could put together.
The center block is a Morning Star block I posted last year and the center with vintage-type fabric was appropriate for my daughter because she is interested and talented in any type of hand sewing. I looked for scraps with shades of yellow and blue and cut 2-1/2 inch blocks to accentuate the focus block.
On the back, I put together 2-1/2 inch blocks with 2-1/2 inch strips to continue the color theme. The front and back were machine quilted using low loft batting. The sides were left unquilted to cut down on bulk. I made another bag of plain fabric for a lining and made the handle extra-long so my daughter can swing the bag over her shoulder if she wants.
The bag is large – 22 inches wide x 25 inches long and should accommodate a lot of stuff when my daughter comes for her weekend visits.
These buttery rich scones are from a Crabtree and Evelyn cookbook, first tried in 1991. I was looking for a scone to enter in a contest at the Cincinnati Irish Feish and these sounded good, made with currants rather than cranberries. The contest was judged by people from Ireland and I was thrilled to win a first place medal.
My daughter and I enjoy these for weekend breakfast as a special high calorie treat.
CRANBERRY CREAM SCONES
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
- 3 Tblsp. butter
- 3 Tblsp. dried cranberries
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 395 degrees F
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter and stir in the cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and whipping cream. Pour onto flour mixture and mix with a fork until dough forms a ball. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly just enough to get the dough to form a 4-1/2″ flat circle. Cut the circle into four wedges.
Place in ungreased pan and bake @ 395 degrees F for approximately 12 minutes.
Serve warm with butter and jam. Makes 4 delicious scones.
It’s county fair time again and that means getting out my handcrafted items. The quilted silhouette hanging is on the front door to commemorate one of my favorite summertime activities. My family has been involved in county and state fairs for generations, partly due to our interest in harness horses. My father was a harness horse driver/trainer and many happy hours were spent at the fairgrounds, so harness horses are a strong element in my county fair designs.
In the kitchen, I have a quilted wall hanging that won a blue ribbon at the Lebanon, Ohio, Warren County Fair.
In the living room there is a quilted/appliqued pillow that was one of my first efforts. It also took a blue ribbon at the Warren County Fair.
The real treasure among the handcrafted items, though, is an old battered suitcase that my father took with him on the fair and racing circuit. My oldest daughter decoupaged countless bits of cloth, ephemera, photos, buttons, etc., to transform the tired old suitcase into a work of art and memory.
There are tags attached with photos and the exhibit history of each member of the family.
I use the suitcase to store old premium lists and memorabilia from our hometown Carthage/Hamilton County Fair (Cincinnati).
I enjoy displaying these reminders of all the years our family has participated in the fun of a county fair.
I have 3 Christmas wall hangings that I’ve made since I started quilting 5 years ago. Two of the earlier ones were made incorporating colorful primitive panels.
One of the wall hangings has a primitive Santa panel along with Bear Paw blocks from the Quilter’s Cache.
This hanging is in the guest bedroom which has a lodge motif year-around. Two Christmas stocking panels are combined with blocks made from flannel scraps and borders made from wonderful flannel with a village motif which was purchased at one of my favorite shops in southwest Ohio, Fabric Shack in Waynesville.
The third hanging is from a pattern called “A Scottish Christmas”, Mad Dog Marketing, PO Box 5608, Evanston IL 60204-5608. The pattern was sized for a 37-1/2×54″ piece, much bigger than I wanted, and I sized it down to 17×22 and made a few changes/additions. Since scotties are among my favorite designs, I love this wall hanging and it also won a blue ribbon at the Warren County (Ohio) fair.
The little crow picture above the scotties was made by my oldest daughter.
I had the idea for this quilt two years ago and made it to enter in the Warren County Fair (Ohio) where it won 3rd prize.
The pattern was taken from a wonderful book, Embroidered Childhood Memories by Brenna Hopkins & Nori Koenig, American Quilter’s Society, Paducah, KY. The book includes more than 100 vintage patterns from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s – “Nostalgic needlework patterns capture the enchantment of fairy tales, lullabies and sweet dreams.” I used the patterns for crayon coloring on white fabric. I drew the pattern on the fabric with a permanent fine-point pen, using a light box, then colored the pattern with crayon and heat set by placing a piece of white paper over the coloring and pressing it.
I chose the snowball block to show off the pattern and used a variety of blue, green, yellow and white fabric in the piecing to complement the crayon colors.
I put the quilt away, thinking it would go to the first great-grandson in the family, and he came along on November 15, 2007. I made up a label for the quilt and waited for my chance to present it to little Curtis.
I saw him for the first time last night. Curtis didn’t have an opinion, but his mother and big sister liked the quilt.
When I started quilting about 5 years ago, this wall hanging was one of my early efforts. My daughter did the hand quilting on it, since I do no hand quilting myself and wasn’t too good at machine quilting at that time.
The second wall hanging was made about a year later and I did the machine quilting on this one. This hanging won a blue ribbon at our county fair.
The third hanging also won a blue ribbon at our county fair and was made 2 years ago. I used the same cat and moon motif to make a vest for myself, which also won at the fair.
All three pieces were appliqued using the fusing method (I’m also not good at needle turned applique). They didn’t take long to make and are cheerful additions to my Halloween decor.
When I bought an expensive Bernina sewing machine in January of 2007, I set myself a goal of making a fair-worthy queen-size quilt to enter in the Warren County (Lebanon, Ohio) fair. The pattern is from a 1985 Judy Martin book, Scrap Quilts and the quilt was pieced and quilted on the Bernina 440QE. I entered it in the fair and felt very lucky to have won a third place ribbon.