Category Archives: foodies!

Sometimes, ya just gotta…

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We don’t have a big Easter celebration at our house, but I was going to a friend’s house this afternoon, and then we’re having a Game of Thrones watch party at our house this evening. What could be more appropriate than beheading…a Peep?

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My friend Carole and I put these together this afternoon, using these instructions and then just winging the rest. Cute, huh?

I also made lemon bars and chocolate chip shortbread, so it wasn’t all fun and games.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it, and happy spring to the rest of the northern hemisphere!

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And for those of you down under, it’s time to start knitting woolies. Everybody wins!

perfect bourbon vanilla ice cream

My (adult) kids gave me an Cuisinart ice cream maker for Christmas. Perhaps it was a self-serving gift, but I thought it was inspired. I’ve used it several times since then, in an effort to perfect a bourbon vanilla ice cream recipe. Here’s my version of perfect.

Perfect Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

6 egg yolks
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 – 1/3 cup bourbon (taste it and see how boozy you want it)

Directions:
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat cream, milk, half and half, and sugar just to a boil.
Separate egg yolks to a large heat-proof bowl. Slowly add 2 cups of the hot cream mixture in a thin stream to the yolks while constantly whisking. (This tempering keeps the yolks from curdling when they meet up with the hot cream.) Whisk the tempered egg yolks back into the pan of remaining hot cream mixture, and simmer for two more minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.

Add vanilla, then bourbon, stirring constantly. Start with 1/4 cup bourbon, and add a little more until it tastes just the way you want it. I used just over 1/4 cup.

Cool over an ice bath, or in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Process in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to chill it further in the freezer after processing, as it can be quite soft, even after processing. Servings: 6 to 8 servings, or more, depending on how you use it.

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I used my first ice cream attempt for profiteroles, using this recipe for shells. I’d halve the recipe next time, and make them smaller/cuter and serve them in a trio, drizzled with chocolate truffle sauce.

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My second ice cream attempt had a firmer texture, but wasn’t sweet enough, and too bourbon-y. It’s still in the freezer. Third time’s a charm! I used it for ice cream sandwiches using those ubiquitous thin ginger cookies you see during the holiday season, and drizzled them with chocolate truffle sauce. They need to go back in the freezer to firm up after making them, so leave yourself a couple hours before serving.

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Oh, that chocolate truffle sauce? You’ll find the recipe here.

Back to my knitting!

Merry Christmas!

I finished my Silver and Gold KAL project. It wasn’t the lovely silvery yarn from Knitted Wit. I decided to knit another Hoppy Blonde Webfoot for a UO Duck fan, instead. Gold! And I finished a couple days go. It’s blocked and wrapped, and waiting to be gifted. No picture, though; it was dark when I wrapped.

I also gave my Madelinetosh Pashmina Filigree to a dear friend. Two knit gifts, and only one on deadline. Perfect.

filigree curiosity

If you participated in the KAL and would like to enter the drawing for a yarny prize, please contact me by Dec. 31 to let me know. I saw the pattern sales go out, but haven’t heard from you! It’s been a busy month, I know.

We started our Christmas Day with mimosas and Cinnamon Roll Waffles. After seeing this on the web, we had to try it. They were pretty tasty!

cinnamon roll waffles

Wishing you a peaceful day. How are you spending it? We’ll be having 14 at dinner tonight. Prime rib is in the oven and smells heavenly already…Mookie can’t wait!

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Keeping it organized…

FO pic! Here’s my sister with her Webfoot Scarf, hot off the needles.

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Christmas was great, lots of family and friends. The kids gave me a Cuisinart ice cream maker, so tonight we had bourbon vanilla ice cream profiteroles with chocolate truffle sauce and bourbon caramel sauce. It was beyond delicious.

profiterole

Coming down to the end of 2012. It’s been a good year, lots of travel and knitting. Sometimes both at the same time! I’m looking forward to what happens next for PDXKnitterati. I have a few deadlines to meet, design-wise. How do you keep yourself organized? I like lots of lists. And for my knitting, there’s this:

get organized

A different silk taffeta bag for each design project. All the bags go into my favorite around the house basket, Bindi by Lantern Moon. I think it’s been discontinued, but I love the size of this.

basket

What’s next on your knitting radar? Do you have a selfish project lined up for January after gift knitting through December? I’m having a pattern sale on Ravelry; all of my patterns there are 20% off through January 5. The coupon code to enter is MeMeMe as in, it’s all about ME (which really means you). Thank you for reading and knitting!

Winter Jam

Summer has always been jam season for me. A big boiling water bath canner, a hot kitchen, delightful summer fruits turning into jewel-like preserves to spread a little sunshine during the winter. But then I came across a recipe for Pear Cranberry Jam on the Food in Jars blog. Winter jam? Yes!

Not being one to leave well enough alone, I decided my jam needed some add-ins. This time, it’s cinnamon and bourbon. It turned out great.

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What? Your bourbon doesn’t wear a sweater? My son gave me this sweater for my Maker’s Mark bottle last year. See, this *is* a knitting blog!

Cranberry/Pear/Bourbon Jam

4 cups cored and chopped pears (I left the skins on)
4 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon

Combine chopped pears, cranberries, sugar cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, and water in a large pot. Stir to combine and let it rest until the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 10 minutes.

Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer for 15-25 minutes or longer, stirring regularly, until it thickens. Add bourbon, and continue cooking until jam coats spoon without running off.

Ladle jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 5 half pints. (If you need more thorough instructions for processing, go to Food in Jars! I’m assuming that you know how to jam.)

This is delicious. The bourbon is subtle, but there, for a little winter warmth. If I do this again, I’ll add 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger, too, for a little kick. (I put too much ginger in last summer’s plum jam, so I’d be conservative this time.) I actually doubled the recipe, so the pot was really full, and it took quite a while to cook down to a nice jammy consistency (probably about 40 minutes?), but when it started to coat the spoon nicely, I decided it was done. This was also the first time I’d made jam without using added pectin, and I liked the process. It took longer, but I could better see how the jam is going to set up.

The best part of this jam session? Vickie invited me to cook at her house, so she made rugelach cookies while I made jam, and then we had some time to knit and catch up, too. Her cat Olive was very helpful.

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Good things come in jars! I came home from the gym this morning, and Tammy had dropped off some goodies for me. I was overrun by gifts of citrus fruit last winter, and offered some to her because she wanted to make marmalade and citruscello. A perfect trade.

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Back to knitting…Don’t forget, the Silver and Gold Filigree KAL kicks off properly on Friday at Twisted, or right now on the blog and Ravelry. Come knit with me! When we’re done, I’ll have a random drawing for a skein of fingering weight yarn as a prize. Finish a Filigree or Webfoot scarf by December 25, and you’ll be in the drawing.

What’s cooking at your house?

Liège or Bruxelles?

Waffles, that is. I was answering Elizabeth’s comment about food last night, and suddenly I started thinking about waffles. Belgian waffles. Gaufres, as they’re called in French. Or Gophers, as DH would say. But I digress.

They come in two basic styles: Bruxelles (Brussels), which are lighter and served with powdered sugar, or nutella, or ice cream, or whipped cream, or all of the above, and Liège, which are denser, with a caramelized sugar crust that comes from pearl sugar that cooks through the dough and caramelizes against the waffle iron. These are great as is, or with the previously mentioned toppings. I prefer these to the lighter Bruxelles waffles which seem to cry out for toppings, and which were more common in Paris.

(By the way, Elizabeth is one of my favorite food bloggers. So cool when I found out that she’s local!)

I started googling Liège-style waffles last night. I was still thinking about them this morning. After going to the gym, I coerced convinced my gym buddies to go to the Waffle Window.

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I had a lovely waffle, plain, as it should be. It wasn’t quite as dense as the one we had in Bruges, nor quite as coated in caramelized sugar, but it was delicious.

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My friends each had this. I can’t remember what it was called, but it had sliced pear, raspberries, chocolate, and whipped cream. I believe this may have negated the benefits of the gym. It’s close.

Have you tried either of these styles, Liège or Bruxelles? Do you have a preference? What else are are you craving these days?

Almost Lemonade

So, I was trying on my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade, and I thought one of the sleeves looked shorter than the other. Not by much. I took a closer look, and this is what I saw:

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Apparently I missed 2 rows of the lace pattern. Oops. I don’t mind ripping back. While I’m at it, I’ll rip both of them back to make the sleeves a little shorter. They’re supposed to be 3/4 length, but I think they’re a little too long, so they just look like they’re too short.

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I’ve rolled them up here, and I think I like them better. What do you think?

It’s plum season at Lorajean’s house, and she gave some to me.

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I made two batches of ginger plum jam. The first was with all yellow plums, and the second was mostly yellow with a few purple. It doesn’t take many to completely change the color!

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As with last year’s batch, the jam hasn’t set yet (although the non-processed sample jars have gelled nicely). I’m not worried; last year it took several weeks before the jam was a properly jammy texture. I do know that both of them are delicious!

Berry berry good

Summer is definitely here in the Pacific Northwet, and it’s glorious. My blueberries are ripe, and I’m still trying to finish last year’s berries from the freezer. I’ve made cobbler from frozen berries a couple times in the last week for home and away, but the perfectly ripe berries in the garden called for a different treatment.

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I saw a recipe for Blueberry Cream Pie in a Gingersnap Crust on savorysaltysweet.com, and I knew it would be the perfect way to enjoy our berries. Doesn’t it look grand? I tried it out on friends last week, and now I’m tweaking it for tonight. Better gingersnaps for the crust. (Trader Joe’s. No, I’m not making my own gingersnaps; it’s summer and this is supposed to be easy!) Whole milk instead of our usual household skim milk to make the pastry cream a little richer.

ETA: The TJ’s Triple Ginger Snaps and the whole milk made a huge difference. Perfection!

Raspberries are also ripe right now, and my friend Wendy was begging for people to come over and pick. I came home with 2 pints of berries, and decided they should be sorbet.

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I don’t have an ice cream maker, but freezing it in a pyrex dish worked fine. It’s intensely raspberry, and tastes like summer!

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Raspberry Sorbet, no ice cream maker
(makes 8 servings, or you can cut this recipe in half for four. I had lots of berries)

- 2 pints raspberries (about 12 ounces) rinsed and drained, or thawed from frozen
– 1 cup water
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 tablespoons honey
– 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Place water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool. (I did this the night before.)

2. Puree the raspberries, lemon juice, and honey in a food processor.

3. Combine the cooled syrup with the raspberry puree. Run the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. (Yes, you really want to.)

4. Place sorbet in a shallow dish in the freezer, stirring by hand every 30 minutes until sorbet is frozen (about 2 hours). You can also do this with an ice cream maker, but I don’t have one. When sorbet is frozen, move it to a covered container to store.

sorbet trio

This was fabulous all by itself, but I think it would be outstanding as a mini-scoop of sorbet dropped into a flute of prosecco, and garnished with some blueberries. Can’t you just see it?

ETA: Next round I’m adding a tablespoon of vodka to lower the freezing point; this will help it keep from freezing too solidly. If you’re going to eat it right away, it doesn’t matter, but if you want to store it for a day or two, the vodka will help.

In knitting news, my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade sweater is out of time out, and I’m cruising down the first sleeve. I’ve gone back to dpns, and am much happier. I didn’t like the waving ends of the two circulars! Good thing there’s knitter’s choice…

What’s cooking?

A couple new designs in the works, but nothing to show yet. I really like both, though, and look forward to sharing them with you…eventually.

Who’s cooking?

Last Sunday, it was the boys. They moved the waffle station outdoors because it was a spectacularly beautiful day.

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They turned out great! Waffles, blueberry compote (trying to use up the rest of last summer’s blueberries before this summer’s crop), bellinis.

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Yes, the yard looks pretty bad behind there. After brunch, the next phase began: Yard cleanup. This is the only thing I ever want for Mother’s Day, help in the yard!

roof

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We got the garage and shed roofs de-mossed and swept, and lots of weeding done.

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(perspective is everything!)

And then we relaxed with dinner in the newly presentable space. Ahhhh.

dinner

Grilled scallops and shrimp on a bed of angel hair pasta and vegetables. No real recipe, but here’s the cast of characters:

Cooked angel hair pasta, drained
2 cups chicken broth, simmered with shiitake mushrooms and a bit of soy sauce
Stir fried vegetables: 3 heads baby bok choy, 1 red pepper, 1 cup snow pea pods. Add some sesame oil for depth of flavor, a couple ginger slices and some red pepper flakes for zing. When partially done, add some water and soy sauce, and steam until tender/crisp.

Pour the broth/mushrooms over the pasta to keep the pasta from getting too sticky (don’t make pasta too far ahead, or it will just be soggy). Assemble in shallow bowls: pasta/broth/mushrooms, top with veggies, lay the lovely scallops and shrimp on top. Eat!

ETA: I made this again, but no broth, just the stir fry, heartier pasta (so it doesn’t get sticky), and the scallops. We had to pan sear the scallops in olive oil and butter because it’s winter! Pour any liquid from the scallop searing pan into the pasta and veggies. Even better, I think.

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Out of my comfort zone

The key to my current project.

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Yes, size 15. But at least they’re ebony. I’m not enjoying this as much as I thought I would; something about P2tog tbl is really not very comfortable with giant needles and super bulky yarn. But this pattern was so cute, I had to try. It’s the Leif Slipover by Adrienne Larsen from the winter Interweave Knits. The pattern actually calls for size 17 (12 mm) needles, but gauge is everything, right?

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I thought I’d get most of it knit this weekend while I’m away, because the yarn is so bulky, but working with charts and multiple P2tog tbl is slowing me down. When your needles are size 15, certain accomodations are required. Stitch markers? How about some yarn ties?

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It’s Crafty Moms Weekend, so I’m at the Oregon Coast with 10 of my favorite people, and one of my favorite views outside the window.

beach

It’s been really stormy this weekend, but it cleared enough for a walk today.

jellyfish

I love these little jellyfish dots; they’re about the size of a nickel.

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A very different view from last week’s!

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Oh! One other sighting from last week. We went to Morimoto Waikiki for dinner on a whim, since it was only a block from our hotel. We’d been there in December at CollegeKiddo’s request, but Chef Morimoto wasn’t there. (He was there a week later for the Obamas.) There weren’t any tables available, but there was room at the sushi bar. DH wasn’t wild about sitting at the sushi bar. I thought it would be fun to watch the sushi chef.

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It was Masaharu Morimoto himself! Way cool. Do you watch Iron Chef? CollegeKiddo introduced me to it; it’s a fun show.

sashimi

Beautiful, silky sashimi stacks. Oh, pro tip: Don’t finish your dinner at high end Hawaiian restaurants. The takeaway bags are lovely. Heavyweight paper, lovely chopsticks.

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Our favorite meal was at Alan Wong’s. The bag isn’t as lovely, but we had the five course tasting menu, and each dish was exquisite. I couldn’t finish!

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OK, back on topic. Have you knit with big fat needles? Do you like them? Any tips for me, other than taking breaks?