Category Archives: recipe

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.

waffle station

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

waffle

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

roof3

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

roof2
(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.

image

Trunk Show time!

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 21) is trunk show day for PDXKnitterati and Knitted Wit at Kathy’s Knit Korner in Forest Grove. Stop by and see us! We’ll be there from 1-3 with lots of pretty samples, Knitted Wit yarns and PDXKnitterati patterns.

Kathy’s Knit Korner
1703 Pacific Ave.
Forest Grove, OR 97116
503-648-8525

If you can’t make it out to Forest Grove, but you’re itching for some yarny fun in town, several Portland shops are waiting for you with bells on. The Seattle to Portland Yarn Train, due in on Saturday, has been cancelled due to storm damage (downed trees and more) on the tracks. I know that Cindy at Urban Fiber Arts is carrying on with her sale. If you’re local, you benefit! (edited for late breaking news: Amtrak says that they’ll have service on that line on Saturday, so we may have Seattleites, after all.)

What else is going on? You know all those ancient Greek tragedies, where the hero is brought down by his own hubris? I’m living a knitterly version of it. I’m working on a little design project. I liked my prototype that I knit out of stash yarn (purple), and felt ready to jump into the real thing with one little change planned. I was feeling pretty confident, as you know from my last post. Right now I’ve got a basket o’ chaos.

After knitting the first piece with the real yarn (green), I slowly realized that it wasn’t the real yarn after all. Slightly different weight, slightly different row gauge, and it turns out that it’s not the yarn it was supposed to be! A quick call to Lorajean confirmed it. Oops! It will fit me, though, so I’ll save it for later.

Do over. Started with the real, real yarn (blue!), and finished the first piece. (Again.) Thought of a change for the second piece, tried it, hated it, ripped it out and am finishing again. I should have just gone with my first (well, second) instinct. But it’s almost done, again. I do all the trial and error so you don’t have to!

And in other news, we’ve fallen under the spell of the chocolate mug cake, thanks to Pinterest, twitter, and Facebook. Social media is dangerous! Sorry for the lack of pictures, but we make them at night, the lighting is awful, and the cake doesn’t last long! We’ve tried two recipes in the last two days.

2 Minute Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mug Cake, sans caramels but with added ice cream and bourbon chocolate sauce, plenty for two people

One Minute Chocolate Cake (a single serving, but we shared with no problem)

There may well be a nutella mug cake tonight. The best part of it is that there are no leftovers to tempt you the next day. You just have to be able to stop making them…yeah, sure!

What’s new with you?

Traditions, adjusted

It’s Sunday afternoon, Thanksgiving weekend. I haven’t knit a stitch in five days. But I’ve played hostess to a house full of family, and it’s been fun. CollegeGuy was home from Orlando for the weekend, and it was great to have him around. Now he and all the guests have gone back home, so I’m taking a moment to catch up.

I haven’t hosted Thanksgiving in nearly 20 years. We used to round robin New York, St. Louis, Chapel Hill with DH’s family, but when we moved back to Portland from New York in 1995, Thanksgiving landed semi-permanently at my in-laws’ home in St. Louis. This year, I asked to have Thanksgiving here, so that the freshman CollegeGuy could come home for the holiday. I think he appreciated the chance to be home and see his friends, most of whom stayed on this coast for school. Our niece is in London for a semester abroad, so she joined us via skype on Thanksgiving afternoon.

skype

I made the traditional meals on the traditional days. If it’s Wednesday dinner, it must be brisket. If it’s Saturday lunch, it must be minestrone. Saturday night is always turkey, redux. I didn’t want to rock the boat too much since I had absconded with Thanksgiving, but I snuck in a few changes. We had sausage/potato/kale soup on Thursday instead of sandwiches, bourbon caramel sauce with our apple pie, and I tried a new bourbon cranberry sauce (see end of post for recipe).

Friday was sunny and lovely, so we headed out to wine country for open house weekend. We went to Brick House Vineyards for a tasting. Lovely wines in a lovely setting. And I set up this picture (the family picture is another Thanksgiving weekend tradition).

brick house group

On Saturday, I took MIL and SIL shopping on trendy/funky Mississippi Avenue. I found this knitted frog dissection at Paxton Gate. High school biology would have been even more fun this way.

frog

I’m so happy we were able to host this traitional autumn celebration here at home. Same same, but different! What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

table

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup bourbon

Mix cranberries, sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Transfer to 9×13 baking dish.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Stir, bake another 30 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to bowl and stir in bourbon immediately. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

Plum Crazy

September means plums, or more precisely, Italian prunes. I love them fresh…

plums

and I also love them as jam.

jam

This year I thought I’d try something different. I added a cup of chopped, crystallized ginger to the jam when it hit the full rolling boil, and finished boiling it for the prescribed minute. It’s delicious! But here’s the conundrum. I followed the usual Sure-Jell instructions, and the partial jar of leftover jam that I put in the fridge set up beautifully. The jam in the jars that I processed in the water bath canner for 10 minutes are all a little soft. Why are they different? I followed the recipe and instructions, and didn’t over-process the jam. But there’s something about processing it this time that made the set go soft. I’m guessing it has to do with the ginger cooking longer in the jam due to the processing, but I don’t know why. It’s still delicious, though, and not so runny that I would take it all out and re-process it with more pectin. And it’s a little thicker this week than it was when it first came out. Hoping that continues…

ruffle tank

And did you notice it’s the same color as my new ruffle tank? Just sayin’!

A prize, ginger, and chocolate…

I’m a winner! I recently (well, last month) won this book in a contest on the Craftside blog.

book

It’s The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting by Margaret Hubert, a very nice compendium of knitting how-to. It begins with a history of knitting, goes through tools and basic techniques, and a nice stitch dictionary. There are charts for the cable stitches, but not for most of the others. The pictures are large and clear. There are also some patterns to go with the stitch dictionary and techniques, including hats, scarves, sweaters, socks, and these very cute leaf coasters.

coasters

The most interesting part of the book comes at the end. It covers more advanced techniques in a section called Specialty Knitting Methods, some of which are covered by well known knitting authors and instructors. It includes intarsia (Sasha Kagan), entrelac, freeform, crazy lace (Myra Wood), twined (Beth Brown-Reinsel), and bead knitting (Judy Pascale), and one I’ve never heard of, ouroborus knitting by Debbie New. It’s described as “working in rings from the center out, each round getting larger with strategically placed increases that shape the garment as you knit. These closed circles result in very unusual, one-piece garments that require no cutting or seaming.”

ouroborus

I haven’t had much time to sit down and play with this book yet, but it looks great. Lots of reference material and some really fun techniques to explore. Here’s the freeform bag:

purse

In other news, I went shopping for some staples at the Asian market last week (Fubonn, for PDX locals), and was enticed by the preserved ginger in the snack aisle. I bought it for theTeen, since he’s a ginger aficianado. You may recall that he started brewing ginger beer last summer, and even gained some fame in the local newspaper for doing so. Anyway, I decided that I needed to try putting some in scones. My first batch just swapped ginger for my usual chocolate chips, but it lacked…something. So I added a little more butter and sugar, substituted half and half for my usual skim milk, and used half chocolate chips and half ginger. A winner!

scones

Ginger Chocolate Scones

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2 cups flour (not whole wheat; I used unbleached white)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (not soda)
1/2 tsp salt

5 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup preserved ginger candy, chopped (it’s sweet; I bought it at the Asian market in the snack aisle)

1/2 cup half and half (just barely, or it will be too wet)
1 egg, scrambled

1 Tablespoon chunky turbinado sugar (optional, but pretty)

Combine dry ingredients and stir. Cut the butter into pieces and then blend them into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. Stir in chocolate chips and ginger. Scramble the egg into the half and half, and then pour it into the flour mixture. Stir until blended, then knead on floured surface about 10 times. Form two balls with the dough. Pat out balls into circles about 7 inches in diameter, slightly mounded in center. Cut each circle into eight pieces. Brush tops with half and half (I just used what was left in the measuring cup); sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and let rise for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just golden. Cool on rack. EAT! To reheat, warm in toaster oven on lowest setting.

Makes 16 dainty scones. (11.17.10: Edited to up chocolate chips to 1/2 cup, instead of 1/4)

Hat tip to Lorajean for suggesting ginger AND chocolate when the ginger wasn’t quite enough on its own. Now go make some!

bsj update

Last weekend I was over in Sisters again, this time with some of the Day Old Pastries for a music retreat. It was really nice to take some time for music. I played more over the weekend than I had in all of September!

While I was there, I finished knitting the body of the Baby Surprise Jacket.

garter

I love this yarn. My friend Kerri spun it up. It’s Blue Faced Leicester, Crayon colorway from Gale’s Art (etsy link).

bfl pdx

amoeba

Doesn’t look much like a jacket, though, does it? But a quick fold yields this:

folded

Elizabeth Zimmermann was an absolute genius. It’s like knitted origami. I added a collar, according to instructions in the BSJ dvd from Schoolhouse Press. (I highly recommend this dvd and instruction set. My instructions in an old Knitters’ magazine were quite cryptic.) I picked up the stitches for the collar from the inside of the jacket so the pickup would be hidden under the collar turn. You could do it either way.

collar

front

back

All in all, a cute knit. Now it just needs some buttons…

While I was in Sisters, I made wonton soup for the Pastries. They wanted a recipe, so here it is.

wonton soup

Wonton Soup

¼ lb peeled deveined shrimp, (frozen thawed is fine, and size doesn’t matter since it will be ground)
¼ lb ground turkey breast
6 medium to large shiitake mushrooms (3 for filling and 3 sliced for soup)
1 can sliced water chestnuts (half for filling and half to go in soup)
1 stalk green onion
3 to 6 stalks bok choy (half goes into filling; other half goes into soup) I like baby or shanghai bok choy. If you use the smaller bok choy, 6 stalks; if you use the really big long stuff, 3 is plenty)
snow pea pods, amount of your choosing

1 egg
¼ tsp five spice powder
½ Tablespoon oyster sauce

1 package wonton wrappers
1 48 oz box reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water

Start your broth, water, 3 sliced mushrooms in a large soup pot. This can heat while you prepare wontons; when it boils bring it down to a simmer.

I have a small food processor, so I chop things sequentially. This also lets me avoid chopping the vegetables too finely; we want some crunch!

Chop and place into a large bowl: the shrimp, turkey (already ground), 3 mushrooms, ½ can water chestnuts, half the bok choy, green onion. Combine eggs, 5 spice, and oyster sauce and add to bowl, Mix all ingredients well. (does it need a little more 5 spice? give it a sniff; it should smell divine. I tried to measure but had to guess because at first I had too much in my measuring spoon)

Fold wontons! I put a little less than a tablespoon of filling in each wonton. Fold on the diagonal, then use the back of your spoon to put a dab on the fold next to right side of the filling (on the outside), give a little twist and fold to bring the underside of the left side of the filling mound to the dab on the of the right side of the filling mound. Sounds confusing, I know. You can google it, but my way is different than the ones I found there. They all work.

Bring broth back to a boil. Add wontons and remaining water chestnuts. Cook for 4 minutes, reducing heat to medium when soup begins to boil again (don’t want to jostle the wontons too much and have them fall apart!). After 4 minutes, add the remaining bok choy (sliced in 1 inch pieces on the diagonal) and pea pods. If you have extra shrimp, now is the time to put them in the soup, too. Stir occasionally to get the vegetables down into the soup. Soup is ready in about 3 more minutes. Don’t overcook; it gets sloppy!

If this is more food than you need, you can store the extra filling in the fridge for a couple days, and make fresh wontons again.

not much knitting…

but there seems to be a lot of dessert!

Last night I made this cobbler.

cobbler

The edges are a little messy because I forgot to add the lemon juice to the fruit mixture, so I poured it back into the bowl and then back into the dish. Sorry! Here’s what’s under the cornmeal biscuit crust.

cobbler2

It’s a nectarine blueberry cobbler, using SmittenKitchen’s peach blueberry cobbler recipe. I love SK’s blog; she makes great food and her pictures are gorgeous.

I doubled the biscuit topping, as suggested, and I baked the cobbler in two square dishes, instead of the oblong that was specified. This meant I could take one to a friend’s house for dinner, and leave one home for the guys. Everybody wins! I served the cobbler with vanilla ice cream, and it was divine. I did not, however, serve it with the home made vanilla ice cream that I made the day before. That ice cream went to a piano evening, and was served with frozen blueberries from my garden, slightly thawed.

Last week Sarah made a two ingredient ice cream for knit nite. It was good, but I wanted a little vanilla kick to my ice cream. (I make my own vanilla extract by steeping sliced vanilla beans in vodka; I love vanilla that much.) I found this recipe for five ingredient ice cream on allrecipes.com. Easy, and delicious. And the blueberries were a perfect foil to the very dense, sweet ice cream.

What’s your favorite summer dessert? I like cobblers with ice cream. Can you tell?! Easy to put together, and always a delight. I’m making another one for a party tonight.

As for knitting? I turned the heel on my sock, but didn’t get much further. I did go look at all the beautiful things in the Lantern Moon warehouse for future blogging, so expect to see some of that soon.

knitting a blue streak

It feels like it’s all blue here, all the time.

blue beginning

I started my Breezy Market Tote. Although Twisted’s Single Skein Club offering with my design was AllHemp6 yarn in pumpkin, I was able to swap my yarn for deep sea (blue), since I’d already made the original design in sand (nearly pumpkin). I wound the yarn by hand, twice. The first time, I wound it in my usual way, over my fingers to keep the ball loose to avoid stretching the yarn. It works with wool. With hemp? Not so much. The ball was sloppy and prone to tangling and falling apart. So I rewound it more tightly, and away we went. And yes, that’s a provisional cast on at the bottom. Never fear, the bag will be only…blue.

ball

I also resurrected my ruffle tank from the time-out basket. I lost my annotated instructions last year at Sock Summit time, and was just too peeved to go on. But looking at it now, I’m pretty sure I can get the rest of it done. The back was already done, and the front was up past the armhole shaping. It won’t take long (famous last words) to finish. And I get to learn applied i-cord to finish the edges.

front

I’ve been working on the instructions for my Pacific Shawl (yes, mine is blue); it’s almost ready to go to test knit. I need to make a video tutorial for placing the beads, and check the math one more time, but the charts are done.

blueberrylime

Last night I made blueberry lime jam. (More blue, even though the jam is deep purple.) I don’t like plain blueberry jam, where the berries have been through the food processor. The texture is…grainy. So I gently squashed the berries with a potato masher, and I think I’ll like the result a lot better. Along with lime juice, there are bits of lime zest in there to give it some zing and keep it from being cloyingly sweet. Because these berries are really, really sweet already. There are still more out there on the bushes, too…

Oh, I did finish something that wasn’t blue…a helmet liner for the Knit for the Troops project. Lichen green, and I forgot to take a picture before dropping it off at Twisted! Sorry. I used the pattern here. If I were to do it again, I would change the decreases at the crown; there are only 5 decreases around the crown of the hat, and it meant that the top of the hat was tall and a bit pointy. I’d make more decrease points (maybe 8?) so the crown would be shorter and rounder. (If 8 decreases, then I’d start with 88 stitches instead of 90) But that’s just me; I can’t seem to ever knit something as written!

Back to the blues…

knit friends, Passiflora, blueberries

Samantha Roshak was at Twisted to kick off her trunk show yesterday. She brought some lovely knitted things.

sam

Sam’s a designer from Seattle; I met her last year at Sock Summit. She’s charming *and* talented! Her show will be at Twisted through this weekend. If you can’t make it, you can check out her designs online.

s and c

Her friend Chandria came with her. I met Chandria when she came down on the SEA-PDX Yarn train in January. It was nice to meet up again.

Passiflora is done!

passifront

I love the lacy detail up the side, as well as the expanded lace on the back.

passiback

It’s reversible, and I did try it on with the lacier front, but I like the small panel better in front. The pattern was well-written and simple to follow. I didn’t change anything except to make it shorter throughout, because…I’m not as tall as I imagine!

The weather has turned hot, so it’s a little too warm to wear right now. Yes, it’s sleeveless, and has lots of lacy built in ventilation, but the yarn is wool, silk, and bamboo, and it’s a little warmer than I’d like on a 90 degree day. Last week, it would have been perfect. Don’t worry, it will be cooler again. It’s Portland!

The sunshine is encouraging my blueberries; we still have loads on the bushes. I keep picking, and baking, and freezing. A friend called to ask for a clarification on my blueberry cobbler recipe, so I’ve edited the recipe to make things clearer.

That’s the news from here. Next on the knitting agenda: finishing a pattern, and finishing last year’s abandoned project. Both are blue. ‘Tis the season!

Blogging, and more

I’m so pleased to announce that I’m going to be blogging for Lantern Moon! I’ve been in a knitting group (the knit nite group) with Sharon Woodcock, one of the owners of Lantern Moon, for about three years. Our group grew out of an intarsia class that we had with Leigh Radford. I was thrilled when Sharon & Joel (her husband, and co-owner of Lantern Moon) asked me to blog for them. Please come check out the new blog here.

We went to the Tigard Knitting Guild meeting last Thursday; Sharon was the guest speaker. It’s a great group of knitters, and I even participated in the show and tell time, with my Pacific Shawl.

pacific

I still have to finish writing up the pattern; it’s been on the back burner for a bit. But I hope to have it out to test knit in the next few weeks.

So, not much knitting around here, but I’ve been cooking. This is our new favorite pasta salad. It’s just right for summer. You can put any of your favorite things in it, but here’s what I did:

orzo salad

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad

Dressing: in a jar, combine and shake well:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or run through garlic press
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For the salad:
1 pound orzo pasta, cooked, rinsed, and cooled (this makes a LOT)
2/3 lb asparagus, cut in 1.5 inch pieces (add these to the pasta for the last 1.5 minutes of cooking)
1 14 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
1 pint grape tomatoes (whole)
3 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts

Combine salad ingredients and toss with 1/2 the dressing. Store the salad, refrigerated, to let the flavors meld. Before serving, add more of the dressing to refresh. (You can use all, or part, of the remaining dressing, as you desire) We served it with grilled chicken, and really enjoyed it!

What’s cooking/knitting with you?