Category Archives: recipe

November, the yarn

I bought a little more Malabrigo Chunky the other day. I’m still working on a pattern for our knit party auction event, and I needed to try one more variation on a theme.

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Isn’t this gorgeous? The color is called Noviembre. And yes, it looks like fall. These are so not my colors, but they are gorgeous, and I’m sure I can find a worthy recipient after the pattern is written and the pictures are done. And this yarn is so much fun to knit with; it’s firm and bouncy like knitting with al dente pasta! Speaking of food…

I posted on Facebook that I was baking applesauce blueberry bread; a lot of my posts seem to be about food. There were a couple recipe requests, so I’m posting it here for your enjoyment.

Applesauce Blueberry Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Blend in applesauce.

Blend dry ingredients, fold into applesauce mixture only until blended. Fold in blueberries.

Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 degrees, about 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. (Mine usually takes at least an hour and 15 minutes, especially if I’m baking two. You really don’t want this to be gummy on the bottom.) Cool in loaf pan on wire rack for about 30 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely. Scrumptious!

ETA: The reason mine takes so long to bake is probably because I put the berries in frozen, directly from the freezer. These are the berries that we grew last summer, and they are wonderful!

Oh, I almost wore the clear Converse sneakers today. I tried them on again, but I still felt clunky and flat-footed. So back they’ll go. Well, it was worth a try, anyway!

To market, to market…

Well, I already had a “jiggety-jig” post, so I couldn’t resist the title!

One of the tastiest and most enjoyable things we did in Vietnam was a cooking class in Hoi An. We took a half-day class at the Red Bridge Cooking School. The class began with a tour of the central market in Hoi An.

Produce is sold on the outside of the market.

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The small purple fruit is mangosteen. These have white fruit shaped like tangerine inside and are very sweet. The red spiky ones are rambutan, which are like lychee, but we didn’t try them on this trip. The big green ones are pomelo, which our guide says is good for weight loss. And the bright pink ones are dragonfruit. Inside, they’re white with small black seeds.

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This seller also had grubs (silkworm?). You can eat them raw, but our guide said these had been out too long (several hours), so you should cook them before eating them. There are also cookware and clothing stalls on the outside of the market. I bought a conical hat, because my hat from home was too HOT. (A familiar refrain.) These hats are very lightweight, and cool. And you can use them as a fan, too.

Inside the market, everything is pretty tightly packed together. Here are eggs: chicken, duck, quail, fresh, preserved…

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You know this fowl is fresh!

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And these ducks are destined to be dinner. They’re still quacking, here.

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Boats pull up at the dock with fresh fish.

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After the tour of the market, we boarded a boat for a 25 minute trip down the river to the cooking school.

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All the boats have eyes!

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We saw lots of fishing nets like these. And lots of ducks on the islands. Ping, where are you?

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The cooking school and the bridge for which it’s named.

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We toured the herb garden, and then began class. Our instructor had a Aussie accent on top of his Vietnamese one.

We made rice paper (like you wrap on salad rolls), salad rolls, Hoi An pancakes (with shrimp and scallions). And of course, we got to eat all of these things. We also made garnishes: cucumber fans, and tomato roses.

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Our final dish was eggplant in clay pot.

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We ate the eggplant with rice for lunch in the restaurant, and it was fabulous.

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My winning ways

I won a contest! Twisted’s June contest was “Flowers and Knits.” I submitted this picture of the beginning of my Malabrigo Sock yarn Ishbel in our purple irises, and it was the winner.

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The prize is this pretty embroidered bag.

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The beautiful irises from the photo don’t look so lovely any more, but that doesn’t seem to bother my little friend.

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Thanks, Twisted!

When I went to pick up my prize, I also picked up two skeins of Mirasol T’ika, 100% Pima Cotton, 83 meters/50 gm. I’m going to make another Baby Bolero from Leigh Radford’s One Skein for a little girl scheduled to debut at the beginning of September. (Two skeins for a One Skein sweater sounds funny, but if it were a 100 gm skein it would make sense.)

The WIPs just keep stacking up…

I’ve been a cookin’ fool since I got home from vacation. A lot of blueberry baked goods! And tonight’s dinner, lemony zucchini pizza. I adapted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Instead of goat cheese, I used ricotta. DH wasn’t sure he could wait for me to photograph the pizza.

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But I prevailed.

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It was delicious; this recipe is a winner, too!

I’ve got the blues…

And I love them! Blue is my favorite color. I’m still plugging away on the blue Ishbel and the blue Ruffle Tank. And now I’ve won some beautiful blue yarn from Lorajean at Knitted Wit.

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It’s 400 yards of fingering weight sock yarn, colorway Blue Sky. Lorajean noted that I don’t knit socks, but that’s not completely true. What’s true is that I don’t knit socks with fingering weight yarn! Someday I may. But wouldn’t this blue make a gorgeous scarf or shawl?

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I also harvested the first of the blueberries on Sunday when I got home from Carmel. I made blueberry cobbler, and we had it with vanilla ice cream for Father’s Day dessert. It was delicious! While I was picking the berries, I noticed a blue jay on the corner of my roof, with a big fat blueberry in his beak. I think there’s enough for all of us, but that was pretty cheeky of him!

While I’m waiting…

While waiting for Ishbel’s yarn supplement to arrive from Texas, I started a new project. (I could have finished the second Kai-Mei sock, but I was looking for an excuse.) It was either the Ruffle Tank or the new Single Skein Club project.

I was really hankering for a semi-mindless knit, so I started the Ruffle Tank. No charts to follow, just 9×2 ribbing for the first 13 inches. I can manage that. I’ll start the Club knit when Ishbel is done. Only one chart project at a time!

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This is my first experience with linen, and it’s really different. Where the Malabrigo Sock is buttery soft, the MerLin is like knitting with twine. But I like it! It’s crisp and “dry” and “hard” feeling. The fabric is a bit stiff, but I know that it will soften up when I run it through the washer and :gasp: dryer. Hey, the label says I’m supposed to! I’m not following the advice given in my Tips & Tricks class with Lily Chin; I should wash and dry and hang the swatch. But I just want to get started, and the tank isn’t terribly fitted. Fingers crossed; I just want to knit.

We had a stellar dinner when my in-laws were visiting. Vickie made an unbaked version of it a few weeks ago when we were camping. If you can make it on a Coleman stove, it must be manageable in a real kitchen! We had it with polenta then, but pasta is way easier for me to coordinate. Sorry I don’t have a picture; it disappeared quickly! And the in-laws would have thought I was weird, taking pictures of dinner. Well, weirder than they already think I am.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Makes 4 servings (I increased shrimp to 1.5 lbs for 6 peeps, and it was plenty)

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
2 14.5 oz cans diced (roasted) tomatoes with their juice
3 T smoked paprika (pimenton)
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 1/4 lbs medium shrimp, peeled & deveined (1 lb is enough for 4 peeps)
2/3 C crumbled feta cheese (3 oz)
1 lb dry linguine or other pasta

Start your water for pasta now and timing will be great. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil, add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, pepper flakes, paprika; bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to casserole dish. Add shrimp & cilantro. Sprinkle feta over top. (Start cooking your linguine now, takes 12 minutes) Bake until shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes. (Linguine is done!)

Serve over drained linguine.

Enjoy!

Let’s Duet

I made another pair of Star Athena’s Arctic Blast Mitts as an auction item for our youth mission trip fundraiser.

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They look just like the ivory ones, except they’re ice blue.

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A quick knit! Malabrigo Silky Merino on size 3 needles, so wonderful to knit with.

And I had a craving for shortbread, so this happened.

shortbread

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (I used mini chocolate, but I’ve also used butterscotch)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and salt, and then beat these with the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in chips. Press into an ungreased 9 inch square pan.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool 20-30 minutes in pan on wire rack.

Score shortbread with sharp knife into desired size servings, but do not cut all the way through. Invert onto rack and cool completely.
Break into pieces.

Enjoy!

We be chillin’…

Here’s what’s on the needles these days…

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No, it’s not a fancy beer cozy. That’s just the model. It’s really an Arctic Blast Mitt. These were designed by Star Athena, and are part of the first package from Twisted‘s Single Skein Club. DH bought me membership in the club for Christmas. Every other month I’ll get a skein of a fabulous luxury yarn, an exclusive pattern for that yarn, and goodies! This month’s goodies include a tote bag and a pen.

I finally had a chance to cast on last Sunday, riding in the car while the Teen drove us down to Eugene to visit CollegeMan. (CollegeMan just turned 21, so I can’t think of him as CollegeBoy any more.) The yarn is Malabrigo Silky Wool, a single ply yarn that is lovely to work with. The stitch pattern is Arrowhead Lace, which is easily memorized because 3 of the 5 rounds are “rest” rounds; only two rounds have yarn overs and decreases.

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I think these will be lovely. I’ll have to take them back from the beer. Beer doesn’t get much respect in this household, anyway; I bought this beer specifically to make beer bread! I made some last night.

Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 12 ounce can/bottle of beer

(If you don’t have self rising flour, add 4 1/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt to 3 cups regular all purpose flour. This is what usually happens at our house.)

Mix ingredients; pour into greased pan. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in warm, non-drafty place for 30 minutes. Bake for 70 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven. Remove from pan and cool on rack until just warm. Slice and enjoy with butter and jam.

If you try to cut it when it’s still hot, the crust will break off from the bread. Ask me how I know. I had to leave for a meeting last night, so we ate this in a hurry, which is why the crust broke, and why there is no picture of the bread!

Like the fat man in Dune…

Knit nite is at my house tonight. The house is, um, untidy, and there are dust bunnies (rabbits? lambs?) everywhere. I need to pick up a bit, go to work, come home, pick up some more. I’ll be flying around the house like the fat man in Dune. (I never saw the movie, just the trailer, with the…well, you get the picture.)

At least dinner is ready. Mom likes to go to Olive Garden for lunch when we’re out running errands. I love the Zuppa Toscana (sausage/potato/kale soup) there. I found a recipe for it last week and tried it. It’s pretty close; I did leave out the bacon, though. The sausage is enough! I made it again yesterday for tonight’s dinner; it’s better on the second day.

Not much knitting to show; the log cabin blanket is bigger, the secret project is longer, and the Hey, Teach is still in swatching mode. Second scarflet is done except for buttons. Maybe I’ll get some knitting done tonight.

It was wash day for the Fetchings here. I washed Mom’s for her; she once shrank a beautiful star tam that I made for her, and so now I’m in charge.

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The darker ones are mine; I wear them all the time and have been missing them this week!

Lazy Saturday

I woke up at 9 this morning; the Husband was leaving to work at an event. I rolled over and went back to sleep, and when I woke up again, it was noon! I haven’t slept that late in years. I must have needed it.

I asked the Teenager (also just waking) what he’d like for breakfast/lunch. Blueberry muffins! I still have a freezer full of blueberries from this summer’s bumper crop, so that was a definite possibility. Remember these?

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Some of them ended up here.

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They were just Bisquick muffins, with some applesauce added since there was a bit left in the fridge. They were delicious!

And so were the omelettes I made to go with them.

Teenager and I spent the afternoon on a CSI:NY marathon, courtesy of netflix. I knit all afternoon. Perfect on a rainy day. I’m almost finished with the project using the leftover hoodie yarn and rejected buttons. I’m hoping to post tomorrow; there’s no daylight left to take a picture tonight! I also put another log on the log cabin. This blanket will be done soon. It’s so nice to snuggle under while it’s in progress, but I’ll still snuggle under it when I’m knitting something else later!

Dinner tonight is leftover pork stew from last night. Perfect lazy Saturday.

Pork & Acorn Squash Stew

2 lbs pork loin, cut in to inch cubes
2 T olive oil
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T cumin seed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup white wine
1 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 acorn squash
1 1/2 T cornstarch

In a large pot, heat olive oil. Brown the pork and then transfer to a large oven safe dish. (I use a 4 liter covered casserole) Add a little more olive oil to the pan, and saute onion and garlic until translucent but firm. Add cumin and saute 30 seconds more. Add tomatoes, broth, wine, oregano, and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then add to the pork. Cover and bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.

While pork is cooking, cut the acorn squash lengthwise and remove seeds. (I used my ancient cleaver for this. Thanks, Dad! I was afraid I would break the point on my chef’s knife if I used that.) Microwave on high for four minutes, cut side up. Let cool. Remove peel and cut squash into cubes.

When stew has baked for 45 minutes, add diced squash. Stir, and return to oven for another 20 minutes.

Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into stew. Adjust seasonings. Serve over brown rice or whole wheat egg noodles.

Enjoy! We did.

Some enchanted evening

Piano and pinot was grand!

I love the whole process of a party, cleaning the house, getting out the nice china, crystal, and silver, setting the table. It’s like playing dress-up with the house.

table

The event was a fund raiser, and we served 12 different pinot wines: a sparkling white pinot, pinot gris, pinot blanc, pinot noir, pinot meuniere, a rose (sorry, don’t know how to find the accent mark), and some sweet late harvest dessert wines. All were from local Willamette Valley vineyards: Brick House, LaVelle, Penner-Ash, Willakenzie, Winter’s Hill. My favorite was the LaVelle sparkling wine, but I’m a bubbly girl. No picture of the wine-laden buffet; I forgot.

Desserts included cheesecake, cream puffs, a raspberry/blueberry tart, and a dark chocolate and raspberry cake. Yes, that’s a gravy boat on the table, but it’s filled with chocolate sauce. Recipe at the bottom of this post.

Our pianist played Bach (C# prelude and fugue), Mendelssohn (Song without Words), Debussy (first Arabesque, Clair de Lune, La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, Golliwog’s Cakewalk), Grieg (Andante from a sonata), Rocherolle, and more. She was fabulous!

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This picture was taken before we put the lid on the high prop stick. The piano sounded glorious; it was such a treat to hear someone else play it. The sound experience is different out in the room; I’m used to hearing it just from the bench.

I have a fridge full of leftover wines and desserts, and I get to enjoy a still-clean house!

In other news, remember how I mentioned that the squirrel had won the bird-feeder battle? It turns out that he has a friend. I saw them taking turns at the bird feeder. I chased one off, and while he was on the telephone pole, the other one appeared. They’re pretty brazen; they don’t mind me taking pictures from fairly close range.

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I’ve figured out how Onan and Conan access the feeder. They jump from the trellis on the front of the house onto the top of the feeder pole. It’s about five feet, laterally. No problem for these guys!

Here’s the recipe for the chocolate sauce:

Chocolate Sauce

24 oz semi-sweet belgian chocolate chips
One pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks and softened

Five 8 ounce jelly jars

Place the chocolate chips into a large heat-proof mixing bowl; place the bowl over a large pot filled with hot water. Let the chocolate melt as you proceed with the recipe.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the butter until blended. Ladle the sauce into jars; cool completely before screwing on lids. Store in the refrigerator (all that butter and cream!). Scoop out the sauce as desired and warm it on low power in the microwave. Or eat it by the spoonful directly from the jar. ;-)

Makes about 5 cups